Monday, January 28, 2008

A bad week for knitting, my 2008 Resolutions, a FO, and the Best Cupcakes (I've) Ever Made

In that order. Sorry for the long post.

It was a bad week of knitting for me. I have absolutely nothing to show for a week in which I managed to knit for at least an hour every evening. Unless you count two swatches but no one wants to see swatches. Even the swatches were frustrating. Here is what I attempted to do this past week:

  • Pick up stitches to knit the collar of my first sweater (so close to being done!). I'm supposed to pick up 82 stitches on the right side. If I pick up every stitch I can I get 100+ stitches. If I skip every other one I get 50ish stitches. Where is the 82?! I worked on this for two evenings then put it down to start...

  • A Friday Harbor sock. I started it twice before I got smart and googled "Friday Harbor" to find the pattern correction. If you ever decide to knit these, read Margene's excellent explanation on how to knit the first chart. Decided I need a sock break and knit some...

  • Test swatches for Fyne Vest and the Tangled Yoke Cardigan. The swatch for Fyne measures fine but the purl side of my color work looks bad. As for the Tangled Yoke: how can I get exactly the same measurements with a US 4 as I did with a US 5? Not quite psyched up enough to start Fyne, and frustrated with my Tangled Yoke swatches, I decided to chill out and knit...

  • Some Endpaper Mitts. I spent an hour last night learning the Italian Tubular Cast On, getting it all wrong, giving up and learning the regular (English?) Tubular Cast On, which resulted in the most beautiful cast-on I've ever knit. Unfortunately it was way too tight; after knitting the ribbed section I tried it on and couldn't get it over my hand. So late last night I frogged it. I ended up drinking wine and watching Harry Potter and the OOP in a surly, surly mood.

That was my week of knitting. But did I really accomplish nothing? Sometimes when I have a frustrating time working on something I have a tendency to give up and start something simple. My first instinct was to scrap it all and start a stockinette sock, just so I'd have something to show for my week. But for the past couple weeks I have been thinking about what I want to accomplish this year; what my knitting goals are. If you haven't read Christy's awesome post about her goals and need a knitting pep talk, read it (and check in on the progress of her Autumn Rose sweater!). I'd like to raise the bar on my knitting like she is. So my 2008 Knitting Resolutions are:
  • Less socks. I'm sure I'll always have a pair of socks on the needles but it is time to break out and try new projects. I have a list of socks I want to make this year, including many Nancy Bush socks, but it is a much smaller list than last year. Less socks also means buying less (or no) sock yarn this year. I have plenty.

  • More color-work. It is time to try some of the projects I've been dreaming of. I am starting with the Fyne vest.

  • Knit more sweaters and other larger projects. Stop thinking of my knitting as a race to finish as many FO's as possible and concentrate on learning new skills and enjoying the process. This year in the queue is Fyne, Tangled Yoke, Central Park Hoodie, Rusted Root and Green Gable (okay I'm a little behind - I know you all have already knit these).

I do have my first FO of 2008. Another pair of Hederas. This time in the Yarnahoy (colorway is "Shores of Andaman") I won from Alyson last year. They're for my mom. While she was visiting me over the holidays I decided she had to head back up north with a new pair of socks. I let her choose the yarn out of my stash; her hands went right to the Yarn Ahoy. I love the way it knit up (no pooling): this yarn is soft as buttah.

I did accomplish one thing last week. I baked what I am calling The Best Cupcakes (I've) Ever Made. I found chockylit's cupcake blog while searching for cupcake recipes and tried her Chili Chocolate cupcakes with Chili Chocolate Ganache to bring to my neighborhood porch party. Soooo awesome. If you do not love chocolate and chili as much as I do (I love chocolate and chili so very very much) you could always leave out the chili I suppose. I think next I'll try her Lavender Cream Filled Cupcake with Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting.

My cupcake photos came out blurry. Instead I leave you with a photo of the girls. Have a sweet week!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

And the winner is...

...Pikku-Kettu! She is the winner of two skeins of Socks That Rock. Thank you to everyone who commented on my Blogiversary post!

There is not a lot of knitting getting done at the moment. I have a huge work project that is taking most of my time this week. I have so much stuff to show you: some FO's from the past few months, some WIP's and some upcoming projects. As of last week I have amassed quite a collection of Rowan Felted Tweed and my fingers are twitching to get started on some sweaters. But all that will have to wait until next week! Work first, then knit :-(

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The official "I Am Sorry I Am Such A Lame Blogger, Please Still Be My Friend, I Miss You... Contest"

Yes, it does seem as if I dropped off the face of the earth.

There is no dramatic or scandalous reason I haven't blogged since August. Everybody is healthy and content here at ThreeDogKnits. Jackson got to go on vacation with me in November. Betty is fat and happy. Sasha didn't eat a single glass ornament this holiday season (a Christmas miracle!). Time just got away from me.

One of my resolutions (which I'm making up as I go along, as I am too disorganized to put them in a list) is to blog more. I have really enjoyed making blog friends this past year and don't want to let those connections fizzle because I am too busy (or lazy) to post! I have kept up with your blogs, even if I haven't commented as much as usual.

So, to kick the new year off right, I am having a contest. The reason for the contest is twofold: 1) because it is my blogiversary! and 2) to make up for being so lame. It is the most simple and elementary of blog contests; anyone who leaves me a comment between now and.... let's say next Wednesday, January 16th by noon EST, will have their names thrown into an imaginary hat, at which time I will randomly select one name. Possible comment topics include: your 2008 resolutions, what you think my 2008 resolutions should be, general greetings to me and my dogs, and lastly, whether I should buy a sewing machine, a Wii, or a vacuum cleaner that actually picks up dog hair with the money I am going to save from not buying a gajillion skeins of sock yarn this year (okay, there's another resolution).

The prize: one lucky winner will be the recipient of not one, but two skeins of Socks That Rock lightweight: Gingerbread Dude and Sugarplums (no longer available on Blue Moon's website).

Random items:

  • Yesterday I bought Sufjan Steven's "Songs for Christmas", which I am listening to right now. I love it. I put it on and immediately got the urge to bake more Christmas cookies. Yes, I am still listening to Christmas music on January 9th. Therefore is it any surprise I don't have any New Year resolutions to share? By my calculations I don't have to have those done until next week.

  • I am also totally digging The National "Boxer". Buy it. Listen to it. Listen to it again and enjoy it even more than the first time.

  • Someone found my blog by googling "shuffleboard for dog". To this person I say, Wait! Come back!! I have two questions. Is this for real? And why don't I know about shuffleboard for dogs?