Sunday, January 31, 2010

Two Down

When I put my mind to it, I can get things done!

Witness Sweater #2 of the Ten Sweater Challenge.

It's hard to tell from the photo, but it's a very plain (okay, you could tell that part) top-down raglan sweater.

This one is for the March Challenge for Afghans for Afghans (as is the vest I blogged earlier in the month). I'll be mailing them off this week after this one gets its wash and block.

I used about 800 yards of worsted weight singles (Patons Impressions Hand-Dyed Wool) which is no longer available, but any light worsted weight would produce similar results. It's about 33" around.

This beanie (for Ship Support) was my car driving last weekend. I wove in the ends last night and will mail it this week as well. The yarn is Red Heart Strata (100% ack) that feels rough and stringy in the skein but washes up to a nice soft fabric that is needed for med-evac troops. I believe this stuff may be discontinued, but Smiley's still has a few colors available.

Current Ship Support needs include dark solid 100% wool beanies, seaman's scarves, and gaiters, plus brightly colored wool , blend, or ack beanies and slippers for troops being moved out of the Sandbox for medical care.

January has been a rough month around Casa Sheepie. I haven't been able to blog it, but hope to soon. Stay tuned!

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bad Blogger!

Today is the first day I have genuinely felt like blogging. The past week (or more) has gone by in a blur of ups and downs.

We made an emergency 30 hour trip to the Tiny Prince's realm as he was very ill (hospitalized, emergency surgery ill) last weekend. Amazingly, he was the only patient on the pediatric wing of the local hospital and got excellent care from his very own staff of nurses, doctors, and relatives.

He seems to be all better now, but this probably is not over. Keep a good thought, please.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Progress of Sorts

Once the Very Quick Vest was finished, I poured heart and soul into the Very Plain, Miles of Stockinette Stitch Turtleneck Sweater which actually was my first start (unless you count Hey, Teach) for this Personal Challenge.

It is Very Plain, with only the variation in dye that sparks it up, and frankly, that doesn't Make the Plain Knitting More Interesting (no matter what "they" say)!

But concentrated monogamy has allowed me to make progress. 1.5 sleeves from now, I'll give this a wash and block and send it (and the vest) on their merry way.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Never, Ever Again

This morning, the Other Half and I were running errands and had packages to mail. Because we started out too early to drop them at our local PO, we carried them with us to drop at another PO along our route.

Never Again!

We arrived at 8:45, and waited our turn. Fine, so far, but the people in line behind us had a Passport Appointment for 9, and the (only) clerk disappeared to find the Passport Person (who I overheard inform him that their appointment was Their Appointment--IOW, not 15 minutes early).

Okay, back to my packages. We went through the litany: "perishable, liquid, fragile, potentially hazardous?" First package: $55. Excuse me? "You don't want Express Mail? How about Priority?" No, I want plain old "Slow and Cheap" (Parcel Post--$14!) Ass!
Did I mention that wasn't even offered until I asked?

Second package (same destination); same litany; same offer.

Okay, by now, I'm ticked.

Third (last package) is a Flat Rate (gotta love 'em) Priority box. $10 and change, no discussion, right? Wrong! He tells me that I could mail this for $8.35. Okay, I ask, just like it is? No, he informs me, I will have to purchase a Ready Mail box or envelope (at least a buck) and tape (ditto), repack, and then I get the lower rate (which, by the way is parcel post--5-7 days).

I have an international package to mail next week. My regular (PITA, stick-to-the-letter-of-the-regs) postal clerk is looking awfully good!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

One of Ten

The first sweater of my (personal) 10 in 2010 challenge is finished:

Cute sweater vest from Fons & Porter Love of Knitting Summer 2009, modified (of course) to suit my needs (and yarn availability).

I eliminated the overall "quilt" pattern and left just the border band, thinking that it's more uni-sex that way.

This one's for A4A's current campaign (7-14 year olds and is a 32" chest (size 8?).

I am progressing on the turtle neck, slowly but surely. . .

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

So Very Sad

Why does bad stuff always seem to happen to those who can afford it least?

Massive thoughts and good vibes (ouch, shades of the 60s) are needed for folks in Haiti.

And though we like to think that knitted stuff solves all problems, not this time, partner. What the folks need now is good old cash! Greenbacks (if you live in the US), those fancy colo(u)red bills if you live elsewhere.

Here's why: Stuff has to be sorted and shipped; cash moves in electronically. Cash allows those "on the ground" to get exactly what is needed and quite possibly boosts the local economy if the items can be purchased locally. (Lord knows, the Hatian economy needs all the help it can get, now more than ever!)

So think cash if you are thinking "disaster relief."

Wonder who is helping? Not sure where to send? There's a long list of agencies that are assisting. I sent mine through Doctors Without Borders ( I support them regularly), my local Rotary Club (RI is sending "shelter boxes" and water purification equipment), and Partners in Progress (or PIP) which was recommended by a trustworthy friend who works with them as a volunteer.

The cost of this week's cup of joe could save a life!


Saturday, January 09, 2010

End of the Week

It's been brutally cold here in the Northeast, so it's been a pleasure to knit bigger things:

This week, I worked diligently on the second scrap lap robe for our local rehab, and then found out that the prizes won't be needed until late April, so I am "good to go" as they say (whoever "they" are).

The big mitered square is #2. Same yarns and colors as the first, approximately the same size.

Best laid plans aside, there was a pattern in my head. Unfortunately, I ran out of one color mid-way, and being cheap frugal in stash-busting mode for these, I refused to buy more yarn. I punted.

A motivated inspector will see what I did.

Then I found a tiny bit more of the color that I ran out of. Rats!

I've made a bit of progress on the sweater for Afghans for Afghans, and started another.

Again, stash-busters. The green yarn is some Lily Sugar and Cream 100% wool (I don't even want to guess how old it is) . The yellow is Elann Peruvian Highland wool, left over from another project. When this one is a little further along, I'll post a photo of the pattern picture.

It's a vest.

To my mind, it can be spring any time now. I am tired of Arctic temperatures and wind chills. I need it to be warm.

No chance at all that there will be a beach vacation any time soon, either.

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Sunday, January 03, 2010

What's In Your Stash?

I said I would, and so I am! I've gone through the top layer of stash and identified some sweater size lots of wool for my Ten Sweaters campaign. This is just the tip of the iceberg!

What you see (eyes left) is some lovely natural wool (purchased coned from Webs, scoured, and still in the skein--leftovers from a Daughter In Law sweater), some Sugar and Cream wool in a nice deep green that I bought locally, Outback Wool (the stuff that's left after I made the toddler sweater in the fall), and the Patons Impressions
that I started knitting up.

But wait, there's more!

I have an entire squashed bin of Lopi-like singles in various shades that will make at least a couple of Icelandic-type sweaters.

There are 2700 grams of untouched yarn in that bin, plus a couple of oddballs of similar yarn. Over 3000 yards of yarn!

Just waiting to become sweaters.

And yet, there's still more:

More yarn that I bought on the cone from Webs, several years ago.

I don't remember exactly how much I bought, but at $3 a cone (2+ pound cones), how could I not?

I dyed most of it with varying flavors of Kool-Aid and then stashed it away in this bin. That "amber" cone on the bottom left toward the back is all that remains of the original color.

I'm thinking stripes and fair isle for this batch.

Again, enough for a couple (or more) sweaters.

And here's a progress shot on the current sweater on my needles. The pattern is a basic top-down (translate: seamless) turtleneck pullover, loosely based on one of the Rich Designs sweaters that I turn to frequently.

I bought my copy from Elann, which doesn't seem to carry it at the moment, but a Google search turned up other opportunities.

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Saturday, January 02, 2010

Ten in 2010

A bunch of peope I know are working on a 10 Shawls in 2010 sort of Challenge/Loosely-Knit Along thingie. While I am interested, I know that I will never in a bazillion years wear that many shawls, and other than for charity, I don't know where I'd gift that many shawls (and truth is, most of the shawls I am dying to make wouldn't be practical for the charities I knit for--they need solid, utilitarian sorts of garments). So, instead of 10 shawls, I am planning 10 sweaters. It's not like I don't have the yarn . . .

I have been telling myself for years that I *must* use up some of the older stashed stuff. I have beautiful yarns that are just "not my color" (to wear) though seeing and fondling them gives me great pleasure.

So last night, I cast on a sweater with some very old Patons Impressions Hand-dyed wool in a beautiful shade of green (just not *my* wearing shade) that I will send to Afghans for Afghans. Some child will be warm. I will have the pleasure of knitting this yummy stuff, and I will no longer feel guilty about not using it.

I bought it shortly after I discovered Smiley's as a source for lots of interesting yarns. I swatched it. I even started a sweater for me (witness the 2-3" sleeve cuffs in the Ziploc with the swatch and the rewound yarn). It's lovely stuff!

Follow me on this journey. Heck, join me on this journey. Surely you have yarn that is begging to be made. Surely there is a charity (local or international) that needs your help.

I'll be eyeing the stash over the next few days, identifying wool that needs to be made up. Might even post a list (with photos) to keep me honest.

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Friday, January 01, 2010

A New Resolve

(I think I've said this before.)

I have way more yarn than I will knit up in the next several years. That said, I did a fair amount of fiber work (knit and weave) this year. Here are the results:

adult sweater 2
afghan squares 17
afghans 2
baby dress 1
bags 1
booties 6
cat toys 2
child sweater 11
christmas ornament 2
christmas stocking 1
clogs 1
dishcloth/facecloth 13
doily 1
gaiter 1
hat 9
laprobe/baby blanket 4
mittens 11
pillow 1
potholder 1
preemie/baby caps 2
scarf 7
shawl 5
slippers 5
socks 1
teddy sweaters 1
toys 6
wristers 3

All together, I used 20 3/5 miles of yarn (36,503 yards) weighing nearly 50 pounds (796 ounces).

There are only 117 FOs on that list. That's disappointing!

I feel like I am forgetting something, but the blog log doesn't lie. That's really all there was.

So, for 2010, I shall press on, working from stash as much as possible. I resolve to buy only necessary yarn ("necessary" loosely defined as "I need it; I want it; it's calling my name").


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