Keeping On

Official Gypsy-doodle diagnosis: Stage 3 Lymphoma. Multiple peripheral nodes effected.

Treatment: 20 mg of prednisone twice daily.

Prognosis: Six months.

:::sigh:::

In happier news, I finished a pair of happy socks.

“Bright Sunshiney Socks”

They’re my Fiber Optic BFL handspun, with Spud & Chloe Fine for the cuffs, toes and heels, using my Plain Jane recipe.

Big ‘ole Simon photobomb in this one…he’s so high maintenance…

It took me a whole year to knit these socks. Seriously! A whole year for a pair of stockinette socks! In my defense, it’s been a hell of a year…

By contrast, it only took me two months to knit a fair isle baby blanket in the round in fingering weight on US 2 needles…

Inside out, setting the bright sunshiney steeks, getting ready for the big cut!

…and now it just needs to be steeked! I’m itching to cut this thing apart…just a little more crocheting to go…

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Dude, Where’s My Blog?

Oh, hey!

Remember me?

I realize it’s a little cobwebby around here…my bad. I haven’t been around here in a while, but I have good reasons, I swear!

For one, February was smack-dab in the middle of Annual Busy Time. And then all sorts of craziness started, and Annual Busy Time turned into Hey Here’s A Crazy New Job Opportunity Get Your Resume Together time.

Which, itself, turned into Hey You Just Got A New Job time.

And that transitioned into OMG WTF Did I Do This Job Is Insane time.

And, in turn, that’s merged into Watch Out, I’m Seriously A Big Deal time.

It’s been a busy few months.

My social life dropped off significantly as I started working 9…10…11…12 hour days and have to be on-call 24/7.

I have had zero time to cook. Or bake. Or go grocery shopping.

And the knitting pretty much stopped, too. Very sad, I know. But, as I’ve started to find a balance, I’ve been able to find time to play with my sticks and string again, which has been wonderful. And this week, I’ve started a new schedule where I work from home in the mornings — something I wasn’t thrilled about in the beginning but which is actually a lot nicer than I anticipated.

So, there’s the story.

And now here’s what you really came here for.

Plain Jane Handspun Socks, with a picot hem and contrasting toes and heels...a pattern from the recesses of my brain

Yup. There it is.

The Setesdal Love Hat from Knitscene, in Valley Yarns Huntington and some handspun, donated to Tracy's collection for Children with Hairloss

You know you missed this.

The Scraptastic Redux, or The Second Scrappy Scarf

Oh, baby…

Haruni, in pure cashmere. This deserves a blog post all on its own...and it'll get one...someday...

Wait…is that actually…handspun??

Yup, had a little quality time with Evelyn. Sport-weight two-ply corriedale from Spunky Eclectic in "Twenty Ten"

For future reference, 2X2 rib socks on US 0 dpns is not the fastest way to knit a pair of men’s socks.

A modified version of Treads, from Son of Stitch 'n' Bitch, in Malabrigo Sock, for a special dude. It's a miracle I actually finished the first sock in this century.

This is kinda-sorta a sock.

Another Plain Jane sock, this time in my Bright Sunshiney handspun, again with Spud & Chloe for contrast.

So, there it is. I am, in fact, alive. And well. And knitting.

And I’ll be back here at some point…hopefully sooner rather than later!

Returning from the Depths

Oh, hello there! Yes, I think I remember this place….it’s my blog, right?

I’ve been under water for a while and seem to have misplaced a month of my  life. Huh. Weird how that happens. Extra Work I Do After Actual Work is over, thankfully, and I’m hoping to return to regularly scheduled programming for a little while…at least until Annual Busy Time starts beating up on me again.

While I wasn’t here, I was using the various fiber arts to maintain my sanity. I did some colorwork.

Mitts for me!

It drove me a little bug-nutty, but I really wanted to wear these new mitts that match my big, gray, military-style wool half-trench winter coat.

I kind of love them. A lot. I love them so much, they’re getting pilly already.

Organic wool makes me happy.

The pattern is Vanamo (Rav link), and the yarn is that Sanguine Gryphon Free Range I showed off a month ago. I did change the cuffs and the tops, and made braids that point in opposite directions. I had to block the crap out of these because the first was notably smaller than the second. Humm…was someone a little stressed out at the start of this project? Possibly….

I also finished spinning that bright orange BFL top from Fiber Optic, and then I two-plied it.

Bright Sunshiney Day

It’s not my finest, evenest spin ever. Not by a long shot. But I’m proud, nonetheless, because I actually achieved a sportweight on Evelyn. Which rocks because I have a hell of a time spinning anything that’s not lace or fingering on her. I rule.

Evelyn and I cranked out another four ounces of two-ply sportweight right after, this time a superwash BFL from Southern Cross in the “Sturt” colorway.

Really dig how the colors worked out here.

Also not the most even yarn I’ve ever spun, but I’m still pleased…especially because Evelyn decided to start kicking her drive band every three minutes while I was working on the ply here. It’s the first argument Evelyn and I have ever had, and it was quite frustrating.

Very earthy…I likes it.

We’ve since worked it out, thankfully, and this yarn will end up being socks.

Oh, and I spun up some Spunky Eclectic corriedale on Evelyn, too.

Spunky corriedale in “Twenty-Ten”

I’ve since plied these singles and set the twist on the yarn. Both the Spunky and the Southern Cross were part of my random prize from the 4! Ounce! Challene! As you can see, Operation Stash Containment continues.

I’ve been working away at my Military Cardigan…

The color in this pic is way, way off. This is way more of an orange-red and way less of a pink-red.

…but I’ve kind of petered out a bit on the collar and placket. I’ll pick it back up soon, though. It’s a really cute sweater.

Finally, I whipped up a little hat!

So soft and lovely

The pattern is Brattleboro, the yarn is Malabrigo Worsted, and the hat is for a collection that Tracy is hosting for Children with Hair Loss in honor of her 30th birthday. Not only is Tracy cutting off and donating her gorgeous hair, she’s asked us to not get her gifts and to instead knit hats or make a donation to the charity. How could I not??

Like I said, fiber arts helped maintain my sanity…it’s amazing how much better my head feels when my hands are busy, busy, busy.

Snow Driving 101, Plus an FO

I should preface this whole rant by saying that I love snow. Seriously, deeply and truly. Love. It.

What I can’t stand are people who don’t know how to drive in it.

Trying to get to work. Behind a bus. Being towed by a dump truck. Going 10 mph. On the worst snow plow-job ever. FML.

Now, we got whalloped yesterday with snow of epic proportions, so I kind of understand the roads being less than awesome the next day. However, this is New England and, from time to time, we do get some snow during the winter. Shocking, I know, but history will support this. So I don’t get why we’re all so shocked when we get slapped by Mother Nature with some serious white-age.

All that being said, I’m not a 4-wheel-driver. My first car had it; it was fabulous. That car broke. I got a new one. A little one, subcompact-style. Very fuel efficient and cute. And freaking KILLER in the snow. This car is unstoppable. I’ve never gotten totally stuck. Ever. But idiot snow drivers threaten to bring my bad-ass-mobile down constantly. So, as a public service message here’s my tips for the not-so-snow-savvy motoring public.

  • Don’t brake. Seriously. An attribute of the modern automatic-transmission automobile is that, if you simply lift your foot off the gas pedal, the car will slow down. CRAZY, I know, but I assure you its the truth. So don’t brake. If you brake, you will slide. And if you’re following the car in front of you so closely during a snow storm that you’re forced to slam on your brakes when they tap their’s, you’re probably just going to slide into them anyways. And you just learned a valuable lesson about proper following distance. Just say no to braking.
  • Maintain forward motion. If you stop, you might not start again. Momentum is a beautiful thing. Embrace it.
  • Don’t be a dumb ass. So simple, but such a difficult concept to grasp.

And that’s it! Wow. I feel so much better now.  End rant.

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So, because of the Epic Snow, I got to stay home from work yesterday. I used my free time wisely and finished my Girasole. I love her.

Isn’t she lovely?

I have almost two full skeins of yarn left over, so go me on finally having an adequate yardage estimate. I’d heard stories about the edging on this pattern, and they didn’t disappoint. The edging took forever to work over those 640 stitches. But it was totally worth it in the end.

Simon was *very* helpful with the blocking process. So helpful, that I’ve already had to fix two pulls suffered from his little claws.

The pattern itself  isn’t terribly difficult, and I liked that it was broken up into a whole mess of smaller charts. It would have been monotonous, but the excitement of getting to start new charts all the time helped keep it moving.

Another close-up

The final piece is about 60 inches in diameter, plenty big to curl up with on the couch. While knitting, I had some concerns about how I was going to actually block this, and it needed a serious blocking. I don’t have an abundance of floor space, and leaving it in the middle of the living room for three days — where two eager cats could have their way with it while I’m at work — was not an attractive option.

Then, I had a stroke of brilliance and decided to try steam. It took me and my iron an hour and three cups of water, but I got a nice even block on her. Not as hard a block as I usually want on lace, but it’s a damn blanket, not a shawl. I’m really happy with the results.

The view from the couch: I love how happy and sunny it is!

So, there it is, the first FO of 2011! And Operation Stash Containment continues. Still loving the stashdown, too.

After I wrapped up Girasole, I dug out two skeins for my next project and got to casting on.

Sanguine Gryphon Free Range in “Ixworth”

Sanguine Gryphon Free Range in "Cochin"

You know I love me some colorwork.

Well, Hello There 2011…

I ushered out 2010 and welcomed 2011 with two faves on what wound up being a really fantastic night.

2010 was a weird year for me: fewer tears, big changes, mountains of stress and mountains of joy…it was a year to reboot, I think. Not great, but not horrid.

2010: The year of the kitties

I have high hopes for 2011.

I’ve been on vacation since Xmas Eve; tomorrow, I go back to work and Wednesday starts Annual Busy Time. This vacation was all about recharging my batteries…and catching up on so many little things. So, here’s my catch-up blog post…

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I finally got around to taking project pics. I’m still not in love with my new camera, but we’re getting along better than we were; color is still a bit off, though. Gotta figure that setting out…

“Dutch Tulip”

This is the 80/20 merino/cashmere 2-ply laceweight from Corgi Hill that spent so much time on Evelyn this fall. It’s lovely, and will make some pretty lace someday.

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These were, officially, the most labor-intensive socks ever.

“See You Later”

They weren’t difficult, and they worked up very quickly, but the manual crossing, twisting and interlacing of the stitches was really intense. They came out fantastic, though…

Great pairing of pattern and colorway

…and I see many more handspun socks in my future. I also see more toe-ups with heel flaps. Way better fit on my feet than short-row heels.

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I knocked out that pair of Pointelles. They finished beautifully.

Cookie A. is a flippin genius.

I still have to give them to Mom for her birthday. I’m resisting the urge to keep them. That little touch of cashmere just makes them so delicious.

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I Navajo plied off the first skein of Crazy Silk

The silk that never ends…

…and wound up with 339 yards of 52 WPI. I have a lot more of this to spin…a lot…

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I finally got around to photographing Multnomah.

Pretty sparkly waves

The pics are terrible, but the shawl is lovely.

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I knocked out a quick hat between Xmas and New Years.

“Lallans”

It was a tricksey little pattern, very engaging to knit. The two yarns—Malabrigo Worsted and Lorna’s Laces Greenline Worsted—are just delicious together.

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I’ve spent way more time on knitting than spinning lately. This BFL has been on Evelyn for quite a while now.

From FiberOptic, in “Vitamin C,” a bright cheerful orange batik

I have so many things I want to knit, though, that it might have to stay on Evelyn for a while longer.

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My current obsession is my Girasole.

A delightful project!

I can’t seem to put it down! It’s on track to be my first FO of 2011.

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So, here’s to a new year! One full of friends and creativity and love and fun and much, much more!