I forgot to mention…

…that I got a swift and a ball winder this past Xmas.

Pretty little yarn cakes!

I gotta say: Not having to hand-wind everything is pretty sweet…and far more efficient.

That’s my whole stash of Malabrigo Finito, BTW, all rolled in about 45 minutes. It’s about to get all sorts of colorwork-ey up in here.

* * * * * * * * * *

…that I knit a giant blanket a few months ago.

Warm and wooly!

It completely covers a queen-size bed. The pattern is Jared Flood’s Bridgewater, just supersized from laceweight shawl to worsted weight blanket. I dig it.

* * * * * * * * * *

…that I finally took pics of the socks I made for The Dude.

The Dude’s socks…not, however, modeled by The Dude

I couldn’t be happier with them…but I’ll never knit 2X2 ribbed men’s socks on US 0 needles every again!

Yay for Malabrigo socks!

* * * * * * * * * *

…that I decided it was a good idea to knit a fingering-weight fair isle baby blanket in the round…

Call me crazy…

…and it turns out that it totally was!

…but it was loads of fun to cut this thing in half!

I set the steeks with crochet using leftover BFL handspun from the Sunshiney socks, followed by two lines of machine sewing. Worked like a charm!

Just need to do the finishing work, and she’s done.

I’ve recruited Jenni to help me with the sewing (because she’s a sewing rockstar and I am decidedly not…) after I block this out. The pattern, Latvian Garden, is so much freaking fun to knit. Most of the yarn is Corgi Hill’s now-discontinued Fiona (the purple, the only exception, is Claudia’s Handpainted Fingering), a buttery superwash merino-cashmere-nylon blend.

* * * * * * * * * *

…that I fell off the Operation Stash Containment wagon for a little while, but I’m officially hopping back on. Yay for stashbusting!

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

This past February, I chanced upon a clever little soul. Or maybe she chanced upon me.

Hi.

I named her Gypsy.

When I found her, though, wandering the city streets in my neighborhood in the February cold, she looked like this.

Enough to break your heart…

But, from the start, she had these eyes…eyes that knew more about hard living than I could ever imagine…and a sweet, sweet face.

A pibble with the angel eyes.

I called The Dude when I found her on the street to ask what I should do, but of course, the answer was simple: Take her.

So, I did.

It wasn’t always good times with Miss Gypsy-doodle.

She’s been on medication since day one. Skin treatments, antibiotics, anti-fungals, steroids, antihistamines, grain-free food, supplements…someone did a number on the poor girl, for sure.

I even got the cone of shame!

And then there were other problems, scary problems that almost meant the end of Gypsy in our life.

But one seriously amazing dog trainer solved all Gypsy’s problems.

Brandy and Gypsy…buddies, at last

After months, Gypsy finally seemed to…relax. Her issues with the other dogs vanished. Her tail wagged uncontrollably. She gave unabashed cuddles and kisses and even learned to lie down and enjoy the simple act of sleeping in the sun without fear, without anxiety.

Like a regular dog raised in regular circumstances.

The last couple of months have been wonderful.

Brandy, Max and one very flat Gypsy

This past weekend, finally off all her medications for the first time since I found her emaciated in the street, lymph nodes all over Gypsy’s body swelled up. Badly.

Today, we found out that Gypsy has cancer. Lymphoma.

We won’t know for a few days yet just how bad it is or just what our options are.

After everything she’s been through, after all she’s endured, it seems so incredibly…unfair.

There’s no other word for it.

As I keep telling The Dude, who is simply heartsick, that our Gypsy-doodle is far from done with this world. She’s eating like a champion…she eats ALL THE THINGS…and she’s playing with Max like nothing else in the world matters.

Chair cuddles!

And so, we’ll make every moment a good one for her, every moment she has left one of love and warmth and comfort and happy puppin things, whether it’s a year’s worth of moments or just a few weeks.

Chomping Nylabones with my bestest buddy, Max.

Because that’s exactly how a puppin’s life should be.

Sorry to break radio silence with a sad post. Today was just a sad day.

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!

Mother-Nature-is-My-Homegirl Post of Epic Randomness

It dawned on me that taking some WIP pics this morning might have been a good use of my delayed office opening. But, of course, I didn’t actually do this. 

Way to go.

You’ll just have to imagine how awesome the colorwork on these looks. And how I’m cruising along on these awesome-looking cables.

I did snap this pic of the worst part of my commute today.

I hardcore love this building.

That’s the traffic getting off the highway at my exit, backed up for a quarter mile because three lanes are down to two.

But, there are worse sights to see while you’re sitting in traffic. I’ve worked in that on that campus and under that gold dome for four years now, and I’m still constantly struck by how beautiful that building is. Can you believe there are people who actually think it’s ugly? Crazy.

Mother Nature dumped another foot of snow on us last night, officially making this the snowiest January ever. Literally. Folks round these parts are unhappy, but I’m loving it. The kids love it, too. Tilly plays with the snow off my boots! Simon likes watching the neighbors use the snowblower.

So cute…and so smart!

I don’t know where he learned how to use his paw to part the blinds and look out the window—his mother doesn’t do this—but it cracks me up every time. He’s just so charming!

Madori, however, prefers her prime spot: The couch.

:::contented sigh:::

Even better if she’s under the blanket. Even better if that blanket is my Girasole.

Annual Busy Time, along with Extra Work I Do After Actual Work, is totally kicking my ass right now. But I have been knitting. No spinning to speak of, but lots of knitting—it saves the sanity. It’ll all get blogged at some point…maybe…

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.

********

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.