Friday, February 29, 2008

March Gift List

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

Here's some housekeeping stuff for the Year Long Gift-A-Long.

February Wrap Up:

1. Gift Item: A lace shawl. My goal this month is to make decisions. This month I want to settle on a yarn, pattern and needles, then knit a swatch and block it.
Progress:I worked on it, but made no real decisions.

2. Gift Item: Scarf (already in progress)
Progress: finished

3. Gift Item: Boogie Time (2 of them)
Progress: Rollover: I'm working on them.

4. Gift Item: Socks
Progress: finished

5. Gift Item: Socks (I'm not aiming for completion. Just a good start.)
Progress: Rollover: ummm...haven't started them yet.

March Gift List:

1. Gift Item: A lace shawl. This month I want to settle on a yarn, pattern and needles, then knit a swatch, block it and cast it on. (Rollover from February)
Recipient: Grandma
Occasion: Christmas
Deadline: Let's say December 18, 2008 (so I have enough time to get it in the mail.)

2. Gift Item: Finish Boogie Time (2 of them) (Rollover from February)
Recipient: Family Friends
Occasion: last Christmas
Deadline: Overdue

3. Gift Item: Socks (rollover from February)
Recipient: Top Secret!
Occasion: birthday
Deadline: March 2008

4. Gift Item: Brioche Rib Scarf
Recipient: Unknown (stockpiling for Christmas)
Occasion: Christmas
Deadline: Let's say December 18, 2008 (so I have enough time to get it in the mail.)

5. Gift Item: Either Fetching or Foliage, whichever I'm in the mood for.
Recipient: Unknown (stockpiling for Christmas)
Occasion: Christmas
Deadline: Let's say December 18, 2008 (so I have enough time to get it in the mail.)

Things that cut into my yarn budget: A New Cell Phone

A funny thing happened on the way to Bluebonnet on Wednesday. I bought a new cell phone.

I actually never made it to Bluebonnet. My phone (the one on the left) had been dying for the past week or so. When I charged the battery, it would only last a short time. I passed a Sprint store on my way out to Cedar Park and decided to drop by. I ended up leaving with a new phone (the one on the right.)

It's a fairly simple phone. It has a camera, but no other frills to speak of. I spent about $40. After the rebate, it will cost me about $10. (I signed another 2-year contract with Sprint.)

There was an $18 activation fee, but in the long run, I'll probably save money. My new plan is actually better than the last one. I didn't pay for any frills there either. I still pay 20 cents per text ,I rarely send text messages) and I didn't pay to send the pictures via phone.

I need to buy a cord so I can download my phone pictures. I took a few at Gauge today. (They got in some Handmaiden!)

I spent a long time at the Sprint store, where the salesman referred to me as "Ma'am" when he talked to his boss. ("Ma'am would like to change her phone number." "I want to make sure Ma'am does not lose her contacts." etc.) My phone was dying, and they had trouble transferring my phone numbers to my new phone. I finally said I'd just take it home and do it myself. For a while I was worried I'd never get my contacts, because I couldn't keep the phone on long enough to access my contacts. (Despite the fact it was supposed to be fully charged.)

I'm actually glad I did it manually. I left behind so many old numbers. It was a way of letting go of the baggage of old bosses, old landlords, old insurance companies, old doctors and other people I'm glad to be rid of.

I changed my number because I was still using a Florida area code, even though I 've been back in Texas for about a year and a half. If you need my new number, e-mail me at sallyvillarreal AT gmail DOT com and I'll send it to you.

My last phone was...unusual. I've had it since 2004. It got weird looks, even when it was new. It was supposed to be extra tough, so I'm a little nervous about the lack of thick plastic and rubber on this new phone. I think it's time to make a cell phone case.

There's also the matter of ring tone. After four years, I was trained like one of Pavlov's dogs to jump every time I heard the Muppet Show theme. Now I'm trying to find a new one. I may break down and pay to download one. I think it's worth it to have a ring tone that you know for sure is your own.

Parting Shot

I'm making progress on Strangling Vines

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Swatching Sunday: Cascade 220

For the record, I did swatch this on Sunday, during the Oscars. I'm just now getting around to posting it.

Would you believe I've been knitting this long and I've never used Cascade 220? At least I hadn't until Sunday.

Both of these swatches were knit using Cascade 220 in Christmas Red 8895 and Black 8555 and aluminum needles from my Boye Needlemaster. They are unwashed and unblocked.

This first swatch is a basic gauge swatch. The bottom section is knit with US size 7 and is about 9 stitches per 2 inches and about 7 rows per inch. The middle section is knit with US size 6 and is about 10 stitches per 2 inches and 7 rows per inch. The top section is knit with US size 5 and is about 10.5 stitches per 2 inches and 7 rows per inch.

You read that right. All the row counts are about the same.

This swatch is knit with US size 5, and is in the classic Ballband Dishcloth pattern. (Csn you believe I've never knit one of those, either?)

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Lazy Post

I'm too tired to do any significant blogging. So instead of knitting content, I'm going to let Keepon and Spoon entertain you.

Actually, I just realized I can't post the video here. So you're going to have to click this link to see it. (Trust me, it's worth it.)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Pre-Oscar Post

I'm heading to Lyndsey's house for a small Oscar party, but first I have pictures from yesterday.

Mmmmmmm....Handmaiden Sea Silk. *drool*

Mom has an old ball winder, but no swift. So we struggled to wind the 437 yard hank, and had to take the thing apart at one point because the yarn got caught. But what can I say, a yarn this nice deserves cake. (*grooooooaaaaaannn*)

I finally settled on the Strangling Vines pattern. Here is my crummy swatch. (I was impatient.)

Despite my hasty swatching, I'm happy with it so far.

Mom got her Spindolyn this week, and I got to try it out. I was tempted to buy one when I was struggling. However, now that I'm getting used to the drop spindle, the Spindolyn seems more difficult to use. There isn't much weight on the fiber, and I had difficulty getting enough twist in the yarn. It's definitely for spinning fine yarn.

This is a very unflattering picture of me using the Spindolyn. (Try to ignore the fact that I look like Jabba the Hutt.) I posted it because it does a good job of showcasing the Spindolyn itself.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

FO: Mom's I Meant to do that Socks

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

Last night I finished Mom's socks. They're only about two months late for Christmas.

I used my short, US size 2 bamboo dpns and Hill Country Yarns Instant Gratification Sock Yarn in "Lavender Sachet." I purchased the yarn at The Knitting Nest.

Unlike the Longhorn Socks, I didn't run out of yarn before I finished. But the yarn was a joy to knit with, as it was with the Longhorn Socks.

This is the Beaded Rib pattern from Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks. As I mentioned before, I screwed up the ribbing early on and just decided to go with it. Round One of the pattern stitch said "*p1, k1, p1, k1, p1* repeat from *." Without thinking, I just started doing a 1x1 rib.

This were knit toe up, with a provisional cast on and a short row heel. I also used the sewn bind off to prevent the edges of the sock from being too tight.

I think I made some mistakes on the first toe, but it's hard to notice. Also, I sewed up a couple of small gaps at the corner of the heels.

Mom seemed pretty happy with them, and they fit okay. She put them on right away because her feet were cold. They are "around the house" socks. Mom often wears my Dad's socks around the house for extra warmth. This is a nicer (and better fitting) alternative.

Friday, February 22, 2008


I think it must be from being cooped up sick half the week, but I'm restless and bored. I know all the northern knitters are ready for spring, but I feel like I'm running out of winter. Pretty soon the cold fronts will end, and I'll be hiding in the air condition from the blistering sun.

Belated Valentine's Day

I got my Valentine's Day gift from Jules in the mail today. It actually arrived yesterday, but I didn't get to pick it up from the office until today. I'm sitting here with my stuffed cat right now, and most of the peanut butter cups in the heart shaped box are gone.

Yes, that's the Rasta Beanie that he is wearing in those pictures. Eventually, I'll scan these in and post them properly.

Jules said when you give your girlfriend a Joe Cool keyring, you know it's serious. I need to make room on my keyw. Maybe it's time to get rid of my broken Austin skyline, or my poor, dilapidated My Little Pony.

Battle of the Bamboo Silks

I was looking at an e-mail I got from Webs and noticed that one of their new yarns is Ella Rae Bamboo Silk. The name caught my eye because I've been drooling over Love from Southwest Trading Company's Vickie Howell Collection. I would love to make an entire top out of it, but it's so expensive. (I have also considered making this pattern because I could do it with only two hanks.)

When I took a closer look at the Ella Rae yarn, I was surprised at the stats:

Ella Rae Bamboo Silk
Content: 70% Bamboo/30% Silk
Care: Hand Wash
Weight/Yardage: 99yd=50g
Gauge: 5sts=1" US 7
Knitting Weight: Worsted
Regular Webs Price: $6.95

Vicki Howell Collection Love
Content: 70% Bamboo/30% Silk
Care: Hand Wash
Weight/Yardage: 99 yd/50 g ball
Gauge: 5 sts/inch on #7
Knitting Weight: Worsted
Regular Webs Price: $12.99*
*This yarn is currently on sale for $9.75

Very interesting. (And the Webs price for the Love yarn is similar to the prices I've seen at several LYS's.)

Sea Silk Time

I've decided it's time to reach into my stash and knit up something yummy. Last August I bought some Handmaiden Sea Silk. I'm saving the Blackberry color for Lacewings, but I think it's time to get out the Capri.

After much time on Ravelry I'm looking seriously at Strangling Vine scarf and the Lacy Serpentine Scarf. The Montego Bay scarf seems the most obvious choice, but I want something with a little more substance. I also may try to do my own thing. Either way, this begs to be a silky, drapey, lacy scarf that will rival my one skein mobius. (Maybe I should get a few beads?)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Socks and Politics

Here are Mom's socks as of right this moment. I know I can finish these tonight if I push it, but I think I'll wait until tomorrow and do a little spinning before bed instead.

I worked on the socks while I watched the Clinton/Obama debate at UT. I've been undecided, and as of now I am still undecided. I'm running out of time because my primary in Texas is the first week of March. I found myself leaning toward Clinton because of her stance on health care. Both candidates want universal health care, but Clinton seems to be the one that is willing to step on some toes to get it.

On one hand, I'm lucky to have health insurance, but on the other hand, it's not luck. I've made conscious decisions to ensure I have insurance. Health insurance has been one of the main deciding factors in the jobs I've had since graduating college. In fact, it's played a role in just about every life changing decision I've made since high school. I have a couple of chronic health problems that require prescription medication. The medication alone would cost well over $1,000 a month if I didn't have health insurance. I have career goals in the fiber arts world that would forcee me to find my own health insurance. I think this is the biggest financial obstacle I have in my career goals. I would gladly pay higher taxes if it meant not worrying about my health coverage every time I change jobs.

I'm also interested in the plagiarism accusations the Clinton camp is making against Obama. I'd like to research that myself before making a decision on that.

Also, a week or two ago Cobbalicious made some good points about the campaign. I think there is very little overt sexism and racism going on. If anything, there is more of the opposite, people who will vote for Clinton or Obama simply because "it's about time" a woman or a black person became president. However, I think it comes out almost subconsciously in the way we judge the candidates. I think this is especially true for Clinton. (See this CNN article for some evidence.)

If you have a supported argument for or against either Clinton or Obama, I'd like to hear it. So far, it seems like all I've heard are personal endorsements based on a vague sense of the candidate's personality. I'd like to hear some opinions with some more meat to them.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Goin 2 werk nao, k?

moar humorous pics

Nope, I'm going back to work tomorrow. This means no more Lolcats for a while, k?

Swatching Sick Day: Kiri Shawl

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

One of my February gift-a-long goals was to swatch for my grandmother's shawl. I have more work to do, but this is what I have so far.

This is from the Kiri Shawl. I'm a little worried because it doesn't look like the pictures. I know lace never does until it's blocked, but still, shouldn't I at least be able to pick out the pattern?

I think maybe I needed a bigger swatch, but this should be enough to test the needles and yarn. Of course, I won't know for sure until I wash and block it.

This was knit on US size 4 (I think) addi turbos. The yarn is Mystic Alpaca from Peru4less that I bought on eBay ages ago. There is some talk on Ravelry that is is not really made from alpaca. Burn test anyone?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Iz I Bettr Yet?

It's been a day of Lolcats and long, picturey posts, but not a lot of knitting. I'm feeling better but I'm not sure I'm ready to go back to work yet. I'm still feel tired and weak. I'm probably going to stay home one more day, rather than push it and try to go back to work.

I've been sick three times in the last six months, which is not normal for me. I think it has something to do with where I work. The place sounds like a sick ward. If you have any good immunity boosting tips, let me know.

I is tired wurk tooƂ hard
moar humorous pics

FO: Jules' Valentine Scarf

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

It was hard waiting to post pictures of this, but it was Jules' Valentine's gift and I wanted to make sure it was a surprised.

This us the Besotted Scarf from Hello Yarn. I used two skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca in "Oceanic Mix" (6285) and my US size 5 Brittany straights. (Always a winning combo.)

I bought the yarn several months ago to save for myself, but it was perfect for Jules (and I have plenty of yarn for me.) Originally I had planned to make it red so it would be more "Valentiney," but after badgering talking to Jules, I decided he would get more use out of it if I used a different color. (And the XOXO cables were "Valentiney" enough.)

I started out using Classic Elite Inca Alpaca, but I didn't like the way it was knitting up. Then I decided I liked it. Then I wasn't sure. Then I decided to swatch it alongside the Ultra Alpaca and we (this includes the other knitters at The Knitting Nest) decided the Ultra Alpaca looked best.

I wasn't thrilled with the ruffled edges. The pattern goes straight into the cables, so I decided it needed seed stitch border. I think it made it worse. (For some reason, the cast on edge was worse than the bind off edge.)

It wasn't a hard pattern, but it was easy to forget what I was doing. I had to correct mistakes like this one several times. (Look closely at the cables.)

I sent the scarf with a mix cd, some chocolate and a homemade Valentine. He enjoyed the whole package.

Yarn Pr0n: Yarn Crawl Booty

I almost forgot the gratuitous yarn (and fiber) shot from the San Antonio Yarn Crawl. Go here and mouse over the picture to find out the specifics.

Yarn (Store) Pr0n: Old Oaks Ranch

This is the third part in a three part series on the Meetup group's San Antonio Yarn Crawl. (It's about time, I know.)

Our final stop was Old Oaks Ranch in Wimberley. In addition to yarn for knitting and crochet, they have supplies and classes on weaving, spinning, dying and other fiber arts.

We arrived in the middle of spinning class. Fortunately, no one seemed to mind.

This is the spinning teacher, Carol Wyche, looking through some milk fiber roving. Yes, that's actually made from milk. (I'm not sure how.) According to the website, Carol does $25 private lessons. I think I'm going to sign up for one.

Here are some of the looms.

Here's a nice tapestry that they had on the wall.

I had to snap a picture of the angora bunny painting while I was at it.

Here's the gratuitous yarn shot. I don't thing it's in this picture, but they had Colinette Jitterbug, like the other two shops. And like at the other two shops, I didn't buy any.

I'm pretty sure the yarn on the second to bottom shelf is all Henry's Attic alpaca. That was tempting as well. Again, I was watching my budget.

I did buy a skein of this. Spun from their own alpacas (if I remember correctly.)

And they do have their own alpacas.

This is the new baby. (I couldn't get it to come any closer.)

However, this one wasn't shy. I had no problem getting him to come closer.

He (or she?) didn't mind smelling my hand, but didn't want to be pet.

Did I mention that they have a sculpture garden?

I made another friend.

You can see all my yarn crawl pictures here.

Don't Be A Crocheter Hater

One hook bad, Two needles (or more) good?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Magic Loop is Tiring

At least it is when you're sick.

I promised to knit a hat for the troops in Iraq. I don't have dpns in the right size and I hate using short circulars, so I'm doing magic loop, which I've only done once before. I'm just swatching now, but it's exhausting. Thank God they extended the deadline. There is no way I would have been able to do this before tomorrow.

No pictures right now. That requires too much movement. I'd have to walk to another room, and I need to save my energy for pulling my 40" addis through the stitches on my swatch.

I try to keep this stuff to a minimum...

...but it's a sick day and this seemed appropriate:

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Imperial Majesty Sally the Temporary of Snotting on Wold
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

And here is Jules' title:

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
His Exalted Highness Duke Jules the Uncanny of Giggleswick under Table
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Excuse me while I find another box of tissues, so I can continute "snotting on wold."

For "Knitting Susan" ...

...maybe I don't know how to work blogger, but I can't find your e-mail. Please e-mail me directly at sallyvillarrealATgmailDOTcom and we'll work out something for that yarn. (Keep in mind, it's only a partial skein.)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

An improvement

A few hours can make a big difference. Around noon I called my Mom to call my doctor for me because I didn't have the energy to talk to him myself. Now I'm contemplating trying to go to work tomorrow. (But I don't think it's very likely.)

I was feverish and achy all last night and most of the day. Fortunately, the Advil helped enough for me to go out to CVS to pick up my Tamiflu prescription.

And no, I didn't get my flu shot this year. It's a little late for that now.

Owww...They're pointy now!


Friday, February 15, 2008

WIP: Mom's I Meant To Do That Socks

Tonight while I was at Ross and Jen's house I finished one of Mom's socks and started the second.

I'm tired tonight, so this is all you get. Check back tomorrow for more inspired blogging.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day (sort of)

Cross posted at Sally Comes Unraveled and Kntters Scavenger Hunt Swap.

Here's a Valentine's Day wish from my friend Ross. Click the picture to see it in a larger size. (Yes, I know they print this on t-shirts.)

While it's good to be in love on Valentine's Day, it's hard to be so far away from the person I love. It was harding seeing other people get bouquets of flowers and stuffed animals. Neither of our packages arrived on time (although mine arrived today, but Jules wasn't able to pick it up in time.) We did both remember, however. Jules even wished me an early Valentine's Day last night.

I did receive something else in the mail. Whatever could it be?

It's a skein of Malabrigo Worsted in Red Java and a pin from Art School Dropout, my prize from the Knitters Scavenger Hunt contest. Huzzah!

I'm debating what make with it. It's nice autumny color. Foliage seems to be the obvious choice, but I'm open to suggestions.

As a parting shot, here is something Jules made for me a while back, just because. He found the shell at the beach, and was inspired.