Wednesday, November 25, 2009


We all know sock yarn isn't stash. Neither is laceweight, for the most part. Therefore, this is my entire stash:

And this is not stash:

As Lee says, don't make the yarn angry. It will get even. Apparently, it multiplies, and ate the couch. See:

That right there is all of my fibery goodness, all of the roving and yarn of all flavors (except the bag o' scraps) that are not currently used in projects. Maybe I do have too much...I mean, I have, according to my Ravelry stash page (which only counts what I have here in Japan, not the bit of stash I left home) 24.5 miles, yes, MILES of yarn. That is not in a project - if we count the yarn in my WIP basket, that's another mile or two, I'm sure. There's at least 550 oz, nearly 1.5 miles, in sock yarn alone, and then I have a sweater's worth of sport weight and a half mile in Alpaca Cloud for one stole and a whole bunch of crappy fingering weight but not sock yarn that is still fighting me, and...I think that's it. So at least three miles of in progress stuff. In addition to the stash in the closet and on the bookshelf waiting for its turn. Wow, that is a lot.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I has it.

Sorry to all my Ravelry friends, I shall be consuming your Friends pages for the next, oh, seven pages. I went through and photographed all my yarn this weekend.

Not my projects, just the yarn. Projects will be later. I swear.

I haven't looked at my Friends pages in awhile. So of course, I had to go back through to the point where I last saw things. I have 48 tabs of projects to look at open.

Oh jeez.

I also have a couchful of yarn to finish organizing. It's all photographed and uploaded to Flickr, now it needs to be input to Ravelry, sorted by project (as in, what projects will I be most likely to do soonest) and put back into the closet and onto the bookshelf.

All those yarn pictures will be popping up on your Friends page shortly.

In short, I apologize for all the annoying pictures you'll be getting from me, but it will be making my life easier and more organized, so it's worth it.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Too Much Yarn

I own too much yarn. Not huge rooms full of yarn, not more than I could ever knit, and not piles of yarn without a project to go with it, but more than I should have. Since I know I won't be staying here for too many more years and I keep buying new yarn for new projects, I am going to give myself some yarn-related goals for 2010. For 2009, my goal was to finish at least as many projects as I had in 2008, preferably above 50. Yes, I realize this is nearly a finished object per week and with less than two months to go I am still about 1/4 of the way from the finish line, but it should be doable. I've had some projects that have taken me less than a week; in fact, a few have taken less than a day. More than 50 projects is just insane, and in this coming year I'd rather focus on quality, projects for me, and using up the yarn I already own.

I have yarn for at least two sweater vests, possibly more. They would be very useful right now, and would take up oh, 1000-ish yards of WW yarn I have hanging around. Yarn that I brought to Japan, and that I really, really should not be bringing back to the States! By the 1st of January, after much after my current round of test knitting and gift knitting is over, I will catalog all of my yarn. I started to awhile ago, and then just got bogged down by the number of odds and ends I had. I also wound these odds and ends using my trusty niddy noddy and counted the number of yards I had of each, making nice little mini-skeins and sprinkling them in among the bookshelf skeins (which just keep growing...). I'll be photographing and counting all of my stash to add to Ravelry and listing the projects for all the yarn that has a desired project.

Next, I'll be going through that yarn and working on the desired project for each. I have a steeked Norwegian cardigan for my mom that I've been working on for awhile now. That one needs to be finished by August so I can take it with me to the States and give it to my mom. That one will be a good one to finish because not only will it be using up yarn I brought all the way from the States with me, but also not adding to the collection of things that will be brought home. I hope to replace the contents of my sock drawer with all handmade socks by the time I leave here as well, so knitting up all the sock yarn I have will not only be decreasing my stash but also allowing me to toss old socks and not get more dollar store socks. I have 20 skeins of Patons Classic Merino for a King sized blanket. That will prove highly useful while we're here as well, and I should use it for its intended purpose before I get too antsy and use it for something else!

Part of the reason I keep buying yarn is because the yarn I have is either not appropriate or is being kept for a different project, so of course I can't use it! Therefore, I really should figure out what has a project, what is up for grabs, and what I should try to get rid of. I have bunches of mohair, mostly recycled, that I find to be horribly itchy. I should get rid of it or find a nice scarf pattern for gifts.

Soon, expect a post with piles of yarn and some levels of organization, as well as a massive update to my Ravelry stash.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chicken Wings Party

Thanks to our wonderful friends, we have an abundance of wing and barbecue sauces. Because it's not really all that convenient or cost effective to fry up a bunch of wings for dinner for just the two of us, we had a bunch of people over and a multitude of wings and french fries to fry up. Since the fries had frost on them, Lee had his lovely protective gear on to minimize blinding from spitting oil:

Mmm, I love a man in safety glasses! We went all Martha Stewart and put the melba toast and carrots for blue cheese dipping in our bread pans (because all the bowls were being used in the wings process) and had biscuits and garbage bread. We also offered a salad and ice cream sundaes for dessert, with homemade caramel and whipped cream. Lee scoffs at my dessert making attempts, but the caramel finally worked after burning only two batches of sugar.

Lee had a nice assembly line for his frying going on, drying raw chicken in the sink, pot of cornstarch to coat the chicken before dunking them into the oil:

We had about 15 people, so it was a good sized party. It was nice to be able to have a little taste of home, even if it wasn't quite the same.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What have I been doing?

1. Chicken Wing party - post as soon as I remember to do stuff with the pictures.

2. Local sight-seeing and recovering from said party (not like, hungover or anything, just house cleaning and all). Last weekend was pretty much supposed to be the last weekend before the miserable, wet, cold winter season, so we walked about and took pictures (which will be on Flickr probably tonight).

3. Swearing to myself I will go to bed early tonight.

4. Not going to bed early any night.

5. Being tired and lazy because I have not been getting quite enough sleep.

6. Knitting on a couple of projects I can't blog about as of yet.

7. Not sewing on the remaining button so I can give the baby gifts away after photographing and blogging them.

8. Making some progress, but not enough, on the projects I can blog about. Actually, I really should show off my Blooming glove again, now that it's all done minus the weaving in of ends. Must get on that.

9. Studying Japanese.

10. Watching Dan Brown movies. Rather disappointed in Angels and Demons, really impressed by how they showed the cognitive processes with DaVinci Code.

11. Not blogging. Not even logging onto blogger. Reading other peoples' blogs though.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Skills: +10 in formatting

Sometimes my image hosting site (Ripway) likes to cut off my access to images. Things like the progress bars over in the sidebar. I log in to see what the problem is, and get this message:
Our system has detected that downloads from your account over the last 24 hours has exceeded your daily download limit. Public downloads of your files are temporarily unavailable.") As soon as your downloads for a 24 hour period drops below your daily limit, public access to your files will be restored.

Use the chart to the right to see when heavy downloads occurred, and how much was used.

I also have this information about my usage, just a couple of lines above the temporary account locking notice:
Data Transfer
In the last 24 hours you have used 4.95 MB of data transfer, out of 150.00 MB.
So I should have 145.05 MB of data transfer remaining for this 24 hour time period. That is not exceeding my limit. I was always annoyed to see the little "pg" on my progress bars when the images went away, so recently decided to change them to status updates on each project. Cute little things, like "Finished!", "Needs blocking", "Slowly but surely", "Soon" and things like that. Well, I realized that that made for very wonky formatting. Why, I was never sure. The last time I saw it I didn't have time to sit and fix it, but this time, by gosh, I was going to do something about it!

I realized that all of the ones that said "Finished!" were okay. Others, not so much. The words would cut off and continue vertically down the screen, obscuring the names of other projects and cute progress bar messages. Not good. Two projects, one at 90%, and one at 98%, had the same phrase, which was fine for the 98% bar but cut off in the 90% bar. Of course, this didn't clue me in.

What did clue me in was the fact that the one that had only 35% progress cut off at about the 35% mark. A-ha! The alternate text for the image only shows up underneath where the image would be! So, something that is finished can handle any phrase up to 100 pixels long. I changed all of the phrases to something that can fit (OTN can fit any project at least 35%, UFO needs 40%) and removed alternate text from all the projects too small to be able to handle any. Awesome.

I also went through and closed the website formatting for some of those titles. This way all of the alternate texts are black instead of blue or grey. Check out the sidebar, I'm sure it'll still be image-less for the next few hours, and see how lovely it is now!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Mmmm, dinner!

I made a lovely wintery dinner because we had a cold snap, and I told Lee I'd make him whatever he wanted for his birthday. Feather Stew! It's a family recipe (Lee's family) and delicious. Pretty simple, or at least, our version was.

You take a bunch of chicken, preferably with skin and bones, and brown it in some oil with garlic. Add sauteed mushrooms and water until chicken and mushrooms are just barely covered. We didn't saute the mushrooms and used big mushrooms because they were cheaper here than the button mushrooms we'd typically use. I also am not a mushroom person, so we left them large for Lee.

Simmer until chicken falls apart, remove bones and skin and shred the chicken. Typically, you'd then refrigerate this overnight, and remove the layer of gross the next day. Re-heat (or use these fancy oil and fat sucking pads we found here and make it all in one go), then add some white wine and cream, salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over white rice with the wine you used to flavor it (we had a lovely Riesling) with some crusty bread. For dessert, apple pie! Mmmmm, delicious!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I need more pictures

I have a box bag I've been using to cart around my yarn. It's a perfect size for small-ish projects, and the handle fits around my wrist nicely. Is it photographed? No.

I have my finished Cinderella's Castle Art of Disney cross stitch framed and hanging in my craft room. Is it photographed? No.

I finished my Rogue hoodie months and months ago, and have worn it out a few times. Is it photographed? No.

I made another Fetching to match the non-missing one from the first set. There is a definite difference in gauge. It will make an amusing blog post. Is it photographed? No.

I have all the baby stuff ready to go, after stalling out on the final finishing since I was unwell for the 10 hour stretch it was originally supposed to be done in. Are they photographed? No.

I have three, count 'em, three! pairs of socks in the sidebar that are finished. One that is for gifting, so is not getting a post yet, just in case, but two that are work socks and have been worn a bit since getting finished, my Hourglass and Nebula socks. Are they photographed? Yes, but not well, and I want better pictures before blogging.

I want to publish Betty's Scarf, so it will not be photographed until later.

The one crochet item and the one stamp are gifts that (still) need to go out, so won't be shown until they're gifted, just in case.

I haven't been working on any cross stitches, so no pictures of that.

Most of my long-term knits haven't moved since I last photographed and blogged them.

My current knits are either secret or have been recently photographed and blogged.

I have blog fodder, I just need to exercise my camera a bit! Maybe I'll do a major photo session today since it's nice and sunny out, if I get home before the sun sets.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Books, Books, Books

Squeaking in just under the wire for a post on the 4th, I'm going to mention books. And be a bit random.

I like books. I like to read. A lot.

I'm on Goodreads. Join me if you're a reader too. I also have that widget over in the sidebar, which if you read my blog from an rss feed, you've never seen. I like Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Ayn Rand, Harry Potter, Robert Heinlein, and sensational history, like things that verge on historical fiction (A Treasury of Royal Scandals is amazing!) and things that are decidedly historical fiction (or plain old fiction with historical settings) but good (The Red Tent, Memoirs of a Geisha, any Arthurian legend like Mists of Avalon), and I am, if you didn't know already, a big user of lists.

I like crossing things off of lists. I used to carry a planner around with me with all kinds of lists in it. Things don't get done nearly as well as they used to because Franklin Covey stopped producing the kind of pages I like and it's expensive to get pages that would probably work shipped to Japan, so I haven't done so yet. I really should. It would help a lot with remembering to e-mail, mail, and do various little things that I just can't seem to remember on my own anymore.

Anyway, the point of mentioning the lists is that I've been going through the book lists on the sidebar and bolding any book that appears on more than one list. I've got the first three lists completely done, and am working my way through. This way, if I'm trying to decide between books, I can read the ones that appear on multiple lists to somewhat artificially up my score.

Right now, I'm reading Last of the Mohicans on my iPod (so it doesn't advance very far very often), Freakonomics (not on my lists) as a hard copy (which can't be read as easily while knitting, so again doesn't get touched often enough), Discworld #8 Guards! Guards! on my laptop (which is on the BBC Big Read list and what I read while knitting), and I'm starting something new on my work laptop. That one doesn't get touched often either, which is why it took me a year to get through the last 1/4 of the Count of Monte Cristo. It's only for if I am eating lunch at my desk or am waiting for a meeting after school or something - during the workday I work or work on Japanese, including attempting to read Harry Potter. That's not going too well just yet.

I'm trying to decide between Mrs. Dalloway (crossed off on my list but I have no recollection of reading it), Jane Eyre, and A Clockwork Orange. I think I'll go with Mrs. Dalloway followed by Jane Eyre since they're both available through free online sources. I love Project Gutenberg!

I am also annoyed at some of the lists I have for good books. Any of them that list the Lord of the Rings books list it as a single entry. It's a trilogy. Three books. Not one entry. Same with His Dark Materials, and on one of the two 1000 book lists, Discworld. Discworld is a huge series of nearly 30 books! You had 1000 books to choose, and you put a 30 book series, 3% of your total list size, as ONE entry? Come on now! At least the BBC Big Read people took the best of that series (and the Harry Potter series) and put those books on individually. Yes, that means that 7 of them are in the top 100 and there are eight more from 101 - 200, but they are just that good! Also, it takes quite some time to get to cross things off if it's listed as a series instead of by book. Especially when the series is Discworld and not yet finished.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Indigo Moon Samples

I actually did write this on the 3rd, and forgot to add images and post it when I got home. Crap. Pretend it showed up on the third in addition to being dated on the third.

I got to work with some lovely Indigo Moon yarn to knit up a couple of pairs of sample socks. She dyes everything naturally and it's one of the "greener" yarns you can find (if you don't count the penalties for transporting it from the west coast of Canada to you) with some amazing colors. It's some pretty nice sock yarn that feels as though it will last quite some time under typical wear. Wouldn't be able to definitively say without wearing some for awhile, but they feel pretty good!

The first pair was a pattern made specifically for Indigo Moon yarns, Chains of Love, this time as a sample for shows and out of the same colorway as the pictures in the pattern, West Coast Sunset from the West Coast Musings line. This particular skein was a 120 gram skein, so was perfect for this pattern (it calls for a longer leg than most), but I wouldn't count on being able to do the full extra long leg with a typical skein.

Pattern: Chains of Love Socks
Yarn: Indigo Moon West Coast Musings in West Coast Sunset, one generous skein.
Needles: US1/2.25 mm, DPNs
Timeframe: August 28 - September 21, 2009, but I knit a different pair of socks in between the first and second.
Mods: None because it's a sample knit!
Problems: Not really, I'm just not all that pleased with how the row of twisted knits between the purls looks on either side of the center pattern. I'm not sure why, but one side is nice and tight and the other is loose. I think it might be the order of knits vs. purls or something, but I'm not sure.

The second pattern was Blackrose, knit in Turqoise. I love this pattern and plan to make it for myself in a darker color someday. This skein was 106 grams, still a bit generous!

Pattern: Blackrose
Yarn: Indigo Moon Turqoise, one skein.
Needles: US1/2.25 mm, DPNs
Timeframe: September 4 - 15, 2009.
Mods: None because it's a sample knit!
Problems: None, fast knit, love the pattern, want my own!

Continuing with the sidebar cleanup, next we'll have...some other post? Not sure yet, I need to figure out what I have pictures for and what still needs photography. Rogue still needs photography, as do the Nebula socks. Hmmm....maybe a current projects post? No, that'll be boring. Meh, we shall see!

Monday, November 2, 2009


Right now I am working on two different pairs of gloves, both by Laris Designs (she has an amazing spinning wheel, and is an all around awesome person). I am lucky enough to be testing an up and coming pattern, Blooming, and I'm working on a pair of Knotty gloves for Christmas.

Progress on Blooming:

This is made from Wild Fire Fibres Cyrus base, in the September club colorway. I love this yarn base. It is 80% lambswool, 10% cashmere, 10% angora, and so soft, warm, and wonderful! The branches are leftover Knit Picks Essential (now re-named Stroll) in Cocoa from my Nebula socks. I think it might not be enough for the second glove though - must send out a request for leftover scraps! The finishing touch of these gloves is flowers scattered about, which I may or may not do. I like how it looks like the silhouette of a tree during a cloudy sunrise. I might put a few blooms, probably in red, but I think not as many as are in the original pattern.

I like it so far! It'd be done by now, but my palm is shorter than the pattern is written for, so I had to drop down a few stitches to make the palm section fit better. It's good now! As of this post, I'm finishing up the fingers and then will need to weave in the ends. That will get its own post!
Knotty glove:

This is another design by the same person, who has chosen gloves as her medium. When you think of interesting sock designs, you think of Cookie A., when you think of gloves, Julia is your girl. I'd already queued most of her designs, so getting to test knit up and coming patterns is a great thing for me. This one is one of her free patterns, something I decided would be simple and easy for Christmas, and one of the patterns my Mother in Law liked. It seems a bit tight - I'm a bad person and tend to not check my gauge for projects like socks, knowing for the most part what my gauge will be like. This is a new to me yarn and not a sock, so I should have swatched. It's a bit tight getting it on, but fits lovely, and I know she wanted a close-fitting glove with a longer wrist for warmth, so I think this one will fit the bill nicely. I just might have to stretch the wrist a bit with blocking.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Sickness. Not anything horrible, I've just not been feeling well all week, and it culminated in nearly 14 hours of sleep on Friday night. The night I was going to spend slapping together a dress, weaving in ends, and sewing buttons. Crap.

So, instead of getting the pregnant women sick, I did not attend the shower and did not make the dress. I shall instead hold on to the materials for next years' Halloween and make a dress then. That way, I can focus on Christmas knitting (and the ever-present test knitting) as well as some things for an Etsy shop, and if my size changes in between, the dress will fit next year. I will also take the time to mark out the seams nicely and be less annoyed that they are not incorporated into the pattern pieces. Hopefully.

I'm on the final stretch for the year. My goals for this year were to:

Make a 101 in 1001 list for Japan. This is not yet complete but is an ongoing list with some things crossed off and others being added.

Read 12 books on my booklists (see sidebar) and one in Japanese. I've read 30 books this year, am in the middle of four others (one on my iPod, one paperback, one on my home laptop, and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in Japanese), and 11 of those 30 have been on the lists. I also finished A Series of Unfortunate Events and read the Twilight series this year. Of the 11 that I read, three of them are the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman, so only count as one, and one of them is the Fellowship of the Ring, which is not listed individually on any list either, leaving only 8 books counting towards the goal. So, in 62 days, my goal is to read 4 books that count and finish Harry Potter. I can tell you right now that Harry Potter is a very long shot because my Japanese is still nearly non-existant, though I have gone through Little Red Riding Hood in Japanese. Two of my other books are also list books, so I'm doing pretty well with that.

Finish over 50 projects, increasing the number of FOs for the year from last year. As long as I finish the sewing projects currently on the table and all the holiday knitting, I will have made the goal. Wooo! Two months for 17 FOs, when the rest of the year, ten whole months, contained less than double that amount? Yes, I agree, looks crazy. But, there are six items that just need minor finishing (ends woven in, blocking, buttons) to join the FO list, a test knit that needs to be finished soon-ish, five or six sewing projects that can be completed with a full day in the sewing room, and then another six (minimum) Christmas presents. That right there is 17, and can possibly be completed by the end of the month. Actually, probably will be completed by the end of the month. Well, at least fiften will likely be completed by the end of the month.

Once I'm done with the Christmas rush, I have yarn for two or more vests for work and simple projects for me, mostly in the round and stockinette, that will really help me work through my stash and expand my wardrobe. I have enough leftovers from the cardigan I made for my Mother in Law and from the Helix lap blanket for a sweater vest from each, and some stash yarn for either a couple more sweater vests, tank tops, or camisoles. I want to leave Japan with a lot less stash than I brought, so the big things (20 skeins of Patons Classic Merino for a huge blanket, worsted and DK weight yarns in sweater quantities) should be used fairly soon so I can get some use out of them (and before I break down and buy things to fit those niches).

All I want to do, knitting wise, is cast on for a nice warm fairly quick sweater vest for me. Box one of Christmas goodness must be sent out in early December or even late November; box two should follow quickly, so there is no time for a sweater vest just yet. I'm trying to make it a motivating factor instead of a lack of mojo for other projects factor. I'd better finish off the four nearly complete projects tonight so I can cast on some Christmas socks tonight - new projects are always exciting!

After that long, boring, rambling, pictureless post, I will next time give you some FO posts of things that have been living in the sidebar at 100% for far too long.