Thursday, March 20, 2008

Vacation Knitting Project-Cashmere Arrived Just in Time

Yesterday, I was busy setting up a few knitting probabilities for my vacation. I am going to finish up my Boyfriend socks. But I also was going to bring along my Fair Isles hat that I've only done 2 rows of on borrowed needles.(Both projects are at the Ravelry site) Plus, I was going to bring along the needles and directions for the Diva hats and maybe get started on one for either my other niece or sister-inlaw.

But then, my new yarn arrived that I bought from a fellow Ravelry member. Plymouth Royal Cashmere. Yummy!

A few weeks ago, I realized that I needed to get a special gift for my son's teacher. She's been the teacher for both my son's for a total of 4 years so I really was trying to think of something special. Well, she's a quilter and, therefore, very appreciative of homemade gifts. I made her a scarf (Lions brand Homespun 1 hour scarf) that she wears everyday at school recess. In fact, she asked for a hat to go with it, which I gladly knit up that evening for her. Another time, she was cold and I handed her my cashmere scarf and she loved it. So, I realized quickly that this was the perfect gift for this year.

I decided to take a look at the Ravelry site and, there it was, a beautiful green, that would look gorgeous on Kass. I bought the yarn from Somebunnyslove . Paid her through Paypal and she actually sent it to me that very day. Awesome seller, as they'd say on Ebay. I wasn't sure if it would get to me in time to take on the Hawaii trip, but it did. And, now I'll be knitting with Cashmere in Paradise. I've knit this scarf (several times with Alpaca, once with Cashmere) a few times so I have the pattern pretty much in my head so it will be a relaxing project. Got the Ipod loaded up with podcasts and the kids have there cousins to play with all day.

I will be computerless during this trip so I probably won't be posting until I get back, the first part of April. But if I do find one, I'll send out a quick post and maybe even some pictures. I can't download pictures tonight because we're trying to download a movie for the Ipod.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Gifted "Diva Hat" and Fingerless Gloves A Hit! Plus Picture of My Puppy Nephew-I See Sweaters In His Future

Just heard from my sister-inlaw, that the Diva Hat (Newsboy Cap from Stitch and Bitch) was a hit! It was a birthday present for my 8 year old niece and I was a little nervous. Turns out, not only did she love it, but so did her little sister, their friend and my sister-inlaw. If they like this color, I have enough Malabrigo Worsted Weight Merino to knit 2 more sets, if not, I may either have them pick out yarn while we're in Kauai or pick up some at the Ravelry site. I've noticed quite a few people willing to trade or sell theirs and there are some real cute colors available. I think the Malabrigo is so soft! Obviously, if you've seen the sweater, other hats, and mittens I've knit with it. My niece is taking it to Hawaii so I can see her in the ensemble and I'm going to take a few pictures for my blog and Ravelry. It's so nice when a gifted knit works out so well.

Other exciting news is that they just got a new puppy. He's so adorable he almost doesn't seem real. I can't wait to meet him this summer, when we fly down. He's a Malti-Poo, which is a Maltese-Poodle cross. I can't wait to knit him a few things when he's done growing, even though sweater season for dogs in California is pretty short. My two Australian Cattledogs really have no need for sweaters, even though they're in Alaska.

Speaking of living in Alaska, I almost forgot. The librarian at our school took my 2nd grader's class out to cross country ski this afternoon. The kids had a blast, especially when they got to ski down the sledding hill. Boy, was my son tired tonight. He went right to bed, despite all the excitement about our trip this Friday.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Overconfident Knitting Get's Me Every Time

I've been working on the Boyfriend Socks today, while listening to a podcast (The Meandering Mouse) and ended up getting a little to confident with the cable pattern and had a major mistake in the pattern. I don't know why I do this so often. Urgh! The pattern is made up of 2 6 row cable patterns, each of with is repeated a total of 3 times and then switched. Well, I was 6 rows into the 2nd pattern before I realized I hadn't made the changes to the pattern required. I had to decide if I should: a. frog it back six rows, or b. switch the stitches that should of been purls and the ones that should be knit in the 18 stitches,in 6 rows, I messed up. I decided to do b. I don't think b. ended up being any quicker to use as a fix, though.

Here's a few pictures from around 50 ft up at our house. My husband noticed that our street light was acting up the other night and since he works at the local utility and one of his jobs is to change out street lights, he changed ours. Had him bring a camera with him and take a few pictures. The first is obvious, the 2nd is of our backyard. Notice the lack of sun in our yard between all the trees, we have too many trees and will be cutting a few down this summer. The 3rd reconfirms what I suspected, there is a view of the Chugach mountains from my house, it just requires me to jack the house up another 20-30 feet or knock down all the neighbors homes and trees to the east of us. I'll be sure to put that on Bud's Honey-do list.

Spring break is over for kids in Alaska and it is starting to really feel like Spring is right around the corner. We are gaining light very noticeably and are having a hard time getting into evening mode. The time change last week didn't make it any easier with time "Springing Forward" an hour. We've been staying up way to late all week. Hoping it will be an easier night tonight, as school/work starts up again tomorrow. Sunrise today was at 8:11am (not too bad), sunset was at 8:05pm. We gained 5 minutes and 44 seconds of daylight.

I don't have pictures but Bud took both his motorcycles for a ride up and down our street this weekend. I'm sure the neighbors must of been giggling. There is still icy patches on all the roads, so Bud really only went up and down the center of our street, carefully turning around without hitting any ice. He's just dying to hit the roads. No, I don't ride with him. Too hard to knit and ride.

So, I've become seriously addicted to Knitting Podcasts and one that has to do with Disneyland. I'm currently downloading several of these Podcasts from their begining episodes from Itunes, and plan on listening to them while I'm in Kauai later this week. It will be the first time the boys and I have gone to Hawaii and we're really looking forward to it. Bud's staying home with the dogs and we're planning another trip including him within the next 7-8 months. The boys and I are meeting up with my brother and his family and we're all sharing a house together. For some reason, having 5 kids all in the same house for 10 days, didn't sound like a vacation to Bud and he decided to pass.

So the Knitting Podcasts I'm currently listening to are Sticks and String with David Reidy in Australia, (you can usually hear his kitty playing with a toy in the background, how cute is that), LimenViolet, Stash and Burn (from San Francisco), Belle of the Ball, Diva Knitting (another Diva, how could I resist), Knitting Rose, and Knit Obsessions with zknits . I, honestly, haven't had a chance to listen to a few of these, but I'm sure I will find time in Kauai to do so.

Stash and Burn, is from two ladies, Jen and Nicole, who are trying to use up most of their stashes. I really enjoy this one almost as much as David's Sticks and String. These two ladies have made me feel so much better about my yarn stash and have actually given me a few ideas for mine. Ravelry also helps with ideas for your stashed yarn and I've seen some great ideas with all the yarns I've put in my stash on Ravelry. I heart Ravelry!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sweater Saga-Part 2 with Happy Ending or Hooray for Blocking!

The sun decided to come out today and it's a bright beautiful March day. The snow from yesterday is rapidly melting away and I have some good news. My sweater now fits! I didn't lose weight (that would be more good news) or get shorter. What I did was block my sweater. The first picture is pre-blocking.

The second is post-blocking in the same pair of pants , plus my Ipod playing the podcast "Stash and Burn", which I'm enjoying immensely. They live in San Francisco and shared they're favorite LYS on their first podcast and I now have another reason to go to "the city" when I head south to visit the family.

I've been reading some of Yarn Harlot's book "The Secret Life of a Knitter", and one of the first stories in her book is about a sweater saga. As I read along and got to the part about her blocking the sweater and the sweater growing huge, I realized, that though it was a disaster for Stephanie and her friend, it could help me fix my sweater. She mentions many times about how important blocking is. The thought of dunking my project in water made me nervous but the yarn I've used is a high quality 100% Merino, so I needed to get over my fears and just do it. I am so glad I did! Thank you Yarn Harlot for giving me the courage to block.

The pattern I used is from Berroco and is called Camille.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What the???

Woke to a surprise this am. No biking today. This usually happens a few times during March. I hope this will help the snow conditions for the Jr Olympics going on at Kincaid Park this week. However, once the sun decides to make an appearance, it'll melt away.

Oh, and congratulations to Lance Mackey for doing what was thought impossible, two years in a row, winning both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod in the same year (couple weeks apart). The All-Alaska Sweepstakes should be very exciting as it's a winner take all $100,000 purse. No that's not a typo. I'm sure some of the other top finishers in the Iditarod are thinking of this upcoming race even before they get to the finish line for the race they're still in.

Monday, March 10, 2008

1st Sign of Spring!

Majestic Valley Lodge-An Almost Perfect Weekend

We just got back from spending the night at Majestic Valley Lodge, about 105 miles North-East of Anchorage, just off the Glenn Highway. We were invited by some friends to do some skate skiing out them out there. The trails around Anchorage are pretty rough and icy so we were excited to hear they're was good trails there. So we headed out yesterday morning from Anchorage wondering if the skiing could really be as nice as we'd heard. When we left town, it was a typical gray morning, but as we got closer to our destination, the clouds disappeared. It was a bright beautiful, warm (28 degrees) day. As soon as we pulled up, our boys grabbed ski's and headed out on the trails with some friends. Bud and I unloaded our things and I took Bud out for the first time every on skate ski's. Turns out the trails weren't really right for first timers and Bud ended up heading back to the lodge and grabbed his snow shoes and had a fun adventure in the mountains. As for the kids and I, the trails around the lodge were real nice. Later in the day, the snow was actually pretty much perfect for skating.

We ended up staying in Glacier Hall with several other families, that knew each other. Our room had a dbl, a twin and a cot plus a bathroom with a shower. The main area had a community room with comfortable couches, a table to eat at, a microwave and a very small fridge. Oh, and a beautiful view of the valley. We all hung out in the community room when we weren't skiing or sledding. Most of us had ice-chest to use in addition to the tiny fridge. You can eat at the lodge, which I hear has excellent food, but most of us opted to bring along crockpots, electic skillets, rice cookers or microwave-able foods to eat. Worked out pretty well.

I thought this "ice curl" off the roof was pretty cool. Reminded me of a curling ocean wave. Maybe it looked better in person then with my camera.

Oh, I also was able to relax and knit for quite a while and I started working on my second sock. Haven't done the binding yet on the first sock, because it would require quiet concentration and I was having funning too much fun chatting to focus.

The views on the ride home today were also pretty spectacular. Took some pictures out from the moving car and a few sort of came out.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

A Few Stories from this Week-Knitting & Non-Knitting

I haven't posted in a while so here's a few stories from this week, knitting and non-knitting related.

Here's the sock update. One of the advantages to knitting a toe-up sock is, if your using one skein per sock, you can knit until your about to run out of a skein and not have "left-overs". However, I'm knitting my toe-up socks with a single 400yd, 4 oz skein of yarn. I decided to weigh my yarn as I knit to determine when to stop on my first sock and just happed to have a postal scale at home that we use for the boys Pinewood derby cars.

So, I'm knitting away on the top part of my sock, weighing the skein along the way, when I realize, I hadn't zero'd in the scale. A very amateur mistake. I should of known better, as I'd been a science major in college and was constantly using scales in my chemistry classes. Duh! Turns out the scale was almost a half ounce off. I really like the length of my first sock and can only hope that the second sock will be able to be the same length.

All that I have left on the first sock, is to bind off using a binding technique that is new to me. Wish me luck!

The boys had their Pinewood Derby Thursday night and ended up racing each other in the semi-finals. Vince ended up winning, after 2 ties and a restart after Ian's car had jumped off the track. Vince's ended making it to the finals, but lost to a very fast car built by a Tigercub (first grade cubscout). Vince and Ian,both, will be able to move on to the city wide Scout-o-rama in April. Ian's car was inspired by both Ferrari's and Nascar(yeehaw). Vince's car was inspired by the movie World's Fastest Indian, which is a family favorite here.

Another tidbit of exciting news is that Bud (DH) is going to be on an episode of Most Dangerous Jobs (I think this is the show's title) on the Discovery Channel. Bud and several other Power-lineman were filmed climbing the 120 ft. towers down on the Seward Highway, just before you get to Girdwood. He had help put 20 ft. extentions on them 9 years ago when the road was moved and the towers were too low, so he was pretty comfortable climbing them again. He said the film crew would have them climb a little ways and have them stop, then ask them to climb some more. Bud decided to walk across the top about half way, for the cameras. Hamming it up line-man style. I'd prefer if he'd just wave, but not as exciting. We'll know in a few weeks about when this will be aired on tv.

Our front yard snow cave has collapsed. The boys and I thought it was because of the warmer weather, but turns out that the city snowplows, plowed some more (not sure why) and pushed the snow up farther in our yard causing the collapses. Bummer!

Last bit of news. I received all 4 skeins of yarn, quickly, from the seller on Ebay. Looking forward to using them in the very near future. Should all make some interesting socks. I'll be adding them to my Ravelry stash soon. The first yarn pictured has 10% cashmere and the last has silk. Both are very soft yarns. The middle two are merino blends and almost as soft.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

So Many Choices on a Sunny Saturday

This Saturday was one of those "this is why I live in Alaska" days. The sun was out, the sky was pretty clear (Jackie Purcell would call it "mostly sunny"). We had so many choices on what to do. The Ski for Kids, Iditarod Ceremonial Start, Alyeska to go skiing, or head up to the Glen Alps to check-out the snow caves our cubscout pack built and do some sledding. The kids decided they didn't want to do the Ski for Kids despite how much fun they've had the past few years. I'm the Iditarod geek at the house and usually run out to my favorite spot to watch, either dragging the kids with me or going solo.

Alyeska sounded good to me, because my plan was to knit at the lodge while they all skied. I'm semi-retired from skiing due to the fact I had shoulder surgery a few years ago and now sport 5 titianium screws in my left arm. When your Doctor tells you, "Yes, you can do all the things you were doing before, just don't have a bad crash", it kind of turns you into a major chicken. If your wondering, yes, I could knit very soon after surgery. Knit a vest for my youngest while I was recovering. He's outgrown it, but I'm keeping it as a reminder. Okay, that probably isn't what you were wondering, I had a tumor in the head of my humorous, probably there since I was very young, and it wasn't until a few years ago that it was big enough to start causing me problems. Weird, I figured it was from either lugging babies around in heavy carseats or from my many various mtn bike or skiing crashes. Nope!

So,finally, after watching some of the Iditarod on the ol'tellie, we headed up to the Glen Alps and played in the Winter Wonderland. Bud and Ian did some snowshoeing and then all my boys decided to sled a bit. We also got to watch young men skiing off some ramps they'd built in the side of one of the hills. Pretty cool stuff.

My dogs, Betty and Arlo, had a great time too. It was real cute watch Arlo follow Bud along while he snowshoed. They used to go out quite a bit together last year, but this year Bud hasn't done too much snowshoeing. Arlo fell right into place. As for Betty, she just loves the deep snow and was running all over, jumping in head first and tunneling threw, always making sure I was in sight. What a fun day it turned out to be, and my cheeks may even of gotten a little sun.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Spent My First Check Already on More Yarn

Well, I couldn't resist buying some new yarn when I got home from work Friday. I've only been working 2 1/2 days and I've already bought myself some yarn as a reward. I've promised myself, I won't buy any more for a while. (Don't tell, but I had my fingers crossed behind my back.) I ended up buying 4 skeins of various sock ,this , this, and this,off ebay. (Hope you can view them with these links). I think I may have got a few deals and a few not good deals. Oh well. They will be a fun addition to my yarn stash.