Friday, August 31, 2007

Sockapalooza Socks Arrived!

This will be double posted since this was my blog for Sockapalooza-

My socks arrived... all the way from Germany!

Julia knit Baudelaires from Regia Silk (oh-mi-gosh-is-this-yarn-amazingly-soft!!) They look fantastic and fit really well. I wish I could do more complicated patterns for socks. I may have to challenge myself more on the next pair. I have not taken them off since I put them on.

Today was a perfect day for this package- it was the last day of my job so I can focus on finding a job out of state. So G and I had already planned to go out for dinner and not stick to my diet. I rarely splurge with food since it knocks me off ketosis for a few days when I do. So it makes it harder for me to lose weight for a couple of days after the splurge. ... and inside her package was some chocolate. I can't even say when the last time I ate chocolate was. But since we had already splurged, I had half a bar. YUM.

And tomorrow? double cardio, extra situps and lots of veggies.

Thank you Julia!! These are perfect!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hiding my hands at work today...

I took a night off from job hunting to dye up some yarn. So much fun- it's been a long time since I last did it. When I peeled off my gloves I was horrified to see that both hands were stained with all the colors I used. G called me zombie hands- the fading browns/yellows look like old bruises and the greens/blues are just scary (and the teal stained nails aren't helping!)

I only have two big meetings with vendors today... I just hope they don't notice my hands. (Granted, I've been through this before... I used self tanner way back in the early 90s when I received my Bachelors, and forgot to wash my hands. I had bright orange hands in my graduation pictures. Yipes.)

It's very bad when I decide to reward myself with yarn for getting a good job. I've promised myself several skeins of Socks that Rock with my first new paycheck. I peeked on their website and fell in love with Sugarplums. But until then... with the exception of spoiling my pal for Secret Pal/Sock exchanges, I am not to buy yarn. (Yes, I know I tried this before but this time I mean it. Really.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Not socks??

I've been kicking around the idea of a fingering weight Clapotis and it seems like the ones I am considering will make perfect gifts. My options are a supersolid sock yarn from Cherry Tree Hill (in a vibrant purple- I have someone in mind for that one) or a fingering weight solid red alpaca (someone else in mind). The Yahoo group for Clapotis will be closing at the end of the year, so I'd like to get started before it closes. At least then I'll have a place to ask questions if needed.

I've heard the first Clap usually gets frogged quite a bit, so maybe I'll test it out on inexpensive yarn until I understand the pattern, since it is one of the more complicated ones I will have done so far.

Reminder to self: check out this tutorial

Sunday, August 19, 2007

this and that....

In order to stay focused on the projects I'm doing, I put each pattern and WIP in a specific bag so I can either grab it when we head out for a long drive, take to work for lunch, have one next to the TV so I don't have to stop and search for my knitting before we watch a show/movie, etc.

So... I'm working on tiny baby socks for Afghans and today I'll be starting my Sock It to Me socks out of Cherry Tree Hill sport yarn in Cabin Fever (my match likes autumn colors). I've also got both my second STR Ampersand sock and some red yarn for a scarf ready to go in my project bag downstairs.

Every time I fill out a questionnaire for a swap, I have to be pretty emphatic about no chocolates or other decadent treats since I am on a highly restrictive diet. But I finally found a no-guilt treat that I absolutely love (that also is permissible on my diet): green olives stuffed with jalapeƱos! These are insanely good and low in calories/carbs, and they are so flavorful that I am satisfied after 2 olives.

I'm in full-steam job search mode, and a bit overwhelmed at the number of opportunities. I don't have children or a current relationship, nor do I own a house so I can pretty much pick up and move anywhere. In my adult life, I've lived in three regions in Texas, California (Santa Monica), Northern VA (DC metro area) and now WV (and I can't wait to leave). So relocating is not a problem but trying to decide where to relocate is a mixture of excitement and nervousness- I don't want to end up in another area I dislike as much as this one. Ideally, I'd love NH but there's a lot of opportunity outside the area that might be a better fit.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

SP questions :)

Posed by my Hostess, Shelby :)

1. What is the one knitting accessory you could not live without?
I tend to lose all my accessories. The one I could not live without is a tapestry needle for my kitchener-ing (which I have to hunt for every single time I get to that point in my sock), followed closely by crochet hook and needle gauge. I've been meaning to buy a new needle gauge for the longest time.

2. If you're heading on vacation, do you take knitting with you? If so, how much and what type of project?
I haven't had a vacation since I started knitting nearly two years ago- I spent all my free time working on my Masters in the evenings and weekends while I worked fulltime. But I am planning a roadtrip and I will be taking a sock project.

3. Where have you traveled to that you'd consider your favorite spot?
Tied between Mont. St. Michel in Normandy/Brittany and Austria where it was so gorgeous we kept having to pull over along the road every ten minutes to just take in the beauty of the landscape. Le Mont St Michel is absolutely amazing- not only for its unique nature (tiny tidal island built on granite) but for its history and incredible architecture of the Gothic church at the top of the Mont.

4. What is your favorite knitting book at the moment? Do you own it?
Favorite Socks and yes.

5. Do you listen to podcasts? Which is your favorite(s)?
I've been meaning to, but have not had the time.

Was it something I said?

I have not heard from my sock knitter. Just let me know you are out there, somewhere. I'm stalking my postman and he would like it to stop. I'm not sure he is understanding my babble about sock exchanges. :)

Finally, I can breathe: My socks have arrived to their destination! Woohooo!

Here's the packaged version:

And the other pic with specs

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

ooooh shiny!

A yarn I've wanted but thought they discontinued has just shown back up... Den-M-nit Pure Indigo Cotton!!

I love the medium Indigo. Love Love Love. Well, that and the deeper Indigo....

I've wanted to try this out ever since I saw this gorgeous sweater.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A little worried...

My Sockapalooza Pal's only one state away but I have not heard if she received her socks I sent last week. No socks in my mailbox yet, either. I keep checking,
just in case.

However, I have received my match for Secret Pal 11 and am excited to get started with that.

In other news...

I've also got some red yarn set aside to make at least one scarf for the Red Scarf Project
Caron Simply Soft in Autumn Red (this picture doesn't do it justice... the color is gorgeous) and Knitpicks Swish in Fired Brick.

They are accepting scarves between Sept. 1 and October 15, 2007, so that will be the project that breaks into my trend of only doing socks!

Here's hoping tomorrow will bring better news on the Sockapalooza front.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Getting organized...

This weekend has been all about organizing and looking ahead.

I love living simply. I tend to move quite often (every 2-3 years) so I use that time to re-evaluate and remove any extra 'Stuff' that just seems to collect on the shelves. I'm not a knick-knack sort of person... more of a clean, minimal aesthetic but in a comfortable way. And since I am hoping to move out of this area for a new position, I figured I would get started on packing/purging the items I am not currently using.

I cleaned up my resume and cover letter, and decided to apply for anything and everything that matched my qualifications. Instead of focusing on one state which I had been doing previously, I did it on a nationwide scale- and wow. I have enough job opportunities to keep me busy every night for a couple of weeks! As much as I'd like to stay within a specific region, finding the best job for me as soon as possible is more important.

I also packed up one large box of yarn I will not be using in the next 4-6 months, inventoried it and then sealed/stored it. Then I packed away my stash for the next 4-6 months into an under-the-bed plastic bin. Finally, I put my current projects into a small plastic tote. Tonight I'll be casting on for my baby sock for Afghan's for Afghans, and probably getting my Sock It to Me Pal's Sock started.

Next step is tackling my bookshelves and deciding what gets packed and what needs to be purged, a chore that I've been avoiding for years. Better to do it now than trying to juggle that and organize a move, though :)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Finished socks!

I have pictures of them cutely packaged but that would give away my Sockapalooza's Pal's name, so that will wait until they arrive. I had to mail them out today since they were still drying yesterday on the official mailout day.

Cherry Tree Hill Sport (Dusk colorway)
Needles: 2 pair size 3 Knitpicks classic circulars
Priscilla's Dream Socks out of Favorite Knits
Mods: my normal toes, garter short row heel

On these, I learned how to unknit a finished sock *groan* and how to finally do short heels! They are awfully squooshy but I could not figure out why the second one pooled differently... I knitted it from the center just like the first one was and tried to start it several times at different points.

Next on my to-do list... some major dyeing :) And socks for charity. Maybe this lonely baby sock can find its mate.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

In case you have the notion...

Paraphrased from their website: Afghans for Afghans needs blankets, hats, mittens, socks, sweaters, and vests for youth, which will go to children's rehabilitation and health centers in Kabul and Bamiyan. These programs treat children who have been traumatized psychologically and physically by the years of war and poverty. The due date is September 21.

More info here

This will be a good chance to use some of my random assortments of worsted weight yarn leftovers, and children's socks/hats out of worsted weight yarn... it doesn't get much faster than that! They're looking for crocheted baby blankets, too :)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Secret Pal 11 Questionnaire

1. a.What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
Currently, it's sock yarn. But overall, my absolute favorite so far has been Watermark, by Fiesta Yarns. It's amazingly soft, and was the type of yarn I had to stop every three rows to pet and sigh over. Other favorites include: Lorna's Laces, Cherry Tree Hill, Classic Elite Lush, Knitpicks Ambrosia, Socks That Rock.

I have some Knitpicks Gloss and Lisa Souza sock yarn that I am dying to knit up- they are both incredible to the touch. I adore variegated colors and interesting textures, and have a preference for natural fibers, particularly alpaca, merino wool, wool/mohair or cashmere/wool blends.

b. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I don’t like really harsh acrylics that hurt my hands, and I’m not fond of eyelash or novelty yarn at all. Some cottons are hard on my hands as well. Softer acrylics don’t bother my hands though, but I prefer natural fibers.

Texture and color are both very important to me.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
A plastic three drawer box, and my Options case. I'd love to be more organized in my knitting storage (needles and notions and stash) but I never seem to get to that point.

3. a. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn?
Dec 2005. Self-taught through internet (especially knitting help videos) and learned socks from DVD. I do better with visuals than just text.

b. Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
Adventurous beginner.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? There's a yarn-y wishlist in my margin, but its mostly to remind myself of interesting yarn as I come across it.

5. What's your favorite scent?
Clean fresh scents (cotton, linen), vanilla, lavender, cucumber melon, mandarin
Nothing too cloying, overly floral or sweet

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Please, nothing edible. I'm watching what I eat very seriously and need to avoid temptation at all costs.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I'd like to learn how to spin but that is quite a ways off. I have found I love dyeing yarn, though. I use the Jacquard acid dyes.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
Yes, it can play CDs and mp3s. I like 80s music (Duran Duran, Madonna, Depeche Mode, U2 assorted long hair bands). Billy Joel and Rob Thomas. Garbage. Soft female singers like Loreena McKinnett, Sarah McLaughlin, Dido, etc. But not Mariah Carey or boy bands.

9. a. What's your favorite color(s)? I love rich chestnuts, wines, plums, blues, greens, dove greys, smoky blues, corals. I also love Caribbean colors, cornflower blues, aquas, clear greens, that sort of thing.

b. Any colors you just can't stand? I’m not a big fan of 70s style mustard brown or pea green in general. Yellows/Beige look terrible near my face. Neons (with the exception of bright colors on my ballband washcloths)

10. a. What is your family situation? Live with my best friend (‘G’).

b. Do you have any pets? We share Gypsy, who is our lab/springer spaniel rescue.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? Hats and scarves.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I've recently discovered socks and I'm hooked. At the moment, all of my projects are socks of one form or another.

13. What are you knitting right now?
Socks for my Sock It To Me swap, about to start a pair of socks for G, and finish up my Ampersand socks. And maybe a fan and feather scarf for someone’s birthday.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Yes, provided it is something I would use. I'd hate for someone to go through the trouble of making me a tea cozy when I don't drink tea, etc. I've not had that happen yet, thank goodness :)

15. a. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
Circulars (Options)
For socks, I use two Knitpicks Circulars.

b. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? Nickel plated. Gypsy eats bamboo ones.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? Yes, I have both. Next, I'm hoping to get a small niddy noddy.

17. How old is your oldest UFO? Irish Hiking Scarf from July. I just got burned out and can't seem to want to pick it up again.

18. What is your favorite holiday? The New Year. For me, it’s a chance to reflect, and renew my spirit.

Also, I'm a fan of International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Yarrrrr!

19. Is there anything that you collect? Recipes. Otherwise, I try not to collect anything that may someday turn into clutter (which can easily happen with me). I just graduated with my Masters and hope to find a job out of state, so I'm trying to keep extra 'stuff', including knick knacks, to a minimum so I don’t have to pack and move it.

I am a scented candle and lotion fanatic, though, and I never have enough purse sized hand creams.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I'm dying to try Apple Laine yarn or Posh yarn
I've been meaning to get this pattern and haven't done so yet.
I'm good on books, though.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? Entrelac (so I can one day make a Lady E stole), and being able to follow more complicated patterns.

I'd also like to eventually move on to sweaters so a future project will be a couple of child/baby sized sweaters before I move into adult size. And learning how to use DPNs for socks, right now it is just awkward.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Absolutely. Size 8.5 Womens (US). I can be more specific in email if you tell me what you need to know.

23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd) October 28

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID? Love Ravelry. I'm "Kaylee" on there :)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

My final grade (and knit update)

I finally heard back from my prof about my capstone project for grad school. It was such a large portion of my grade that until I knew that project passed, I wasn't 100% sure I passed the last class and actually graduated. So it has been the longest week ever waiting for him to grade it.

Then he started to distribute grades... there's only 12 of us in the class so I kept getting emails from other students saying "I got my grade! We're done! Stay in touch". Most of my friends got theirs in the morning and I'm still checking at 10:00 PM and finding nothing. Argh. At this point I start to panic.

Then I get this note: "Excellent job. Best final project in the class." I got a perfect score on the project and an A+ in the class!! And now I know without a doubt I have finished the program (with a confirmed 3.9) It was such a relief because all this time, I have never known how I did compared to others in my class. I'd just like to know how I do against peers at my level, so I can know what I do bring to the table to new employers.

Back to knitting:
I'm halfway through my second sockapalooza sock, and have my yarn picked out for my next sock swap (autumn-y colors). It's another sport weight yarn (Cherry Tree Hill Sport) and I'm debating on making it a set of Ampersand socks because the pattern is so pretty and addictive, or trying something new.

I picked up some Opal 6 ply in a basic black to make G some thick-but-not-boot-weight socks, and I've heard Opal wears well. (I needed something long lasting and easy to care for... he's getting 2 pairs of the same exact socks in case he loses one, he has others that match). It's not the softest yarn but hopefully it will suit the purpose. I think that will end up being my mindless knitting for the rest of 2007.

This weekend (once sockapalooza socks are done), I'll be planning out holiday gift knitting :) It seems so odd to do that in 90 degree weather. I know I want to do some Mrs. Beeton's wristwarmers and one pair of Cookie A's Monkey socks, and possibly this lace tam/scarf set. I purchased the Alpaca Silk and it is amazingly soft.