Saturday, October 31, 2009

I'm back!

Vacation was a blast.

vacation jumpity

(click for a bigger version)

That's me on the big, beautiful beach of Oceanside, Oregon. I have lots of pictures (779!) to go through and upload to flickr ... so I'll be back later this week with a full report, including my yarn haul!

Monday, October 19, 2009

vacation hats

In my last post, I fretted about finishing a hat for Josh before we left for vacation on Thursday. Well, not only did I finish it, I knit another hat, too!

First up - Josh's hat:

FO: ribbed hat for Josh

Yarn: Patons Classic Merino
US 6 needles, 2x2 rib, 112 stitches
Time to knit: nine days

He has a big noggin, so I was worried about the fit. But it turned out great! I hope it comes in handy as we explore the Pacific Northwest.

I knit this next hat in two days:

FO: Ribbed hat

The yarn is Farmhouse Yarns Andy's Merino II - a really lofty and soft single ply that feels like it's on its way to being chunky instead of worsted. I used size 9 needles and switched to size 8 once I got to the crown. It is delightfully cozy and I would love to work with this yarn again (if only it weren't $19 a skein ... sigh ... I will be able to get a baby hat out of the leftovers, at least.)

Ribbed hat from the back

I settled on some vacation knitting, too: I cast on a pair of simple stockinette socks in STR Mediumweight in County Clare (possibly my favorite yarn colorway of all time), and I'll be bringing my toe-up sock-in-progress and my long-suffering Clapotis. This will likely be my last post before our trip - I'll be back with a full report sometime after Halloween!

Friday, October 16, 2009

this and that

I have a few FOs to show off - including one that was finished nearly a month ago. Things have just been so crazy around here, though, that I just haven't had time to blog. First up, a Simple Yet Effective Shawl (rav link):

FO: Cloud Shawlette

Yarn: Fibre Company Canopy Fingering in Palm Bud (two skeins, 400 yards)
Time to knit: five weeks on and off
Size: 21” by 46”

Texture of Cloud Shawlette

This was really dreamy to work with. The yarn has a bit of alpaca in it, though, so fibers kept coming off and making my nose itch. But post-blocking, it's a soft, cozy dream.

So dreamy!

Next up is the Birthday Cowl (rav link), made to match my beret.

FO: Birthday cowl

Yarn: Dream in Color Classy in Blue Lagoon (about one skein - alternated between two dyelots)
Time to knit: about 3 weeks

Only one picture to show, as my mom snapped it for me during a little break from working at my granddad's house. I'm quite happy with how it turned out.

And finally, a little bit of stash acquisition made when I signed up for Wendyknit's toe-up sock class a few weeks ago.

Misti Alpaca Lace

It's the perfect color for a shawl for my grandma. Now that I've made my mom a little lace scarf, I'd like to make one for my grandma. This is a pale sage green that I think would be perfect for her.

I leave for vacation in less than a week (yikes!) and I have a lot to do before then. I'm making a plain black wool watchcap for my boyfriend (with a huge 24" noggin) and I'm trying to finish it in time to wash/block it before we leave. I need to make a list of restaurants we might want to check out (I've already done this for yarn stores). And, most important to a knitter, I need to decide what knitting to bring! Do I bring my half-finished Clapotis? Yarn for a plain stockinette sock or two? Cast on a unprecedented third Simple Yet Effective Shawl? Decisions, decisions ...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

my Granddad

My granddad passed away tonight, Oct. 3. His health had gotten progressively worse since I visited there two weeks ago. He entered hospice care Thursday, my parents arrived this morning, and he passed away with my dad by his side.

I didn't really blog about my trip there two weeks ago - but now I should share that it was truly wonderful. My parents and I arrived at the nursing home, and when we went into his room, he wasn't there. Then we heard this shout from across the hall: "Hey, baby!" where he was in physical therapy. It was a lovely day, sunny and temperatures in the mid-60s, so we wheeled him outside, where my dad gave him a shave and combed his hair.

Granddad gets a shave

He was really snappy - I don't know how else to describe it. We were talking about football, and my dad made a crack about Penn State (my alma mater). I responded saying something about how they were in the top 10, and my granddad slyly said, "Yeah, but counting from which end?" Then there was his statement upon seeing a certain nurse leave for the day: "If you ever want to get castrated, well ..." My mom responded with "Well, Dad, I hate to tell you but I don't have the equipment for that!" He laughed and laughed. It really was a wonderful afternoon and I'm so thankful we had such a lovely day together.

Granddad and me

This picture is from November 2008. I was in Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving and my family and I had breakfast with Granddad at his favorite - his only - breakfast place. This is how I will remember my granddad - in his watchcap outside of Tom's on the South Side. I'll be going to sleep tonight thinking about all the Saturdays he came out to our house in Eighty Four, Pa., to help my dad build a deck, and how he always took time to show me basketball moves. I am exhausted and can't think of much else to say except that I'll miss you very much, Granddad.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy Socktober!

Just stopping by to wish everyone a happy first day of Socktober!

I have finished eight pairs of socks this year (seven of which can be found here). I'll definitely have at least three more finished (all gift knits) -- maybe not in Socktober, but definitely before the end of the year (because two of the three are Christmas gifts). That means I just need to knit one more pair to make it a pair a month for all of 2009!

I am slooowly working on my toe-up socks:

sock progress

Pattern is Dead Simple Lace Socks from Wendy Johnson's new book.

These are on the back burner for now, though -- I've got two other projects that are taking priority right now - my vacation cowl and socks for my running buddy. My knitting goals for my weekend are finishing the cowl, which is 75% done, and casting on the mate to the first sock, which is done. I'm hoping I can get to the heel of that sock this weekend. Shouldn't be too hard, since they're relatively short-cuffed:

WIP: Diana's Marathon socks

What are your knitting priorities right now?