Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Team BSA Needs You!

So I stumbled upon a Ravelry project that was for the upcoming Ravelympics, followed the link to the thread... and caught serious Ravelympics fever. I instant messaged my sister, who said she and I and our mom should join up... and wouldn't it be fun if we had our own team? Well, a pm (personal message) and a few moments later and we did- Team BSA, otherwise known as teamblueskyalpacas, was formed. We contacted a couple knitting friends and BSA sample knitters, posted a little plug on the High Fiber group (for Blue Sky Alpacas lovers) and the Shepherd's Choice group (LYS group) and recruited a couple more team members, and now it's your turn to join the club, hop on the Ravelympics mania bandwagon, and knit with us- FOR PRIZES!!

Team BSA is kicking things up a notch, has devised a point system, and Blue Sky Alpacas is donating yarn to offer for prizes!!
Gold Medal Winner will receive 10 skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas Sport Weight (100% baby alpaca)- your choice color!!
Silver Medal Winner will receive 5 skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk (50% alpaca, 50% silk)- your choice color!!
Bronze Medal Winner will receive 5 skeins of either Dyed Cotton or the new Skinny Dyed (both 100% organically grown cotton)- again in your choice color!!
I am super excited about this!! A big shout-out “Thank You!!” to Linda at Blue Sky Alpacas!! Nothing like a little prize incentive to spur on the knitting, eh?!

Point system is as follows:
Ravelympics2008 Team BSA – Creatively Competitive Point System
• 10 pts per completed project (new projects only)
• 5 pts per completed WIP

Degree of Difficulty Ratings
• -2 for bulky or super bulky weight yarn usage or gauge knit
• +2 for lace weight yarn usage or gauge knit
• +1 for 2 color knitting
• +2 for 3 colors
• +3 for 4 colors
• +4 for 5 colors
• Etc… (+1 for every extra color…)
• +4 for adult size sweater
• -1 for short, cap, or no sleeves (tanks); any size
• +5 for baby blanket or afghan 30” x 30”, or larger
• -2 for washcloths, baby or child hats, baby socks or booties
• -1 for adult hats
• -1 for knit or crocheted toys smaller than 8” in length or diameter
• +2 for original designs, or modifying a pattern significantly- per judges’ discretion… (example: adding 3”, or more, in length, adding cables, complex stitch pattern, colorwork, etc…)
• +1 for intarsia
• +2 for entrelac
• +1 for felting
Think of it like gymnastics, diving, or figure skating- you have the whole ‘degree of difficulty’ rating making some jumps or dives worth more than others…

I’ll be going keeping tabs on the projects that get tagged “teamblueskyalpaca” and entering all of the pertinent point details into the handy dandy spreadsheet my fabulous DH hleped me put together, and hopefully find some time to post some stats along the way… I’ll be posting info on the Team BSA thread and the High Fiber group, as well as here, time and pregnancy permitting... Projects are still being added and occasionally dropped, so the final possible points won’t be tallied until the 8th, and then the actual points earned will be tallied as we go along…
If you’ve got a project planned using BSA yarns or patterns, or if you’re a BSA devotee, tag your project teamblueskyalpaca and join the team!! Let’s see what we can knit!!

Happy knitting-

ETA: If this gets way too complicated, or if there is excessive nit-picking and whining over point details, well, it’ll all be up to the judge’s discretion… and, um, that would be me, as this was all my crazy idea… so let’s just have fun with it all, eh?

If you're not on Ravelry yet, what are you waiting for? They're cruising through their waiting list, sign up now (right this instant) and you'll be raveling in no time...

Labels: ,

Monday, July 28, 2008

All in the family...

In other recent pattern news...
I'm finally getting around to posting a finished pic of the bulky jacket (Girls' Smocked Coat) I did for Blue Sky Alpacas- I think it turned out pretty cute, if I may say so myself (I've got some pink to make my little M one this fall...) The collar wanted to curl a little, but some good 'I mean business' blocking helped tame it. Cute models can really make just about anything look good, combine a cute model and a cute coat made from Blue Sky Alpacas' scrumptious Bulky (check out the new colors), and, well, there ya go!

My sister managed to crank out this georgous thing, knit up in 100% baby alpaca, Melange (so incredibly soft!) and adorned with that fabulous trim- the photo shoot turned out great! Oh, and take a peak at CathiPink's version in Relish... lovely, n'est pas?

And in the 'oh-my-goodness' (stop, remember to breathe...) 'that is sooo georgous!' catergory is our mother's latest piece-de-resistance- The Audrey Coat-

I've worn this coat, and (when I'm not pregnant) my frame is prety close to the frame of this lovely model, and, well, I think I seriously NEED to make, to own, and to wear one of these... seriously, litrally, for real, even... It takes a lot of yarn, but the weight and drape of that Sport Weight doubled is sooo loverly, it's not heavy like it would be knit up out of a worsted weight to achieve the same gauge... Um, yeah, I need one of these coats, move it up the 'must-knit' list...

We haven't managed to coerce the other sister, the baby sister, to pick the needles back up, and catch the plague, er, um, fever, yet- but she's keeping busy with working some and mommying a lot to this little bugger- my first nephew! Couldn't you just squeeze him?! Cute stuff!

TDFKAL2008 final update- my cardigan was my major accomplishment, with my 2nd project, my Loppem, only half-done... and a sock half done... the kitting ADD got me off course a wee bit... oh, and the 2 dolly sweaters, and that other unfinished sock, and the swatching for new designs... each project getting a minute of my time here and there as I lost my focus after the initial project completion euphoria... so there you have it, good enough, eh? At least I got something crossed off my summer list! (Congratulatory self-patt-on-the-back)

And that brings us to the next adventure... more on Team BSA to come (including a little competition, worthy of medal-type prizes!)

Happy knitting-

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Just a Couple Little Things

As there has been no major project completion since the Cropped Cardigan I whipped out for the TDFKAL 2008 (Tour de France knit-along), I'll take a moment to point you to a recent easy-squeasy freebie Simple Baby Hat pattern I did for Blue Sky Alpacas using their new Skinny Dyed. This new cotton is absulutely perfect for baby items, and knits up quite well for adult sweaters too. My Skinny stash is growing quickly...

It's a super simple, rolled brim baby hat, worked in the round. It would make a great 'first in the round project', in fact, now that I mention it, I think I may have my kids make a couple for their new baby brother... hmmm... The care instructions for this yarn say "Hand wash or dry clean. Wash in tepid water using a mild soap. Do not twist. Shape and dry flat on a towel. Store your little treasure neatly folded, after all, it may be a family heirloom." but it has been known to be machine washed and dried (see description at Jimmy Bean's Wool...) I plan on machine washing mine.

I've been playing with the Skinny Dyed a lot the last couple months, in addition to knitting that raglan I wish was for me... and have a couple big swatches that I'll run through the washer and dryer soon. I'll let you know how they turn out.

In other news-

Projects Progress Report:

  • I'm about 30 rows into my Loppem
  • I've knit 6" of a Slipped Stitch Rib Sock (1st sock)
  • Just need to add sleeves to a new dolly sweater (freebie pattern coming soon!)
  • 2nd sample dolly sweater started (pics soon!)
  • Still need to get back to the last few inches of my 2nd Cable Rib Sock, it's been languishing...

In other other news-

  • I'm still spending much of my days working out lesson plans, goals for the year, etc... for our homeschool year, which I hope to start in August to get a good bit under way before baby comes, as I know that will throw a wrench into our schedule.
  • There are many green beans in the garden, which shall be ready to be picked and eaten, or frozen in the next few days, peas too... tomatoes are setting, though not as many per plant as in the past, different varieties, I guess... they still smell good and I still walk back and rub my hands on the leaves just to smell that fresh tomato plant smell for a while...

To do tomorrow-

  • refill oriole feeders (I love seeing orioles!!)
  • refill hummingbird feeders (they're fun to see too!)
  • refill finch feeders (my kids love to see them, and even the 3 yr old can tell males from females!)
  • get strawberry patch staked out to till new rows
  • finish dolly sweaters & check over pattern
  • spend AT LEAST 15 minutes decluttering
  • wind yarn for new designs
  • get soccer sign up info for teenager
  • get in the pool and have fun with kiddos!

Happy knitting-


Labels: ,

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

TDFKAL- Project #1 Completion

Well, I didn't exactly get my second hour-and-a-half sleeve done on Tuesday. Tuesday was hot and Minnesota muggy, and I'm in my 7th month of pregnancy, and our air conditioner is on the fritz- probably has something to do with being around 20 years old... it got to 80 degrees in my house and something like 180% humidity. I usually don't sweat. Tuesday, I sweat, and sat around like a sticky grump on a log, only managing to knit a measly 45 minutes in the hour before bed. Alpaca is warm, warmer than wool, and I really didn't want it on my lap anymore.

I awoke Wednesday ready to finish that 2nd sleeve. I sat down with a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee (ironic in our summer heat, I know- I need to make some iced tea...) and knit my first 15 minute stretch. Then it was out the door to run several hours' worth of errands (including picking out a new cell phone, as, sadly, my old phone- the one before the Wing, died an utter and complete death, again... enough of that, time for a new phone, a cheaper phone, I already miss my Windows though, and the touch screen, cue sad violin music...)

After that excitement I felt the need for some sitting time, and knit another 15 minutes, bringing me very near sleeve completion, and thus, project completion, when I was slightly horrified to realize I had veered off-course, forgetting to copy the slight modification I had made to the 1st sleeve. While trying on sleeve one, I was a bit unhappy with the slight frumpiness I was seeing. I have rather scrawny arms, even now, well into my 30's, and well into a summer pregnancy, and, well, I decided to reign in the sleeves just a bit by going down a needle size on the ribbed section. So there I was, merrily knitting along, and oh, on about rnd 24 out of 27 rnds of ribbing before the bind-off, I realized I was still using a size 11 needle... not wanting one frumpy sleeve opposite one just about perfect sleeve, I had no choice but to rip.

I hate ripping. I hate backtracking. I hate feeling like I've wasted my time. I also hate that feeling I get when I realize how pointless worrying about lost time is- I mean more time is lost lamenting the lost time... so I ripped, and I reknit, and I almost managed to finish with 7 skeins- I was on rnd 26 (of 27), with only 2 rnds and then the bind-off, to go, when I had to break into skein 8... and use an entire yard or two... oh well, I'm thinking that baby boy will appreciate a cute little Natural Strky Brown sweater (I have 2 more skeins in my stash!)

I sat down to knit my last few rnds after supper, wove in the last couple ends, got all my little people off to bed, and sat down with a sigh of satisfaction. Another project complete. I think I only needed 1 extra 15 minute knit-sprint-session, bringing me in at right about 9 hours and 45 minutes, and considering that I often finished whatever row/rnd I was on when my timer read 15 minutes, I would estimate this to be about a 10 hour sweater, the kind of thing one could finish in 2 or 3 days if knitting obsessively... me, I knit it in 10 days. I don't always have the time for obsessive knitting... (though some days I just take the time...)

So that makes one Cropped Cardigan and one finished, previously unfinished sock, for my TDFKAL 2008 knitting. Fun stuff. On to the Loppem!

gratuitous kid pic

Happy knitting-

Oh, and this, absolutely made my day last night! That has got to be the funniest knit and accompanying story I've seen in a long, long time. Go see it, read the notes, and leave her a cute comment. Seriously. It's hilarious!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

TDFKAL 2008- Progress Report 2

Thursday's progress:Friday's progress: (I also managed to finish my Retro Rib (2nd) Sock that night, slightly hindering my Cropped Cardigan sprint)Saturday's progress: This day's progress happened after spending the day rearranging furniture in the great room, many, many, times, finally settling on an arrangement that I hadn't even initially considered. It was time to quit when I started having contractions every time I was up on my feet. I began envisioning 12 weeks of bedrest, with 6 active children- not wanting to go there I decided it was time to sit and knit a little bit...Sunday's no progress: I didn't touch it on Sunday. I spent the ride to church and a portion of my afternoon swatching for my Loppem, having received my Norah Gaughan Vol 3 in the mail last week, yay! I had some BSA Worsted in an older shade of blue (a couple years old, they've since tweaked their colors a bit, as well as adding new ones...) in the stash an decided I'd try to take a stab at one of the projects I had initially planned to knit during this time... (I'm about 1 1/2" into it at the time of this writing...) After seeing Shutterhoney's loverly Loppem in brown, I'm wishing I had the cash (and time and energy) to run out and grab some more yarn... I love browns (and black)... so much that I could end up with a closet full of brown (and black) sweaters and have to make a concsious effort to add color... so blue it is.

Monday's progress: The one and a half hour sleeve! One down, one to go!
I'm loving this knit- it's got that instant gratification thing that most baby knits bring- and it's for me! Though I should be knitting some baby things... just over 12 weeks to go...

I'm hoping to get to the second sleeve tonight, and with no afterthought button bands or neck bands to speak of, and since I've been weaving in extra ends as I went- that'll be it, project completion in 9 days! And I don't even feel winded, it must be all the training I do...

Off to wind yarn for a new design project, feed some kids lunch, and probably pop some more allergy meds as I can feel my head starting to swim after stepping outside long enough to run my oldest daughter in to the clinic for some suture removal... from the smashed fingertip/nail/nailbed that she gave herself when she was supposed to be pounding in tent stakes on the 5th after moving the tent to a shadier location for the third time already that day... she had plenty of practice, so I don't know how/why that had to happen, bringing a sudden end to our holiday weekend fun for a side trip to the ER. The other 2 injuries, 2 burned 5 year old fingers and a 14 year old's sprained thumb, didn't require medical attention. For those who aren't keeping up with the math, half of my children incurred holiday injuries, 3 outta 6, pretty good, eh?

Never a dull moment, except, maybe in my sleep...

Happy knitting-


Labels: ,

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

TDFKAL 2008- 09 July- Stage 5

Cropped Cardigan- Watch it grow!
(Due to my late start, this is Day 3 for me, not the stage 5 it's supposed to be...)
Monday, 07 July:
*finally got started on my project, though not until well after lunch was served...
1st 15 minutes

2nd 15 minutes- total time: 30 minutes

3rd 15 minutes- total time: 45 minutes

4th 15 minutes- total time: 1 hour

5th 15 minutes- total time: 1:15

6th 15 minutes- total time: 1:30

Tuesday, 08 July:
*typical busy day for me, just trying to stay on top of running a household with 6 children and find time for important errands like buying a few groceries, signing tax papers at the accountants', and picking up some yarn for upcoming projects! Knitting didn't happen until 8 pm this day...

7th 15 minutes- total time: 1:45

8th 15 minutes- total time: 2 hours

9th 15 minutes- total time: 2:15

10th 15 minutes- total time: 2:30

11th 15 minutes- total time: 2:45

12th 15 minutes- total knitting time after 2 days: 3 hours

Wednesday, 09 July:
*woke with major sinus headache, probably due to allergies and an open window in bedroom for several hours last night... sigh... spent most of day on couch, with ice packs, waiting for pain killers and decongestants to do their thing... no daytime knitting once again, but I did make some progress after supper...

13th 15 minutes- total time: 3:15

14th 15 minutes- total time 3:30

15th 15 minutes- total time: 3:45

16th 15 minutes- total time: 4 hours

While I am trying for the sprint-knitting of this cardigan, I am also working on finishing my second Retro Rib Sock- because, how could I leave it in such a state of near completion? I have to keep sneaking in 4 rnd repeats...and then there's this basket of new yarn, for new design projects, just begging to be wound for the swatching to begin! No project monogamy for me...Happy knitting-


Labels: ,

Monday, July 07, 2008

Tour de France KAL (2008)- part 1

I was never very fast off the starting blocks...

Last year I wasn't even fast enough to get signed up, not finding out about the Tour de France KAL until a couple days into the Tour, but I made a mental note (we all know how well those stick...) and remembered to get in on time this year. I grew up with an avid cycling father, and spent years cheering on Greg Lamond and then Lance Armstrong, so this seemed like such a fun KAL to take part in. I signed up to wear a green jersey- opting to knit an entire project, start-to-finish, in knit-sprinting style. As the start grew closer, I realized that I really needed to decide on my project. My first choice was to knit myself a Calvert, but with everything else I have going on, I didn't think it would be wise to attempt a sweater in sport weight, even if the sleeves are only 3/4 length. My second choice was Loppem (from the same pattern booklet- Norah Gaughan Vol. 3) a safer bet, by far, in a worsted weight and with short sleeves to boot. I set out on a hunt for the new pattern booklet and ended up with a less than wonderful experience visiting a newer LYS for the first time- a shop I probably won't be frequenting. It was a frustrating experience, one which I am still debating explaining in greater detail... I'm all for supporting our Local Yarn Shops, seriously, I am, but it's kinda nice when our Local Yarn Shops support their customers as well... (FYI- I only went to this other shop because my favorite LYS doesn't carry Berroco. Kathy, at Shepherd's Choice, supports her customers very well, and bakes the best rhubarb pies on top of it-man, that was good, thanks again Kathy!) I am not-so-secretly relieved that they didn't have the booklet- I did not make a purchase at all on that visit...

I ended up ordering from Jimmy Bean's Wool, only to receive an e-mail shortly after placing my order informing me that they were out of stock, and would send it out as soon as they received more, supposedly in 3-5 days... I have since received notice that my order has shipped, and while I will be very happy to have the patterns for 3 of the projects that have moved into the top 3 slots in my queue (I'm also in love with Eastlake), I will not be ready to roll on any of them for the KAL.

Out of a wee bit of desperation, I have decided to knit a nice and easy Cropped Cardigan- something on my list of summer knitting goals, something I already possess not only the pattern to but also the yarn for (I also knit a trunk show sample of this sweater after it was first published, so I am already familiar with the pattern!) If it knits up super fast, I'll probably try to tackle my next pair of socks (you know, for SOS2008, kill 2 birds with one stone an all...)

Even though this will be a quick and easy knit (those could be famous last words...) I am still formulating a game plan, like any self-respecting racer would. I am off to a late start (busy weekend and all)- but jumping in today and intending to knit full-speed-ahead. My first 2 skeins of yarn were wound this morning, and I'm ready to cast on after I feed my crew some lunch and things settle down around here.

Not wanting to get swallowed up in the knit racing (I mean, I still have to feed and clothe 6 kids, they're not self-sufficient yet- we're working on it!), I will be going at this a bit Flylady-esque, employing my timer, set for 15 minute increments of knitting, which will be broken up by qualifying life necessities. My days will go something like this:

  • get kids dressed and fed
  • 15 minutes of knitting (while they wash breakfast dishes!)
  • clean something
  • 15 minutes of knitting
  • supervise some math or reading
  • 15 minutes of knitting
  • clean something else
  • 15 minutes of knitting
  • computer time (a 15 minute time limit is good here too!)
  • 15 minutes of knitting
  • fun with kids
  • 15 minutes of knitting
  • feed 'em lunch
  • 15 minutes of knitting (again, while kids do dishes!)
  • you get the idea...

This way, I should be able to get a rather large amount of knitting time each day, while managing to NOT neglect my family, my home, and anything else that registers as important on my priorities scale. I'll try to update often... we'll see how that goes- there is still summer fun to be had, despite the miserable muggy weather that has moved in, along with high to very high pollen levels, this week, sigh...

I'd better get to it.

Happy knitting-



Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Time, Aging, and Knitting

I just said goodnight to my 8 yr old for the last time- for tomorrow he awakes a whopping 9 yrs old. My how time flies...

(8 yr old took this picture!)

I cast on the first of my Retro Rib Socks on the first day of summer, in hopes of finishing the pair by July 4th- the deadline for the first bi-weekly prize drawing in the Summer of Socks 2008 sock-stravaganza- I just finished sock number 1. My how time flies...

Tomorrow is Wednesday, the half-way point in the week my husband took off for a 'stay-cation'- and there is still so much to do around here that we'd hoped to get to this week. My how time flies...

I'm due in 14 weeks, haven't knit a single baby thing, have hardly any boy clothes left (got rid of most of them after 4 girls in a row...), and am in need of a new crib. My how time flies...

I could go on and on, but time keeps flying while I keep thinking about it. I have a collar to finish, some ice cream to eat, a book to read, and a body to rest, while time flies...

Have a wonderful 4th of July!

Happy knitting-


Oh, and I might need this shirt soon, or maybe the bag... too clever by far-love it!
Related Posts with Thumbnails