Saturday, December 31, 2011

Holiday Cheer

When I first started this blog, I found it a lot of fun to be snarky and critical.  As I've aged, I find it much more satisfying to be uplifting and supportive.

Amazing People
Over the years, I've participated in a number of on-line knitting forums, including the original KnitList, Yahoo Groups, Ravelry,, and now forums on Facebook.  I have also been fortunate to have been involved in the creation of the Men's Knitting Retreats, and through it all, I have found some incredible whackos and people with phenomenally bad taste.  I know how much fun it can be to point them out, and rag on them.

But I've also found an amazing community of people with creativity, talent and impeccable taste.

Those are the people I've decided to focus my energy on lately.

While I'm sure there are those readers who miss the harsh critiques of bad magazine designs and making fun of the insipid knitters who write ridiculously stupid things in public forums, the truth of the matter is, I find it much more satisfying to support, recognize and enjoy the company of the amazing among us.

Here is someone who's a master at uplifting people, plus I feel incredibly privileged to be on his list.

Current Knitting/Spinning
Looks like I will definitely finish the cardigan by the end of the year, but I'm not so sure about finishing the Optim Merino Top spinning.

Starting with the cardigan:

You'll see that I've finished the pocket sleeves, the pocket edging, sewing in the pocket linings and seaming up one side of the sweater.  I've also gotten a few inches done on the button-band.  I'm very pleased with how this turns out, and if it just happens to fit my nephew, it will be a huge success.

The spinning:

While this may look close to complete, I still have quite a bit of spinning to do to finish the second bobbin of singles.  Hard to believe, right?

I'll keep you updated on both projects and let you know whether I met my deadlines for each project.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Gift Fail I decided I needed to focus only on the cardigan for my nephew in the days before Christmas, or I would never get it done.  It turned out to be futile.

The Moment of Realization
It occurred to me three days before Christmas, when I still had the rest of the right/front, two sleeves, a small pocket edging and a button-band to finish, that I wouldn't be able to give this cardigan as a Christmas gift while my nephew was here.

But I never stopped trying.

This shows that I've been able to finish the front and I have about 30 more rows on both sleeves before they're finished.  I also did add the contrasting color to the pocket edging, which I think looks quite fine.  I'm pretty certain I'll finish it before the new year.

During that knitting time, I completely ignored the spinning, so I've made no progress on that.

Oh well, I tried.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Accustomed To Customs

Traveling between Canada and the United States on a weekly basis gets you used to the scrutiny of TSA and Customs & Immigration for both countries.

What's A Gel?
Did you realize peanut butter is considered a gel or paste, and you can't carry more than 4 ounces of it through TSA security (unless, of course it's digesting whilst you carry it).

Yes, so I find myself lowered to having to be a mule for Kraft Extra Creamy Peanut Butter.

It's a product of Canada, that isn't produced in the United States, and as I've mentioned before, it's far superior to any commercial peanut butter in the states.  I ended up checking my suitcase this past trip home so that I could get this product safely home.

Five kilos should last me a few months.

Progress Report - Current Knitting/Spinning
My sister is in receipt of all three items I crochet/knit for her and she's pleased.  When  you finally see the non-traditional version of the one I finished for her daughter (my niece), please do not blame me.  They weren't colors/textures/sequins/yarn I would have chosen (although, truth be told, I did choose a number of the yarns, but only under specific restrictions.

Regardless, she's happy, so I'm happy and I'll have photos after Christmas.

I have made some additional progress on the spinning as well.

You'll note, I only have a few valleys of singles to fill in, and I should be able to accomplish this before the end of the year.

Finally, the cardigan I started this week is moving along swimmingly.

I'm almost to the neck/shoulder shaping (about 22 inches of knitting is shown here).  I'm somewhat following a Martin Storey pattern from the book Knitting For Him.  Mostly, I'm stealing the idea of a contrasting color between the ribbing color and the main body color, which looks great in Martin's version, even though he uses black as that separating color.  I'm usually not a big fan of black as a blending color, but it works on his version.

I also can't imagine why he didn't put the black on the pockets and possibly even on the button band.  I'm pretty certain I will modify this on my version.

Think I'll be able to finish this by Christmas?  I hope so!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

2011 - A Year of Completion

Well, at least it will be a year of fiber completion for me by the time the end of the year rolls around.

Checking Off The List
With Christmas presents all purchased, and the crochet/knitting project my sister asked me to do for her kids all done.  I'm working on finishing up a couple more projects before the end of the year.

It's incredibly satisfying to have mailed off the niece/nephew project (I'll post a photo after the new year), and having finished all the Christmas shopping makes for a much more serene time off from work between now and the New Year.  Just a couple more items to check off on the 2011 to-do list, and I will feel quite accomplished for the year.

The crochet projects are complete (although all of the items were partially crochet, and partially knit), and they are safely in the mail on their way to my sister.  Overall, they came out well, although they definitely wouldn't have been projects I would have selected.

I'm also working on trying to finish spinning up the singles for the Optim Merino from Australia.

I should be able to get it all done by the end of the year, and hopefully I'll be able to ply it up as well.  While I still have no idea what I'll do with the resulting yarn, I know I will be happy with the result.

The socks project I'm working on with yarn from Skeindelous is moving along well, and I will also try and get that finished before the end of the year, although, there's no urgency on finishing them.

Finally, I started a new project, that I'm hoping to have finished by Christmas, but I'm not sure if it will be.

This is the beginning of a cardigan that will be a kind of surprise gift...I hope.   I quite a bit of work to do on it before Christmas, but it's a man's small, so I'm hopeful it will move along pretty quickly.  I'm not a fast knitter, but I knit a lot.  Wish me luck!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Spicing Up My Work Life

I like practical jokes, especially when they're particularly clever.  And especially when they're played on someone that thinks they're immune to them.

Timing Is Everything
Years ago, I worked with a young woman in New York City, Cindy, and she considered herself quite the sophisticate.  She and I worked a lot with a group of expatriate employees that worked for the U.S. offices of the bank, but were working out of one of our overseas offices.

One day, she was being all snooty, so, out of the blue, I asked her if when she sent out a recent memo to her group of expatriates whether she had cc'ed the expatriates' spice.  The conversation then went like this:

She said, "Spice?!?!...don't you mean spouses?"
With a sarcastic tone, I replied, "You really think the plural of spouse is 'spouses'?"
"It IS." She responded emphatically.
I laughed derisively at her and as luck would have it, Donna, a really straight-laced coworker of ours was walking by, and I said, "Donna, what's the plural of spouse?"

Without batting an eyelash, Donna says with a rather patronizing tone, as if any child knows this answer..."Spice."

I could have kissed her, because for the next hour, or so, Cindy was aghast that she had mistakenly believed that spouses was the plural of spouse.

When she finally called her father to tell him how bizarre it was that she had it wrong all these years, and he corrected her, she was a lot less snooty.  At least for the day.

So, what's your favorite practical joke that either you've played, or someone has played on you?

Current Knitting
I didn't bring any of the current knitting with me to Edmonton, so I only worked a bit on the long-standing sock project.

At least I was able to finally turn the heel.  I have a four hour trip today, so I'll try and get some knitting done.

I also got to wear the new cowl a couple of times this past week in Edmonton (it hasn't been REALLY cold yet), and it kept me nice and toasty.  I really love how it came out.