30 December 2012

circle of friendship ~ posted by Melissa

“Happiness, not in another place but this place...not for another hour, but this hour.”
~ Walt Whitman
Isager Strik Spinni Wool 1 in 'dark natural gray'

I'm so looking forward to this year's knitalong.  2012 was spent hunkered down in solitude knitting big secrets that couldn't be shared but 2013 will be a year for reconnecting with friends.  I tried to find a good 'Leaves of Grass' quote that was fitting but when I found the one above I loved it so I stopped looking (I'm not sure what it's from?).  Good old Walt Whitman ~ I'll have to add him to my reading list for 2013.  He always brings one of my favorite movies to mind, 'Dead Poets Society', and the scene where Robin William's students stand on their desks and quote lines from 'O Captain! My Captain!' as he gathers his belongings after being fired.  Such a good movie.

I'm excited to have WillyG join us this year and oddly enough, I have completely forgotten who else said that they were going to knit with us this time around.  I know that Kelli, Jeff and Will are casting on, and I think Morgen has also said she'll be joining us.  Other than that, I guess I'll be pleasantly surprised if someone I've forgotten pops on with a post! (here's a link to an updated list of all our knitters!)

There's still time to participate ~ pm me on Ravelry if you'd like to knitalong.  We cast on January 1st but even if you decide at a later date to play along, for the most part we're slow knitters and there's no rush to get added to the blog for posting rights.

Be safe tomorrow as you ring in the New Year and hopefully we all wake up with clear minds and rested fingers as we cast on 'Leaves of Grass'.

Enjoy the waning hours of 2012 and see you all next year!   ~ Melissa

29 December 2012

Allow me to introduce myself...

Hey all!

It's time I do a little more than lurk. So here it is:

I'm Jeffry's other half.

I spend most of my days in a nursing home. In a different century, I could have been a court jester.  (Danny Kaye made an excellent one, by the way.)

I am not well read, but I'm currently very much enjoying a jaunt through G. K. Chesterton's spy novel, The Man Who Was Thursday; it's all in a feeble attempt to read more. I love the little things, such as the way the spies use a special finger-tapping code to communicate in a dire situation, only to argue over whether or not one is poetic.

I am not well versed in drink, so the rule of thumb is to make it sweet and fruity. Ever heard of a Woo Woo?

I have been knitting avidly for over a decade, and Jeff has already surpassed me in a mere couple years. *glares in Jeff's direction*

I shall be joining you for the Leaves of Grass knitalong that starts in a mere few days!

I hesitated to join the knitalong despite "horrible nagging" because I also have grandiose visions of doing more handspinning. *cough

I plan to use a merino/bamboo blend from Briar Rose Fibers to make the blanket version. It's called Celebration, and it looks a lot like Cascade Ecological Wool in terms of weight, but with the sheen afforded by bamboo. I have about 1800 yards, so I hope that will be enough.

It's a pleasure to join you, and I am looking forward to procrastinating with you!  :)

26 December 2012

half-a-bag-o'-cat ~ posted by Melissa

I've had a secret.  A really, really, really big secret since last January.  And I managed to keep it for just shy of an entire year from all my closest friends and family.  I did spill to a few long distance internet buddies who I swore to secrecy and now I can finally share (at least in part) with everyone else who might think this is the slightest bit cool.

I got an email at the beginning of the year asking me if I had designed anything to which I replied, 'nope'.  And then another email followed asking if I would be interested in designing something to be included in a book.  Gulp.  To which I immediately replied, 'YES'!  I was given a few guidelines ~ a shawl, using about 450 yards of yarn, simple in nature that would fit the theme of the book.  Over the next couple weeks, I sketched and swatched and submitted and tweaked and resubmitted and waited for yarn to come in the mail and knit an entire shawl while I waited and then knit another to be featured in the book when the yarn finally arrived and wrote and rewrote and edited and rewrote the pattern and took some pictures of the final book piece before packing up the finished shawl and my pattern to be sent to a tech editor for more tweaking.  The pattern was test knit by 3 people and I knit 8 more over the course of this year so that I could give my mom, mother-in-law, sister, sisters-in-law, brother's girlfriend and my nieces each their own shawl for Christmas.  The picture off to the side is what I can show you of all 9 samples that I knit and gave away this week as gifts.

The best part of the whole thing was knowing I had this enormous secret that I managed to keep for 12 months and being able to include notes in the presents that the pattern was going to be published.  It's the biggest secret I've ever kept and definitely the longest.  I think in the end I was more excited about it than anyone else but that's okay.  It's been a fun year of knitting and planning and choosing yarns for each person.

The book is still not published, and I'm not sure that it ever will be.  That's as much as I can say about that right now.  It's completely out of my hands at this point so it's a waiting game.  The fun part is that the author is letting everyone keep copyright on their designs so we will eventually get them back whether the book sees the light of day or not.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will be and I really do believe that it's just a matter of time.  I have complete faith in the gal who put the whole thing together and her message and her perseverance to see her dream through til the end.  I'm so glad she asked me to participate and I'm completely honored that she thought to include me at all.

Anywho, that's my big news and why the cat is only partially out of the bag.  Once the design is public, I'll let the other 1/2 cat out and share some photos of what I've been up to.  If you managed to read this whole post through to the end, thanks for humoring me and hope I didn't bore you to tears!

Wishing everyone a merry holiday week filled with a little rest and a little knitting and lots of family.  I'll update everyone about the upcoming New Year's Knitalong in a couple days.  Happy knitting!   ~ Melissa

10 December 2012

5th Annual Girls in Sheep Clothing New Year's Day Knitalong ~ posted by Melissa

Establishing some new traditions and continuing an old one ~
Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Holiday 2012

We made our second annual journey across Puget Sound to Bainbridge Island to get us into the holiday spirit ~ mission accomplished!  Churchmouse was wonderfully decorated again and we all were pleased with all the help we had choosing yarn, patterns and tea...thanks, Karen!
wild, wild women and a little beastie boy
Not only does saying 'cashmere' when having ones picture taken make you smile, it also makes some of us just downright goofy looking!
And on the way home we talked about our upcoming New Year's Day knitalong ~ it will be the 5th one that we've participated in and the 4th that we've actually hosted if my recollections are true.  It will run alongside the already in progress Nieblingmania (which may go on forever!!) and we will cast on January 1st.  We've chosen Jared Flood's Leaves of Grass (which I think is also the 5th Jared pattern we've chosen to knitalong with including non-new-years-knitalongs ~ I think we might love him!)
So, you know the drill.  If you're interested, gather your pattern and choose your yarn and get ready to cast on with us January 1st.  It's a great way to ring in the New Year and settle in after the chaos of the holidays have passed.  Let us know if you'll be joining us, and if you haven't participated before and would like to, add a comment or contact me on Ravelry (here's the link) and we'll let you know what we need from you to get you added as an author on the blog so you can post progress pictures and chat as we go.
I'm looking forward to knitting along with everyone!  And believe it or not, the squatting girl with the goofy looking 'cashmere' face is me and I'm wearing my Jared Flood 'Bridgewater' shawl for the first time...ever!  It was last year's knitalong ~ about time I wore it, eh?  ~ Melissa

edited to add: I went through all my rav projects and this will be the 10th (!) knitalong ~ it all started when Kelli and I joined a blogger in Norway for a New Year's knitalong 01-01-2008...she opted out the following year so I started a blog just to have a place to host another knitalong...and the rest is history!  That blog eventually morphed into this blog and the knitalongs continue ~ we've done 4 calendar shawls, 3 Jared Flood knits (Hemlock Ring, Juneberry and Bridgewater), Juju's Loops Prairie Shawl, the in progress Niebling kal and the upcoming Leaves of Grass. 

09 December 2012

hello! ~ posted by Melissa

Seems like the blog has been a little stagnant lately ~ sorry!  Don't know what Kelli is up to but I'll try to share something a tiny bit interesting (hopefully!).

Here's the smallest drop of progress on my Fruhling:

I'm on row 73...of 370 rows.

I've knit 12,440 stitches...but there are 279,800 total.

So, if I've done my math correctly, I've completed a whopping 4.45%.

That means I have a looooong way to go!  How is everyone else doing on their Niebling?  Hopefully better than I am!
Exciting day planned for tomorrow ~ a holiday trip to Churchmouse!  We had so much fun last year that we had to plan another December trek across the water.  I'm so looking forward to it since I haven't seen my knitting pals much at all this year!  Off to finish decorating the house and then maybe a row or 2 on Fruhling ~ happy Sunday!