Dec 28, 2006

Momentarily selfish knitting

Today I:

*sent my magic yarn ball at last,
*picked up a skein of hand-dyed wool for my coffee and knitting swap, and
*bought myself two ounces of pretty Colonial wool roving.

I don't feel terribly accomplished, and I do still have gifts to finish knitting, but I have a sudden urge to knit selfishly for just a little ... so I've pulled the long cotton A-line eyelet skirt out of my trunk and will do a few rows of that. I may even have it done in time for spring. ;)

(Note to self: must also find piratey clothing for painting faces this weekend.)

Dec 27, 2006

The holidays aren't over yet

More visitors are yet to come, and some people still haven't received their gifts, whether it's because I was finishing them or because I haven't seen them. Still on the needles (literally or figuratively ;)):

*wool mittens for Ben - nearly done with one
*Merino socks for Brian - nearly halfway done with one
*Virginia's scarf re-do
*(possibly) a washcloth for Virginia
*Jen's decorative and functional scarf
*potentially something for the not-yet-arrived visitors

And, of course, the much-delayed Duel Sweater for Brian.

Going to go work on those mittens!


Dec 24, 2006

Irish wristwarmers in cream

The finished Merino wool gift exchange version, in cream:

Woo. Now to cast on a pair of mittens. Yayyy, last-minute gifts! ;)

Dec 23, 2006

Knit from your stash 2007

I like the Yarn Diet proposal outlined in this post ... I've been doing a lot of small gift knitting out of my stash in the past week or so, and it makes me feel good to use up yarn that I've had sitting around. Of course, I've been trying to think of ways to do it for a while -- the trouble for me is usually that I don't have enough of a specific type of yarn (even counting different colors) to make a specific project that will actually get worn or used. That's what I get for buying so much crappy, cheap yarn at the beginning of my knitting sojourn, though. ;) (But I've thought of a way to use up all the acrylic stuff, too: Warm Up America requires that you use worsted weight acrylic yarn to knit the squares for their afghans.) I still have a lot more cheap yarn than decent yarn that's easy to stashbust with, but this year I may actually have a New Year's resolution ... not so much a yarn diet as a yarn exercise program ;) -- since I still intend on acquiring good yarn for my stash, while using up some of the stuff that's been sitting around.

So, my yarn exercise program proposal:

Silver's Great Yarn Exercise Program, 2007!


*to reduce current yarn stash,
*to finish more projects,
*to try new patterns,
*to knit gifts before the last minute (and to have knit items set aside for unexpected gift-giving), and
*to knit original patterns, potentially to sell (either the patterns or the items made from them).


1. Time period of exercise program to be determined. (Preliminary estimate of program duration: 6 months?)
2. Dietary requirements: I will finish at least two UFOs before the end of the exercise program. Also, I will finish at least four Warm Up America afghan squares.
3. Yarn purchases will be limited to: sale/clearance yarn (preferably of at least 40% off), KnitPicks (and other cheap-but-not-crappy) yarn, and yarn for specific projects I don't have the yarn for. New yarn purchases should preferably be used within two months of being acquired.
4. New projects begun should fall into one of these categories: a) gifts for someone else, b) items to sell, c) projects being developed by me, or d) projects I really, really like. I will not buy new yarn for a project about which I feel only mediocre. At least one new project started during the exercise program will be for me and not a gift.

As in the original Knit From Your Stash guidelines, yarn gifts are permissible and encouraged, and spinning fiber does not in any way count as a yarn purchase.

...though if I were going to be a really good girl, I might set guidelines for spinning fiber stash reduction in the coming year. ;) Except that I've been very Spinning Mind recently and that may not be a problem. :D

Dec 22, 2006

In the midst of holiday hell week

...the Quicksilver Crafter perseveres. Any extra positive vibes you may have as a result of gratuitous cookies, candies, surprises, and holiday miracles are welcome, though. ;D

Lots of images for the record today! But first, currently on the needles: a pair of cabled Merino wool socks (size 5 dpns and Patons Classic Wool, which is, alas, not superwash), another pair of Irish hiking wristwarmers (size 6 needles, also Classic Wool, these in cream), a pair of lacy stripey socks (KnitPicks Parade, I think, off the top of my head, on size mumblemumble needles -- meaning they're kind of a mismatched set, but I don't think the recipient will mind too much as long as the socks fit ;)). It feels like a lot more than that, especially since I still want to start on Brian's hoodie sometime before the first of the year, and I'm going to try to work on something for me on Christmas as a gift to myself ... ;) Oh, and I intend on attempting to knit a pair of mittens this weekend, too. (Cue hysterical laugh.)

On Intolerable Cruelty -- It turned out to be Truncated Cruelty, which translates as, "I ran out of time so it turned into a mini-skirt." ;) That's perfectly all right, though, as it was for the Pimps and Ho Ho Hos party and worked nicely with my crazy spandex boots and pimpy pinstriped halter top.

Okay, now on to pics. ;D Here's a baby hat I knit yesterday for Brian's Secret Santa exchange:

Yes, it has "runs" where the dpns ended, but it was my third attempt at making it and it needed to be done, plus I figured that actually on someone's head it would look fine. For my own reference, I ended up using size 4 dpns with generic worsted weight cotton, and I cast on 60 stitches with long-tail, worked one round of stockinette, then switched to 2x2 rib till it was four inches long and then decreased for the crown. First dec rnd: *k4, k2tog,* rep to end; next rnd: knit; next dec rnd: *k3, k2tog,* rep to end; next rnd: knit -- and so on, till I had some small amount of stitches left on the needles, like, er, six or seven, then I broke yarn and put it through the stitches, pulled tight, and added a pom pom by basically tying it into the top of the hat. Whew.

In other yarny news, I haven't posted photos of my somewhat pathetic first attempt at spinning art yarn:

It's not very exciting, is it? It's somewhat thick and thin and has a fair amount of variation in the green ply, because that's spun of Potluck Roving (Ferndale Fibers?), which I think is a randomesque wool and mohair scrap-type-stuff blend. The white ply is Columbia. It's for my magic yarn ball, and I hope my swap partner isn't too bored by it ... Her yarn is much more entertaining and exciting than this, but it's still perfectly decent yarn, and she could always ply it again with something, right...? Also, the second batch of "respun rescue" yarn:

That being more of the Torturous Fuzzy Yarn of Doom as the base ply, and then some random stuff from the thrift store as the contrast plies.

Last but not least, some goodies for my magic yarn ball -- handmade point protectors (the kitty ones were my sister's idea from a while ago, and the star ones are the ones actually in the yarn ball), and hand-made stitch markers (I like them so much I want some for me ;D):

Now, off to knit and knit and knit and knit and knit...

Dec 13, 2006

Brainswitch ;D

Right after I posted about being in Spinning Mind, I switched to Knitting Mind. Doh! So I knit a gauge swatch for Brian's duel sweater, and be it known that I have exact gauge with size 5 (Boye metal dpn) needles. Woo. If only I actually had size five single points here, I'd probably derail myself by starting the sweater. Good thing I don't have those needles. ;) Now, off to work on Intolerable Cruelty and dream of finished forest green hoodies for darling blond boys with blue eyes.


Should be: knitting Intolerable Cruelty. Am, in fact: spinning overdyed red Merino.

I got into a spinning fit earlier thanks to finishing, skeining and center-pull-balling my first ply (green wool/mohair Potluck from Ferndale Fibers) for the magic yarn ball, and almost making it through a fairly large chunk of undyed Columbia that I'm going to try using for the second ply. I ran out of time, though, and had to vanish off to Second Home (or First Home, depending on how you think of it ;)), bringing with me only the overdyed red Merino and the rest of the undyed Columbia. The idea was that these are the colors I need for the Santa hat from Handknit Holidays, that I was thinking of spinning the yarn for, since it only requires about 100 yards each of bulky weight and worsted weight yarn. I don't know whether this Merino is going to end up being my worsted weight, but it sure is pretty. :D

Tomorrow I should end up plying the magic yarn ball yarn and possibly putting together the magic yarn ball itself. I ought also to finish that shrine and put it in the mail, but then, I ought to be rather further along on Intolerable Cruelty if I'm going to feel comfortable with my progress. Oh, well. Maybe once I've had my spin-out I'll feel more like knitting. This seems to happen to me fairly frequently -- the thing where I feel like doing one thing when I should be doing another -- but it always seems wiser to follow my heart and let myself do the thing I've been neglecting for a while than to be anal retentive and stick with something I don't honestly want to be doing, even if it throws me off schedule. If my brain is coming back fast enough, then all will end well even if I think I'm behind. And if my brain isn't coming back fast enough, then following my heart is still good practice. ;)

Dec 11, 2006

Irresistible goodies photo!

All right, I opened the package from Germany and it has so much color and interest that it inspired me to photograph it:

I haven't even unwrapped half the goodies in it, so I don't know what they are yet, but they sure look good wrapped up. ;D The piece of artwork in the middle, by the way, is the Eccentric Pastiche collaborative calendar, which I included in the shot because it deserves to be showed off as part of the goodie deluge. (I'd photograph the ornaments today to show off, too, if I didn't know I'd sit there arranging them for twenty minutes before letting myself take the picture. ;))

Off to unwrap!

Christmas spirit comes to Florida ;D

Whew! Back from the show, and it was lots more fun than this year's Pirate Fair ... but that happens when one's only responsibility is to fire guns and look piratical, vs. having obligations and other stressful happenings attacking. ;) According to this weekend's experience, though, pirates can't talk properly, so I have something to blame for my current inability to express myself efficiently. ;D

Anyway, came back to a couple of packages, one of which is from Germany and had to be picked up at the post office. I haven't opened that one yet ... but the other package was from Anne of Eccentric Pastiche and LiberTeas. I knew it contained my ornaments from this year's swap ... but! It also contained a copy of the collaborative calendar that I did the January artwork for -- even though I didn't order a copy! And that's where the Christmas spirit comes in.

The mini-story that I sadly told Dear Brian a few weeks ago is that I ought to have ordered a calendar for myself, at least, because it only seems right that I try to have copies of things my artwork appears in. I've had a bit more of a funds shortage this year than I have in the past, though, so I ended up waffling till I missed the order deadline, and I didn't make enough effort to remind my family to buy copies, so I expected never to see the calendar ... which was a teense depressing. My melancholy no longer has a foundation, however, because Anne the Amazing sent me a copy and even I won't mope without a reasonable reason. ;)

This means a lot to me, even though it seems like such a small thing, precisely because the small things are so often lacking in my life and relationships. People who care still neglect the little details, and I rarely feel as if they understand enough to anticipate how they can add brightness to my life (or anyone's) with a smallish gesture that nonetheless takes a little forethought. Even though I've never met Anne in person, she's thoughtful and perceptive enough to have done what most of my friends and family never do ... and to defy the mediocrity-inclined luck pattern of my life. So thank you to Anne Downen for actually giving me something to be appreciative of this holiday season; thanks for making my holiday season actually start to feel like one. ;) Now I can look at my art ornaments this Christmas and know that it's partly thanks to art and tea that one person out there has given me a tiny reason to keep believing in human potential. ;D

Now I'll go have some LiberTeas No-Name Tisane, a.k.a. Heron's Sanctuary tea, if I remember correctly. Yayyy, tea! ;)

Dec 8, 2006

More mail's out, cruelty's in, and the cat's out of the box

Sent the superlate postcard today, plus apology goodies. Looks like the superlate shrine should go out next week, probably with the only mildly late (with the permission of the recipient ;)) magic yarn ball. In a Christmas outfit update, 23 rows are done of the Intolerable Cruelty skirt.

This year I'm asking Ben to knit me something for Christmas ... with my own yarn, to help reduce the stash and get me something handknit that I wouldn't otherwise have time for. What I'm having trouble with is figuring out what to have him knit. Doh! I think I may ask him to do some small things, anyway, like finally adding the ribbing to the anciently started vest from knit.1, in addition to untightening the armscyes on the shrug he knit me before.

And because I need gratuitous photos and have none of actual craft-related objects, here's one of Brian and Pearl at my parents' last night. (They're watching her for us since we'll be off doing black powder demo this weekend.) Pearl made a bit of a mess of herself on the drive over, so Brian gave her a bath on arrival, and she gratefully trashed his leather jacket then climbed onto his shoulders and dripped on him. ;)

Not that the photo does Brian (with his Charisma of 85) much justice, but gratuitous decent-looking Brianage is better than no Brianage at all.

Dec 7, 2006

"Happy Holidays" handmade postcard

Another of the Superlate Swaps was for a handmade postcard, and here's mine at last:

All the colored bits except the green leafy paper are metallic, but metallic colors don't scan very well, hmm? The little gray-silver dots on the leafy paper are also metallic, for obsessive reference. ;) I'm debating whether to send this inside a package with, or separately from, the apology goodies. Ponder...

Cool breezes and palm trees...

...are what this yarn is named for: Key West Ice Cream is its current name. I didn't actually spin it, but rather, plied it out of an assortment of yarns I had sitting around. Got 25 yards total, and since the original fuzzy green yarn was driving me nuts in its earlier incarnation, at least this is a visual improvement. ;D The blue plies are weaving yarn I got from some thrift store or other, and the silver and white ply is crochet thread. Most of the plies are multi-ply themselves, so this is supermulti-ply yarn. ;) As usual, forgive my lazy bowing to the flash effects ... and, er, my current inability to use English. The actual yarn isn't plasticky-looking at all.

I wanted to try something new for the Spinner's Magic Yarn Ball Swap since it's supposed to be about art yarn, and I do like how this turned out. I'll probably be "rescuing" some of the other annoying yarns in my stash. :D

Mail out: necklaces and Secret Santa

I finally sent my Superlate Handcrafted Necklace Swaps -- woohoo! Plus extra goodies, of course. And my Secret Santa package went out today, Priority with delivery confirmation, because it was conveniently the same price as Parcel Post with delivery confirmation. Most cool.

Superfast Christmas Party Outfit Update: Am not quite through the casing on Intolerable Cruelty. Doesn't really seem that worth updating, but hey, I knit something in the morning ... and that is worth noting. ;)

Now -- to see what gets done with the rest of the day. Heh. ;D

Fatefuler and fatefuler

(Terribly, terribly not a word.)

Anyway, I've joined the Intolerable Cruelty knitalong and have scanned the archives to find I'm doing yet more dangerous things than I knew consciously. ;) The yarn I'm using, of course, has silk content, which is specifically anti-recommended by the pattern designer because silk tends to make knitting grow and sag ... and I'm not actually sure if using a slightly lighter weight yarn with much smaller needles to achieve the same gauge as the pattern means my gauge is looser or not, but if it does, that's a danger zone, too. Wooeeeoo. Well, at the very least I hope the skirt works for the Pimps and Ho Ho Hos party -- and if all goes ill afterward, I can always rip it and use the pretty yarn for a sweater. I'm sure there's a sweater I've been yearning to make that calls for a DKish yarn.

And yes, for once I did do what I said and cast on last night. Even managed to knit six or so rows. ;D Of course, that also means I didn't manage to get anything spun last night ... C'est la vie. So today is crunch day, as Friday afternoon I go straight from St. Pete to Largo to catch a ride to Boynton Beach for the pirate show all this weekend. No coming back here to Palm Harbor to pick up anything I may have forgotten ... Ha, ha. I guess that means I'll end up doing without something I wanted, because there's no way my memory is going to suddenly start working again in the next twenty-four hours. ;D

Dec 6, 2006

The Fateful Swatch for Intolerable Cruelty

Finally tamed my yarn ... or at least I'm pretending I have. I know, I know. Fateful words for a knitter. Hence, I present the Fateful Swatch, a.k.a. the Swatch of Doom (since there's been a doomy theme around here lately, what with Sock Wars going on):

I think this swatch is at least potentially too small rather than too large, which sounds like a bad idea, except that a) knitting stretches and b) I'm small and the finished measurements on the pattern are actually slightly larger than my body measurements, so here's crossing fingers.

For reference, the yarn is Marks & Kattens Orkide (anyone know how to make an acute accent -- or is it accent grave? -- on a PC? I only know how to do it on a Mac and this ain't a Mac. ;) Anyway, that last "e" has an accent over it), which is 20% silk, 40% Merino, and 40% acrylic, in shade 1206, dye lot 33 (at least that's the dye lot of the ball I just pulled out ... no, I didn't check the other balls, because I'm being an evil knitter ;)). The yarn is marked $6 a ball, but was 40% off, so it was really $3.60 a ball. Huzzah.

I shall now proceed to cast on. Wish me luck, O crafters of the world.

(Oh, and the illustrative photo for this post is semi-gratuitous, because it's one of the first two photos to come off my memory card on Dear Brian's computer, which is a new method of transfer for me. Geekly commemoration.)

Of socks, superlate swaps, and Secret Santas

Today I packaged up my Secret Santa swap, which contains this cute little pouch with some undisclosed gifts inside, in case the recipient of my package should glance at this blog:

I also finished up the long-ago-begun but never finished "Fie" necklace, for the charming Swapbot swapper who fied me:

I really like the way it turned out, which was the point, really. ;) I even have one almost assembled for myself, so there will indeed be a fie on me as well as potentially on the original fie-er herself. ;D Also, as I forgot to take a photo of this before, here's the inside of the mini purse that's going out as an apology goodie with the other superlate necklace swap:

And here, at last, are photos of my second pair of Socks of Doom (one being the requisite photo-with-cat):

So! My two Superlate necklace swaps are pretty much ready to be packaged, addressed, and sealed, and those will hopefully go out tomorrow along with the Secret Santa package. I had Ben call the Corey Avenue Bead Shop of Lengthy Comma-ful Name for me today, and they don't currently have India bells. Neither does Jo-Ann, and neither does Michaels, and I've known this for a while, but had to re-check anyway for the sake of my spinner's magic yarn ball swap partner. Fire Mountain has them, but Fire Mountain is mail order, and phooey on that. Oh, well. I wanted to put some in my art yarn, but since India bells are such a scarce commodity at the moment, I'll spin something else fun and wrap up some nice things and be done with it.

Yesterday I dropped by the Palm Harbor yarn and fiber shop during the weekly knitters' get-together and had a pleasant cup of hazelnut coffee (this is not redundant, since I have frequently had rather unpleasant cups of hazelnut coffee ;)), then a nice woman there helped me find some bargain yarn that I'm trying to swatch into behaving well enough to make the Intolerable Cruelty skirt out of it in time for Brian's Pimps and Ho Ho Hos party. The yarn actually has silk content -- cultivated silk, as far as I know, which is generally a no-no for me since I loves me little silkworms ... but it's clearance yarn, not yarn in the normal stock, and the silkworms who gave their lives for that yarn will be doubly appreciated for helping me spend as little of my nonexistent money as possible, praise the sacrificial silkworms, yea.

The aforementioned yarn shop also has tons of new sock yarn, including the ridiculous and therefore appealing sock yarn plus aloe. Sheesh. I've been wanting to knit myself some socks for the past month or so, too, so I see sock yarn purchases in my penniless future.

Spinning tonight, if all goes even moderately well, and wish me the luck I'll need to get my yarn for the Cruelty Skirt. (There's a knitalong for that, too. Hmmm. Maybe I'll have to join to encourage my lickety-split knitting this week.)

And yes. I am currently suffering from Superlong Sentence Syndrome. Maybe it's because I'm doing Superlate Swaps, and I can't resist the alliteration.

Dec 4, 2006

Sock Wars socks out at last!

They're in the mail, and according to the guy behind the counter they should arrive in four days or so. Most exciting. Photos forthcoming once I'm not feeling so lazy and nutrient-deprived, and maybe by then I'll have done something else worth noting. ;D

Dec 3, 2006

Socks of Dooooom!

They're finally done. Whew. To be sent tomorrow, I think. :D

Dec 1, 2006

Chronicles of the sock warrior, and photogenic swap updates

Here's the skinny on the Socks of Doom v.2: I couldn't bring myself to finish a pair of "lilac" (it looks periwinkle to me, but the ball label says "lilac") socks in lightsabre green or lightsabre blue, so after sitting at the Verizon store for 1.5 hours waiting to upgrade my phone, I took my car, with its suddenly inconsistent engine noise, to Jo-Ann to look for some semi-matching yarn, figuring that I'd be able to find the same color in a different dye lot, at least, which would be better than a pair of periwinkle socks with one bright green toe. ;) But alas! They had every color of the right brand of yarn except the color I needed. So I visited the automotive place and appreciatively received the news that my car would not die on me any time soon, then stopped at Michaels ... where there was magically a ball of not just the same yarn in the same color, but the same dye lot as the ball of yarn I was sent from California. Kismet.

But I still haven't finished the actual pair of socks, since in addition to yarn-hunting day, yesterday was Brian's birthday, and I took him to dinner and otherwise was vaguely entertaining on his behalf. I did contemplate the socks this morning, but have otherwise made no visible progress since being halted by my yarn shortage. I'll finish them soon, though. ;)

Now, piccies. First, a photo of my wrapped ornaments for the Eccentric Pastiche swap, just because I think they're cute:

Then the eyelet washcloth I included with my "cold weather care package" swap:

In other news, I've packaged up the semi-late (...le sigh ;)...) "little bit of everything" swap package at last, and it should go out either today or tomorrow. Next up is the spinner's magic yarn ball. I've been looking for India bells to include either in the yarn or in the magic yarn ball, but I can't find the darn things anywhere, which problem I've had for a pretty long while now. I'd have to order them online, I think, but I didn't think I had time to do that, so I didn't, and now I still don't have them. ;) Improvisation shall occur in the next two days. My partner seems super-awesomely-cool for this swap, and I want to send her lots of goodies she'll be just as super-awesomely happy with, so I'm going to buck up and just be a little late and hope she forgives me in her enlightened-soul holiday spirit. I have a feeling she will, but it doesn't hurt to state my wishes, does it? ;D

Continuing with photos, here's some roving I overdyed -- this is the second incarnation of the Kool-Aid dyed peach Merino roving I received in the Spindlers list hand-dyed swap. I kept finding it difficult to motivate myself to spin peach yarn (what was I going to do with peach yarn? Aside from, apparently, giving it to people in swaps ;)), so I took my burgundy Wilton's icing dye and made this:

My photos have been very full of reddish colors today, haven't they. ;) It's that holiday spirit kicking in. To mess it up with a little blue, here's a photo of a mini-purse I knit a while back to send along with one of my Superlate swaps (to a swapper who has kindly, if "irresponsibly," ;) not whined on my ratings page at Swapbot):

And finally, a completely unjust photo of the awesome Spinner's Magic Yarn Ball swap package that came in the mail for me today!

That absolutely does not portray the coolness of the yarn (a lovely soft dark blue Merino blend, if I remember correctly), but I am far far too lazy at the moment to take good photos, one of the licenses I allow myself while attempting to be productive. And yes! There is extra spinning fiber in my magic yarn ball package -- big beaming thoughts from me! J'adore being sent spinning fiber or yarn as extra goodies in my swap packages ... Much love to my swap partner!

Okay, now I think I'll take my slightly unbalanced (send healing vibes, my dears) self to the post office and send my "little bit of everything" swap so that my partner can receive her goodies. Au revoir for now...
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