Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Row 77 and counting!

I didn't quite get as far as the end of Clue #1. That would be row 100. But I did get four to six rows knitted. I'll get in another four to six rows tonight and sooner or later we'll get it done. With that said, I still want to get this clue finished this week and start catching up. I'd like to not be four weeks behind at the end of the knitalong. Remember, the next clue appears on Friday!

New Book!
Well, new library book at least. It's called Three Bags Full by Leoni Swann. It's a murder mystery. A shepherd is found dead in the pasture with a spade stuck in his chest. The detectives solving the mystery are the 19 sheep in the flock. I'm only on page 41 and must say that it's pretty entertaining so far. It reminds me a bit of Watership Down in that the sheep look at things quite differently than humans do, as did the rabbits of Watership Down. There is also a cute drawing in the bottom right corner of each page so that if you flip the pages quickly, the sheep appears to be leaping about. So far "God" seems to be a very suspicious character. We'll see how the plot continues to develop.

I've joined two blog rings, but haven't yet figured out how to add the actual buttons to the side bar. I've got the ring links there, but no images. I may just have to break down and read the directions. Sigh.

In the meantime, I'm off to add a couple more rows to my Mystery Stole!!! And perhaps pondering what Christmas presents to knit this year.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Still chugging away on Clue #1

Yeah, so I got a couple of rows done, then got too tired/unfocused to get it done. I may be the last person to finish Clue #1 for the first time. Yesterday I got sidetracked building a couple of websites. They aren't completely finished yet, but I've got Three Fates Fibers and Desserted Islands launched. I've got some sock patterns on the drawing board too.

Anyways, I'm working on the stole tonight. I've got my schedule cleared and it's past time for a knitting evening!!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Back to the Knitting!

I just finished the last Harry Potter book about 30 minutes ago. No, I'm not going to tell you how it ends. I thought it was good and I'll probably re-read it in the next couple of months.

However, now that I'm done with the book, I'm ready to get back to the knitting. I *still* have not finished the first clue of MS3. Clue #5 is due out in exactly a week. I've got my work cut out for me if I want to stay just 4 clues behind everybody else. Fortunately, it's Friday, the moon is full and there's a darned good movie on the TV. (The Dirty Dozen, if you're interested, and we're just about to start the little war game. Improvise, adapt and overcome!!) I might just get the first clue finished tonight and a good chunk of Clue Two as well! Then again, I might get really sleepy in 45 minutes and quit early. And you know what? That's ok too.

Future Knitting....

Remember the new Poppy colored sock yarn I bought in New Orleans? It's decided that it wants to be a pair of Fawkes Socks from Socktopia. I think the orange color of the yarn will reflect the plumage of Fawkes the phoenix and also the flames that consume and rebirth him.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Fiber for the Birds!

This spring I put some bits and pieces of trashy fleece outside for the birds or other wildlife to use. I never was sure how much of it blew away or was picked up. A month or so ago I discovered that some bird(s) had built a nest in one of the potted ferns hanging at the front of the house. The nest was later abandoned, but you can see that there is indeed quite a bit of wool included in the nest. I'll leave more fiber out this fall, since I certainly will have some leftover "trash" from carding and combing.

MS3 Progress Pic
This is what it looks like after the first chart of Clue 1. Yes, I was lazy. I didn't pin it out so you can see the lace. You'll just have to be patient. Right now, I'm about four or five rows into the second chart of Clue 1 (Row 59 or so). I'll post another picture (pinned out properly) at the end of Clue 1 (Row 99).

There are quite a few people who have finished Clue 4 and are in the row 300+ area. These must be people who have household staff, family to cook/clean and are retired. I have no idea how else they could have gotten that far, unless they also don't sleep. I don't know about you, but when the rest of life gets to be overwhelmingly busy and hectic I often don't feel much like knitting or doing anything else fun. I suppose that's the years of being told that I can't do "fun" stuff until all my homework or chores are done. Imagine my surprise when I got to be a grownup and discovered that there is *always* work to be done. I'm working on allowing myself to have fun despite there being work to be done. And on that note, I'm going to go knit a bit.

Friday, July 20, 2007

MS3 Clue 4!

The fourth clue was posted today. I won't be starting it any time soon. I'm not even finished with the first clue, though I at least started the second set of charts last night. Unfortunately, I think I made an error in the next to last row I knit. I'll be tinking back this evening. Hopefully I don't have to go back more than one or two rows. I have finally printed out the charts, which will help. It's hard to follow along on the computer screen. Goal? To finish the first clue by the end of the weekend.

I'm actually learning quite a bit from this project but none of it has to do with knitting. It has to do with taking large projects and breaking them down into manageable pieces so that progress can be observed. Observable progress seems to be linked to greater motivation to keep working and thus the project gets finished. It occurs to me that I need to break down the larger projects in my life into smaller pieces, write down intermediate goals and have measurable progress toward those goals and the end goal. Looks like I'll be making myself some progress charts this weekend!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

No Longer Unique :o(

I thought I was being clever, but it would seem that great minds think alike. It turns out that another person has opened an Etsy shop called Three Fates Fiber. Pooh. Looks like I'll be only selling through my website and blog, not on Etsy. Sigh. At least I had the foresight to register the domain years ago. Of course, I only registered the commercial domains, not the .net versions. Double sigh.

MS3 Progress
I'm starting Charts B and C tonight (the second half of the first clue). I will be a good girl and pay my bills first, then sit down to knit. I've got some conundrums to work out in my head and knitting is a fine backdrop to that.

I'm going to have to put away my new yarn purchases though. The Poppy sock yarn is calling my name. It doesn't know what it wants to be, but it wants me to play with it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Knitting Happened!

So did yarn shopping!

I'm back from a week in New Orleans with four skeins of yarn and chart A of the first MS3 clue finished. W00t!

I stopped by the Garden District Needlework Shop and had a lovely time. I picked up a skein of Schaefer Anne sock yarn in the Babe Didrickson colorway (dark greens, blue and purple), a skein of Claudia Handpainted Yarn Silk Lace in Purple Earth, which is purples, pale blues, yellows and two skeins of Claudia Handpainted Yarn fingering weight yarn in Poppy. The Poppy is destined to be socks. The lace yarn will be a shawl eventually, possibly even Print O' the Wave.

Despite being busy all week, I did get some knitting done. I had taken the MS3 stole and a fairly plain sock in case I needed some simple knitting. I didn't touch the sock. I did get most of chart A done from the first MS3 clue though, so that was good. I might get the rest of Clue 1 finished this week, just in time to download the 3rd and 4th clues (clue 4 comes out on Friday). I haven't really stretched out the bit of the stole that I have finished, but so far I think it looks pretty good. I'll try to take a picture later this week.

Design Plans
I have been having a creative streak lately. I have had several design ideas for shawls and for socks in the past couple of weeks. I have dutifully been writing them in my little red idea book. Flipping through the book and the ideas which have been collecting there for the past several years, I should make the time in the next few weeks to start working up a few of these into actual patterns.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Experiment Aborted

I decided that I needed to work on my conference presentation for next week. I also had to start the laundry so I could pack for my trip. So no sock knitting happened on the 4th.

But I Have Travel Knitting Planned!
I will be taking the blue Trekking sock and the red lace sock with me. I'm also taking the Mystery Stole along. I downloaded the 2nd clue this morning. Then of course, I had to print Clue #1 again since the previously printed copy had vanished. I'll pack it all up and take it along with me, just in case I can get started.

New Orleans LYS!

The Quarter Stitch is within walking distance of my hotel, near Jackson Square. The Garden District Needlework Shop is on Magazine Street and is apparently one of the largest needle shops in the southeastern US. I wanted to stop by the Magazine Street fire station anyway, so that works out just fine. I spent two nights at the Magazine Street station the week after Katrina. The ambulance company I worked for sent units down to help with the rescue/recovery effort. It will be weird to see the place without a national guard unit and snipers.

I don't have any particular purchase in mind, but I might pick up another skein of lace-weight yarn. Something besides red. I already have two skeins of red lace weight. Perhaps a pale blue or black.

Knitting Organization Progress:

Well, after deciding upon my completion "schedule", I haven't actually knit anything. How's that for a bad bit of luck? I hope to get some practice in on the whole knitting schedule thing while on my trip. That's part of the reason why I'm taking three projects.

I have been going through my yarn and fiber stash in my head, however, and trying to think of what each yarn, roving and fleece wants to be. I had already started this to some extent with the sock yarn. I have pattern names written on several of the labels already. With the stash database, this process could be fairly simple. I just have to remember to write down what I decide upon or I'll never remember any of it.

The Fresian Fleece
Is now mulch in the garden. Because it got rained on so much and didn't ever get a chance to dry out, it started to smell pretty funky. Really ripe, actually. I decided that there wasn't likely to be any way that the smell would ever come out of it, so I threw it in the garden. I didn't pay that much for it and it wasn't particularly clean and had certainly not been skirted. I had a total of three fleeces, which ended up being about 2 fleeces of wool clean enough to be usable. Even then there was considerable veggie matter (mostly straw/chaff). It came out easily enough when being flicked and carded, but having been spoiled by completely veggie matter-free fleeces, I can't say I was particularly interested in fighting with it. Anyway, I got enough usable (and non-stinky fleece out of the boxload to make it worth what I paid for it. The rest of it is a learning experience and mulch. I'm completely ok with that.

The Gray Curly Fleece

I have come up with a great idea for this fleece. I had considered turning it into lace weight yarn for a shawl. I've decided that this is indeed what it wants to be. I think I will try dyeing it a pale lavender color, then knit a shawl or stole in memory of my recently departed friend, DZD. She had gray hair and loved purple. Her hair may have been considerably darker than this fleece, but I have always associated silvery gray and purple with her. Pattern/design to be determined later. I can work on that part of it during the carding and spinning process.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Sock Experiment....

I have tomorrow off, since it is Independence Day. I have a bit of work to do around the house and yard, but there is also a possibility of rain which may keep me indoors. I also have a presentation to revise.

Anyway, my possible experiment is to see how long it takes me to knit a sock from start to finish. My last estimate for a basic sock was 12 hours, though that was a rough measure. I could theoretically spend the whole day tomorrow working on the blue broken rib sock. For entertainment, I could watch the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends marathon starting at 6am or break out the DVDs for the Lord of the Rings movies or The Thin Man movies. I've also got 30 hours of audiobooks on my laptop. The "bad" part of me wants to just knit all day. The responsible part of me says I need to get some work done first. Some days I *hate* being a grown up.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Continued Organization.....

So, I've described the immediate knitting projects (the red lace, blue Trekking and red Mountain Colors socks, plus the mystery stole) and the various fleeces to scour and card. I had great plans to work on the Sweater A Month KAL, but I have fallen far far behind the plan. (I'm not sure I've finished a single WIP since January, if you must know.) While bludgeoning my way through my foot tall stack of data entry at work, I mulled over my lack of productivity and how to improve it. Then I had a brilliant idea. Well, actually I remembered an idea that Joan Hamer had a number of years ago on the KnitList (back when it was still hosted at University of Minnesota). She also had difficulties managing multiple projects and making progress. So she assigned each project a day of the week and worked on a maximum of seven projects a time, each on its respective day. I like this plan, with some modifications....

I don't have the time to knit seven days a week, much as I would like to do so. However, I can manage to knit or do fibery things three or four days a week although it may just be for 15-20 minutes. At the moment, the projects I choose to work on are the red lace sock, the blue Trekking sock, the Mystery Stole, the Coopworth fleece and the Freedom Sweater (from Amazing Threads long long ago).

I won't assign days precisely since each week's schedule is a bit different depending upon what other tasks I must accomplish, but I can rotate through projects when I do get knitting/fiber days. The rotation of projects will be sock, stole, fleece and sweater. I'll work on the red lace sock when I have the ability to concentrate on it and the blue Trekking sock when I am tired and likely to make mistakes in lace. So the next day I have to work on such things, I'll pick up the chosen sock and get to work. The next knitting day after that, I'll work on the stole, etc. With regular attention to each of these projects, I should make marked progress. This should keep me from getting discouraged about projects never getting finished. And I might actually get the Freedom Sweater finished by this fall. I started it 8-10 years ago. It's only lacking a sleeve and a half. Even so, it's likely to become my new favorite sweater.

I really need to make a list of my projects in progress on the side of this blog. And maybe a list of projects for the future too. I've been meaning to re-organize things here for a while and spruce them up a bit. Perhaps the re-design will be what I'll ponder in my subconscious at work tomorrow.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Two Socks Darned!

and three toes left to re-knit! Actually two toes and half of a foot. I managed to get a hole halfway up the foot of one sock and it was too big for me to comfortably darn, so I figured I could rip it back and knit it up again.

MS3 Swatch!
I got my swatch done (one repeat at least). I can't decide if I like it or not. I'm debating switching to a smaller needle size. The "solid" parts between the YOs aren't quite as solid as I'd like. I haven't actually measured the gauge, though that's not critical in this pattern. I'm mostly just curious.

Didn't get much knitting done this weekend. Too busy with yardwork and housework. With any luck I'll get the stole started by the end of the week. I'd like to not get too far behind on the clues.

I'll have to pick a more mindless portable project for my trip next week too. I'm leaning toward the 2nd of the blue Trekking socks. I could theoretically get the pair finished while I'm on vacation. It's a mistake-rib pattern on 60 stitches with size 2 needles.