Thursday, September 28, 2006

And it only took 4 months and 6 days!

Guess what....the Granny Square Afghan is finally finished!! 49 huges squares and over 4 long months. In my defense, I was very sick and unable to do any fiber-related crafting for about 1 I guess it's not too bad. Here are a few pictures of the finished product:
This was my best attempt at trying to capture the entirety of the afghan. As you can tell, it's a little too large to do that - but I think it gives you a good sense of the scope of the thing - it basically covers all of our queen-size bed.

In case you're also interested, here's a birds-eye view of some of the squares:
I'll tell you...the last few bits were a little frustrating. Doing 2 rounds of single crochet around the edge of the afghan took forever! It also ate through about one full skein of yarn!! Can you believe that?? Then, weaving in all of the little ends - it can drive you crazy...with 49 squares - that's a lot of ends!

But, the important thing is that it's done - and it's lovely and it's occupying a very nice spot on my couch and hubby and I will be able to snuggle underneath it's all worth it!

I'll tell you though - it'll be a while before I do another granny square! Time to move on to other things.

In other knitting news, I've been making a little progress on the simple baby blanket - and Matilda Jane is plodding along...for whatever reason, I can't motivate myself to really sit down and devote several hours to working on those's just something about going round and round and round that's driving me a little batty.

In other news, I'm on a little fall break as of today! Hooray! I have the next two weeks off. I don't think I mentioned this yet but my husband and I will be going away next week for about a week to France. We're spending a few days in Paris and a few more days in the Loire valley - with all of the lovely castles. I'm very excited!! Don't think it's a completely random trip or anything - we're going to really celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary. Yes, I know that already happened in August..but we didn't have the time to really celebrate then. I'll be sure to blog again before we leave - but thought I'd just give a heads-up!

Monday, September 25, 2006

And then there were two

Well, since my last post I finished my first pair of adult socks! Here I am modelling them:
So, what do you think? I'm very pleased with them...and now I'm totally in love with sock knitting. These were so fast to knit - it's great! I think each sock took me about 2 days!! Can't beat that! I think that my next pair will be for my husband once I get him to pick out a stitch pattern he likes.

Speaking of my husband, it will be one of many projects that I'll be working on for him in the next little while. Including - a crocheted runner for the bookcase in his office and a pair of gloves.

I also heard from my husband that friends of ours are expecting...and soon! So, I need to get cracking on a gift for the new baby. Well, I settled on a baby blanket..and maybe a hat depending on how I'm feeling...but I told myself that I could not start a new blanket until I finished that crocheted afghan! Well, good news, the afghan is almost finished!!!! All squares are crocheted and sewn up!! What's remaining? I just need to sew in some of the ends and do some single crochet around the edge. So...almost there. It's looking great - it's certainly big enough. Once I officially finish it, I'll be sure to post the picture.

This past weekend I was with my family for Rosh Hashanah. I wouldn't exactly say it was the most pleasant experience - family holidays never really are...but it was good to see my parents. Did I mention that they live in Zurich now? So, I don't really get the opportunity to see them very often so it was good to catch up.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

One real sock completed! One to go!

So, I was working on my first pair of real socks - the kind that would fit me rather than a baby..and I was making great progress...until I realized that I made a size too big. So, instead of just putting up with it, I decided to rip out the entire sock and start from scratch. Plus, I went back on my promise to keep it simple. Instead of just doing a stockinette sock, I decided to take it up a notch. I used the Four-Stitch Ribbing Pattern from Sensational Socks and used the Elongated Corded Rib stitch. Well, I finished my first adult sock - and it fits!

Here I am modelling my first sock. By the way, I'm using Artyarns Supermerino - which I love! So, soft! Here's also a side view:

Anyway, I'm very proud of it as you can probably imagine. No second sock syndrome for me - I love the way that the sock feels so much that I just can't wait to finish. I've started up on the second sock and am currently working on the leg - so I have a little while to go. Well, I'm just really glad that I decided to frog the larger version - this way, I'll actually be happy wearing it!

I have a bunch of other news to share too. On Sunday, I went to the big Knit Out in New York. It was a lot of fun and I got a lot of free stuff - mostly free knitting patterns but also some yarn and needles. But, I had the most incredible experience that I need to share. I went to one of the booths for Crochet Today magazine (if you remember, when this magazine came out, I just raved about it). So, I wanted to give them my positive feedback. So, I spoke to the woman at the booth, and she asked me why I liked it - and I basically told her..and then I said that I really liked the designers in the issue too. So, the rest of our conversation went something like this:

Woman at booth: "So, which designers do you like?"

Me: "Oh, I just love Candi Jensen and.."

Woman at booth: "Wait, I'M CANDI JENSEN!!!!"


Can you just imagine my excitement? She said she got goosebumps during our little exchange! I told her that I saw that her new book (that I've had on my Amazon wishlist forever) Knitting Loves Crochet, came out and how much I liked it, etc. etc (great book, by the way - but that's really another post). So, of course, I ran right over to the Barnes and Nobles across the street and had her autograph my book. What a nice lady! It totally just made my day to meet her. Can you believe that happened to me? I couldn't stop talking about it for the rest of the day.

In school news, we had a big departmental party with faculty and students yesterday. I organized the whole thing and it was a huge success. We had a very large turnout and everyone thanked me for putting it all together. Hooray!

Anyway, my second sock awaits!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

I did it!


It's my first sock completed!! Now, of course I can't wear it - it would probably fit a baby, but the point wasn't for me to wear the sock - the point was to learn how. In case you're wondering, I knit the Class Sock from the book Sensational Knitted Socks. If you haven't checked out the book and you're a sock knitter or you'd like to knit socks, GET THIS BOOK! It made learning how to knit socks doable.

Honestly, the hardest part was getting used to those dpns. Once you get that down, the rest isn't all that bad. In fact, I'm hooked - it's so much fun! I really like how there are all these different parts of the sock: cuff, gusset, heel flap, heel turn, etc. etc. It really makes the sock interesting. So, yesterday I went out and bought a bunch of sock yarn...because it doesn't really count towards my stash, right? Right???!!!

So, I'm currently working on my first REAL pair of socks - you know, a pair I could actually wear. I'm having a hard time putting it down it's so much fun. I'm currently working the gusset decrease of the 1st sock - next time you'll see a picture. But, I've chosen something super simple - just k2p2 for the cuff and st st for the rest...just to build my confidence. After this pair, I'll branch out to something more involved.

I must say also that learning how to use dpns have really opened up a whole new world. I haven't talked much about Matilda Jane in a while, right? Well, aside from me being too sick to knit for a few weeks, I slowed down because I started the sleeves and the pattern suggested to use 12" circs. Have you ever used 12" circs? Well, they're very small and very uncomfortable. So, I couldn't do too much in a sitting..but now that I learned how to use dpns, I've since moved the stitches onto dpns and things are much better - I'm able to move quicker and more comfortably. So, we're back on track - except my gauge has changed - so I need to purchase a larger set of dpns. So, hooray for dpns (never thought I'd say that one!)!

Are you also wondering about the crochet afghan? I've been working a little on it this week too. Plus, I've realized that we're not going to be able to do all 56 squares - it'll have to be 49. I just won't have enough yarn - that's become quite clear. Believe me - it's big enough!! So, I have only 2 more squares to go - and then they just need to be sewn up. Almost there!!!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Oh yes I can!

Well, I got back from the conference earlier this week. I wish I could say that it was a good conference, but it wasn't all that useful. My poster describing my research project was very well receiving though - so that's the important thing. So, because most of the research had nothing to do with my area of interest, my husband and I had a little vacation in London. It was fabulous!! I just love that city - it feels like coming home for me. We managed to cram in quite a bit in just a couple of days.

Oh, and I did do some shopping - oh yes! I went to this department store, Liberty, which was recommended as one of the best knitting shops in London...and it was! The store is a Rowan wonderland - I've never seen so much Rowan yarn in every color imaginable...and they had all of the Rowan books - as well as Jaeger too. The prices on the books especially were much better than over here. So, from RYC, I got the new Alpaca book, and well as Classic Garden, and Classic Woman. Then, I spotted the Jaeger Roma book from Spring 2006 which I also loved and bought..and fell in love with the pattern called Sissy in particular.
So, I took the opportunity to purchase the yarn for the pattern there as well. Very successful trip indeed!!

Other than that, this week has been a busy one at school! I have this new advising position - don't be impressed - it's just that no one else in the department wanted to do it - anyway, it's created a ton of work. I have students up the wazoo making appointments with me to discuss their futures...but the students have been finding it useful and helpful so that's what's important. Classes themselves are really in full force and very busy. So far though they're going very well.

Lastly, I've hit a major knitting milestone. I've really wanted to knit socks for some while but I've been having trouble with dpns for sometime. Well....

I've conquered those pointy beasts! There's the beginning of my k2p2 ribbing!! Anyway, I'm sure that I'll run into more bumps in the road along the way - but it's a major accomplishment to have conquered those dpns - they've been causing me a ton of frustration lately.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A conferencing I will go!

Just a super quick post today because....I'm leaving for a conference in only a few hours. Where am I going? The lovely lovely city of London! I'm especially excited because my husband is coming as well. Because the school is picking up the tab for my airfare and lodging and food, we thought it would be a great opportunity for my husband to come along since we'll only need to pay for his airfare and food. Not too shabby!

I'm presenting a poster on Thursday evening - but am planning on enjoying the city Saturday and Sunday morning - we return on Sunday afternoon.

Anyway, I'm super excited because if you remember, I grew up in London so it's like coming home for me.

Well, I'll be sure to say hello to the queen - and check out a knitting store or two, of course!

Until then - cheery-o!

Friday, September 01, 2006

The end of the Secret Pals - How Sad!

So, if you can believe it, my SP8 pal sent yet ANOTHER package. This time, unfortunately, it's the last one - but certainly not least. I can't believe that it's all over. It's been such a fabulous summer being spoiled by two amazing pals. Well, I'm really excited though to know who my pals are - and to make a few new knitting friends! I guess that's really the point!

Anyway, so check out this package. I opened it up - and of course, I was greeted by many smaller little wrapped packages.
So, there they are - and you know that Frodo and Sam had to inspect as usual!! At the top, is a lovely letter from my secret 8 pal. Her name is Linda aka Craft Junkie. I think that she's probably one of the coolest women ever. She's from California and is a legal secretary, paralegal, and notary public. She's been married to her high school sweetheart for 37 years (what an accomplishment!) and has two grown children and one totally adorable grandchild. Anyway, it was just so awesome getting a chance to read up on this amazing woman who has been spoiling me all summer!!

So, what was inside those packages? There were so many that I broke them up into themes. First, a sheep theme!
Starting at the top and moving clockwise, that's a sheep piggy bank you're looking at. So adorable! Around the sheep's neck is a little sign that says Secret Pal 8 (it's actually the same icon I have on my blog). That way, I'll always remember my pal and this amazing experience.

Moving on, a set of size 11 straight needles - and at the top of the needles are two little sheep - one black and one white. I love them! They make me want to make something with larger needles so I'll get a chance to use them!

Next, that's a pez dispenser and key chain in the shape of a sheep! I love pez - and what better than a sheepy pez dispenser??!!

Lastly, is a very special sheep tape measure. I love cute little tape measures - but I don't have this one so this is a real treat. So adorable - and you can never had too many tape measures - so I know that this will come in handy. I love it!

So, onto the next theme - this one is a knitting/dying theme.
knitting group So, on the left are several skeins of cotton yarn and many many packages of Kool-Aid along with a little tutorial from Knitty to get me started on dying yarn. I'm very excited about this! I've thought about learning how to make my own handyed yarn - so this is exactly what I need to get me going.

Then, on the right, a lovely Knitting Journal - filled with empty pages for me to keep track of all of my projects. What an amazing way to keep track of all of my knitting and crochet progress. I can't wait to start using it!

And now, onto the last theme:
cat toys Two cat toys! I thought this was so sweet of my pal to think about my cats. As you know, Frodo and Sam have had tremendous fun with all of the boxes and wrappings that have arrived this summer - so it was so thoughtful of her to purchase a "real" gift for the cats. They love them both too! Here are some action shots of Sam playing with them:
samtoy1samtoy2 These pictures are a little misleading because it was very hard to get them to "perform" on camera. You know the way that cats are. Also, Frodo has taken ownership of the toy on the left - which is quite an accomplishment because he's not so into toys (unless they're dangling on a string from a stick - those he adores) -but for some reason, he's really into this particular toy. So, that's great!

Anyway, thank you thank you thank you, Linda, my SP8 pal! I love everything - I've loved everything this entire summer and I'm so sad that this all has to end. Whoever you end up having as a pal in SP9 is going to be VERY VERY lucky!!

So, that's it for now - I'm still recovering but am feeling significantly better. Tomorrow we're having lunch at my uncle's house - which should be interesting given that I haven't eaten much more than tea and toast for the past 2 1/2 weeks - so I hope that they understand that I won't be eating with the same degree of gusto. Then, on Sunday, a friend of mine who I've known since I was about 3 or 4 years old is getting married. So, I'm really looking forward to that!

Have a great holiday weekend everyone!