Wednesday, December 31, 2008

FO: Reversible Cable Scarf

Cross posted at Sally Comes Unraveled and Year Long Gift-A-Long.

Reversible Cable Scarf

This is another FO that's been a long time coming.

It's the Reversible Cable Scarf from Lion Brand. I started it in fall of 2007. (Yes, you read that correctly, 2007.)

Reversible Cable Scarf

This was the scarf that made me fall in love with Berroco Ultra Alpaca Yarn. It feels so good on the wooden needles, and it has very crisp stitch definition.

I used US Size 5 Brittany Needles. (BTW - I broke one of these needles, and they did send me a new one, as promised by the company.)

Reversible Cable Scarf

It's been so long since I started that I'm unsure of what went wrong on the wonky end. I think I bound off with US Size 3 needles, but cast on with the US Size 5. That still left the beginning of the scarf all ruffly.

I didn't count this as an FO until Christmas Eve, when I tucked in the loose ends. I meant to try to block the ruffly end, but I ran out of time.

I think (but I'm not positive) that this color is discontinued. It's 6276 Woodland Mix. I was trying to go outside my "comfort zone" and try some earth tones.

I highly recommend Berroco Ultra Alpaca. It's great stuff. Especially the heathered "Mix" colors like this one.

FO: Foliage: Purple, Version One

Cross posted at Sally Comes Unraveled and Year Long Gift-A-Long.

Yet Another Foliage

It's revenge of the chunky Foliage hats!

Remember last year I made three of these? One in red, one in Emerald and one in lime alpaca.

This one was made with Malabrigo Chunky, like two of the other three, This color is "Purple Mystery." Like the other hats, I used US size 10.5 dpns for the main hat, and US size 9 dpns for the ribbing. I'm pretty sure I used bamboo needles.

I actually made this one in one sitting for last year, but it never made it to the recipient until this Christmas. It's been on my coffee table ever since.

This one turned out like the rest. I'm pretty happy with it.

FO: Malabrigo Mini Mitts - Man Size

Cross posted at Sally Comes Unraveled and Year Long Gift-A-Long.

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I managed to finish my Malabrigo Mini Mitts (Ravelry Link) on time. The last time we saw them, I was frantically trying to finish them before a get together the next day.

To recap, these were knit with US Size US and about half a ball of Malabrigo Worsted in "Red Java."

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They seem to fit the recipient pretty well. Here is what I did to "man size" the mitts from the original size (to the best of my recollection.)
I cast on 40 stitches, not 32.

I think I may have worked a little farther than 2 and a half inches before making the the gusset, 20 rounds.

Then I added an two additional increase rounds for the gusset.

I cast three stitches across the gap for thumb, not two.

Then I knit for 20 sounds before binding off. The whole mitt was 8 inches in length, not 6 inches

I did 7 rounds for the thumb
The thumb was where I messed up the most. The ribbing was screwed up, and one thumb had less stitches than the other. But for the most part, I think my conversion was successful.

Things that cut into my yarn budget: Out of Network Doctors (and a new WIP)

Yesterday I got the first bill from my hospital stay. This bill wasn't even from the hospital. It was from the doctors who treated me while I was at the hospital. That means this wasn't included in my original estimate from the insurance lady at the hospital.

After insurance, I owed the doctors' $244 and change. I called in and asked about the charges. It turns out there was roughly $200 denied by my insurance because the doctors were out of network and not pre-approved. Apparently I was supposed to get a doctor pre-approved before I went to the ER.

So I called the insurance company. The "customer advocate" said she would put it through as in network because I was admitted as an emergency.

A few minutes later, she came back announced proudly that they were going to pay about $27 more on the claim. Yipee. She suggested that I call the doctor's office and ask for a write off.

Someone call Michael Moore.

I know I already posted this clip, but listen for the lady talking about pre-authorizing the ambulance. It's a similar situation.

WIP: Tychus

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Sunday night I started Tychus for a belated Christmas gift. This picture is where I was when I went to bed Sunday night.

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This is where I was last night before bed. I have two of the five sections complete.

I used the Cascade Greenland that I bought at Wildfiber. It's thick enough that I only need one strand. So far,so good.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

FO: Chevron Scarf

Cross posted at Sally Comes Unraveled and Year Long Gift-A-Long.

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I may have done a crummy job blocking, but I finished the Chevron Scarf and gave it to the recipient without too many problems.

To review, this is the Chevron Scarf from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. I used two skeins of Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Merino, one in P136 (the lighter color) and one in P527 (the darker color.) I got the yarn at Wildfiber. I used US Size 2 bamboo straight needles.

I think the colors suit her well.

Monday, December 29, 2008

FO: Le Slouch (Code Name: Pink)

Cross posted at Sally Comes Unraveled and Year Long Gift-A-Long.

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This is the first of a long parade of holiday FOs. We're starting with the Le Slouch (Ravelry link) that I made for my sister.

Aaron Models the "Le Slouch" hat I made for Katie

Her boyfriend tried it on too.

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Here's the hat in it's infancy. My sister asked for a shawl, but I was running out of time for this Christmas. (And this was before I was sick.) I recommended a "jaunty beret."

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I originally called it "Code Name: Pink" because I was originally planning to use some pink yarn in my stash. I ended up using Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in Amy's Vintage Office, the precious yarn I got on the Hill Country Yarn Crawl. I was hoping to save it for myself, but the color was too perfect for my sister.

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Here is the hat from the bottom. I used US Size 6 needles for the ribbing and US Size 7 for the rest of the hat. This was unusual for me because US Size 7 is recommended on the yarn label. Normally I go way under what is recommended. However, the recommended gauge for the hat is smaller than the one on the yarn label.

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I think seed stitch is a really good choice for this yarn. It adds some depth to the variegated colors.

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Mom and I debated whether the ribbing was too small. It was a little tight on my head. But I knew if would get stretched out, and my head is bigger than most. Also, we debated exactly how it how it should sit on your head.

It fit Pancho Pig ok.

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The good news is that there's half a ball of Amy's Vintage Office left so I can make something for myself.

Monday, December 22, 2008

How would you finish a spinning wheel?

I got a spinning wheel!

I've been too busy for serious posting, but my wheel is still in it's box. I'm looking for advice. The wheel is unfinished. How should I finish it?

(And you can see from this angle that Jules finally made it.)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I can haz Jules? Take Two

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I should be going to the airport to get Jules right now, but Jules is still on the ground in Phoenix. Right now, his ETA is 2:30 a.m. At least he made it through the first leg. The last time I spoke to him, he was walking around the Phoenix airport and reading National Geographic.

I've been working on the Malabrigo Mini Mitts. (Ravelry Link.)

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These need to go to their recipient tomorrow, so I need to get moving. This also has to go to a recipient tomorrow.

Chevron Scarf in the wash

Remember my Chevron Scarf? (The pattern is in Last-Minute Knitted Gifts.) I soaked it in some Grapefruit Eucalan. It didn't bleed. All it needs now is some blocking.

Blocking the Chevron Scarf

This isn't a very good blocking job, but it will do. If it isn't fully dried by tomorrow night, I'll put it in a bag rather than wrapping it.

I'm going to wrap a couple of gifts, take a shower and take a nap. Hopefully we'll see Jules soon.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I can no has Jules yet...

Bunny sad
more animals

I found out a little while ago that Jules flight is canceled, and the soonest they could rebook was for tomorrow. I have to wait another 24 hours to see him. *sigh*

In the mean time, I've started another last minute project.

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These are Malabrigo Mini Mitts. (Ravelry Link) I've cast on 40 stitches instead of 32 in hopes of "man sizing" them. Let's hope I don't have to frog. I'm running out of time.

FYI - This is the Malabrigo Worsted in "Red Java" I got from the Knitters Scavenger Hunt Swap.

Your wait time is....more than 10 minutes

Right now I'm on hold with Southwest Airlines. In a couple of hours, I'm supposed to go to the airport and pick up Jules. However, as of about 15 minutes ago, he was still on the ground in Burbank. Apparently the Las Vegas airport is closed because of ice. He was supposed to make his connecting flight there.

They've rerouted his flight through Omaha. I'm not quite sure how he's going to get to Austin at this point. I'm hoping the airline number can shed some more light on the situation.

In the mean time, I've been cleared to start adding more foods. The doctor said the key is to eat small amounts more often. I'm drinking chocolate soy milk while I hold.

Has it been more than 10 minutes yet?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sally Hungry!

A post-hospital meal

Tomorrow morning I have an appointment with my family doctor to follow up on my hospital stay. I'm hoping I'll be clear to eat more foods. I'm feeling up to eating more food, but I'm scared. The day I left the hospital I had scrambled egg substitute with breakfast, grilled chicken breast for lunch and pudding to help get down an especially large pill. I think I got over confident, and I got sick right before it was time to leave. The nurse thought it was the milk in the pudding that did me in.

So I'm a little gun-shy after all that, but I'm dying for something more substantial than applesauce, Jell-o, Cream of Wheat, Soup, pretzels and other "stomach flu" type foods. Last night I was starving, so I went to HEB to pick up something else. The store was full of good food that I couldn't eat. I'd love some egg nog. Instead I got egg whites, soy milk, spaghetti sauce that's just a notch above ketchup, turkey breast and some non-fat, non-dairy, what's in there anyway squeeze butter. I figured the "butter" or the spaghetti sauce could go on pasta.

Last night's dinner is pictured above. It's turkey breast, fat free saltines, honey mustard and ginger ale. I stuck the turkey in the microwave and ate it with a fork so it seemed more like a real meal.

Lyndsey came over and brought a brownie. I ate it in two sittings. And this morning I ate a cookie from a coworker. So far, so good.

Tonight I went to Souper Salad with Mom and Dad. I had some fresh pineapple and kiwi, vegetable beef soup in a bread bowl, cornbread, ginger bread and blueberry muffin bread (1 piece of each.) So far, so good.

There's some good news on the financial front. It looks like Aflac will pay out about $1,200 for my hospital stay. That dramatically reduces the amount that will come out of my pocket.

Jules arrives tomorrow night. I haven't had time to do much with the holiday blog fodder I have gotten. I'm going to do the best I can to post a little here and there for the next couple of weeks, but posting will be light for a while.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

FO: Stash Genius Scarf

Cross posted at Sally Comes Unraveled and Year Long Gift-A-Long.

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The project I was working on before I went to hospital is on hold at the moment. It's secret, so I can't show it here. I've been working on this instead.

I missed the fiber festival this year. I meant to give a shout out on here before the event, but I never got around to it. I'm so disappointed about everything I had to miss. I missed the company Christmas party and several church events.

But at least I can knit a festive scarf.

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This scarf is for a seven year-old girl on my Christmas list. I looked through my stash for some good ideas, and this is what I came up with. I used one skein of Yarn Bee Mosaic Twist in "Grotto" for the main part of the scarf, and a small amount of Yarn Bee Gilt Eyelash in "Aqualights" for the sparkly stripes. (Yarn Bee is the Hobby Lobby house brand.) I felt like a genius when I came up with this combination. It reminds me of snowflakes for some reason, even though snowflakes aren't blue.

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I cast on 12 stitches, and the stripes on the ends of the scarf are four rows wide. The stripes add sparkle without being itchy.

I knit the scarf with US Size 8 wooden needles, although I cast on and bound off with US Size 9 needles to keep the ends from being too tight. Also, I held two strands of the Gilt Eyelash together for the stripes.

It's not very long, but I think the length is about right for a child. And it's sparkly.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Things that cut into my yarn budget: Pancreatitis

My Hospital Band

There's a reason I haven't posted in a week. I've been in the hospital.

Sunday night I became violently ill, to the point I called my parents to take me to the ER. I was pretty sure I had food poisoning. It came on suddenly. In fact, I had been at The Knitting Nest just a couple of hours earlier, feeling fine.

I was expecting to spend several hours in the ER, get some good anti-nausea drugs, go home and spend the night with my parents and be back at work on Tuesday. I managed to toss a few things on the top of my knitting bag when I left, but I didn't plan on being away from home more than one night.

After some blood tests, they determined that I had pancreatitis, and I needed to stay in the hospital.

I had originally starting blogging about this a couple of days ago, but the entry kept growing to the point that it didn't seem quite right for my knitting blog. If you want to read about all the details, you can read about it on my much neglected Livejournal. I made a point of not making it too gross, but it is detailed and it hasn't been proofread.

The upshot is that I'm recovering. They discharged me from the hospital late Wednesday night, and I stayed with my parents until last night. They aren't sure what caused it. I don't have gallstones, which is the most common cause. They don't think it will come back.

Right now Bunny Foo-Foo is staying with Mom and Dad until I recover a bit more. I plan to be back at work on Monday.

From the time I left The Knitting Nest on Sunday until last night, I didn't knit a stitch. Although I grabbed my knitting bag when I left the house, it didn't stay with me in the hospital. And it didn't matter if it had, because of the IV in my arm. It was in my right arm, and I had to try to keep it straight, or else the IV would kink up. And after a few days, that arm was really sore.

Bruises from the Hospital

Including the IV, I was poked six times during my stay. I look like an IV drug addict. It was even worse before I took this picture. (The good news is that I'm healing.) You can't see the spot in my left arm where they drew blood twice. The most painful is the ginormous bruise on my left arm. That's where I "blew" a vein during a blood draw. Ouch.

On a knitting related note, the respiratory therapist remember me from Worldwide Knit In Public Day. I think her name was Ayesha, and I hope we see her around.

Also, while I was in the hospital Mom took home my jacket home and washed it - with my Knucks in the pockets. I was pleasantly surprised. They still fit and they didn't felt. I think they're actually better because all the pills came off. I think the silk content in the RYC Silk Wool DK prevented felting. Still, I wouldn't recommend putting it in the washer on purpose.

As for the yarn budget part, this stay will cost me no less than $1,500. Imagine if I didn't have insurance. I have some Aflac coverage to help, and my FSA is about to roll over, so that should help.

The other issue is that I'm completely out of leave, which means I won't get paid at all for the past week. I'll be getting loans from the Bank of Mom and Dad for a while to get by. I fully intend to pay back every dollar.

Yesterday I got a letter in the mail from my insurance company. They were gracious enough to approve 6 days in the hospital. How nice of them. I'm glad I needed less than that.

I also found out that I'm about to reach my out of pocket maximum. So I can afford to get sick again before my insurance rolls over May 1. Yay?

On a related note, if you're an American (or even if you're not) you need to see Sicko.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Things that cut into my yarn budget: Bunny Nose and Bunny Teeth

Bunny Foo-Foo

In August, I took Bunny Foo-Foo to the vet for "poopy butt". Before Thanksgiving, I had to take her back to the vet because her respiratory came back.

According to the vet, she's lost about half a kilogram since I took this picture. Dad is convinced she's starving, but the vet said she is at a healthy weight. Now she can hop up on the coffee table again. I discovered this a couple of days before I took the picture above. I walked in from the bedroom, and she stared it me with the guiltiest look. I wish I had a camera at that moment.

After talking with the vet, I decided doing a nasal culture was worth the money. I'd be throwing money away if I gave her the same antibiotic and it came back yet again. The culture cost about $90. The whole visit cost about $160.

I'm really happy with Westgate Pet and Bird Clinic. They have lots of experience with rabbits, and they're open on Saturday.

I took her the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and the vet said they'd probably have the results on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. When they didn't call before 5 p.m. on Wednesday, I assumed I'd have to wait until after the holiday.

But the vet called me at 9:30 Wednesday night, after getting out of surgery for the day, to tell me the results. I was very impressed. And Thursday, I found a voicemail from early that morning. They had left the antibiotic with an ice pack on the back door. (I didn't get the medication until Friday because I didn't get the message until late Thursday night.)

It turns out that I made the right call on the culture. She didn't have Pasteurella after all. She has Klebsiella. (I'm not sure if I got the name right.)

The antibiotics were only another $20. The bad news is that she needs her teeth trimmed. I scheduled an appointment for that in January. It's going to cost about $250, since they will put her to sleep for the procedure. The price includes a blood test, which is recommended for older rabbits. They explained all the costs to me in detail, and they make sense.

If you're keeping track, that's about $430 in vet expenses. I may be able to get vet insurance, but it won't cover pre-existing conditions. *Sigh*

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Plying the Cookie Monster Yarn

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This yarn has been all about the Om Nom since the beginning. My sister saw the singles I wound, and she was the one who said they looked like little Om Noms. (See them sans Om Noms here.)

An alligator eats my Cookie Monster Yarn!

Even an alligator got in on the Om Noms.

Thanksgiving Day I plied the Cookie Monster Yarn. It looks like it's going ok here, but plying was not easy. Just like when I wound the singles, I ran into a lot of tangles and breaks.

(Sorry about the sideways movie.)

The Cookie Monster Yarn Gets Tangled

Here is one of the tangles. (Yes, that's the UT vs A&M game in the background. Everyone else is watching while I ply in the kitchen.)

There's another picture of a tangle here.

Cookie Monster Yarn

Here is the yarn all plied and on the bobbin. It doesn't look like much, but I think it went pretty far for just one ounce.

Cookie Monster Yarn

Overall, there weren't too many inconsistencies.

Cookie Monster Yarn

Here is the almost finished yarn, although. It's about 104 yards of Merino/Tencel. I haven't measured the Wraps Per Inch yet, but I'm guessing it's lace weight, maybe light fingering. And it still reminds me of Cookie Monster. (Maybe Cookie Monster with braids?)

All I need to do now is set it.

I'm the OmNomNom Nom of the day!

Om Nom Cookie Monster Yarn

I'm the OmNomNomNom of the day! Check it out.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tuesday (or Wednesday) Tens: Ten Gifts I'd Like To Get From Etsy

Last year I took the Handmade Pledge, and this year I'm keeping it going. If you want to get a gift for me (or yourself) here are some ideas.

1. Knitting Needles by Chelle.
I've been drooling over these for a long time. They have several with initials, and I also like the ones with funny sayings like "Knit Wit," "Knit Picky" or "In Deep Knit."

2. Handpainted Yarn from Yarn Oddities.
Beautiful, vibrant colors.

3. A Glass Knitting Pendant like this one from Chauncey Design.
This design always sells out quickly, but they usually restock it. Squidglass also has a nice selection of knitting related pendants.

4. Jewelry made from knitting needles from Saving Nine Creations, Sassafras Creations or Liana Kabel.
Saving Nine has earrings made from the very tips of metal needles that have the needle size, Sassafras uses both ends for earrings, necklaces and more (I think The Knitting Nest carries their keyrings) and Liana Kabel has bangles made out of needles.

5. Novelty Batts from Loop or Terra Bella Spun.
I have one from Butterfly Girl Designs already. After I get better on the wheel, I plan to dig into the novelty batts. I'm excited about spinning novelty yarn.

6. Art Yarn from Bugtussle Yarn.
See number 87 on my list. There are so many to choose from, but Bugtussle seems to have the wildest and weirdest. Bees Knees Knitting, Felt Studio, Pancake and Lulu, Snowberry and Lime, Ozknits and Weird & Twisted also have great selections of art yarn.

7. A Ginormous Knitting Bag from Actual Size Creations.
One of the few bags I've seen that looks like it would fit everything.

8. Alphabetical Stitch Markers from Hide and Sheep.
Sooner or later I'll dig into my Cat Bordhi Book. When I do, these will help.

9. Roving from Zen Yarn Garden.
Must Keep Knitting also has some pretty roving.

10. Knitter's Giftdex from Knit.
You want something nest year, don't you?

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Lego Knitting Machine

It doesn't knit at the finest gauge in the world, but it's pretty impressive considering it's all made of legos.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mooching at The Knitting Nest

Best New Local Business

Last weekend when I went home to mooch off Mom and use her wheel, I also made a trip to The Knitting Nest to mooch off Stacy and use her yarn meter. As you can see, they're celebrating their victory.

Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky Paints at The Knitting Nest.

The shop had several new yarns, including Queensland Collection Tahiti, Elizabeth Austen Andes and Rozetti Baby Soft. However, the Baby Alpaca Chunky Paints was my favorite new yarn. It's soft, pretty and makes for a quick knit.

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Of course, I had plenty to do with my own yarn. Here's my Coopworth Single. I now know I have about 251.66 yards (or 755 feet.)

Two-ply Merino

Remember my two-ply merino? I have 202.33 yards of it (or 607 feet.)

Preparing to Wind and Measure the "Cookie Monster" Single

Then it was time to measure the Cookie Monster Single I had a lot of problems with it breaking. I may have spun it a little too fine.

Cookie Monster Single Wound

I had 208.66 yards (or 626 feet) total.

Cookie Monster Singles - Ready to Ply

The hardest part was spinning from the ball so I could have to singles to ply together. Each single is about 104.66 yards (or 314 feet.) Not bad for one ounce of fiber.

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Did I mention that I got to spin on Stacy's wheel? It's an Ashford. I'm not sure if it's a Traditional or an Elizabeth.

The Bobbin on Stacy's Wheel

Somehow, the wheel has both Scotch tension and a double drive band. I'm not sure exactly how that works. I think you can decide which one to use.

I'm starting to think I'm an Ashford person.

You can see all my pictures from my last trip to The Knitting Nest, including more spinning wheel photos, here.