Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Project Reveal

I know all of my avid readers are anxious to see what I created for my friends and family for Christmas. The time is now!

Project #1
Dad's Tweed Scarf

Pattern:Harris Tweed by PurpleSage
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Pastaza, Charcoal
Needles: Size 10

Dad seemed to like it. Hopefully it will keep his neck warm while in MT this week (it's 3 degrees there as I type this) and at home in Kennewick while walking Willis.

Project #2
Angela's "Spirit Warmers"

Pattern: Alpaca Sox by Classic Elite Yarns
Yarn: Classic Elite Alpaca Sox, Violet
Needles: Size 3

Still not finished. =( But, perhaps a good thing, because I made her try them on. Pattern calls for them to come above the knee. As written, it was already pretty dang wide on her leg, so instead of increasing to go over the knee I'm going to decrease and make them shorter. But she seemed to like them just fine. =)

Project #3
Carmen's Pseudo-Hypoallergenic Mitts
(see past post)

Project #4
Christmas Gnome! (The Gnoel Gnome)

Project: Christmas Gnome by Irina Haller (pattern for purchase on Ravelry.com)
Yarn: Paton's Classic Wool, Red, Cream
Needles: Size 2

Wish his beard was a bit more wiry, but I'm hoping it'll unravel with time. He sits awfully well over a beer bottle. I hope to make a family of them to fit wine bottles, beer bottles, and maybe I'll even make a super fat one to fit a champagne bottle.

Project #5
Mom's Holiday Headband

Pattern: Julia's Cabled Headband by Paulina Chin
Yarn: Paton's SWS, Black
Needles: Size 7

For me mums because she doesn't like that hats mess up her hair, but complains if her ears get cold. If only I could engineer earwarmers that would automatically apply lotion to her as she walked outside because you know "the air is like a sponge" and it sucks up all the moisture in your skin!

Last, but certainly not least, is an unnumbered project made when my fingers were too tired to work on Ang's Leg Warmers.

A beer koozie for Ryan!

(doesn't it kind of look like one of the purple and gold Bud Light football cans?)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Who needs the gym?

Good news, sports fans!

Knitting burns 102 calories per hour!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

More Deliciousness

Holiday baking recap:

Three batches Cranberry Nut Bread (one for me and to test the recipe, two for gifts)

One batch Lemon Cookie Snaps

One batch Snickerdoodles

Two batches Chex Mix (only I use Crispix instead of Rice and Corn Chex, and Cheerios instead of bagel chips)

Two batches Salted Nut Roll Bars (the first was for the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party)

Two batches Peanut Butter Blossoms (the first batch would have been enough, but they were tempting in their deliciousness and more than half were eaten in three days)

Just think, all that time I spent in the kitchen I could have been knitting... But they were all so tasty it was worth it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

First Christmas success!

I had a wonderful change of plans on Friday night! My original plans were to see Hey Marseilles, my buddy's band. They're fantastic and were opening for The Maldives, a band I saw over the summer and LOVED (potentially more so due to the tallboys of PBR that it is necessary to consume at a venue). As bummed as I was to miss the show, instead I got to see my long-lost cousin Carmen!! She's been teaching in a teeny-tiny village in northeastern Alaska for what feels like ten years and our Montana schedules never seem to coincide. It was a rousing good time to catch up with her.

PLUS I got to be Santa! Evil Project #3 completed, wrapped, delivered, and, hopefully, enjoyed!

Pattern: Bella's Mittens by Marielle Henault
Yarn: Alpaca with a Twist, Ladyfern
Needles: Size 8 DPN

Only three knitting days left before all projects are due. Finished Project #5, so just #2 left to finish up on. Less than half done with one of two. Sigh. I think working on this project is giving me premature arthritis.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Knitting Suicide

What a stressful weekend for knitting. Both productive and destructive at the same time. Spent early Saturday finishing up a pair of koozies for a White Elephant party. Due to the cold snap here in Seattle, I decided they needed matching hats and scarves. First attempt at a pompom. Maybe I'll follow directions if I ever need to make a larger, more attractive one, or at least one that won't go directly into Adele's mouth.

Completed 90% of Project #4 and entered into the world of felting. Not quite sure how I feel about it. I tossed my project into the washer with hotter-than-hell water and let it agitate for the whole cycle. When I discovered that the only change was that my project was wet and soapy, I had to add an old pair of jeans to help with the agitation. Probably should have left it in for another go-around, buy hey, time is money and I'm going broke. It's blocking right now and I think it's going to be terribly cute when I'm done.

Started Project #5 while #4 was felting. Should be quick (good lord, I hope so). I'm using Paton's SWS yarn, which is 70% wool, 30% soy. I think I rather like it, but it's not spun very tightly and it's easy to split sts. Decided that it was a better idea to work on this one on my lunch break than Project #3 because I might actually make some progress on it.

Speaking of #3...

I had to be talked off a knitting ledge last night. After hours and hours spent carefully knitting Project #3 at work, I reached the end of my rope. Literally. With 4 inches left to go, I ran out of yarn.

I hemmed and I hawed about what to do. I weighed the pros and cons. I had an old fashioned debate in my mind. I plotted time requirements vs ease of completion on a mental graph. Plan A won by a very narrow margin.

Plan A: Because this is a two part project, I unraveled the cast on edge of part 1 to steal a few yards to add to the top of part 2. This, of course, meant that I needed to do the same to part 2 so they look the same. I got maybe an extra inch of new work, but it still left me high and dry.

So Plan A failed. I would not recommend following plan A in most cases. It's time consuming, doesn't provide nearly the yardage needed, and is a pain in the ass. If you think you might run out of yarn, PLEASE use a provisional cast on!! You'll thank me later. On to Plan B.

Painful, heartbreaking Plan B.

I frogged it. The whole dang thing. What a waste of lunch time hours that I could have spent playing Kingdom of Loathing. On the bright side, if you can call it that, I'm re-knitting them using a single strand of yarn instead of two, so I should have some yarn left over. Enough to make a hat? Probably not. Not even enough to try. Maybe a headband. Chances are I won't have enough time before Christmas, but I'll keep it in mind just in case.

I ended up drowning my sorrows in this confection:

Salted Nut Roll Bars

16 oz dry roasted peanuts
12 oz peanut butter chips
3 Tbsp butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 cups miniature marshmallows

Grease 13x9inch pan. Spread half of the peanuts in pan. Melt chips, butter and milk together. Cool slightly and fold in marshmallows. Pour in pan over nuts. Sprinkle remaining nuts on top; press into mixture.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Caution: Slow Moving Traffic

Have been working on Tiny Christmas Project #2. It's slow going, so I decided to detour to all my other projects that have deadlines. Wanted to cross a few short ones off the list, so on Sunday I watched a terrible movie or two and popped out two W koozies for a White Elephant party this coming Saturday.

Hypoallergenic Project #3, aka the lunchtime effort, is half done. Slightly concerned I don't have enough yarn to make the second half look the same as the first, so I'm going to modify my pattern a tiny bit. Hope it still looks the same...

Have completed a good 30% of Project 4. The pattern calls for a provisional cast on, so that was a learning experience. Normally youtube is a great source for instructional videos, but all of the ones I found were terrible. They went too fast and I simply couldn't figure out what they were doing. Luckily, I found a picture tutorial and that worked out fine. Also had to teach myself how to kf/b (knit front and back of the same stitch). Turns out it's quite simple as long as you knit rather loosely on the last row. Looking good so far. I made him "extra bulbous." What am I creating, you ask? Let's just say he's inspired by this guy:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Post Thanksgiving Slow Down

Apparently I need to stop having fun because it's significantly cutting into my knitting time. Started two Christmas projects over the weekend, but haven't gotten much done on either of them. New pattern and new yarn for project #2 is going to slow down production on that one. Easy enough pattern, but teeny tiny yarn and size 3 needles makes it seem like I'm not getting anywhere.

Decided to work on Project #3 in my office at lunchtime. This way all the cat allergens at my house won't attack the yarn, and I can focus on two projects at once. All in all I think it's a great idea and I hope to be done in two work weeks. *Fingers crossed*

While in Kennewick over Thanksgiving I had to stop in a the LYS because I got an email saying there was a sale. Not much of a sale, but the hint is all it takes to get me in the shop. Ended up coming home with the softest yarn I've ever felt. Ooh la la, what a luxurious "something" will be made out of this!

Misti Alpaca, Chunky - Color: Silver
100% Baby Alpaca.

Only bought one hank, so will have to find a simply hat pattern that doesn't require much yarn.