Stacy Knits

Ramblings about knitting and whatever else crosses my mind

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

It's been a long time!

I'm alive and still knitting. Kind of. A lot has happened over these past few months, and I've been so busy that blogging and even knitting has taken a backseat. It's all good though. After being absolutely miserable in my career path over the last few years, I accepted a new job. I'm not practicing law anymore (YAY!) and accepted a job as a corporate tax consultant. I've been doing it since July. So far, I really enjoy it, although the career change growing pains have been rough at times. The biggest move though was that I moved from Kentucky (where I have lived all my life) to Atlanta. I never really thought I wanted to live in the ATL but as I started investigating it as part of the job offer, I thought I love it. And I do! What little of it I've seen anyway...

I haven't actually moved here yet. My firm has been letting me commute back and forth until my house sells. I'm very lucky. I fly in Sunday nights, leave Thursday nights. The job does involve a decent amount of travel, so I've spent weeks in there in Florida, North Carolina (twice), Texas, and Nebraska. My last job had no travel so I really love the travel aspect. It's all slowing down though because my cute little house finally sold, and I am making the official move at the end of December!

I actually have 3 whole weeks to find a place to live in Atlanta. No pressure! It will be nice to get my dogs here with me. They stay with grandma and grandpa during the week. They love that!

You'd think with all the time I spend in airports and on planes, I would have gotten a ton of knitting done. Not a chance! I finished the Alphabet Baby Blanket for my nephew Dylan. I really think that burned me out on knitting for awhile. But here it is, completed in July, 2006. Started in October, 2005 but there were a lot of things completed in that time. Baby was born April 20, 2006.

The finished blanket...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The blanket as a background to this cutie...

Pattern: Debbie Bliss Baby Knits Alphabet Blanket
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine (I don't remember how many skeins. 11 or 12.)
Needles: Size 4 bamboo circs
Pattern Notes: You can see from the picture below that I left out the triangle border. I was so sick of knitting it, and since it was for a boy, I thought a simple border was more appropriate. I had planned to do a simple crocheted edging but it layed perfectly flat without it so I just let it go.
It wasn't that bad of a pattern to knit. It was actually pretty enjoyable for most of it, although the pressure of getting it done before the kid goes to kindergarten and the sheer size of it did make it get tiresome. The biggest lesson learned: don't stress over mistakes you discover rows later. No one will notice. There's a mistake that glares at me everytime I look at the picture but in the end, I think you can only tell if you are looking for it.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

I met the Yarn Harlot!

And all I got was this crappy camera phone pic! This is even bad for a camera phone pic. I'm not sure what is up here.

She appeared at a book festival in Lex yesterday! Unfortunately (or maybe not so, given the plans), I had to skip the knitting session but did have her sign a copy of her latest book, Knitting Rules. I just knew I'd meet her and be all cool and memorable. I was doing very well until I mentioned something about my blog. She asked who I was, and I told her Stacy but "you've never visited my blog." "You'd be surprised. Haven't you left a comment for me? I get to all of those."

And that's when I turned into a blubbering idiot.

I actually told the Yarn Harlot that the reason I couldn't go to the special knitting session was because I had to go to Louisville to go out with a hot fireman (I'm sure she will confirm that those were my exact words). I was so embarassed that I would miss out on a celebrity knit-a-thon that I had to give her the one and only thing that I felt justified my absence. And quite frankly, when you're 31 and single, choosing knitting over dating will send your Mom into fits of despair that you just don't want to deal with.

I didn't have my knitting with me, and I didn't have on a single handknit. I am an outcast. Since I had plans that night and errands to run that day, I didn't get all knitted up like I would have otherwise. Not to mention how freaking humid it was yesterday!

When I first started knitting, blogging, and reading the Yarn Harlot's blog, I enjoyed it but for some reason, never really cared to read her books (please don't pass out YET everyone). I couldn't figure out how knitting could be humorous and couldn't I just get it on her blog? How wrong I was!!! I finally read her previous books a couple of months ago and was hooked. They are really funny, and I had trouble putting them down.

I haven't had a chance to read the new one and really haven't even skimmed through it a whole lot since I just got it yesterday but so far, I have to say that it could be my favorite yet. The humor is still there but this one is more of a everything you need to know about knitting type book. It's not an instruction manual like SNB but it looks like something I would have loved to have had when I first started in addition to the books teaching me to do the knitting thing. So buy it.

And Yarn Harlot, if you come across this, I hope you enjoyed your trip to beautiful Lexington! The weather ended up being quite decent. I hope the sock got some nice action shots and got to ride a horse or something. I would have suggested a nice picture of the sock resting on the Rupp Arena basketball court since it was mere feet away from said mecca but I think I'm the only person around blogland that would tear up at the sight.

Oh, about that fireman. Yes, that was a true story, not something I made up off the top of my head. It ended up not happening. I was going to Louisville with friends for another friend's birthday. He was hoping he'd be able to get away for the night but unfortunately, he couldn't.
Firemen work some funky hours. We'll try again soon.

Monday, April 10, 2006

A Real Kentucky Weekend...

Not much knitting to report but I had a one of the best weekends I've had since football season (or at least since things ended up with the ex in January). A gathering of a few friends for the opening weekend of Keeneland developed into a 30 person LimoBus renting extravaganza. I packed the dogs off for grandma and grandpa's house for the weekend so I could spend the day out and not have to worry about them. You don't have to love horse racing to love Keeneland but if you do love racing, there's no place better.

The day started out nasty, cold and dreary but by the time the second race rolled around, the sky was bright blue, and the sun had warmed it to a comfortable temperature. I happened to meet a very cute doctor while tailgating pre-races, a college friend of a friend of mine, that became my companion for the rest of the day (from out of state, I doubt I'll ever see him again but it was fun while it lasted!).

One thing that makes Keeneland so neat is that many people still get dressed up. You'll see just about anything worn but I'm in the camp of people that loves to dress up and see what others are wearing. For example, this guy, rocking his plaid blazer and matching plaid tie. Our favorite outfit of the day!

The Paddock. One of the prettiest spots on earth. Seriously. During the October meet, the leaves on the trees are changing into beautiful fall colors. In the spring, things are in bloom. Not a whole lot is blooming this early in April but in a couple of weeks, it will be perfect. Still, it's gorgeous.

Most tracks don't have this area open to the public like Keeneland does, which lets you get close to the horses and watch the owners and trainers get the horses and jockeys ready for the race.

After the track was to a Japanese restaurant for sushi and even more fun. This is only about half of our group. We had another group in that next room. It was huge!

There I am in the bottom right corner.

And finally, mugging for the camera with my friend (right) and the cute doctor (left)

It was a long day, starting early and going late but it was a blast all the way through!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Is Salina Cursed?

I'm not particularly superstitious except when it comes to watching sports but I'm beginning to wonder about poor Salina. I think she's been cursed. Why else would I have had so many problems with this simple, straight forward pattern?

It started out well enough. I finished the back piece quickly and went ahead and blocked it. It grew! It went from about 13 1/2 inches to over 15 (much too long for this type of sweater for me) and expanded out at the bottom, though the chest was still the width I wanted. I tried reblocking, with the same results. The one time I actually washed the swatch to make sure it wouldn't do this, it happens. How? I even reblocked, taking extra special care to scrunch it into shape, and it didn't help. The gauge has relaxed enough that I'll probably have to reknit the whole thing rather than simply taking out a few rows to shorten it.

Resigned to having to re-knit the back, I do the sleeves. Have I mentioned how much I hate sleeves? Thinking of how the back stretched, I make the sleeves a little shorter. Off to blocking, feeling pretty smug about how I'd outsmarted the yarn. Do they grow? Not one bit. I can probably block some extra length into them so I'm not too worried but thinking about it, I knit them as the pattern specified which is probably going to make them appear "too short" rather than "bracelet length" on my short arms and also too wide around the bottom. So there may be some sleeve reknitting (working from the cast on down, more likely).

The front piece started off well enough. I got through the seed stitch on size 2 needles, and it became my carry along knitting project. On evening, I pulled some papers out of my work bag and noticed a coffee stain on them. I frantically reached for my knitting, and there it was, a big coffee stain on it. I'd tossed my travel mug in without it being shut. I put a little detergent on the spot and soaked to no avail. I decided to risk if some stain remover would get it out or leave a spot and fortunately, it did work.

But knowing that getting the front piece done is likely not the end of my knitting has made it almost impossible for me to pick this up. As a result, I haven't been working on anything. It's kind of been stressing me out! Knitting's for relaxation for me, I don't put a lot of goals or deadlines on my knitting but for some reason, this is bugging me.

I decided that it's probably best to put Salina down for a bit. It wouldn't get a lot of wear until the fall anyway. The baby blanket still has a ton more work, and I need to get it done for baby nephew's pending arrival (or within a couple months of said arrival!). It's about time I get back to working on Apricot since it's spring and the perfect time to wear this sweater. I only have half of a front and a sleeve left to knit on it, and finishing looks relatively simple. It would be nice to actually have a finish item. I've finished a whopping 3 projects this year, one of those I did most of LAST year. Sock #2 is coming along great but it's my on the go knitting (that don't share a bag with my travel mug) so they just get a few rows done from time to time.

So that's the plan for now, to actually finish a couple of projects AND preserve my sanity!!! I'll post a pic of the baby blanket soon. It's going to be tough to get a good one because of its size and the lack of blocking. It is absolutely gorgeous though I'm not quite sure how useful it will be (lots of little holes for kiddo to get his fingers stuck in).

Sunday, March 26, 2006

AWOL Knitter

Sorry to have disappeared for awhile! While you may assume that I've been lulled into a basketball induced stupor, that's only partially correct. I'm getting over a nasty stomach flu and speaking in words greater than two syllables has been beyond my capabilities for a few days now. I've curled up on my couch watching a whole lot of basketball though! The Sweet Sixteen was the most amazing Sweet Sixteen in memory. All of the close games and overtimes made it so exciting. I'm thrilled for LSU making it to the Final Four and hoping Florida does too. I always pull for fellow Southeastern Conference teams.

Unfortunately, my beloved Kentucky didn't pull it out against UConn. But I was so proud of the effort they gave. I figured we'd win our first round against UAB. We're Kentucky. We don't lose first round NCAA games (not since 1987 anyway). UConn was a different story. I thought we could be competitive against any of the other #1 seeds but didn't think we could stay on the court with UConn because of the matchup problems they presented us. The only team that can beat UConn is UConn, so they like to say. When we got down by 13 and since UConn was playing a good game, I thought it was going to get ugly.

Our guys fought back and made it close. We lost by 4 but if a couple of bad calls and rebounds had gone our way, I truly think we would have pulled it out. I was so proud!

I'm talking about basketball because there's not much knitting to report! I haven't felt like knitting and haven't done much. I've done a little on Sock #2. I'm almost to the armholes of Salina. I'll probably post a picture of the Baby Blanket soon. It's going to be so nice but pictures aren't going to capture it well at this point.

So hopefully soon I'll have progress to show off!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

She did it...

And you thought I couldn't...

So it wasn't you guys with doubts, it was me! I knew I had the ability to knit a sock and even the patience but was starting to question if I had a sock mental block! But it's done, and the fit is near perfect. If you think I have issues resizing sweaters to fit my 4'11 self, you should see me pondering the fit of a sock to fit my size 5 foot. And I like socks to fit really snug. Most of the standard sock patterns call for casting on 64 at a gauge of 8 st/in. After measuring my foot, I decided to cast on 56. It worked very well. If I want a pair to come up a little higher on my calf, I'll definitely need to start with a few more stitches and decrease down. I've got little feet and big, bulky calves!

I finished this while watching basketball over the weekend. See...

I even cast on for Sock #2, avoiding second sock syndrome and you guys having to yell at me! Meet Sock @#2, watching my basketball love, Jay Bilas, on ESPN.
I don't think I'm going to have a problem finishing Sock #2! I can't wait to wear these. I always wear socks around the house, preferably soft, warm, wool socks, and these are gonna be great. I had trouble taking off Sock #1!

The Cats lost in the semis of the SEC tournament to South Carolina who was playing out of their minds this week. We ended up with a #8 seed in the brackets. I don't remember the last time we were seeded this low. We're usually a 1 or 2! That's how bad this season has been. Oh well, maybe they'll put together a miracle run. Gotta have hope.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Madness Ensues!

Ah, it's here! March Madness is here, and we're ready. It's Conference Tournament week with the Brackets coming out tomorrow night. I'm pumped. It's my favorite time of the year. My beloved Cats won their SEC Quarterfinal game yesterday, playing a miserable first half and getting down by 10 points two different times in the last 7-8 minutes. They showed so much heart and determination to win that game. Heart is something that's been woefully lacking in this team this year.

The NCAA tournament is a relatively solitary thing for me. I love getting together with people to watch regular season games but with so much riding on tournament games (one loss, your season is done), I hate to watch with anyone. I get so into it. I get so stressed when the Cats play. And I love to watch as many games as I can.

That leads to a ton of knitting time! The best UK game projects are simple stockinette with not a lot of counting, something that keeps my hands moving (that calms me) but doesn't require attention. And something that I can put down at any time should cheering (or jeering) necessitate it and pick right back up. For other teams' games, I can do something a little bit more complex but there can be no complicated cable or lace knitting during the games! And I really need to get some projects finished too, especially if I want to wear them before next fall/winter. So here's the March Madness knitting plan...

1. Get the Alphabet Baby Blanket halfway done
2. Finish Salina (half the front and half a cuff remain)
3. Pick up and finish Apricot. For real. (one front and one sleeve remain)
4. Finish my socks (Sock #1 is merely rows from completion!)
5. Cabled bag for my friend Steph
6. Finish "mystery project" I wrote about not long ago. It's not much of a mystery since I decided I won't be giving it away unless it's too small which is entirely possible judging from what I've got done (Odessa from Grumperina).

It's not likely I'll get all this done during March, and that's not really the goal. I do have some projects I'm itching to start like the BSA Cotton Cardigan I almost did during the Knitting Olympics. And the Cabled Turtleneck from Rebecca #30. And I ripped out the Jaywalker socks I had started and want to give them another shot. Of course, the temptation is pretty strong to cast on for them.

But I will not even touch the yarn for any of these until I've accomplished 4 of the 6 things on this list. True story! And feel free to call me on it if I do! :)