23 May 2008

Spinning my life away!

Hey Kate,
I LOVE our new layout! It's so pretty! Thanks so much for doing that - it looks so much cleaner and easier to read. :)

Your grandfather is now a writer? How awesome! I have a particular fondness for old people, particularly old men (they're so adorable!) and I think it's GREAT when they do things to make themselves happy. My grandfather is a very cool old man and he's currently really into gardening. I don't have a current photo of his garden, but I'll post one soon. He had an enormous and wonderful garden at his home, but when he and my grandmother moved into a retirement community, he left all of that behind. The facility had a very derelict little patch out in the back, though, and they let him take it over and use his complete discretion. It's wonderful, and it's all he talks about nowadays. It's full of bulbs and perennials and roses and herbs and it's beautiful.

So, I have a few updates in my life. First, Dan quit his job! He was tired of being beaten up all day by the students without any staff stepping in to help, so he decided it was time to find a new job. He has sent his resume out all over the country, so who knows where we'll be living in a few months time! It's exciting and a little nerve-wracking but very good. I want him to be safe and happy at his job. :) Now I will have to find another job, though! I love working for my boss, and hopefully she can help me find something in the fiber industry wherever I end up.

Second, I've finally rented a spinning wheel and have made my first wheel-spun yarn! I'm renting a Louet Victoria, which I quite like, and I had a few lessons with a local fiber artist, Brooke of Tactile Fiber Arts. So, this first yarn is undyed BFL from Brooke. I have 336 yards of a sport-DK weight yarn (I haven't checked the WPI) and I couldn't be happier. I'm currently spinning up some undyed Finn wool (it's a creamy white color) and will use them both to make some colorwork mittens for myself and Dan. What do you think?

Lastly, I finally finished my Tangled Yoke Cardigan. I'm mostly happy with it. I used Queensland Kathmandu DK yarn and size 3 needles. I went down to size 2s for the button bands, and I meant to for the neckband but I forgot. I may go back and re-do it. We'll see. No pictures of me wearing it because I feel fat right now. ;)

So that's all from here. I hope you and Simon are doing well! Have tons of fun on your trip to the UK, and hopefully I will still be in California long enough to see you at GA!


20 May 2008

So, My grandfather has taken on a second career as a writer. He's actually quite good and has self published a few books on Amazon! A few weeks ago he asked Simon to help him set up a blog, but since Si is no blogger I'm blogging in order to see which platform might be easiest for him to use.

But, I figured that as long as I was here I should actually take the time to respond. First, you looked beautiful on your special day. I'm sorry that I wasn't there. :( I'm so looking forward to the chance to see you in June. My ticket to GA is booked, and now I'm just working to get the return flight sorted.

I have been thinking about your previous post. Here's what I have come to...

1) You are so right. The black, while near and dear to my dark little heart, is unattractive. We need something with a little pep if we want to be readable. I'm going to play with it today and see how long it takes you to notice it! :P That said, I do actually like our layout. I think we could use a different, catchier sub heading, but all in all it's not tooo bad. The deed is done and I'm liking what I see but I still don't think it's perfect. Go ahead and fiddle with it yourself, or let me know what you think about this. ;)

2 & 3) First and foremost, I want the blog to be a place for us to leave messages for each other. If other people are interested in our lives than they are free to read. I'll link to it in Ravelry and that way we should get a little more traffic. To keep it interesting I think there should most definately be at least 1 picture per post keeping in mind that the reality is the more the merrier up to a point. A post a week sounds good, I think I can actually keep up with a 2-4 posts a month commitment. Anything more than that would be overboard on my end.

So, with all of that in mind. Here's my post.

It's a terribly gray day here in C'burg. Not at all inviting. It makes it difficult to get any work done. If I had my way every day would be overcast without rain. If it's too sunny it's hard to stay focused and if it's too rainy it's hard to get motivated. Maybe I need more caffeine....

Last weekend I attended graduation (here) and the wedding of my childhood best friend (away). The weather was much nicer but all of the preparation for the wedding and graduation means that I haven't really had the time to knit that much.

Alison was an incredibly beautiful bride and knowing that she loves photos I'm going to assume that she will forgive me for posting just one little photo here. It's not the best in my collection but I think it might be the best shot of her.

Alison is one of the kindest, most wonderful people I know. We met through our parents when we were both in kindergarten and although our friendship has had its ups and downs I have never considered her to be anything less than my BFF. :P She is the kind of person who has a million and one spectacular friends, so I felt honored to be asked to actually be in the wedding. It was a wonderful day, possibly a more beautiful wedding than my own. Her husband is pretty awesome and hopefully if I'm lucky Simon will agree to go to Houston with me to visit them.

My current project is the Rambling Rose Cardigan by Martin Storey. When I began I worried that the small needles and fine yarn would equal extreme boredom but I am so excited to see how it turns out that I am really enjoying the project.

So far I have managed to complete the back, and I'm about 3/4 of the way done with the left front panel. I wasn't a fan of the roses on the original cardigan so I have decided to leave them out. In my mind it's the blueberry cardigan anyway!

This Friday Si and I leave for the UK for a week and a half. After much planning and preparation we are taking Joe and Rachel with us! I promise to take a million and one pictures to share. I received a fabulous digital camera as a Christmas gift this year (Nikon P5100) and my goal is to learn how to really make it work for me. The manual is going on the trip as in flight entertainment. ;)

Now, I'm off to revamp our blog. Let me know what you think!

Love always,

23 October 2007

Long Time, No Post

Hey Miss Kate,

How are things in your far-off world? I've been missing you and your ideas and your knitting. Now that I am more settled in California, I think I am ready for slightly more commitment to our blog here. Well, I am lonesome and doing a lot of knitting. Or, at least,a lot of thinking about knitting. I have so many ideas and yarns and fibers swirling in my brain... I want to get it all out! In any case, I have a few ideas.

1. Maybe play with the layout a bit. It's not terribly inviting or user-friendly.

2. Think/talk about what we really want to say with this blog. Why do we have it? What do you enjoy about blogging? (We started to go into this a little with the last post... we should explore it some more, i think.) What is our ultimate message or goal?

3. Post more pictures. When we're on task, we actually post about once a week, which is good. What is not good, however, is our lack of images. Reading a text-only blog about knitting is NOT something most people will want to do.

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear from you on this. I feel like we have the potential to do something very cool here, but we just need to sort it out, you know?

In the interest of helping, I will now share a few things I have finished lately.

Pattern: Eunny Jang's Print O' the Wave Stole
Yarn: Alpaca with a Twist Fino in First Frost. It's an alpaca/silk blend and is WONDERFUL. Extremely soft, delicate, and with a really lovely subtle shimmer. I adore it! It also drapes beautifully.
Needles: US 4 Addi Turbos (I wish I had been able to find the new lace needles at the yarn store!)
Modifications: A few, but not many. First, i knit it all in one direction and skipped the two-sided grafting bit. I think it flows a little better without that seam in the middle, even though I had to sacrifice symmetry to do it. I knit 28 repeats of the pattern and picked up 200 stitches, I believe, on the long edges.
Notes: I really liked this pattern. It was well-written (as usual, with Eunny's patterns), though I was a little frustrated with the eyelet round in the edging set-up. I understood what she wanted, but I didn't understand how she wanted me to do it. So I did it my own way and it worked out. The lace pattern is very easily intuited, if not memorized, but not at all boring. Overall, I am rather happy with it and would definitely recommend it to someone in a similar time crunch who still wants a pretty stole for their wedding day.

And the only picture I have of me actually wearing it. My mother made life-size cutouts of me and my husband as children (we've known each other since the age of 7), and our 4-year old nephew was intrigued by them.

Pattern: Trellis, by Britta Stolfus Rueschhoff, on knitty.com, and Saartje's Booties (opens a .pdf file).
Yarn: Knitpicks Swish DK in Asparagus. Extremely soft and bouncy, and superwash to boot! I had never used this yarn before, but I really like it. I think it's even softer than their Merino Style, though admittedly it has been 2 years or so since I last used that yarn. I would absolutely use it again, especially for baby or kidswear.
Needles: Knitpicks Options US 6 circular needle with 32" cable. For booties, I used Brittany Birch US 2 dpns.
Modifications: Nothing major, just tweaks here or there. I wanted to make it a little smaller than the 6-month size, but I ended up getting gauge with the size 6 needles so I just left it at that. I tacked down the shawl collar so it didn't flop around, on each side in the front and at the center back. No pattern modifications on the booties, but I used only one color instead of two.
Notes: I enjoyed knitting this sweater. I admit that I was slightly out of it while I knit (I did it the week leading up to the wedding), so I can't recall any major issues I had with it. This, however, is the sweater where I feel I have officially mastered seaming. It's funny. I'm a seamstress, and have been knitting for 10 years, but my seams are never quite as perfect as I would like. I've finally gotten it down, with the help of The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques. I really recommend this book to anyone who hates seaming or grafting or any other finishing processes. It is clear, concise, and truly helps you make the perfectly finished garment you want to make. Finishing is SO important to the final look of a piece and I think everyone could benefit from the instruction this book offers.

Well, I can't wait to hear from you on your blog thoughts, or even with a post of your recent knitting work! I know you've been doing it, even if you haven't been posting it!

Take care,

04 April 2007

What's your blogging purpose?

Dear Kristen,

Our blog has gotten sad. Really, really sad... I still haven't put up pictures from Christmas, and each time I think I should post something else drags me away. Then, I sit down at the computer and I keep reading these other fantabulous blogs, absently looking for the "key", you know that style or thought that keeps you hooked. It seems like I've found it in some places but I can't replicate it here. Here's where the research has gotten me... It appears that you need one of two things to make a really fantastic knitting blog:

1) Serious knitting talent, i.e. Eunny Jang. Eunny is such an amazing knitter that she can forget to post for a month but you know there are people like me who check back a couple of times a week for the entire period just to see if she'll post. It's her incredible patterns and skills that keep drawing us all back in. I'm guessing that's what will keep us reading Interweave Knits now that she's the editor...

2) Clear thoughts and frequent posting, i.e. Lolly. Lolly's blog is one of my favorites. What I really like - and this ties into a lot of the other blogs that I read - is that while she talks a little about her life her posts always connect to some bigger theme. At the moment it seems like her running themes are Project Spectrum and her weight loss journey, both of which are admirable persuits. I also really like the fact that there is no whining going on. She keeps whatever personal stress she has to herself. (This is something I fail on regularly. And, if I can't do it in real life I'm not sure I can manage it in a blog.) I think that Stephanie Pearl McPhee also does this well with her hook being an incredible sense of humor and the occasional "project", i.e. Knitting Olympics, or Knitters without Borders.

So. I'm not really sure where I'm going with this. The blog has been here for a year. We don't post particularly regularly and we don't really have a following of readers. Do you want more from this? Or am I just overanalyzing? If you don't think I'm crazy, then let me know what you would like to see here.

Oh, and if you are are one of our 1.5 readers, let me know what you think about blogs. Or heck, blog about it! I'd really like to know where others are directing their crazy blogging adventures.


26 February 2007

Big feet

Dear Kristen,

I have pictures to show, but work has been so crazy that I haven't had the time to upload anything... :( I completed the Cambridge sweater and gifted it to Si for Valentine's Day. It's okay, but not perfect. The biggest issue is that the arm holes are very very deep. This creates kind of a strange baggy effect under the arms. I'm not sure how it happened, and I can't figure out any easy way to fix it so I think he's just going to live with it. It's a first sweater anywho so I'm not sure it's worth worrying about. :) I just need to try a few more to see if I can't get it right.

In other news, I have HUGE FEET. It might not seem so to the casual observer. Heck my size 10s aren't all that unusual, but the fact that my feet are almost 9 inches around is apparently quite the anomaly. It means that I can't easily knit socks unless the pattern is designed for a man. UGH! Last week I attempted to knit myself the Friday harbor socks from Knitting on the Road and I couldn't even get the band past my heel. I was totally bummed. Thankfully I have quite the collection of sock patterns and some manly socks from an old IK seem to be working out for me. I think I need to start a "fat foot cute" site for sock knitting patterns desgined for those among us with fat feet and exceedingly shapely calves (mine are almost 16 inches around at the widest part). There might also be a seperate category for tall boots that will fit those shapley calves. :P

That's all.


30 January 2007

i hate poverty!

Dear Kate,

How have you been? I haven't heard from you in a while. I'm missing my Kate! I just posted a note to Simon about his gallery show - that's so awesome! I miss you guys so much right now. I'm feeling very lonesome and frustrated in Kalamazoo. I have Dan and he's amazing, but I still can't find a job and I still don't have any other friends. Alas. Oh well, I just have to keep trying. :)

Have you seen the new Knitty surprises? They just went up. I REALLY want to knit both Thermal and Dragonfly - they're so pretty! Unfortunately they're both out of my price range at the moment, seeing as how I have no job. I would wear Thermal ALL the time because we keep it so cold in our apartment! I think I am in another selfish knitting mood. I haven't knit anything for myself since last spring and I would really like to make something nice for ME for a change. I'm currently working on that shawl for my aunt Pat, which is almost done, and then I get to do sweaters for Grandma and Brian. Then probably some socks and a sweater for Dan. Then maybe a sweater for me. Maybe.

I finally have a couple of pictures for you of some recent projects. First are the Bayerische Socks I made for Dan's mom. I finished them in time and I have pics of the finished ones, but I must not have uploaded them onto the computer. I'll post the finished pics as soon as I can, but in the meantime you can have an in-progress photo. They're done in Knitpicks Gloss in Concord Grape.

Next is the pseudo-John Muir scarf that I knit for Dan. (I wasn't too happy with how the pattern was written, so I rewrote it.)

And finally, just for kicks, here's a picture of our first Christmas tree. :) It doesn't have the ornament we got for our first Christmas, or the ornaments that we have that match (we each got a red ornament with our name on it when we were tiny kids and they're exactly the same!), but you get the idea.

So that's life here. I'll post completed pics of the Bayerische Socks, Pat's completed shawl, and probably some progress pics of whichever sweater I start first when next I post. In the meantime, I'd really like to hear how you're doing on the Cambridge Jacket pattern because that's one of the ones I will be knitting next! Anyway, I hope you're doing well and I look forward to hearing about your knitting and your life really soon!


24 December 2006

Dear Kristen,

I'm in England! It's lovely and cool here with a light cloud cover. Perfect weather if you ask me. ;) On the flight over I started a scarf for my dad in camel coloured Jo Sharp Silk Road Aran. It's not knitting up quite as soft as I thought it might, but the sheen from the added silk content is lovely. I'm hoping to have it finished by the 31st so that I can give it to him as an early birthday present before he leaves the country... Yes, you did hear correctly, the entire family - both sides - will be together this Christmas. It's pure insanity!

I'm also still working away on Si's Christmas sweater. In a moment of inspiration I decided to buy him a leather jacket for Christmas so I'm not quite so pressed to get the sweater done before tomorrow. Good thing since I still have half the right front panel and two sleeves to complete. I'm very pleased with the Cambridge Jacket pattern. It's been a clear and easy knit!

I'm sure there's more to say, but since I'm without a way to upload photos I'll save it for later.

Have a happy holiday! :)