Thursday, March 29, 2007

Heading to the Finish Line

My entire life right now is wrapped around finishing--finishing my Central Park Hoodie (here are the buttons I found this week), finishing the book I need to have in by next week, finishing my Jawbreaker--which only needs a little seaming and the collar picked up and knitted. Okay, so I have a few too many things on my plate right now. I wake up in a rush and go to bed at night making crazy lists of what I need to get done the next day and then forget where I put the lists.

Now as if all that isn't enough, I found out last weekend that I was nominated for a national writing award, the RITA. The RITA is given out by Romance Writers of America to books that the members judge are the best of the year.
My book, His Mistress By Morning, was sort of stretch for me, but a book I adored writing. Books are so much like knitting--because when it works and is all coming together the pages are like rows of perfect knitting. This book was like that--hardly any frogging. So I am really pleased to see it nominated.

So pleased with myself that I was feeling very smug today as I carried the copies for the final judging to the post office to mail off. Now the guy at the post office is used to me bringing in boxes of stuff, and always asks, "So what is this today?". And I was so poised to brag a little. But he didn't ask, he just kept avoiding making eye contact. Finally, he takes a deep breath, looks right at me and says, "Do you know you have green ink all over your face?"

Thank goodness I keep wipes in the car . . .

And when I find that leaky pen, I am going to make the following list with it:

  • Lose the ego.
  • Toss out this pen.
  • Thursday, March 22, 2007

    When the Cherry Trees Bloom that can only mean . . .

    If you said spring cleaning, please bite your tongue. Cleaning? Bah! Because Spring means the Seattle Knitting Guild is holding their annual Fiber Frenzy, a night dedicated to bringing out those dead skeins, while other members can, well, stash enhance at bargain prices.

    I took 4 big boxes of yarn, patterns and magazines to the meeting. It was stuff leftover from my Destash last month, and then yesterday I went on a purge--patterns, magazines, yarn I know I won't get to. And to my surprise, I sold nearly everything I brought--with the exception of some yarn that quite honestly I wasn't ready to get rid off. But what a closet cleaner, and now I have space for . . . what else? More yarn.

    I think I deserve a medal, because there I was with a pocket full of "yarn" money and I didn't spend a dime. That is until today, when I saw 7 skeins Cascade 220 on Destash and bought it. It just looked lonely there, and I'm a sucker for stray Cascade 220 that needs a good home.

    And a shout out to Janine, over at Feral Knitter, for giving me a quick lesson on "trapping" yarn in floats. Now I just hope I can remember the neat tricks she showed me. What a delightful and wonderful teacher she is!

    On the knitting front, I've finished and blocked the pieces for my CPH. And I'll get them sewn tonight so I can pick up the stitches for the hood.

    I've also been knitting on the Socks that Rock yarn I picked up at Madrona. I'm a sl-o-o-w sock knitter, but these are fun to pick up and do a few rounds on.

    How do you sock knitters get so many socks done? I'm just in awe! But then I look at my own output since January (nearly 3 completed sweaters), and suppose that would be at least worth a pair or two of socks.

    Friday, March 16, 2007

    Weaving in

    Look at all these ends woven in on the Jawbreaker. You know, now that I look at this picture, that doesn't look like a whole lot, but believe me, it was. Thank goodness for two hours of American Idle.

    After I got those ends done, it was into the washing machine for a good dunking, and right now the Jawbreaker is residing on my spare bed, until I get the sleeves done for my CPH. I think I'll get them done before I finish the Jawbreaker, just to mix things up a little.

    After that, I'm probably going to finish the two hats I have on needles, knit up a Booga Bag, and then I am contemplating frogging out this sweater. I bought this Classic Elite Wings yarn years ago. I was going to knit a sweater from one of their booklets with it, but the pattern had so many errors in it, and the help from Classic Elite for any kind of corrections was non-existent, I shelved it for a while. Then I knit this basketweave sweater from a Noro pattern. But my fear is that I will look like the Michelin man if I finish it. So the poor yarn is going to be frogged again and this time I have something else in mind. Another Top Down Cardi, but this time with a cable or two . . .

    This yarn is so dang luscious, I have to knit something out of it. Besides, third times the charm, right?

    Tuesday, March 13, 2007

    Spring is coming . . . my camelia bush told me so

    I always know that Spring can't be far away when my camelia bush starts to bloom. I've seen other bushes in the neighborhood sporting blossoms, but mine was being stubborn until today when a few buds finally decided to open up. So I ran out in a break from the rain and snapped some photos, in case there are some unbelievers out there.

    As for the knitting, the Jawbreaker is nearly done. Really. I have proof:

    I can't believe I knit a sweater in under two weeks, and given the extra two nights I had to do froggin the sleeves it is really amazing. Of course it isn't quite done. I have a thousand and one ends to weave in:

    I really am NOT a fan of weaving in ends, its like doing taxes (which I need to get done) or going to the dentist. But I want to wear this sweater, so I must, I must weave in those ends. With two hours of American Idle tonight, I should be able to get it done. Then I can block it and finally sew it all together and knit the collar.

    What I can' believe is how these three very different yarns all blended together like they came from the same dye pot. Amazing happenstance--especially the way the goat yarn makes such a pretty fuzzy cuff:

    These pictures just don't do this yarn justice. The other little miracle of this project was that I was truly guessing as to whether or not I had enough yarn, since I was fudging the gauge and a whole lot of other things. I did a terrible job knitting the first sleeve. Not paying attention to the decreases or the length and it ended up being too long. Then when I went to do the second sleeve, I realized I was going to run out of yarn. So I frogged the first sleeve, redid it (shorter and paying attention) and then had just enough to finish the second sleeve. Want to see how much yarn I had left?

    Pretty good guess, huh?

    Tuesday, March 06, 2007

    Casting On . . . Again

    Before you say, huh? Wasn't that sweater pink? Please read on.

    So I was going to knit my Lucy right? Right. Then I saw a completed Jawbreaker cardigan (Interweave Knits, Fall 2006) on another blog--don't ask me where, it was one of those late night surfing sort of incidents where you can't remember where you've been things. But there I was having one of those "I've-got-the-perfect-stash-for-that" moment. So off I go and I've cast on another sweater. But before you start shaking your head and counting on your fingers, toes, and looking for the neighbor's extra toed cat to help out as to how many projects I currently have on the needles, let me explain why this is the most perfect project.

    It all starts with the "goat yarn." Well, that's what I call it. I saw it across a marketplace at a knitting retreat about 2 years ago. I didn't care how much yardage there was, I just had to have it.
    So I paid a ridiculous sum of money for this one of a kind, handspun treat (with little to no yardage to it) and brought it home, totally enamoured with the lovely shades of blue and bottle green
    and the completely white, white. And then I noticed something.

    The yarn stank. I mean stank. Like goats. Like a goat in August on a really hot day. So I washed it, delicately soaking in the sink with some wool wash, confident that the goat odor would go away.

    It didn't.

    I put it in the washing machine, soaked it with a cup of vinegar, again confident the goat smell would go away.

    It didn't. While it hung to dry in the laundry room, none of my family would venture downstairs, complaining I'd turned the house into Green Acres.

    Back into the washing machine it went. This time with an entire bottle of vinegar. And finally, the goat smell went away. But sadly, my love affair with it had faded a bit. So I wound it up and tucked it away thinking that I would fall in love again soon.

    Yet, like all stash, it had to wait to find some help. And then along came two skeins of Sophie by Wool in the Woods. 50% wool, 50% Llama. Doesn't this yarn make you drool? I snagged them in a clearance sale at a yarn shop that was closing. Again, the blues and greens caught my eye, and despite the fact there was only 400 yards and I hadn't a clue what I was going to do with them, I bought them and tucked them away.

    Then about a year ago, I spotted two skeins of Cascade Pastaza, and had one of those "aha" moments. Like, hmmm, I wonder if . . . and when I got home, I dug out the goat yarn and the Sophie, and introduced them to their new basket mate, their coordinated lost half brother, Pastaza.

    And so they've been sitting in their basket patiently waiting for the perfect project. Fast forward and check this out: Look at how they blend together. So what I am doing is, I've used the Pastaza for the waist ribbing. Then I am using knitting with all three of the variegated yarns in the body, then I am going to use the white for the cuffs of the sleeves and the collar. And is it knitting fast. Rather than knit it in pieces, I am knitting the entire body in one piece, and just picking up whatever skein suits my fancy.

    I really do need a 12 step program. But the good news is, I'm knitting from my stash . . .

    Friday, March 02, 2007

    Hard to Believe

    Here is the start of my Lucy in the Sky cardigan. The pattern is just starting to emerge as I get going. I just love this color--it just says "Spring" to me. Like a pink dogwood, or pink tulips. Of course, Since the entire body is knit from the bottom up, each row takes a while. When I look at it like this:

    I find it hard to believe it will ever be a sweater. Okay, so maybe Spring 2008.