Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Merry Christmas!

I've saved the two gift certificates to the LYS that I received for Christmas from my parents and Bryan. I was determined not to buy anything with them until I had a plan for it and knew with detail what was going home with me.

Finally, after much thought and trips to the yarn store, I came home with two bags of yarn. Allow me to introduce... My Christmas presents!
This Regia is beautiful and I can't wait to use this more detailed self-striping yarn.
I fell in love with this colorway of Lorna's Laces Bullfrogs and Butterflies. It's called Black Purl and once I heard that the store owner wasn't purchasing any more of it I knew I had to act fast. The last two skeins in the store now have a wonderful new home.
Bryan has requested another pair of socks and I wanted the second pair to be bright, but not quite as glaring... So Silja it is! Plus, these are superwash, so if I don't catch them before they hit the washing machine we'll be okay.
One of my goals for this large purchase was to make sure that some really fun colors got into my bag. I think that this Manos de Uruguay certainly fits the bill. I'll be making My So Called Scarf with this and I know it'll turn out beautifully!
Being that I'm so in love with my current Trekking XXL socks I jumped on the chance to buy another skein of it. These with be some great socks and I'm already looking for a pattern!
And finally, the BIG purchase! I picked up the latest Creative Knitting magazine a few weeks ago and instantly fell in love with the sweater on the cover. I'll be making In Full Bloom for myself and it'll be using Cotton Fleece by Brown Sheep in the Twilight color. I love love love the color and that it can be worn for any season. I love love love that it's the exact same gauge. And I can't wait to get started on this sweater... My first big thing I'll have made for myself!

It is such a beautiful day outside. Owen is down for his nap and I fully intend on taking my knitting outside for a little bit and enjoying the warm sun.

Happy knitting, everyone! And Merry Christmas!

Friday, February 24, 2006


There has been drama and much therapy knitting in the House of Keene since my last post. Bryan finally quit his job, with my blessing though, and so one stress (being in a terrible job with no hope for improvement) was concluded and one stress began (where will he work now).

Thankfully, the very next day Bryan found a job and he starts on Monday. However, we're looking over the budget and realizing that it is time for Brianne to get back to work. The at-home Mom gig is done and it's time for me to dust off my work wardrobe and polish up the resume.

That's consumed most of our time since Tuesday. There's been a lot of driving and time spent in the car with kiddie music and toys that make noise. There's been a lot of me or Bryan sitting in the car with kiddie music and noisy toys while the other was in a building flashing our pearly whites and sending out vibes of, 'I'm perfect. You want me.'

Thankfully, Brianne has an iPod and it is loaded with music. I had just downloaded many knitting podcasts onto the iPod and so while Bryan was inside I was happy to listen to podcasts about knitting while I knit on this:
That would be the Drawstring Gift Bag from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I made one for my sister for Christmas and it is a great carrying-around kind of project. This one will be another gift for someone and I'm really pleased at how much easier it is to knit this time around than it was last time. Last time I hated every moment I spent working on it because I was having issues with the yarn. This time, soooo much better!

And while I'm giving you pictures, here's an FO just waiting to get in the mail.
That is a little sample of Miss Honey's Prayer Shawl. I bound off last night during American Idol and started blocking it during our late night showing of "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" starring Steve Martin. Hopefully it'll be dry by tomorrow morning and I can send it to the lovely lady this is intended for. In case you missed that post, Miss Honey is a sweet lady who is currently battling Uterine Cancer. She needed a Prayer Shawl and I'm the lucky person who got to have the honors. Send some positive thoughts and prayers her way. She needs them.

Project: Miss Honey's Prayer Shawl
Pattern: From the Knitting Into the Mystery book, but can also be found here.
Yarn: 4 Skeins of Cascade 220. 1 Skein each of pink, blue, green and white
Needles: Size 13 US Brittany Birch straights
Thoughts: Next time I'd make this on circs. Though I love the Brittany's it was a pain having straight needles for this project. I love the colors. I love how they all mix and blend from one to another. I'm so pleased with how this turned out and I hope it blesses her immensely.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Needle Exchange Questionnaire

This is a new exchange for me and I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes! I'm especially pleased that I have the honor of spoiling the hostess and finding fun stuff to send her way.

1. What do you like to knit or crochet?

I just finished my first pair of socks and already have another pair on the needles. I can already tell that this is going to be a new love affair for me. I'm blessed to have a lot of people in my life to knit for and I enjoy knitting things for them, but I also have a few sweater patterns earmarked for myself.

2. What fibers do you like?

I'm not a big fan of 100% acrylic, but I'm not completely against a blended yarn. I really love alpaca and merino, and I've found that cotton blends are also nice to work with.

3. What type of needles do you use most often?

My Denise Interchangeables are out quite a bit, but if I find that I'm using a needle size for many projects then I'll buy a pair of needles to supplement it. I really like the Brittany needles and I have one lonely Addi Turbo circ that would love a friend.

4. Do you like to knit in the round?

Yes!!! Enthusiastically, yes! Have I had many projects where I've been able to? No. Sad, but true.

5. Do you use the Magic Loop method or any others? Would you like to learn one?

I don't know any of the special methods. I don't mind using DPNs, but I really would like to learn the Magic Loop method.

6. Do you have a favorite place that you shop online?

jimmybeanswool.com is awesome. I also use kpixie.com .

7. Do you want to be surprised?

If you want to surprise me with something, I'd love to be surprised with some really fun colors of yarn. There's a lot of muted shades in my stash and I'm itching to spice it up a little.

Thanks in advance, Needle Exchange Pal!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Going through the stash

I finally decided that it was time. It was time to go through and do a bit of organizing. Time to really see what I had.

It didn't take long!

I don't have the huge stash that a lot of people have. My stash fits into two small clear storage boxes that we bought from Home Depot to put our dishes into when we moved. Part of my problem is that most of the skeins were just kind of dumped placed in the boxes without any kind of thought or method. I had a lot of brown bags from the LYS with yarn inside, though I had no way of identifying the yarn without digging out the bag and then I had to try to remember what I bought that yarn for.

So last week I bought some Hefty Ziploc bags in the gallon size and took a pen and pad of paper into the craft closet with me. I have a lot of 1-3 skeiners, so the gallon bags were perfect. I began taking out yarn, bagging it, writing a short description of what was inside (including total yardage) and then if it was purchased for a specific project I wrote what it was and where I could find the pattern. I then had a moment of pure genius and made one clear box for yarn with a pattern in mind and the other for yarn that was free to be whatever it wanted to be.

I feel really good about my stash now. I now have a good grip on what I have and I think the best thing is that I know how much of each bundle of yarn I have. Easy calculating, hello! I culled quite a few skeins from the stash, which I'll be putting on eBay after I post this. Stuff left over from projects, yarn that I purchased without thinking and now know that I'll NEVER use. (Have any of that sitting around?)

Now, to show off my first pair of socks! These are Bryan's Valentine Socks and the best part is that they were actually finished before he got home on Feb 14th.
Yarn: KnitPicks Dancing
Needles: Size 3 US Clover dpns
Pattern: Come To Silver's Beginning Sock Class, online

The online tutorial was incredible, complete with multiple pictures at every stage. I don't know that I'd use this yarn again. It was difficult to work with because of the spandex content... Though I still have 2 more skeins of it and I have visions of the 3 of us with matching socks.

I made Bryan's Valentine's card this year, and I received 2 in return.
The middle card is Bryan's card from me. The card on the right is from my great friend in CA, Heather. We have kids born within a month of eachother so we are on the phone with eachother a lot! And the card on the left is from my Secret Pal! It actually arrived on Valentine's Day, talk about great planning!

I leave you with a picture. We had our first big snow here. 4 inches fell on Friday night and it has stuck with us! I took this on Saturday night as we were coming home from dinner. I love living where not everything is concrete and freeways.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day!

Owen and I would like to wish all of you a wonderful Valentine's Day! I'm sending out hugs to each and every one of you along with many wishes for a fiberlicious holiday.

It looks like my man will be spending his Tuesday night with his feet shroud in love! I just started the toe decreases on the second sock and since Owen has just gone down for his nap I'm looking forward to a little time to finish it off and weave in ends.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Socks and sickness

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the planet. I'm sure all of my (three, maybe?) readers out there were wondering! We've just been busy trying to keep illness a perpetual thing. That seems to be a full time job for me! Bryan had to go to Urgent Care yesterday and thankfully they sent him home with antibiotics for the bronchitis and an inhaler to help with some of his breathing issues.

There has been knitting in the house of Keene! I've been concentrating on the socks that shall be Bryan's for Valentine's Day (but don't tell him!) and had my own little Knitting Olympics last night as I bound off the first sock and immediately cast on the second one. (Bryan said that I'm an Equal Appendage Warmer, and that he's glad he won't have to decide which foot to keep toasty and which to tuck under a leg.) I tried to find out how much sock I could knit in one night. The answer is that in about 6 hours of knitting (not counting time taken out to get dinner together and eat) I was able to knit his 3" cuff, and almost finish turning the heel. Not too bad! Today I'm on the gusset and hope to finish this puppy by tomorrow night. Yay!

Mom and I went to a sock class at our LYS on Saturday afternoon. It is Mom's first time using DPNs and she's doing great! We're both using Trekking XXL, just in different colorways. I'm so excited to see how our socks turn out!

Here you can see Owen helping me knit my Trekking sock. He's really good at making sure I'm comfortable whilst I work away at 1x1 ribbing. I love the colors of this yarn. How it changes with such subtlety and grace. I love the feel of it. I love that there's no spandex in it (like Bryan's socks). The wool feels amazing and it has been a joy to knit with!

One last thing before I go get a snack for my little guy, I have to show off this beautiful rag quilt that my step-grandma made for Owen. She used soft flannel in these bright colors and I'm just as much in love with it as Owen is. Gloria, you're amazing!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Somewhat late...

My January 2006 Goals:

1. Finish crochet hook holder Done!
2. Block and mail International Scarf Exchange 2 goodies Done!
3. Work 2 repeat patterns on Pepa's birthday scarf (Irish Hiking Scarf) every day until completed Scarf is done!
4. Work half of Hopeful.
5. Start on Cozy

Overall, January was a good knitting month! In addition to these projects, I also made fingerless mittens, another scarf that will be a Christmas gift, and started a cabled purse and a prayer shawl.

February 2006 Goals:

1. Finish Miss Honey's prayer shawl and mail.
2. Start on Cozy.
3. Finish Owen's Seed Stitch Band Sweater.
4. Finish Bryan's socks.
5. Finish cabled purse.
6. Start a new project intended for ME! Yay!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Who has a Secret Pal?

I do!

My first SP7 package arrived via UPS on Friday afternoon and I was so excited to see it! My Secret Pal lives in Seattle, Washington. (How did you like all that rain you got recently? My uncle lives in Tacoma and we heard all about it!)

Inside the box that was taped with adorable flower decorated tape I found some great gifts! Two mint Choxies (which I opened today and sampled... YUM!), "The Knitter's Gift" book which is inspirational and touching, some monogrammed notecards and a cute pen. Somehow this SP knows that I have a special place in my heart for all things related to great stationery and pens. Also there was a beautiful notecard with a Monet print on the front. Monet happens to be one of our favorite artists and hubby was pleased to see this card on our mantle.

Thank you so much, Secret Pal! Considering that the three of us got sick on Wednesday and are just now starting to feel better, this was a great way to cheer up my Friday. I kept everything on the fireplace mantle in our living room until this afternoon because I got to look at the great gifts and they cheered me up all weekend! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

The sock pictured on the far right was not included with the SP package! This is my first sock, which is now in it's second life. I frogged the first try because the ribbing was much too loose and was going to sag on even the largest of ankles. I think that part of my problem is that this yarn, Knit Pick's Dancing, has nylon in it and therefore has some stretch to it. I didn't take the stretch into account when I was casting on and working on the ribbing. Once I got into the heel and gussets I was used to working with the yarn and saw just how flawed the beginnings of that sock was.

I'm so much happier with this second try! I'm now about 4" into the foot and am looking forward to finishing sock #1 and immediately casting on for matching sock #2. (I've heard from sock gurus near and far that casting on immediately for the mate is a key to avoiding second sock syndrome.)

Owen's sweater is going splendidly! I've worked almost 11" on the back and think that I'll be doing the front halves at one time and the sleeves also at one time. I love working with the yarn, Debbie Bliss Cashmerino.

I've loaded up my iPod with some new music and can't wait to listen to the new Avalon cd while working on Miss Honey's Prayer Shawl!!!

Before I go, Laura wrote a great post about blogging that I encourage everyone to read. If I haven't said so lately, I really appreciate everyone who reads and comments on my blog. It has been such a treat to find and enter this community of knitbloggers. You all are some incredible people, and that we have knitting in common makes it all the much sweeter.