Monday, May 31, 2010

What's a surefire way to...

...increase the number of projects you have on needles at any given point? Well, if you're like me, it means you've finished one and started 12 more. Or something close to that feeling.

A couple of years ago, I started 'filling in the blanks' when I joined Ravelry. And it's really helped me get organized with what yarn I have and to some lesser degree kept me from shopping for more. Well, maybe. I can say that it's put it into a better perspective. That's probably much more accurate. And I'm glad. I do know that there are times when I have gone and checked into the amounts that I already have on hand, and have chosen to NOT go shopping. Granted, it's rare, but it has happened. What it's also done for me, is to give me a realistic view of how much it takes to knit up a sweater dye lot wise. And it's shown me that I have a lot of mismatched dye lots even when I know I have nearly 45 skeins of Hobby Lobby Sweet Delights Baby in Angel, but then know that they're split into 17 different dye lots. Which, on a good day would be fine for knitting up baby sweaters, but not so good when it comes to knitting up a blanket. I learned my lesson long ago about matching dye lots. Just ask the turtleneck sweater I started for myself in Navy wool where the sleeves don't exactly match the rest of the sweater. I'm not sure I have that one listed on my Ravelry projects list I was so upset with the revelation the day I noticed the difference.

Fast forward to making my Mom's cable sweater for her 2008 birthday. When I had found the Paton's Classic Wool on clearance (no less) at an AC Moore store in NY, I just KNEW I needed to knit Mom a whole sweater. I didn't have a clue at the time which sweater I wanted to knit and since I'd been making mostly baby things I just grabbed all they have of the Too Teal wool sitting on the shelf. After all, I didn't want to get back to California and find that I'd been 'just this much' too short to finish a sweater for Mom. Heaven knows I have enough partial projects just sitting there waiting to be 'never finished' and I don't want to add to that pile. So..all 22 skeins of the Too Teal Wool jumped off the shelf, into the basket and were air sucked into zip lock bags to be shoved into my suitcase and brought home. Great plan-huh?

But here's the thing. Her sweater?

Took less than 7 skeins of yarn. Do the math. 22-7=way too much. So I thought I'd start some more projects. That, I told myself, would chew up a whole lot really fast! Couple of coffee sleeves, .23 skein. More coffee sleeves when Dad lost the first set? .16 of a skein. One tam, nearly one more skein. This was not going nearly as fast as I had hoped. I wanted to create some space in my bins!

So last month as I was pulling wool out of my bins before heading up to NY for the daughter's Master's Degree Graduation, I thought I'd pull a couple of skeins of the Too Teal and knit up a pair of socks for a4A! Yea, This would do the trick! After all when I knit for the medical transport for the troops, it goes right through a fair amount of yarn quickly! This was a fabulous idea! After all I had bits and pieces of black left over from black wool hats that would work well for the toes and cuffs. Oh baby, we were going to go to to town and burn up some needles. That feeling lasted until you learn I had this much left over after knitting up ...

...not just a pair of socks but also a Mushroom Cap as well!

Now, I know that the label says Merino Wool, but I'm thinking there has GOT to be some rabbit in there making it multiply. It just won't go away. And it's ooooooooooooooooooh so NOT my favorite color to work with. Here I thought it would just get used up fast and I could start more prepromised projects that I've had rattling around in my head. So, putting those left overs away, I got to working on some little projects that I had been waiting to do. Apparently one wasn't enough because...

Here's six more that I started since Thursday of last week. And my grey sweater and Mom's white hat and brother's black and red hat isn't anywhere to be seen, are they?

I'm thinking if you want the size of your project pile to be increased? Just tell yourself that you have to work out of your stash of yarn and the list of projects that you actually intended to do specifically for people who KNOW that you promised them that you would..and you'll not have to worry about having something on your needles.

Now, of course, I'm not going to tell you how to determine which one you're going to work on first, because three of those things were all started on Friday, and the other three were started on Saturday.

Yes, by me. Yes, while I'm on ice and pain pills. I'm guessing that it's my short attention span due to the pain pills that's causing it all to get so out of control.

My story and I'm sticking to it. Because I have eight more projects all charted out and ready to go. I'm not sure that I can hold out much longer and keep from casting them on. I do have the needles - that's what happens prior to having Ravelry so you're not aware that you already own a gazillion and twelve pairs of (US) 7's (4.5mm) and you end up picking up one more to go.

And Ravelry tells me I still have 13.45 skeins of Too Teal left all in the same dye lot. But Mom doesn't need another sweater in the same color and I can't wear that color.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Recognize the colors?

I decided awhile back that some of the 'stash' has GOT to go! It's prompted me to find ways to knit it up between other must do projects..after all there was NO way I was going to just toss it out! So, in that vein, I dove in to the gajillion skeins of "too teal" Paton's Wool that I have left over from knitting Mom's cable sweater. While reading though one of the afghans for Afghans' newsletter, I found the link to Elizabeth's Sock Class. Since making socks is one of my newest goals in knitting that will fit me, I'm open to practicing on lots of different sizes, with different fibers to learn new tricks. is where the tutorial/pattern begins. I like it. It is a little different than the last worsted weight pattern that I've been using to make the socks for Ship's Support. And I learned a little bit more as well. I like learning new tricks. Especially when I can carry the tips from one project to another. This pattern wasn't as specific as the previous one had been for me, so I had to learn to do a little bit of 'figuring'. And that's never a bad thing-right?

Having still yet MORE left over, I decided to make another Mushroom cap (#14 for those of you who are keeping track.) This time, I didn't have my notes right at hand, so I looked up the pattern again. Funny how you do something one way for a thousand times, and then go back to the original and find out you've been doing the crown top a little bit different. So this is knit to the actual pattern. I still think these look a little goofy when you lay then on the table (or floor) to take their pictures. However, I'm so happy that the same number of stitches can fit so many different sized heads! It's a natural pattern to pick for charity knitting, because it fits such a variety of head sizes! And that's always a good thing, too.

Off to knit on my socks or maybe Mom's hat that also didn't get done in time for Mother's Day. I'm sitting on ice packs today for my back. That's not fun, but it means I'll not be doing much else until I can breathe without my back 'catching'. Love the ice packs, but really wish I didn't know so much about them.

Friday, May 21, 2010

She's a Birthday Girl!

Happy 23rd Birthday!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

800+ stairs, 2 feet and a cane at a time

I will give you fair notice that this is picture intensive, I cut out well over 100 pictures, and they're small to help them load faster. HOWEVER, if you click on any one of them they will enlarge. I suggest you do one of two things, a-click on the pictures or b-get yourself here!

The day before Graduation ceremonies we headed up to Watkins Glenn State Park in the Finger Lakes area of New York state. They're closed from November to Mid May. They were just opened and my daughter couldn't wait for us to go for a 'walk'. Sounded good to me!

The is the map of the 1 1/2 mile trail along the water we wanted to visit.

Read the sign carefully, 800+ stairs. Yep. All of them. And more. straight.up.

and off we went!

Follow us around this fall....

First side up close

The backside of the falls.

And the other side...

powerful water...

and that's where it all goes...amazing. (Did I turn the water off at home?)

Very peacefully soothing up here.

More stairs...and peaceful moments

Fabulous way to celebrate her Master's Degree!

When he gets back to school, think of the stories he's going to be able to tell!

And these weren't even the best part of the section..that awaited just around the bend....

Please, click on this picture of the Rainbow Falls area! This is the 'money shot' even if the rainbow didn't show at this time of day. Amazingly beautiful!

That's a deep cut in the rock...and a lot of water smashing all over the place.

The guy in the white shirt? RAN ALL THE WAY UP!

Holding onto Mom to keep her from sliding into the water, it was cold but fabulous (don't try this at home!)

The last push of 180 stairs. Took me awhile but at the top I found...

...the best cheerleaders of all time! They waited at the top of the stairs with water and encouraging words.

My proof that I'd made it to the top-after a rest and our lunch at the top. The disclaimer? They hiked down and brought the car back up for me. It was much faster for them to go without me. I'm OK with that! 1 1/2 hours up...~45-60 minutes for them to get back down and drive up for me. Good decision, I think.)

This is the moment I let him know that the blanket he'd been watching me crochet for a long time was his! Yes, he was excited-does it show? [ Lion Brand's Crayon Ripple Throw pattern, I Love this Yarn! in White (2.5 skeins) and Royal (3 skeins) size J hook. Finished size 42"x 72" . Pattern found on the Lion Brand web site. ]

While riding back in the car, he wanted to put down everything he was playing with so he could have 'cuddle time' with his blanket. Now I ask you. How can you not love knitting and crocheting for such a kid?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Yeah! for airport knitting

Yeah! I have finally gotten a sock to fit me! Took me 4 years to get sock yarn on (US)1's to fit my foot!

To compare, it took my daughter 2 years to earn her Master's Degree.

Yes, I'm a slow learner.

And Yes, I have the 2nd one cast on already.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

oh, so close!

I flew into Syracuse, NY on Mother's Day..having flown the red eye out of California. Why? I have a daughter who's about to be hooded. YEA! On the way I worked on my new socks. If you're a sock knitter, you can see with the sock that I've adjusted the tension here and there. I had debated over ripping it out but decided this would be my sock that will show me from here on out how far I've come. I think I'm finally getting used to the 'hang' of the tiny needles, tiny sock yarn feel. It's something I think I've battled in my sock knitting quest. All I have to do now, is rip out the toes of this first sock, because my counts are way off. The top of the toes have more stitches than the under side of the sock. This MUST be the results of knitting through the night on a flight without any TVs or movies or music while being half asleep. Right?
That's my story and I'm sticking to it being sooooooooo close to finishing this sock. It certainly couldn't be that I just messed up, now - right?
Do you know what this means? Yep, those cranberry bits that have been cut.
Simply put, it means that on my Knitting Pure and Simple sweater, I picked the roll back sleeve cuffs, cut and weaved in the ends. It's my final decision. And I really like how they turned out. It's been a nice surprise.
The jury is still out on the bottom of the sweater. It's still got the 2x2 ribbing on it apart of the pattern directions. Eh...I don't think that matters as much to me. Sleeves are different, sleeves have a tendency to really bug me. I am a 'leaner'...I lean my wrists when I played piano, when I type, and my knitting needles always get caught in my sleeve cuffs. I rarely, if never, keep long sleeves down by my wrists. But at the same time, I don't like wearing 3/4 length sleeves, I'd rather push them up. If a sleeve is the correct width, it'll stay pushed up. If they stretch, they're going to bug me all over again when they keep falling down.

Since I landed here with my daughter still working during the week, I've been concentrating on getting the crocheted afghan finished. The cutest 8 year old joined us last night and doesn't know this is going to be his. I am 'this' close to getting it done. 3 1/2 stripes to go!
Here we are prior to the first pitch of the game. Waiting for the fun to begin...

And here was my son's main event! Stephen Strasburg, 2009's top draft pick for the MLB. Clocking in at 96 and 98 mph. So glad I'm not on the receiving end of them.

Bonus, was the chance to see one of my son's old fellow Little League player on the opposing team.

Sadly, he also was on the receiving pitches at 96 and 98 mph, three times!

I'm off to work on the afghan some more. The 8 year old showed up after a train, a bus and two planes toward the end of the game. Must.crochet.faster.