Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are counting all of our blessings today and consider you--readers, friends--among them. I wish you the happiest of holidays and a great day in general!

Thank you for everything!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Jumped Ahead

I got a bit ahead of myself Monday, dreaming of what to cast-on next when I've got a few too many things on my needles as it is. They are jumping off surprisingly quickly, though, so maybe I'm not too eager after all.

A dog sweater! I've never been more nervous about fit before in my life, but I think it will work out. If it doesn't, I have another skein. I need to make one more dog sweater pretty quickly. This one is in Cascade Pacific, which acts like it's going to pill up any moment. I'm not sure what I'll do the bigger sweater in. The bigger dog will actually see snow, so it needs to be warm and non-pilling. Suggestions?

I've restarted my boot socks from last month. I haven't worked on them much, so they aren't very far along yet, but now that I've gotten a sweater out of the way, they should go quickly.

I'm going to jam a couple hats and some old WIPs into this vacation week, too, then pull out all the stops next week. :) Have any Thanksgiving week knits? Something to keep you awake between the turkey and the pie?

I wish you all the best of Thanksgivings (if you celebrate this week)! I'll post an incredibly cozy sweater Friday, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

For more WIP Wednesday posts, go to Tami's Amis.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Discovery

In my year-long quest to lessen the stash a touch (I won't say I've succeeded, but it's still on-going), I have discovered a nifty trick. Match that stashed yarn up with a pattern in the queue, move that pattern to the top of the queue, and get freshly excited to use up that dusty yarn (and diminish the queue while you're at it)! This fall, I have had an irresistible itch to get rid of that yarn and those long-queued patterns that accompany them. Here are a few that I'll get on as soon as possible.

I bought this yarn a year ago and matched it up to one of my long-term queued patterns, Damask. I had wanted to knit it up during the spring, but little time and a lot of warm weather made me put it off. Now that it is below freezing (already!), I think it's time to cast it on! The yarn is SweetGeorgia CashLuxe Fine. A little bit of cashmere. :) It'll be a toasty wrap this winter.

This yarn has the same sort of plan. It'll become a Blackcurrant Shawl. The yarn is String Theory Caper Sock. I actually had to scour outside my queue for the perfect pattern that wouldn't get lost in this lovely hand-dyed yarn and that I could wear close to my skin. It, too, has a bit of cashmere. It's possible you might see me bundled up in both shawls at the same time this winter. ;)

The last project is more of a re-purposing effort. I tried to use three skeins of Swan's Island Natural Colors Merino Worsted to make Levenwick, but was pretty sure I would come up short. I attempted to order another skein, but the dye lot is so far off that I can't use it. I'll have to find another yarn for Levenwick, but I am pretty sure I can get Jules out of the original three skeins. Happy day! It was just the color I wanted a Levenwick in, but I think a woolier wool will help the structure of the garment a bit better.

I also just acquired yarn for Meridien, a pattern I received a year ago. Again, I could only get three skeins and it didn't look like I'd have enough, but some project searching tells me I have plenty, despite what the pattern page says, so I'll give it a try! I have a back-up pattern just in case. You'll see the project and lovely yarn soon, but I'm not sure I'll jump on it quite like these three.

Once I destash sufficiently, I'll go back to only buying yarn for planned projects. That should make my life much easier. I have a lot of yarn to get through before then, though....

How about you? What is the state of your stash? Are you trying to cut down, or just living it up?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Complaint You'll Hear a Thousand Times

I got off the bus near my house tonight at 5:30 and it was fully dark. I'm talking moon and stars, nighttime, dark. Ugh. Whose idea was it to move Daylight Savings back so late? Don't you remember the days of gradually shortening evenings? This might be the year I finally cave and get a sunlamp.

Knitting isn't even much solace for the daylight we've lost. But, I have been knitting away. My hope is to get this sweater finished over the weekend. I have a few smaller projects I'm dying to get to and this is the only thing standing in my way. Unfortunately, it's also the only mindless project I've got, so once it's done, I won't have anything to preoccupy me at colloquium discussions or tv night with my fellow grad students. It's not like I can't conjure up something equally comprised of stockinette, I suppose...but, what? That's a silly question. I have a queue a mile long and heaps of yarn. I will find something!

I've been thinking about knitting a few Christmas gifts here and there (the above is possibly one). I always say, "No! Not this year!" until about this time. I'm having thoughts such as, "I need to get rid of that yarn. Who will wear mittens that blue?" or "This doesn't fit me quite right. Who has a small enough head?" (the answer: no one in my family!). Fortunately, the only gifts I'm obligated to are a couple dog sweaters, so if I don't get around to making a few small things, no one will be the wiser. :)

Are you knitting gifts? What sorts of things? Were they requested or thoughtfully chosen by you? Here's something I've been thinking a lot about: what are you going to get your knitting friends for Christmas? Yarn? Notions? Accessories (are they the same as notions? I should know these things....)? I'm curious, so let me know in the comments!

For more WIP Wednesday posts, visit the ever-busy Tami.

Monday, November 11, 2013


Sorry for the silence! It's that time in the semester. You know, this one....

That's everything I have to grade this week. Preferably, in a couple of days, but I suppose I should sleep a little bit, yeah? Well, the good news is that I have zero homework for the class I sit in on (or not that much before Friday, anyway), so grading is pretty much my only stress this week.

Anyway, because of the time issue, I could use some help. John and I eat the same five or six dinners every week. We cycle some in and out, but we usually stick to about the same five or six general ideas. I've been trying to branch out, so I've made some pretty awesome dinners in the last month, but we're pressed for time and it's just so easy to make and eat the same things all the time. What quick and easy dinners do you make? Doesn't have to be anything fancy to impress me. One person's boring, rut dinner might be another's exciting new addition! :)

Italian sausage soup with tortellini
We eat spaghetti and variations on chicken (quesadillas, fajitas, and chicken alfredo penne) with steak for variation most weeks. We don't own a crock-pot. Let me emend that statement: we own two crock-pots, each 1.5 quarts. You can't heat up a whole can of little smokies in one of those! Maybe you can. I've never tried, honestly. :) I suppose having a biggish one would make life much easier. Convince me to make room for a big one!

I wish you many yummy meals this week and much free time to relax and breathe! I'll try to be back Wednesday with some knitting updates.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy Hallows Day!

I hope your All Hallows Day is going well and that your Hallowe'en was great! Ours was lazy and held only one trick-or-treater (probably only because I was outside situating the jack-o-lanterns and he thought he'd give it a try). I was highly disappointed by the meager selection of Halloween movies on tv last night. What is Halloween for if not watching scary movies?!

Anyway, I didn't wear a costume out, but I did have a new sweater.

Danse Macabre

Pattern: Fontenac by Julie Hoover
Yarn: The Fibre Company Canopy Worsted in Orchid and Obsidian
Needles: US 9 and 8
Project Page

I must say, I felt a little witchy in this tunic. I'm not sure why, apart from the colors. I'm planning on it being my Christmas dress, which can also be worn casually like this. In any case, it is warm and it is fabulous! The yarn is so luxurious! I got it for a steal a few months ago. Aside from the trace of white fuzz it left on my totally awesome new pants, I can find absolutely nothing to complain about in this yarn.

The pattern, like all Julie Hoover patterns I've knit (that may only be 2 1/2 now), is brilliantly written and clear as a phantom bell (I can only assume that's pretty clear, having never heard one myself...yet ;]). The only modifications I made were to knit the ribbed bits on a size smaller needle (to preserve yarn, mostly), and to knit two fewer rows on the pockets (to preserve yarn, period). I seriously have a teeny, tiny ball of yarn leftover. I thought I might not make it! I ran out of black two rows too soon, but no one will ever notice. I made up the difference with an extra row or two of the white.

I kind of haphazardly chose the name Wednesday night as I finished it. The piece is always stuck in my head this time of year. It is easily one of my favorite orchestral pieces of those I've played. It's just fun! It's based on a poem:

Zig, zig, zig, Death in cadence,
Striking a tomb with his heel,
Death at midnight plays a dance-tune,
Zig, zig, zag, on his violin.
The winter wind blows, and the night is dark;
Moans are heard in the linden trees.
White skeletons pass through the gloom,
Running and leaping in their shrouds.
Zig, zig, zig, each one is frisking,
You can hear the cracking of the bones of the dancers.
A lustful couple sits on the moss
So as to taste long lost delights.
Zig zig, zig, Death continues
The unending scraping on his instrument.
A veil has fallen! The dancer is naked.
Her partner grasps her amorously.
The lady, it's said, is a marchioness or baroness
And her green gallant, a poor cartwright.
Horror! Look how she gives herself to him,
Like the rustic was a baron.
Zig, zig, zig. What a saraband!
They all hold hands and dance in circles.
Zig, zig, zag. You can see in the crowd
The king dancing among the peasants.
But hist! All of a sudden, they leave the dance,
They push forward, they fly; the cock has crowed.
Oh what a beautiful night for the poor world!
Long live death and equality! (Henri Cazalis, "Danse Macabre"; trans. from the French)

I thought the roles of darkness (Death, night) and light (skeletons, daybreak) were very appropriate to the tunic and the fact that I finished it on Halloween basically made the decision for me. :)

What is your favorite Halloween song (it's not too late to ask! We have all weekend to keep the spook going!)? We (some HPKCHC Slytherins) started a playlist here of some good ones (Danse Macabre included), but I want more! I love Halloween. :) How was yours?

For more FO Friday posts, visit Tami's Amis!