Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Good Day of Looking at Yarn

I just returned from the TKGA Knit & Crochet Show in Oakland. I had such a good time! I met up with my good friends (for 26 years!) Katy and Andrea. Katy's a knitter and Andrea's a crocheter; both are, sadly, blogless. In some ways I enjoyed this event better than Stitches West. It was MUCH less crowded, which is a huge plus for me. I get a little overwhelmed by the crowds. It was quite a bit smaller (fewer vendors), but that was fine too, since again, I am easily overwhelmed. Highlights for me:
  • We got goodie bags when we arrived (free yarn!), and that was quite thrilling.
  • I fell in love with this shawl, and the yarn is just beautiful, but they were out of it, so I ordered some. It is Interlacements Rick Rack in Colorado Treasures . It's a simple feather and fan pattern, but I just thought it was so stunning in this yarn. (Sorry about the sorta crappy pictures.)

  • I also fell in love with some beautiful silk laceweight yarn from RedFish Dyeworks. I did not buy any because I have so much laceweight yarn waiting to be knit, but I will definitely keep them in mind for future projects. This 100% silk yarn (20/2) is so gorgeous, and vast array of colors are just stunning. Their sample project was a Print O'the Wave Stole in a lovely variegated yarn.
  • And, of course, spending time with my high school girl friends! I was just astounded to realize how long we've been friends. We've been through so much together; it was such a treat to get together for a day of yarn.
  • And a big highlight for me was getting inspired. Seeing all the beautiful yarn and projects really made me want to finish up my current projects and get working on some others. I love that feeling of being excited about what's next!

On the drive to Oakland I listened to a couple podcasts. The She-Knits podcast is one of my new favorites. I can't even say exactly why I like it so much. Sharon has a friendly voice and a chatty, comfortable style. She talks about her knitting, her felted handbag design business (gorgeous bags!) and her family (she has 7 children!). If you like knitting podcasts, you might want to check this one out. My other favorite knitting podcast these days is Stash and Burn. I love those guys!

Have a great week all!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Back on track

I'm back in love with the mystery stole project. I've started the second half, and it's moving right along. I think the thing is that I have a fair amount of emotion wrapped up in this stole, and I just wasn't ready to let it go. I worked on the first half of this stole through some pretty extreme highs and lows this summer. Now I'm determined to finish it. And it really is a fun lace to work on. Here's my progress so far on the second half.
Now I'm also really feeling inspired to start some other knitting projects, after I finish this one. Here's my latest must-knit list.

There are plenty of others too, but getting back into this stole has really reinspired me to knit more lace.

I did decide to plant a little winter vegetable garden after all. And I do mean little. It's just 2 big pots, in which I planted beets, onions and chard. But it's right outside my back door, next to a concrete walkway so I don't have to worry about traipsing through the mud to tend the garden. Also I planted a rhubarb out in the yard. I'm hoping that will be very low maintainence because I have no intentionof maintaining it until next spring at least. I have such fond memories of eating rhubarb crisp as a kid - it was my dad's favorite. I have always wanted to grow my own. Here is the "garden" so far:

Not too impressive, is it? We'll check back in a couple months and see how it's looking.

I have to say that I am so happy it's fall. I LOVE this time of year. Love it. I am ready for the rain to start up again, but right now the weather is perfect, sunny and warm but not too warm, just perfect!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

What next?

So I'm ready to begin a new project, or I could pick up the ol' mystery stole (aka, Swan Lake Stole). But I'm feeling a wee bit stuck. I'm frustrated with the stole, though I am about 2/3 of the way through with it. But I have to rip back to about the halfway point and then knit the second half. I have given up on the wing design. I am just not feeling the love. But truth be told I think I might want to rip the whole thing back because I don't think I'm even loving this thing without the wing. Oh how I hate to frog. Hate it! What should I do?! Maybe I'll just let it rest for a while longer til I'm feeling motivated by it again. I don't really like to allow my projects to hibernate for any length of time. Don't like having unfinished projects (unless I am actively working on them of course). Anyway, I'm just not sure what to do with this one. To make matters worse I can't remember which size needles I was using. Pretty sure it was 5's, but I'm just not positive.
My husband's aunt asked me to make her a Wool Peddler's Shawl (from Folk Shawls). I've made this shawl twice before, once for my mom, and once for my mother in law. So Pete's aunt (my MIL's sister) would like the exact same shawl, same yarn & everything as the one I made for my MIL. I offered up some other colors, and other patterns, but she wants one identical to her sister. Pretty funny. So I ordered the yarn - Knitpicks Andean Treasure (which is a dream to knit with by the way) and will start on that when it arrives. It's a super easy pattern; it was my first shawl and my first lace, but much of it is garter stitch, so that gets a little tiresome. Still, I love knitting with that yarn so much, I think I will enjoy working on it. Here's my mother-in-law with her shawl.

Today begins my weekend, so hurray for that! I am suddenly in the mood for some vegetable gardening, just about 5 months too late. Doh! I am thinking about trying to grow some winter veggies this year, but it'll have to be in containers because I'm definitely not motivated to traipse through the muddy yard once the rains start. So I may see if I can find some suitable veggie boxes or pots this weekend. Fun.

Oh, and one more thing... I just discovered this knitting/crochet show that's happening next weekend in Oakland. Doesn't that look like a fun way to spend a day & a little cash?!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Baby Baseball Tee

I finished another baby knit. Those tiny items sure are fast and satisfying.

Pattern: Babe Baseball Tee from Knit 2 Together
Yarn: TLC Cotton Plus, 1 ball each, yellow and light blue
Needles: Knitpicks Options US size 6 & 4

Comments: This was a quick, easy knit. It had more seaming than I thought necessary, but I really like the end result. The yarn and needles I used were both a bit bigger than those recommended so the whole thing is a wee bit bigger, but that's fine; baby's grow fast.

I'm having a great time with Ravelry, but I have only entered a few projects, yarns, books, etc. so far. I'm going to have to spend some serious time with it one day soon to get my projects up to date. I can see that it's going to be a valuable resource for me though. I love being able to see other people's projects and read about their experiences knitting them. What a brilliant website it is!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I'm in!

I got my Ravelry invite! Wooohoo! They must have made some huge progress, because just a couple days ago there were 15,000 people in line ahead of me. I'm psyched. My Ravelry username is Smeelia. (Cecilia was taken.) I've done nothing with it yet though and probably won't until next week. I'm excited to be in though.

Friday, September 14, 2007

New Look

I decided to give my blog a bit of a makeover. I realized that I find other people's blogs easiest to look at when they have a plain white background, and san serif fonts. So why on earth would I not use that look for my own blog?!

I found myself in a decluttering mood this morning, and I started going through boxes in the garage. There is lots of stuff out there that we just never found a place for when we moved. So I did a lot of tossing of things that had no sentimental value, and no apparent place in our home, recycling and consolidating other stuff. I was able to get rid of two large boxes, with one more almost ready to be tossed. That's satisfying work!

Tomorrow we're heading out to attend a family wedding. So of course now is when I should be checking to see that I have something suitable to wear. But I like to live dangerously, so I think I'm just going to wing it. Hope I don't regret that decision.

Have a great weekend all!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


My back has been really bothering me lately, just aching all the time. I decided it might be because I've become such a sloth recently*, for a variety of reasons (aka, excuses). I have terrible posture, and I mostly just slouch at my desk all day, and then go home and slouch on the sofa. Slothy Celia. So I thought, maybe I need to be a little more active, and maybe I should even try to find some exercises that will specifically strengthen my back and abdominals. So last night I popped in my "Firm and Burn Pilates" DVD. It's really more aerobics than pilates, but it uses some pilates principles and moves (or so it says) so it does tend to focus on "the core" (mid-section, abs, back, etc.). I like this workout - not too bouncy or jumpy, but definitely challenging, especially to sloths like me. So today my back might be feeling the teensiest bit better, but the rest of me is aching from using some long out of practice muscles. My thighs and butt are especially sore. I guess it's a good kind of sore, but that's a little hard to distinguish from a regular ol' back ache. I almost called my chiropractor today, but I think I'll tough it out for another day or two, and keep exercising my core, and maybe the rest of me too. I really ought to try some yoga. That would probably be just the thing. And, for other reasons, I will be starting acupuncture next week. How exciting for me, no?

Check out this picture of a big ol' bee hive/nest spotted while hiking last weekend.
Ain't that somethin'? It was just hanging there about 7 or 8 feet from the trail. Zillions of big black bees flying in and out. And it's huge! Probably at least 2 feet wide. Doesn't it have a beautiful finish on it.

*To clarify, I'm not always a sloth. Normally I get quite a bit of exercise, usually in the form of walking, but this has been a particularly slothy summer for me. And ask me if I care if "slothy" isn't a "real" word!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Next Up

I struggled for a bit about what project to start next. I enjoyed working on that Pea Pod Baby Set; it was the perfect balance of interesting lace and a quick, fairly easy knit. So I leafed through some books and found this sporty baby ensemble in my new Knit 2 Together book:

I started on this immediately, and it's moving right along. As I said before, I do love the baby knits. They're so quick and safisfying. I don't even have any babies to knit for at the moment, but I'm sure some will come along soon, and I will be good and ready. Because this sweater is pretty much all stockinette, I'm using it as an opportunity to practice purling continental. I am very comfortable with the continental knit stitch, but I still really struggle with the purl. I'm getting better at it, but still have issues with keeping a consistent guage. Soon I will have it mastered though.

We bought ourselves a Prius on Saturday. They're not the sleekest looking vehicles, but it is fun to drive and it has some really nice features, not the least of which is the amazing gas mileage. Here's our fancy charcoal gray model.

Today we decided we needed to take that baby out on the road, so we went for a drive through Napa County. The city of Napa seemed pretty darn quiet at noon on a Sunday so we just did a drive through. We stopped for lunch in Yountville, and then on to St. Helena for some walking around. Turns out they have a very nice yarn store in St. Helena, with a very helpful and friendly owner, and a beautiful selection of yarn. And, lucky for me, they were having a huge sale. Lots of their yarn was 40% off. Woohoo. Score! So I picked up a few items...

Some Jo Sharp Alpaca Silk Georgette to make this "Lacy Hug Me Tight" from Knit 2 Together. The pattern calls for Blue Sky Alpaca Silk, which, as it turns out was also 40% off. I'm kicking myself now for not getting some. But I think this yarn will also be lovely.

A ball of pink Rowan Calmer to make a Shedir hat. I never see the Calmer on sale. So I'm very pleased to have scored a ball for 40% off.

And 5 balls of Elsebeth Lavold Cotton Patine, which is a lovely, soft light worsted/dk weight cotton . I don't know what I'll make with this, but I was thinking some sort of summery tank or tee. I'm open to suggestions.
Oh how I wish my turn would come up at Ravelry. I'm thinking that will help me answer my what should I do with this yarn questions in the future. But for now there are still 16,048 people in line ahead of me, so I will be patient and try to figure it out on my own.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Prius and the Pea Pod

The Pea Pod Baby set is done! Well, all except the buttons that is. Oh my goodness what a cute little sweater/hat set this is. I love it!

Pattern: Pea Pod Baby Set, free from Interweave Knits
Yarn: Lion Brand Microspun, color: Leaf
Needles: Knitpicks Options, size 5

I don't know how well this yarn will wash and wear, but it sure knit up beautifully and it is sooooo soft. I'm very pleased with it. The pattern was interesting and knit up pretty quick, as baby knits usually do. I'm quite pleased with it.

Now I must admit that I'm at a bit of a loss about what to start next. I was thinking about starting a pair of Hedera socks, in a sort of denim blue color. Or some Monkeys out of Collinette Jitterbug in a bright blue variegated yarn. I think I'll wind that this evening and see how I feel about it. I am also thinking about returning to the Mystery Stole, aka Swan Lake Stole.

So we're preparing to buy a new car. Probably a Prius. We've tried out the Civic Hybrid and the Prius. Nothing else even comes close in terms of fuel efficiency. So probably this weekend we'll become the proud owners of a brand new car.