My blog about knitting, teaching, and being a mother to two energetic young boys.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Leyburns - Finito!

Whoot! - Another finished object squeaked in before the end of January!


Pattern: Leyburns (toe-up)
Yarn: Socks That Rock - Lightweight
Colorway: Pink Granite
Needles: US 1.5 (2.75mm) - Knit Picks
Stitch count: 56 on foot, 67 on leg

Modifications: Picot edge at top. Of course I didn't photograph that detail. Duh... I think I was in such a hurry to get outside & into natural light that I forgot to focus on details of the sock.

I participated in Ravelry's Leyburn KAL. The idea was for ravelers to knit this pattern in as many colorways of STR as possible. Pink Granite was fun - certainly not very pink - more brownish hues, if you ask me. The pattern is a quick & painless knit. It calls for a short row heel & instructs you to 'use your favorite short-row heel'. Of course it's been a while since I've knit one, that I'm not exactly pleased with the outcome. I did reknit the heels a couple of times - oh well. The heels will be in shoes & as my friend Winston's Mom reminds me - if the 'lady on the horse' can't see it, don't stress over it. :0)

I think I'll knit this again as I think this pair is destined as a donation to my children's school's Art Night. Families are encouraged to donate hand made items to put up for auction. All proceeds will be sent to their sister school in Malawi. I've yet to donate anything I've made, so I figure - why not? The next pair will be for me & I think I'll use a gusset/heel flap construction. The gusset/heel flap on the Cleopatra's (which are still not finished, argh) are pretty cool & I think would look great with this pattern. Besides being relatively quick to knit, the pattern lends itself well to handpainted/busy yarns. Perhaps I'll donate the All The Water mittens as well - that way I have an excuse to knit another pair. :0)

Can't believe January is already over - where does the time go???

Friday, January 30, 2009

All The Water...

Another finished object for January - seems like 2009 has been a good one for finishing projects so far. :0)

These are All The Water - a fabulous pattern from Through The Loops. She recently released this pattern along with Breathe Deep. Since I'm such a lover of cables, I download the pattern right away - it just 'spoke' to me. Sure enough - the next day I log on to Ravelry and discovered I had won a copy of this pattern by participating in NaKniMitMo on Ravelry!!! How cool is that!! Kirsten was so nice & sent me her Breathe Deep pattern after I explained I had just purchased All The Water. Now I have another of her patterns to knit. I think I'll make the Breathe Deep for a good friend who is expecting a little bee-ba next July. I thought a patterned entitled 'breathe deep' would be so apropos.

If you haven't discovered Through The Loops - you should really check it out. Her patterns are very easy to follow and fun to knit. She sponsored the Mystery Sock KAL on Ravelry during October.


Pattern: All The Water
Yarn: Cascade 220 Heathers
Colorway: Lavender
Needles: US7 - Knit Picks Options (I *love* these needles!!!)
Size: M/L - A little wide, so next time I'll knit the S/M size.

Modifications: None really - I did the cables without a cable needle - it's becoming my preferred method. I was hoping to use the new knit picks harmony cable needles I received from my DH for Christmas. However - the needles have grooves which get caught on the yarn. I have no idea what purpose the grooves serve - any ideas???

As you can see - it's cold again. At least we're not in negative double digits. We've finally turned a corner here in Alaska where the sun is a tad bit higher in the sky & you can actually feel the warmth of its rays.

Speaking of warmth & water... the warm spell we had a couple of weeks ago wreaked havoc on our downstairs. As you probably know, water melts at 32°F, and we had temperatures well above water's/snow's melting point. Another fantastic property of water is that it likes to seek the lowest point available - like our basement. Yes - nothing like shop-vaccing 60 gallons of water out of carpet on a Friday night. The carpet pad was ruined & has been removed & discarded. The carpet has finally dried and the funky wet carpet smell isn't as noticeable (at least to us). Of course - we don't have flood insurance - we live on a glacial moraine (i.e. - mound of earth left behind from retreating glaciers a gazillion years ago) & far from any major source of water (inlet, river, creek, lake, etc.) It is highly unlikely we would be affected by a flood in the traditional sense. In my personal internal dictionary, I don't file rapid snow melt in the same category as a flood. Apparently my insurance company does. Go figure...

Anyhow - no worries, nothing we can't overcome; it could be so much worse.

Happy knitting! Ciao ~

Friday, January 16, 2009

Say It Isn't So

The phone rang again early this morning - schools are closed for the 3rd day in a row. This is unprecedented. Just crazy! So what started on the calendar as a 3-day weekend in honor of MLK Jr., has turned into a 6-day weekend. Just bizarre!

I really wanted/needed to head back to work. By the time school resumes next Tuesday (I'm assuming this warm spell & ice/treacherous roads & parking lots will be dealt with by then) it'll have been a week since I've seen my 3rd & 6th hour classes! We're on a modified block schedule, so I normally don't meet w/3rd & 6th hour on Tuesdays. What's the chance they'll remember the topics we were discussing last week? One week behind in content - that's just swell... Also - we had an Elementary Science Day scheduled for today - that's now a no-go. I suppose I have to head into work so I can put away all of the materials we pulled out in preparation. Fantastic... Not to mention that now we have to make-up this day, bleh.

So - more knitting on tap for today. I am happy for this added knitting time. I need to rework the short-row heel on the Leyburn sock - I wasn't happy with it last night. I also haven't worked on the Feb. Lady Sweater or the Wonderful Wallaby, perhaps I'll pick those up for a spell today.

School closures wreak havoc on working families. They have to scramble to find childcare at the last moment. It is frustrating that education is often synonymous with free child-care, but I do sympathize with families who have to make last minute arrangements for their children. Yet another advantage of being a two-teacher family. We're having our neighbor's 9-year old son over for the 2nd day in a row. 3 boys running around inside is quite loud, as you might guess. They do go outside for a bit, but it doesn't take long before they are sopping wet from the water cascading down our driveway and the streets. Perhaps we'll venture out to a movie.

Hotel For Dogs or Mall Cop? Geez - the choices are overwhelming.

Have a great weekend! Also - if you have the opportunity, please remember the spirit of MLK Jr. & find a way to contribute to your community. We're planning to go to the Food Bank of Alaska for a bit on Monday. If you need some inspiration, go here.

Happy Knitting!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Manna Keeps Falling

Ice Day - NUMBER 2!! Crazy! The last time the Anchorage School District had 2 school cancellations in a row that I can remember was back in 2002. When the call came this morning (at 4:57 am, thankyouverymuch..), I was not totally surprised since the temperatures were still unseasonably warm (40°F-ish), roads were still slick as snot, and hurricane force winds were picking up around town.

The winds blew all night & surprisingly left little damage in our area. Last time we had a major wind storm, our neighbor's tree was knocked down; fortunately parallel to our driveway & thus missing the Eurovan. Windows rattled & the house shook. Electricity stayed on as did shingles as far as I can tell. The Pineapple Express zipped through south central AK with a vengeance.

While I always appreciate time off, today caused a bit of concern because tomorrow we have an Elementary Science Day planned at a new school. We usually use the day prior to load all of the supplies in cars & make sure my students are ready to go. I was worried that after 2 days off, the elementary school wouldn't be ready. However, after a few calls & emails - they wanted to stick with the plan. So, the 2 other science teachers who are accompanying my students and I met at East to gather & load gear. The main roads were not bad at all - it's the neighborhood streets that are difficult to navigate.

So - I did pretty well with my knitting plan for Ice Day #1:

1) Finished my Noro Scarf - just what I need when the temperatures are hovering around 40°F, right? Let's say, I didn't need a hat, mittens, or heavy coat today - a lightweight shell did the trick.

2) I sewed on the button for the Robin's Egg Hat. Cute hat, but wayyyyy too small for me or any adult, I surmise. Surely there's a head out there destined for this hat.

3) Frogged ugly sock. I just hate seeing all of that work dismantled - hours gone.

4) Cast-On new sock project. I'm participating in Ravelry's Leyburn KAL. The moderator of the KAL is trying to have as many Socks That Rock colorways represented with this pattern. All of the colorways I have in my stash were already taken. I can't justify spending more $$ for more sock yarn. Fortunately the moderator has allowed ravelers to duplicate colorways if they must. The Leyburns are great fun & very quick - I'm almost ready for the short row heel!

Colorway: Pink Granite
Yarn: Socks That Rock Lightweight
Needle: US 2 (2.75mm)

Okay - I'm ready for a standard winter now - some new snow would be nice. The kids just started Junior Nordic skiing & unless the precipitation turns to snow soon, they won't be hitting the trails anytime soon. No more snow/ice days please. We've used the allocated amount for the year & any additional days would require extending the school year into the summer - no thanks!

Weird weather!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Manna From Heaven

5:00 am this morning - the phone rings. I'm still in deep slumber, so I reach for the phone without concern bad news could be waiting on the other end. "Good Morning! This is so-and-so, assistant principal at Dimond High (school where my DH teaches) - just passing along the message that it's a SNOW DAY and schools are closed." BOING - my eyes fly open and a smile quickly spreads across my face. A SNOW DAY??? - Manna from heaven.

During winter, there are several days I'm only half asleep in the early morning due to the anticipation that a snow day call is on the horizon. Those usually occur after I've witnessed large, fluffy flakes falling from the sky before I go to bed. Or perhaps those afternoons when students in my 6th hour class witness snow falling and longingly wish for a snow day the following day. I'd say 99.99% of the time, the early morning call never comes when I hope it would. Today was a total surprise - out of the blue. Like finding money in your pocket.

There was no snow last night. So when I heard we had a snow day, I ran downstairs & looked out the window expecting to witness at least 3 feet of soft fluffy whiteness covering our yard. Snow days are fun because not only are they an unexpected day off from work, but a day to go outside and revel in the gift from nature. That is not to be today. When I looked out the window - there was not 3 feet of snow blanketing my yard. I was greeted with rain. Rain + snowy streets = icy & dangerous streets. Apparently the streets are too icy for school buses to safely transport students to and from school. So - it's not really a snow day as much as it's an ice day.

Oh well - it still means I can enjoy this gift. I didn't have any lesson plans that had to be executed today - no reactions left overnight, no dissection specimens that will go bad if they aren't tended to today. My students will have an extra day to get their pre-labs completed - a win/win situation for all.

Now - what to do w/this gift of time? I see knitting in my future - in my pajamas while drinking warm, yummy coffee from my favorite ceramic mug (thanks Sandy!) instead of my insulated travel mug. I need this time to:

1) Finish the Thrummed Mittens I'm working on for NaKniMitMo. Of course, now that our freakish cold snap is over (sorry midwest - remember, sharing is caring!), these mittens might be a bit overkill.

2) Move past the garter section of the February Lady Sweater and on to the more interesting lace section. My goal is to finish this before I go down to Madrona Fiber Arts retreat in February.

3) Finish my striped Noro scarf. I think it's long enough - I just need to bind off & block it a smidge.

4) Sew the button on the Robin's Egg Blue Hat. The hat itself is very short, not sure how much I like it.

5) Decide whether or not to rip out a sock I've been working on that I'm really not liking. I finished the heel flap last night (it's a toe up pattern) & just don't like how the yarn & pattern are getting along. The sock is also too big for me (not a gauge issue - a measurement error where I began the gusset). My bet is that I'll rip this puppy out. Even if I finished the pair, I don't know if I could, in good conscience, give this ugly thing to a friend. I hesitate to mention the pattern & yarn for fear of offending anyone. Let's leave it at - it's just not my style.

So - while I won't be busy entertaining educating teenagers, I will be busy in other pursuits.

I hope you enjoy a great day too! Photos next post - just not motivated right now to find my camera. :0)

Friday, January 2, 2009

First Finished Object 2009

My 2nd post in 2 days - not a bad start for blogging in 2009! I really wanted to post today to share my first finished object for 2009:

Bella's Mittens, originally uploaded by Arctic Knitter.

These are Bella's Mittens inspired by the mittens the main character (I hesitate to call her a heroine - she's such a victim...) Bella wears in the movie 'Twilight'.


Pattern: Bella's Mittens

Yarn: Alpaca with a Twist: Highlander

Needles: Knitpicks US 9 (the pattern calls for an 8 - my gauge was on with a 9)

Recipient: My friend and Twilight fanatic, Lisa

Modifications: Other than the needle size, none. They are a bit short, so if I were to knit them again, I'd knit them longer by elongating the cable or something... The pair also forced me to dip into a second skein of the yarn to finish up the thumb on mitten #2. Arghh - now to figure out what to knit with this 2nd skein. How about this?

If you haven't jumped on the Twilight bandwagon, and are looking for some brainless, guilty pleasure reading, I highly recommend you jump on board! I do spend a majority of my time with teenagers and Stephenie Meyer has captured the teenage girl persona perfectly! In a nutshell, the book is a love story complete with vampires and werewolves. The story completely sucked me in (as well as other 30-something colleagues of mine...) & I do profess an affinity for the character, Edward, the 100+ year old vampire. Turns out after you've read the series (there are 4 books, although Twilight remains my favorite), you're either a fan of Edward (swoon) or Jacob. Edward seems more like a gentleman to me (he is over 100 years old) and Jacob too much like the goofy teenagers I teach everyday.

I'm currently reading Midnight Sun - the rough draft - released by Stephenie Meyer after someone leaked it to the Internet. It's the same story as Twilight, just written from Edward's point of view. It's fantastic & I'm going to be sad when I've finished the 264 pages that have been released. As of June 2008, she is planning on finishing the story - I can't wait!

So - the beginning of 2009 has been great, albeit cold (-18°F when we woke up this morning - the coldest morning thus far during this cold spell). Monday morning's return to work is going to be a shock!


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!!

Inspired by OneMoreRow - I've compiled a Flickr Mosaic of my finished objects of 2008:

1. Child's French Socks inside #2, 2. Fire & Ice, 3. Dublin Bay Socks, 4. Jacobean progress, 5. Kauni Hat, 6. Leaflings Complete, 7. Celtic Braid Socks - Complete, 8. Monet Monkey #3, 9. Pumpkin Hat for Silas, 10. Sea Foam Scarf #2, 11. Hey, Teach Front, 12. Knitted Sweatshirt, 13. TTL Mystery Socks - Finished, 14. Hat on Head, 15. Koolhaas Hat Progress, 16. Amanda Hat II, 17. Thorpe on Snow, 18. Fingerless Mitts, 19. The Amanda Hat II, 20. Dimond Danish Earflap Hat, 21. Lopi Icelandic Sweater, 22. Central Park Hoodie

Looking back on my Knit-o-lutions of 2008, it was hit and miss....

1) Complete - I finished the Child's French Socks for my Vintage Sock Swap Pal.

2) Nope - Did not in any way, shape, or form finish the Mystery of the Stole KAL. I never got past clue #1. I think I should have tried something else as a first major lace project - perhaps using something other than lace weight yarn? I'm not sure if I'd have ever worn this stole - it probably would have become a gift.

3) I didn't keep up with the Sock of the Month KAL 5 or 6 Looks like I fell dismally short by only knitting 8 pairs this year. Geez - it seemed like so much more. Once the sweater bug took hold, sock knitting took a back seat.

4) I did manage to knit something larger than a hat. My original goal was to complete one adult sized sweater. That I did - four-fold. I finished FOUR sweaters - whoot!! I didn't complete the Minimalist Cardigan however. I think that project is destined for the frog pond as I've scavenged yarn designated for the cardi for other projects.

5) I also didn't keep up with the sock clubs to which I belong. I blame the July RSC shipment 'Cleopatra's Stockings'. While I love the yarn, the cables & other stitches were just too fiddly with my blunt addi-turbo needles. I think had I been using some knitpicks, I would have finished them in a timely manner. As it stands, I only have about an inch of ribbing left to do & then the pair is complete. How sad is that....

Oh well.... This is what I have on tap for 2009:

1) Participate in the Ravelry group: NaKniMitMo - where we knit at least one pair of mittens in the month of January. I'm planning to knit: Bella's Mittens (one complete..), Druid Mittens (started..), and a pair of Thrummed Mittens.

2) Four Sweaters: February Lady Sweater (cast-on), Eastlake, Jaden, and another Hey, Teach!

3) 2009 Rockin' Sock Club - hopefully I'll do better - the list of designers is exciting.

Well - looks like another busy & fun/knit filled year. It's still cold (-11.7°F right now) - off to knit. :0)