Wednesday, January 09, 2013

My 2012

In looking ahead to the new year, I've also been looking back a little. I was thinking about all the things I did for the first time (or first time in a very long time) in 2012. Let's be honest, most of them are pretty insignificant, but that's okay.

Firsts in 2012:
  • Ran a mile (for the first time in over 10 years!) 
  • Drove most of the way across the country (towing a trailer)
  • Ate an oyster (raw!)
  • Had a helicopter flying lesson
That last one was on New Year's Eve and I am still pretty excited about it. As part of family Christmas, my sister-in-law offered all the family members a very brief flying lesson in a Robinson R22 - a very small helicopter. I was a little nervous but I know that she is very experienced and very safe. We had ground school and then I (in my geekiness) read more about the history of helicopter development and the controls. 

Helicopter flight
Taking off - hovering is the hardest part
Helicopter flight
Off we go!
Helicopter flight
Coming in for a landing
I got to control the cyclic and the collective - two of the four controls on the helicopter - and fly about half of the mini-lesson without too much correction from my sister-in-law! Because this helicopter is so lightweight (800lbs without fuel or people), every little gust of wind moves it around. The controls are also very sensitive and require a light touch and constant small corrections. I definitely had to concentrate hard to keep all the dials where they were supposed to be. 

I may have jumped up and down when I was done. It was that cool. (I may also have been advised to try some flying lessons!)

I am leery of posting 'resolutions' for 2013. I think people go a little overboard. I think like most people, I am focusing a little bit about my health - but that's not interesting to write about so enough there. I'd also like to remind myself to say yes to more things. Saying yes is how you get to do cool stuff like fly a helicopter, take a road trip, and eat oysters!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Liquorice Allsorts Socks

Liquorice allsorts socks
New socks yay!
These have been my 'boring purse knitting' for a while and they are finally done!

I had to re-knit the first sock, which was a major bummer, but serves me right for knitting all the way to the tip of the toe before trying it on.

The yarn is Regia in one of the Kaffe Fassett designed stripe patterns. These are just basic 3x1 rib socks, 72 sts around, on US#1s. The colors reminded me of liquorice allsorts (not that allsorts have THAT much blue in them, but you get the idea) hence the name.

Liquorice allsorts socks
I love the mismatched stripes
Now to find my next easy socks to carry around!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

New Free Pattern: the Denver Cowl

We've all been there. Maybe it’s wool fumes, maybe it’s a color (or three) that calls your name, but suddenly you end up with a big skein of variegated yarn and you have no idea what to do with it.

Here’s something to try - a big cozy cowl that you can wear wrapped once or twice. The stitch pattern grabs on to short stretches of color and turns them into little starbursts all over the fabric.

Denver Cowl
Laughing photos are the best photos
The Denver Cowl is a new FREE pattern, born of a collaboration between Miss Babs and myself. It's designed to make the most of the always-changing, no-two-alike, fun and funky "Babettes" that Babs dyes. There's a secret to the process that I can't reveal, but it means that there are always super-saturated flashes of fantastic colors all over the skein.
Denver Cowl
Denver Cowl, worn as a scarf
The yarn is the fabulous Miss Babs Yowza. If you've never worked with this stuff, you're missing out. It's 8 oz. of superwash merino - a huge skein clocking in at 560 yards. It's soft and snuggly (see below). And Babs dyes it up in these fantastic colors. FYI - don't expect to see this EXACT color again. It's just an example. If you love it and can't live without it, I'm really sorry! See if there's something else you love.

Denver Cowl
Yay snuggly!
So you need one. Can you pick just one? Go here and look. I'll wait. After you've grabbed your yarn, go and grab your free copy of the Denver Cowl pattern on Ravelry and you'll be all set!

The pattern is simple - knit in the round on a big circular needle in Daisy Stitch. It does use pretty much all of a skein of Yowza, so you can just go until it seems like you're going to run out, do the border, and quit. And contrary to my usual MO, I'm not even going to hassle you about blocking it. What a deal.

Denver Cowl
I just love having my photo taken a zillion billion times
Here's the full stats for the curious...

Finished measurements: 10” wide and 54” around after blocking.
Yarn: Miss Babs Yowza, (560 yards per 8 oz; 100% Superwash Merino wool, shown in First Choice), 1 skein.
Needles:  Size 8 US (5mm) 32” circular.
Notions: Stitch marker, tapestry needle.
Gauge: 20 sts and 28 rows = 4” in Daisy Stitch (gauge is not critical to this project)
Denver Cowl
Ah, that's better
And now it's back to work on all the other things that I have going on... secret knitting, the ever-fun paperwork... or maybe just snuggling up in a cozy cowl some more. Yes, please!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Something's Cooking

...and it's not turkey.

What could it be?
Stay tuned!

Friday, November 16, 2012

New Goodies

Last weekend I headed to the marketplace at Interweave Knitting Lab in San Mateo and came away with some new goodies.

I got a box project bag and a wee tiny little triangle bag...
Project bags
And I couldn't resist a little yarn from Alpenglow and Knitted Wit.
New yarn!

I am busy whipping up a couple new things, which I hope to be able to share with you soon! And then of course there's the standard super-sekrit sample knitting and super-sekrit Christmas knitting going on, but I suppose all will be revealed in due time.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pointelle Socks

I'm back to the Sock Knitters Anonymous challenges this year. So far... so good - although it's only been one month (the annual challenges start in September). One of September's challenges was "All knit with the same color - red" and I just happened to have some red Knit Picks Stroll laying around. It's not what I would ordinarily choose for socks - it seems too flimsy - but it worked up OK. We'll see how they wear.

The pattern is Pointelle by Cookie A. It looks complex but the pattern is just lace patterning on every other round - there's a lot of plain knitting in these. In between all my other knitting, these went very quickly!

Pointelle socks
Next month's challenge includes a 'holiday stocking' option - which is great, because I still haven't finished my Christmas stocking from last year. I've ripped it all the way out because I got the color dominance wrong, so it's fresh for a new challenge.

Starting over
Are you doing any knitalongs? Have you started your holiday knitting yet?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sample roundup

Miss Babs has been keeping me busy (as usual!) working on some samples.

Erica Shawl
This is the Erica Shawl, knit up in Miss Babs Tierno (the alpaca-silk blend also known as the 'kitten yarn') in Coventry - my favorite green. It's an easy bottom-up pattern that involves a giant cast-on, the lace pattern, and then short rows in stockinette stitch to complete the body.

To ensure the greatest possible flexibility on the bottom, I went looking for a new cast-on. I discovered that Jeny - she of super-stretchy bind-off fame - had found a very stretchy cast-on. However, I found her method a bit awkward and used the method described in this video instead. It's definitely worth a try if you have a large number of stitches to cast on (no long tail) and need great elasticity. It requires a little more attention than the standard long-tail cast on, but is well worth the effort.

Stitches Midwest 2012
Boyfriend Cardigan
I knit up a quick Boyfriend cardigan for Stitches Midwest in Miss Babs Yowza in Ruby Spinel. Yum, red - and I found the perfect little shiny shell buttons to go with it. It's a very simple pattern with an interesting rib detail.

And this month I've been scrambling to knit up Deco in Northumbria DK in Moss. I love the slip-stitch pattern. Deco might also be the sweater that converts me to top-down set-in in-the-round sleeves. I'll do another post on the details of the technique that Kate Davies used... but long story short, it wasn't frustrating (unlike every other time I've tried it). This sweater is winging its way to Rhinebeck and SAFF... Yes, I made a Rhinebeck sweater but I didn't get to go! One year...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Color Affection

It's finished - FINALLY! I am now one of the over 3,800 people who've finished one of these (at least according to Ravelry).

Color Affection
Color Affection
I had no idea how long the last rows were until I bound off, washed it, and threw it on the floor to block.
Color Affection
My highly technical blocking method: throw it on a sheet on the floor

A very sweet little girl learning to knit at one of the knitting groups I go to asked, "do you even KNOW how many stitches are on your needle right now?" No, honey, I have no idea... and I don't even want to know. (She was practicing garter stitch on 12 stitches and very dutifully counting after every row.)

But now it's over and it's snuggly and has twirly little ends and it used up a bunch of yarn and I'm happy. As you can see, I added another section with just the second 2 colors before knitting the final border.
Color Affection
It's huuuuge!
The brown is Fiber Optic Yarns Foot Notes; the grey is Louet Gems; and the pink is Ella Rae Lace Merino. I have just a little bit of the pink left, but there's enough brown to add to a colorwork or argyle project. Hooray for using up stash.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

More Conic

I have finished knitting the back of my Conic sweater.

Conic back
I love the way the silk in this yarn catches the light. 

Right now Conic has to be on hold for a little while as I catch up on some sample knitting. But soon I'm looking forward to getting started on the sleeves and enjoying some easy knitting in the round. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Over the weekend was the Art and Wine Festival. This means street closures, insane traffic, noise, and the questionable aroma of grilling sausage filling my house for 8 hours a day. Of course it also means booths full of all kinds of stuff. Usually I end up buying a piece of jewelry, but the piece I fell in love with turned out to be way, way out of my price range.

So I brought home this little guy instead.
Juniper bonsai
He is a little juniper tree. (I picked juniper because I think they can take lots of abuse, and hopefully that will give him a better chance.) I think he looks very nice next to his rock. 

Anybody out there ever tried to grow a bonsai tree? Any tips?