2008 Knitting Round Up Wednesday, Dec 31 2008 

On the eve of 2009, it seemed like a good time to take stock of all the knitting projects I’ve done in 2008. On reflection, it really seems like I should have more, but…I guess that’s next years resolution!

Knitting Projects 2008

To put in perspective, in 2008 I completed: 1 cowl, 1 scarf, 1 shawl, 5 pairs of socks, 4 dischloths, 4 adult sweaters, 3 hats, and 1 skirt. Not bad I suppose, especially considering the number of unfinished or abandoned things lying around. (We don’t talk about those.)

And now…on to 2009! Where I vow to keep track of my projects, finish the things I start, knit from my stash, and make a ridiculous number of socks.

Tarot Card of the Day: King of Pentacles

Sock addiction Tuesday, Dec 30 2008 

I’m not sure what it is about socks that makes them so much more addictive than other knitting, but I just can’t seem to stop knitting them! I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but I have over 70 sock patterns queued on Ravelry…and I keep finding more.

It’s possible that I  may have a small sock problem.

Anyway, I finished up a pair of socks over the holidays (photos to come) so naturally, I decided to completely forget about my goal to reduce my number of half-finished, hibernating projects, and immediately cast on for a new pair.

Fawkes Socks

(Please ignore the cat hair. It’s everywhere, no matter what I do or how often I clean.)

These are Fawkes, knit with some Gryffindor  yarn from Etsy. The yarn was a gift, so I don’t know who the seller was, but it’s fantastic yarn.  I’ve gotten a little farther on this one, and it’s a little short in the leg; I probably should have added a couple more repeats of the leg pattern.

Noro Commuter Sock

I also dug my Noro commuter socks out of hiding. I can really only work on plain vanilla socks on my commute, since I have to change trains and I  need to have something I can pick up and put down without worrying where I am. It’s a good place to work with varigated or self-patterning yarn, though, since those usually look best as plain vanilla socks.

I’m resisting the urge to dig more sock yarn out of my stash and cast on for something else….after all, two socks isn’t really overkill, is it?

Tarot Card of the Day: Nine of Cups

FO: Poinsettia Monday, Dec 29 2008 

I got inspired to finish some things up (and start new ones) over the holiday, so I’m hoping to have quite a few new finished objects to share! I even entertained the idea of limiting the number of projects I cast on for but let’s not get crazy.

I thought I’d experiment with something other than MySpace-esque photos taken by holding the camera at arm’s lenght or posing in a mirror, so I’m using 12seconds to record video of my object. Unfortunately, WordPress isn’t allowing me to embed the video, but if you’re interested you can check it out here.

Poinsettia Cowl

Vital Stats:
Pattern: Poinsettia from Winter 2008 Knitty
Yarn: Shibui Knits Baby Alpaca DK in Spruce
Needles: US4 16″ circulars

I have to say–I LOVE this cowl! I was a little skeptical when all the cowls started showing up, but I wore Poinsettia this morning, and it was so comfortable. Much less fiddly than scarf, but still warm and comfy. I also liked that it didn’t use too much yarn, so I got to splurge on something really nice. I definitely see more cowls in my future.

Tarot Card of the Day: The Emperor

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Wednesday, Dec 24 2008 

I feel relatively unfestive this Christmas Eve–I’m working from home today (alas) while watching Top Chef reruns. Since I’m not going home again this year (next year, I promise Mom!) I’m keeping everything low-key. I got some fancy appetizers from Trader Joe’s to heat up tonight in lieu of my family’s traditional fondue–Christmas Eve is not a time that should require cooking! I can always save the leftovers for snacks, though let’s face it, I can totally eat the entire tray of feta and carmelized onion bites in one sitting. AND I’M NOT ASHAMED OF THAT.

Ahem.

Later on today, I need to do some cleaning up around here, finish wrapping a few things (for cats, and one box that my Mom had shipped to me), finish making some kitty toys, and start my eggs portugal for tomorrow. If I get really adventurous, I might try making some goats milk egg nog. Then, I plan on finding something festive to watch on TV and working on my Purple Monkeys.

Purple Monkeys in progress

Aren’t the gorgeous? I started these I don’t even know how long ago, but I picked them up again after the holiday rush. I’m definitely a huge fan, and I can’t wait to finish and wear them. I also need to find the ball band for this yarn, because I LOVE IT! It has a fantastic elastic, yet firm, quality that I think is going to hold up to wear really well.

I have to say, that’s the on bonus of not going home. Everything has to be finished and shipped off early, so I get to spend Christmas Eve happily knitting on whatever project I chose, sipping eggnog, and watching movies. It’s definitely more relaxing. I even found a small prime rib at Trader Joe’s for tomorrow, so I’ll have a real Christmas dinner this year!

Whatever you’re doing or celebrating, I hope you have a fantastic holiday!

Tarot Card of the Day: Four of Wands

New Project: Filigree Scarf Tuesday, Dec 23 2008 

Remember the door prize I won at the Kira K trunk show a few months  back?

Kira K raffle prize

It’s been calling to me ever since, but for once I was disciplined and stuck to my holiday knitting. So on Saturday when I shipped those boxes off, this was the first thing I cast on for!

The yarn is gorgeous, mixing several different shades of purple together, and it feels fabulous. The pattern is fantastic, too. It looks intricate and delicate, but is a simple two row repeat that was easy to memorize and work on (even when I’ve been doped on up on cold meds).  I can’t wait to finish this and wear it!

Tarot Card of the Day: Wheel of Fortune

It is done! Monday, Dec 22 2008 

Finally, this past weekend, I breathed a big sigh of relief and shipped off the rest of my packages. (Which, for the record? 3 packages, with a total weight of 16 lbs, cost less to ship through USPS than 1 6 lb package via UPS. Bet they’ll arrive on the same day, too.)

Christmas Knitting 2008

That is (almost) all of the Christmas knitting. The thermos cozy wasn’t finished in time for this photo, and I forget to take a picture before I sent it off. Oops.

I have to say, it is a huge relief to finally have all of this done! Of course, I immediately started working on some things for me…but more on that later! It’s just nice to be free of deadlines.

Tarot Card of the Day: The Empress

NEVER ship UPS! Wednesday, Dec 17 2008 

Today, I learned a valuable lesson. I will never ship anything via UPS again. I’m sharing my tale of woe here, because I don’t want others to get screwed the way I did.

Like many of you, I spend a lot of time at a computer, so I rely on websites to get accurate information. I’m not always able to call places, and I don’t have time to trek to stores unless I know that’s where I need to go. This is a concept that UPS has apparently failed to grasp, because as I found out today, their website is utterly useless.

So, I have a few boxes to ship home for Christmas. The heavy stuff is going USPS flat rate, but the knitted items are lightweight and bulky enough that I figured it wouldn’t be economical. Now, I have a choice of stopping by the UPS store near my house, or dragging my box to work and adding it to our FedEx pickup. Now, I didn’t feel like carrying a bulky box on public transit at rush hour, so I figured I’d go UPS. BIG MISTAKE!!!

First off, the website. I went looking for the last day to ship. Couldn’t find one. FedEx has a last day to ship calendar, so does the Postal Service, so clearly it isn’t that hard to do. But all UPS tells me in their holiday schedule is the days they won’t be delivering. Which is nice, but doesn’t actually help me get things there on time. This probably should have been my first clue to ship through someone else, but I didn’t.

Okay, so I move on to plan B, which is wasting a significant amount of my time inputting the esetimated weight of my package and the zip codes, and trying to figure out the last day I could ship. I put in today’s date (this was last week) and got an estimate that Ground would be delivered by Dec 24th, and 3 Day would arrive in, well, 3 days–so, Friday or Monday.  I also got an estimate that a 5 lb package would cost about $11 to ship ground, and about $24 to ship 3 day. Reasonable, right?

So off I trek this morning, me and my box, and get to the UPS store. This is where the fun begins. First, I am told that UPS ground will not arrive until the week after Christmas, there is NO chance of it getting there before and that they haven’t been able to get ground packages delivered by Christmas since December 6th. THEN I am quoted a price for my box, which ended up being 6 lbs instead of 5. It is more than TWICE what I was estimated online, and I am told that 3 Day shipments will not arrive until Monday or Tuesday. (For those of you counting, that’s 5 business days. I’m willing to give them wiggle room on Monday, since a lot does depend on the timing of delivery and pickup, but come on.)

Now, I was on their website last week, and there was absolutely no information to indicate that ground shipping was no longer an option. How hard would it be to update that information? Also, I know that weight will increase the cost, but 1 lb should NOT double the cost. If they’re using some sort of scale (1-5 lbs = $11, 6-10 =$25) maybe, but then why not make that information public? If that were the case, I’d have taken something out to make it 5 lbs or added a bunch more that I’m sending in a different box to get my money’s worth! Of course, this late in the game I had no choice but to cough up the cash and ship it, but the lack of customer service is ridiculous. From now on, I’m using FedEx or the postal service. It maybe a hassle and more expensive, but at least I know what I’m getting into.

Tarot Card of the Day: Two of Cups

Almost there Monday, Dec 15 2008 

I’m almost to the finish line. My goal is to have all of my gift making and buying done, and everything shipped off  by Saturday. At which point I will hopefully have some time to collapse in a heap on my couch before going off to frolic for Yule. (That, or make cookies.)

Because I’m sure you all care very much (hey, stop laughing) I have decided to share my overly optimistic schedule with you.

So far, I have:

* Finished 4 washcloths for Mom and Aunt
* Finished knitting , seaming, and adding buttons, collars, etc. to Dad’s aran sweater
* Finished two pairs of socks for Aunt
* Went book shopping for all (including myself)
* Began seaming Mom’s sweater
* Began Dad’s thermos cozy

That all sounds good, until you realize what I am going to attempt this week.

Monday
*Go to Lush, buy gifts for Mom and Aunt from self, for Mom from Dad, for Dad from Mom, for family friends and other relatives for all. Annoy them by paying for things in three batches so that I can get reimbursed for gifts not from myself
*Go to Longs, buy boxes, wrapping paper, and possibly a stocking for self
*Finish seaming Mom’s sweater
*Continue work on thermos cozy (finish?)

Tuesday
*Holiday party at work. (Must. Leave. Early.)
*Wrap sweaters, socks, other lightweight gifts and pack in box for UPS
*Finish thermos cozy
*Stop by Philz and/or Blue Bottle at lunch, buy coffee for Dad

Wednesday
* Mail UPS package (get to work late)
* Work late
* Stop by Trader Joe’s for wasabi mayo and crushed garlic (my family is weird)
* Sew cat toys for felines that live afar (in our family, pets outnumber humans)

Thursday
* Networking LGBT holiday party/benefit (need to rsvp, can’t stay too late)
* Begin wrapping and packing heavy gifts to send via priority mail
* Finish cat toys, anything else that didn’t get done on time

Friday
* Bake dog biscuits for canines that live afar
* Assorted finishing and wrapping that remains
* Sew cat toys for own felines
* Dishes!

Saturday
* Head to farmer’s market for flavored balsamic vinegar
* Wrap vinegar, finish packing up heavy gifts
* Mail via priority mail
* Make cookies for Yule
* Yule
* Plan holiday meals
* Cookies for work?

Sunday
* Clean
* Cookies for work?
* Make treats for own felines
* Grocery shopping
* Collapse on couch, wonder who invented the Holidays anyway?

I can totally get this done. Right? Right….?

Tarot Card of the Day: Six of Wands

FO Friday: Lace Washcloth Friday, Dec 12 2008 

I know, washcloths are a rather contested subject in the knitting world. Worth it, or a waste of time? I say worth it, at least to use as face cloths–they feel better on my skin than the storebougt ones. I’m also hoping they last a litle longer, since the cheap ones I buy get washed once eand look like someone chewed on them. (Then again, knowing my cats, maybe someone did.)

Plus, my mother thinks they’re cute and wanted some for Christmas.

Washcloth

After slogging away on sweaters, I was in  the mood for a quick knit last Sunday. This lace waschloth only took one afternoon. I used Sugar and Cream cotton on size 8 needles. I’ve got another, coordinating one that I didn’t photograph yet, and I’m planning on wrapping them up with some nice shampoo and conditioner from Lush, for a luxury bath gift. Because even though I’m pro-washcloth, giving them alone just seems kind of silly.

Tarot Card of the Day: Five of Pentacles

WIP: Leaves of Whimsy Thursday, Dec 11 2008 

Leaves of Whimsy

Not much to say–I was busy working late last night, so I didn’t get much time to knit. I’ve been working on these Leaves of Whimsy socks for my aunt. I love the pattern and color, they’re so pretty! In fact, my Mom almost stole them when she came to visit.

Unfortunately, they require a little bit more concentration to knit, so I had to put them down while squeezing in some time to watch Top Chef. I love the show, but I have to say  that lately the  fans are rubbing me the wrong way. How come, when a guy is confident he’s a good chef, and when a woman is, she’s arrogant? Or if a guy gets angry, it’s because he’s frustrated, but if a woman shows anger or disappointment, she’s immature and bitchy? It’s people saying things like that who really get me into a feminist lather. Seriously? How are we ever going to go places if we’re expected to be sweet and self-deprecating all the time?

But that is a post for another time. For now, I leave you with socks. And a Padma cat.

Padma's throne

Tarot Card of the Day: The Empress

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