Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Amendment

Hmm, the reaction to my stash diet was not as I had expected. Rather than agreement, I've gotten nothing but grief for my decision. Regardless, this feels good and right to me, so I'm going on as intended...knitting and spinning from stash for the first 3/4 of 2010. I'm going to make two amendments though. 1. Gift certificates, should I happen to get any, can be used freely and without guilt if I feel I need a treat. 2. For each sweater I finish (I've got 3 currently on needles and at least 2 in the wings), I can buy something. But only if I'm going to use it. No stash yarn. Ok, do you all feel better now?

I finished the Charlotte's Web shawl over the weekend. To my abject horror, I discovered a huge hole when I laid it out to block.It took several hours to dry in which time I was able to screw up my courage and fix the hole. I was able to ladder up the stitches and secured them with sewing thread. The fix is not perfect, but it is barely perceptible if you don't know what you are looking for. I wore the shawl to work this week to rave reviews. Promise I'll get a picture of it on sometime soon. I adore this pattern and plan to make more of these shawls. I might choose a different yarn next time. I used the Koigu KPPPM that is called for in the pattern. I used every inch of colors 3, 4 and 5. I've seen some lovely shawls done with Socks That Rock, that might be a someday option. I think it might also be nice done in one color rather than 5.

That being finished, my current projects are as follows:
1. Vanilla socks...3/4 done with the first sock. Made a ton of progress during the excruciating New Moon movie last weekend.
2. Twilight socks...just started the gusset on the first sock. This Crown Mountain Farms BFL is amazing. So so soft. Can't wait to see how these wear. As soft as they are, I hold little hope for longevity.
3. Skully take 2...about to decrease for the armhole on the front (back is finished).
4. Nutkin mittens...nearly done. I'm working the thumb on the second mitten. I don't like the way the first thumb turned out, I messed up the decrease, so I think I'm going to pull it back and reknit the top of the thumb.

A few weeks back I mentioned I applied for a FLP library card. I'm happy to report the card arrived in less than 2 weeks and I had no difficulty getting on the website and finding audiobooks. They use Overdrive rather than NetLibrary and it's taken me a while to get used to the interface, but I've found a bunch of books. The great thing with this system is it lets you create a wishlist. So I can go on when I have time and search for books and then when I'm read for a new read, I can pick something off my wishlist. On the downside, it doesn't look like the eBooks are compatible with Kindle, but I'm still trying to figure out the eBook thing so I could be wrong. Regardless, if you are looking for a source to borrow audiobooks, it looks like Free Library of Philadelphia is a good, inexpensive option.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Stash diet redux

In late 2007 I went on a yarn diet. At the time I was trying to save money to buy my spinning wheel. I went 4 full months without buying any yarn. Now I'm once again contemplating dieting. Not necessarily to save money, although that will be a very happy side effect of the diet. I'm not an excessive stasher. I don't buy tons of yarn the way some knitters do. My trouble is that I tend to buy yarn for a project but then never seem to actually get to that project. I've got 3 sweaters on the needles that need attention. I've got yarn for at least 2 more sweaters, 4 or 5 shawls, umpteen balls of sock yarn and enough fiber to spin for maybe a dozen projects. It's time to knit/spin this stuff up. So I think I'm going to declare a freeze on yarn & fiber spending for most of 2010. Here are my intentions...

1. I will not purchase any yarn or fiber from January 1 through September 30, 2010. This will take me up to vacation time when I will sure want the freedom to shop.


2. Should I get any gift certificates for yarn shops, I will allow myself to use them for yarn if they would expire before 9/30/10. Otherwise, I'm going to try to hold off using them until the end as well.


3. I'm going to finish (or at least make a good stab at finishing) the 3 sweaters I've got going before starting anymore sweaters.

This diet is also going to apply to indie perfumes. My collection has gotten way out of hand. You've seen the pictures (and the collection has grown since the last pictures). You know. Those tiny little bottles are like crack to me. Well, no more. I've unsub'd all the mailing lists and dropped off the BPAL board.
I've got plenty enough perfume to keep me sweet smelling for the duration of the diet, if not longer.

Just writing all this down seems liberating. Knowing I won't be spending money on stuff I don't really need is a relief. I don't think I'll feel deprived (most of the time). I think it will be nice to rediscover all the exciting projects I had planned in the past.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

First snow and knitting round up

We had our first snowfall of the season yesterday. I'm truly not a snow fan, but this was one of the good ones...gorgeous big fluffy flakes that fell gracefully and stuck to the grass and trees but melted off the sidewalks and streets. Just enough to make everything look pretty.
Today is supposed to be sunny and mild so it will probably all be gone by tomorrow.

Remember a few weeks back I posted about my aunt who gave me her Pfaltzgraff dishes? Well, being a knitter, you just KNOW what my thank you was going to be...The pattern is Monkey (no purl variety) and the yarn is Socks that Rock medium weight in Lagoon. The colors don't come out very well in the photo...they aren't nearly that glaringly bright. The socks have been sent off and I'm hoping they are keeping her feet toasty warm.

Since this blog has been sadly devoid of knitting content of late I thought I'd post some photos of my current WIPs.

First up are the Nutkin mittens. These had been languishing in the bottom of the knitting basket for months. With winter now here, I decided I better get in gear and finish them. The pattern is quite easy to memorize. It is actually a sock pattern that I'm modifying to mittens. These should be finished in a week or so.

Next are my current socks...
Stonehenge socks. This is the Twilight pattern from 2 at a Time Socks and the yarn is my handspun Crown Mountain Farms BFL. They are so soft and the colors are gorgeous. I'm in total love with CMF. I've heard people rave about how fabulous their fiber is and I must add my voice to the chorus. I believe the prep is top rather than roving so it drafts like butter. There are virtually no slubs or imperfections of any kind. Plus they give you a generous 8 ounces of fiber.

My other purse knitting is a pair of plain vanilla socks in JL Yarns Savlia. The yarn was super cheap and is quite fine in weight. I'm knitting them on US 1 since that's the smallest needle I had available. But I'm thinking I might go down to a US 0 for the next pair.

The final project I'm working on is a Charlotte's Web shawl.I am totally enamored with this shawl. I'm using 5 skeins of Koigu KPPPM as the pattern calls for. This is sock weight yarn so it's a bit heavier than the lace weight shawls I had been working on. Something about cold weather calls for knitting with heavier weight yarns. Lace weight seems to me to be better suited for warm weather knitting! Many folks knit this shawl with Socks that Rock and I do think that would be stunning, but it's cost prohibitive for me at the moment. The pattern is extremely easy to knit and goes fairly quickly despite the nature of triangular shawls with each row getting longer than the last. I'm about 14 rows from the end. I'm going to have to start thinking about what type of edging I want to do. There's a crocheted edging or a fringed edge. I love the look of the fringe, but I hate actually doing fringe so I'm still thinking about it.

Once I finish up the shawl I'm going to go back to the Fylingdales sweater I was working on last winter. I think I'm better than 50% done with it and should be able to finish it up this season. The Colour Your Own Philosopher's Sweater is still hiding in my closet too. That's a much more daunting prospect as I'm only midway done with the first sleeve! But I'm sure it will see action at some point this winter.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

audiobook update

I was noodling around on Ravelry the other day and discovered a group for audiobook lovers. Here I uncovered a thread regarding library downloads. Seems I'm not the only one who enjoys the download services offered by libraries. I also learned that there are libraries out there that will allow you to purchase a membership and enjoy their services even if you are out of the area. One such library is Free Library of Philadelphia. They offer a paid out of state membership for only $15 a year. I thought this sounded like a very reasonable price so I clicked over to check it out. Turns out if you've got an Access Pennsylvania library card (and mine is) you can join for FREE! So I filled out the application over the weekend and hope to have my card by next week. This should give me access not only to NetLibrary but to another service called OverDrive that I am unfamiliar with. Fingers crossed it works out. I'll be sure to post how I make out.

For now, since I finished Scarlet Letter (great book btw) I broke down and went to the library and borrowed an audiobook cd. I was disappointed to discover it's the abridged version. Why is this even allowed? I want to hear all of the author's words, not just those the producer picks and chooses. You do get the major points of a story, but it always feels like something's missing.