Friday, March 30, 2007

Friday Cats (and a little yarn pr0n too)

How did the boys know that I would need a darling picture of them for a Friday Cat post?

The shredder is barely big enough for one cat, let alone two, especially when one is the size of Hi-Hi.
Who is not fat. He's just fluffy.

Uh huh.

Yes, they are both full-grown cats. Simon is just a little guy and Hi-Hi is a big guy. It's that Maine Coon thing, I'm sure. He also has a teeny tiny voice. A broken meow-er, as it were.

The Knit Happens order came. Right after the Black Sheep spree. Oh, my. The Silk Garden is lovely and soft (yes, those are the same color and dye lot!), the Bullfrogs and Butterflies is a lovely color--Black Purl, mmm--mmm--good! The lone ball of KSH is soft and yummy too. The Silk Rhapsody? Well, I didn't remember ordering it in Glow-in-the-Dark brights! So hmmm, this one is going to have to marinate a bit. However, there are granddaughters, and they might like a nice jazzy scarf, vest, or something wonderfully soft and lush...that glows in the dark.
Elann's April newsletter came today. I have not opened the email. I may send it directly to my trash folder. Then empty the trash. I DO NOT NEED MORE YARN!!!
Yeah, I've said it before. Sigh.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Black Sheep at Black Sheep

Who can resist the siren song of a good yarn sale?
Not me. Not the Knit Devil. We are discovering, by the way, that we are Bad Company for each other--check out JenLa* to see what I mean--because we egg each other on to do more and more evil things. This was a case of my Evil Twin and hers getting together. (*Of course neither of us took pictures at the ASK hookup. D'oh!)
So this is what came home with me from Black Sheep. (Can you tell I am feeling rather rambly today? Yarn fumes, folks, yarn fumes.)
Cute bag, huh? Look how its little sides bulge out...
This is why.
Look what's inside: Koigu! KPM and KPPPM both. 50% off folks, how often do you get a two-for-one deal on KOIGU?
Plus some teeny tiny crochet hooks (for attaching beads), some rosewood needles (yet another try to find Birch's perfect match), a copy of Selvedge, and a lone ball of Rowan Cashsoft in a pretty pale blue. Well, it's not alone; there are 23 of these that followed me home.
Baa, Baa, Black Sheep!
Some Koigu closeups... I love the way these colors glow in the sun and in the shadow both.
Yum, and I am so not an orange and tomato-red girl. But I love the way these yarns play off each other.
These are going to be scarves, I think--those multi-yarn chevron thingies that are so popular right now. Or maybe shawls. We'll see.
I can just imagine playing with these with my new rosewood needles. Must not go back to Black Sheep and buy up all their rosewood and ebony needles. Must not...
To finish off the day, we retired to the Coffee Bean in Montrose for an hour of knitting on our CPHs. KD and I are both on the fronts, and chugging right along. While this is not the most interesting knit I've ever done, it's far from the most boring either, and I'm enjoying working with this yarn. Good thing, since I have a sweater quantity of it in another color!
Evil Twin is now sitting in her corner, admiring her new yarn and purring quietly. She does keep noodging me to go buy some more needles, but I've told her (repeatedly) that it's a long way from TC to Hollywood, and we need to do laundry.
Hmmm.... wonder who will win that fight?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Stash Management (Again!)

Kute Kitty Kutups for the day: Hi-Hi vs. the Turkey Jerky bag. He fished it out of the trash and has been happily attacking it in the vain hope of getting something tasty out of it.
Ain't gonna happen, fella. D4 (and I) beat you to the good stuff!
But hope springs eternal, and the boy needs his exercise.

There. That's the eye candy for the day. Knitting pics next post, promise.

Today we're going to talk about Stash Management, Containment, and Associated Other Topics. Well, I'm going to talk. You can choose to read on, or close the browser window right now.
Your choice.

Way way back in January, when I did my first post on Stash Control, I received an email from a quilter in the Shenandoah Valley. Like many of us, she and her fellow quilt guild members were feeling as if their stashes were getting out of control and they decided to do something about it. I won't go into their whole plan, but I'm delighted that I was able to inspire them to start. Daisy has kept me updated on their monthly program, and I just loved this month's so much, I asked her if I could share it. So here it is, and thank you, Daisy!
“So how long does it take to make a quilt, anyway?”
We’ve all been asked that question. How many of us really know the answer?
About four years ago I actually tracked how long it took me to make a particular quilt because I knew I would be asked that question about that piece. Before I began, I made a timetable listing my guesstimates for the various steps. I used that old adage: “Figure out how long it should take you to do something, then multiply that answer by three.” Then I kept a log of the different things I did and how long I spent on each. I didn’t total anything until after the piece was completed.
It was an eye-opening experience.
I was wrong on every single guesstimate. I should have multiplied most of the answers by four to six.
Why bring this up in a column on stash management? Because learning how much time it actually took me to create a quilt was a major reality check. I learned that it takes A LOT longer in reality than in my imagination. Now I stop and think before committing to a new project. How long will it take me to do this? Okay, how long will it take me to do this now that I’ve remembered to multiply by four? So, do I have time to do this in and around my pre-existing obligations? Finally, do I want to use my time on this new project or would I rather use the time in a different way?
This month’s task: Track your quilting time for one week (seven days). When you finish a quilting task (cutting, piecing, pressing, etc.), make a note of the activity and the amount of time you spent. I usually note in minutes (cut blue strips – 10 mins; pieced star blocks – 25 mins) on the wall calendar in my work room.
At the end of the week, look at your results. How much time did you spend quilting? More time than you thought you did? If so, did you accomplish as much as you expected? Did you spend less time quilting than you thought you did? If so, this might explain why some projects seem to take so long. Are you more aware overall of how you spend your time? (Whenever I do this exercise, I discover that I spend more time thinking, talking, and reading about quilting than actually doing it.)
Finally, now that you’re hypersensitive to your quilting time, mentally review your list of projects. Any changes in status?

There it is. If you mentally translate "quilting time" to "knitting time" and figure out how long each project takes, I think that you, like me, will see that the SABLE acronym takes on a new meaning entirely.
For instance, I spent two hours last night knitting (and watching Dancing With the Stars). During that time, I cast on the two fronts for the CPH (44 stitches each) and knit a WHOLE inch. Hmmm... at this rate? How long will it take me to get the whole thing done?

I'm going to be working on my stash organization with a whole new understanding of the TIME involved in each project, and I have a feeling that a lot of things are going to go by the wayside. After all, I don't have a deal with the Almighty that I can't go until I finish all my projects!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Spring is... Springing??

The requisite lilac bush shot. One of the things I most missed about living out here in the "desert" were the wonderful flowers that grow in the North. We finally were able to get a lilac bush, a special variety that survives and blooms without a winter chill. Before this the only way you could get lilacs was to buy blocks of ice to pack around the base of the plant, to simulate winter. Oh, do note the "Spanish Hacienda" type lantern on the left side--it doesn't work, but it's original to the house.
Iris! First of the season! This one is a rescue, actually twice rescued. It originally came from a quilter friend who was thinning her beds. It grew alongside the driveway but, of course, when the old driveway went, the irises all needed to be moved. At least, the ones that survived the oak tree madness did. I'm so glad to see they made it!

And of course, we must have a grandcarrot shot or two. He loves his chair, although he doesn't sit in it much. He uses it to climb on (and drool on) so he can "visit" with his cousins' photos.

And just for the record, I think those toesies are the cutest!
A boy and his cat. Chuckie puts up with all kinds of mauling--he seems to really like the baby, and the baby really likes him, too. Chuck is around 20, he's had a very exciting life for a cat and this is not the first time he's been around babies. It's really cute to see Chuckie walking alongside Garrett when he crawls! And, teething babies must almost always have something to gnaw on--you don't set it down just cause you're heading somewhere!

Apricot blossoms. The tree is around 35 years old--we planted it not long after we moved into the house--and it has been getting "tired" so it's always good to see it leafing out and putting out blossoms. D4 took this picture, and I think she did a great job on it!

Oh yes, there is knitting going on too. The back of the CPH has hit the stitch-holder stage, and I will probably cast on the fronts tonight. Last night was a Lady E night. That's such a soothing knit, and it's perfect for TV watching!