If at first you do succeed, try not to look too astonished. (Jane Seabrook)

Snowpocalypse 2010

Here are some images from Snowpocalypse 2010 for those of you who live outside of the Mid-Atlantic region:

Sat., February 6 (10am)
View of our driveway and the street in our cul-de-sac from our garage.  About 23 inches of snow fell between midnight and 10am.  If you count the 6 inches of snow that fell between 3pm and midnight we're looking at totals of 29 inches so far.

Sat., February 6 (11:15am)
Mike and I were able to clear about half our driveway with two shovels and our little snow blower.  Mike waded out to the street and said it's deeper towards the end of the driveway.  About 2 to 3 inches of snow has fallen since we came back inside.

Sat., February 6 (2pm)
A view of the deck and our back yard.  Our barbecue and the table and chairs are somewhere under all that snow.  At the rate we're going we probably won't see grass again until early March.

Sat., February 6 (3:45pm)
We cleared the length of the driveway.  The snow has pretty much stopped so there won't be any additional accumulation from this storm.  We can't do much more until the plow comes through.  Goodness knows when that will be.

Sat., February 6 (4pm)
Calvin is not a big fan of snow. He spent a good portion of the afternoon sleeping.

Sat., February 6 (4pm)
Carmen, on the other hand, was a little too interested in the weather event. We actually had to lock her in the house when we went out to shovel because she managed to open the door and get into the garage the first time Mike headed out to work on the driveway.

Sat., February 6 (4:15pm)
Mike worked his way round to the back of the house to check the vents and make sure they weren't blocked.  The snow is thigh high in some places so he literally had to row his way through the snow with a small shovel.

In Training

With two feet of snow on the ground here in Central Maryland and the Vancouver 2010 Olympics just days away I figure it's the perfect time for to get some training in for Ravelympics 2010. I decided to err on the side of caution and set goals that should be fairly manageable as we all know that I have a tendency to get in over my head. Hey, I figure I can always add to the list in the event that I do by some minor miracle manage to get through the project goals I've set for myself. Here are the projects that are on the list so far:

  1. Fourth Grade Hat (Abby Franquemont)
    Event Category: Hat Half-Pipe
    This entrelac hat was featured in the Winter 2008 issue of Twist Collective.  I've always been fascinated by entrelac, but have never actually done any.  Tackling this technique will undoubtedly be my biggest challenge of Ravelympics 2010.  This pattern can apparently be modified to work with "any yarn at any gauge", but a lot of people have said that this finished product does tend to be pretty slouchy so I'll need to take that in account when I'm planning out my gauge swatch.  I will be using a skein of Louet Gems 100% Merino Wool (Sport Weight) in black, which I have to wind into a ball today, and two skeins of Noro Silk Garden in colorway #308 (this colorway can best be described as deep jewel-tone shades of purple, pink, green, teal, and topaz).  It should be a really nice hat if everything works out according to plan.
  2. Two pairs of French Press Felted Slippers (Melynda Bernardi)
    Event Categories: Felting, Sock Hockey
    I have worn my own slippers every day since I finished them in late December.  This is such a fabulous pattern that I feel I really should share it with others in my life.  I plan on making two pairs: one pair for my mother and the other pair for my husband's step-mother , Anne.  Both pairs will be knit in Patons Classic Wool.  My mother's pair will be knit in the Wisteria colorway, a pretty light purple shade.  Anne's pair will be knit in the Paprika colorway, a deep burnt orange shade.  My challenge with this project will be to keep the momentum going from one pair of slippers to the next as I my track record knitting back to back projects in the same pattern  is not very good.  
Although I signed up to participate on two Ravelympics teams I think I will most likely throw all of my support to Team Manic Purl (sorry Team Twilight).  I listen to Chrissy's podcast on a regular basis and I'm a frequent contributor to the message boards so I feel pretty comfortable with the whole vibe.  Plus, Chrissy's a Vancouver native so the team has the luxury of on-site Olympic coverage. For an Olympics junkie like me that is the equivalent of crack.  I can't wait for the games to begin on Fri., February 12!  Once I can get a handle on some of this snow removal -- we've only managed to clear about half of our driveway so far! -- I'll be winding some yarn and swatching for the hat. 

    Some Assembly Required

    It suddenly occurs to me that knitting isn't that much different from assembling a piece of Ikea furniture: both activities require that pieces be joined together according to a specific set of instructions in hopes of producing the desired finished object.  Just how easy or torturous this process ends up being largely depends on your level of competency.  Of course, a general lack of confidence has never really stopped any of us from getting in over our heads.  At least it's easier to throw a knitting project in the back of a closet than it is to try to hide the parts of a disassembled piece of furniture.

    So the knitting is done on Boo the Bat.  I'm pleased with how the body turned out, although the feet were pretty tricky -- picking up stitches is not easy when working on such a small scale.  Overall this pattern is well written and easy to follow.  The only modification I made was to the wings: I decided to slip a stitch at the beginning of each row as per the suggestion of KnittersInaTwist.  This modification seemed to give the wings some nice definition around the edges.  So, Boo's just sitting here waiting patiently for me to assemble the rest of his body parts.  I still need to block the wings and the ears, though, so it will be a couple of days before Boo can be officially finished.  Hopefully he can withstand the snide comments from my husband about his resemblance to a certain South Park character.

    The second Little Pumpkins sock is now on the needles.  I worked my way through the cuff this weekend and I'm getting ready to start the first repeat of the leg.  I'm thinking that it should (hopefully) go pretty quickly now that I know what I'm doing.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I don't get side-tracked.

    The Pink Peapod has crawled its way out of the UFO pile.  The original intended recipient has long since grown out of both the sweater and the hat so I'm re-designating the set as a gift for my friend Becca's six-month old daughter, Nora.  The last sleeve has been seamed and set into the body of the sweater.  All that's really left to do with this project is to sew on the buttons and give it press before putting it in the mail.  I'm kind of bummed that I won't get to see her reaction to the set -- I hear she's a big fan of pink -- so I'm counting on her parents to take some great pictures (I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she'll get some use out of it over the next few months).  Scratch one project off the list =)

    Stay tuned for news on my projects for Ravelympics 2010.

    Halloween in January?

    Sad, but true. I just realized that everything I'm working on this week has an autumnal/ Halloween theme. It kind of threw me a bit given that it's January and there's snow on the ground. Sigh.
    My main project, the Little Pumpkins socks, is finally moving along after spending a good portion of the Fall in the knitting bag. I'm a good way through the foot of the first sock so I should be able to get through the toe decreases and the finishing within the next few days (please disregard the recent post on my Ravelry project page where I boldly state that the first sock will be done by the end of the weekend -- by this time I should know better!).

    I was initially worried about the fit of this sock, but so far so good. I did eliminate one of the pattern repeats in the leg because 1) I don't generally like wearing socks that are too long, and 2) I was seriously worried about cutting off the circulation in my legs. The springy nature of the yarn is helping with the overall elasticity of the sock, but it doesn't really show off the seed stitch portions of the pattern to advantage. Ultimately, though, this project is really more about the color than anything else. It was a no brainer that these socks had to be knit in orange -- hey, we're dealing with pumpkins here -- but it really did take a while to find the 'right' orange. I still absolutely love the color of this Creatively Dyed yarn. I tend to prefer colors that are subtle and slightly muted, so this is a significant departure from my comfort zone. There's just something about the vibrancy of this color and the slightly heathered undertones that draws me in. Now, I probably wouldn't ever knit a large project in a color this vibrant, but it's kind of fun to experiment with color in smaller projects. I'll have to do more of that in 2010.
    The next project in the works is Boo the Bat by Anna Hrachovec (aka mochimochiland on Ravelry). I guess I should come clean and say that I've been stalking this pattern for weeks. I wish I could say that I have a fascination with rodents, and flying ones at that, or that I was desperately trying to use up some of the yarn remnants from past projects that are scattered all over my desk. In truth, Boo is just too darn cute not to be knitted up several times over. I see him and his friends adorning my cube at work -- that should be interesting. If you're not familiar with Anna's knitted toy designs I recommend checking her out because her work is amazing. Don't be surprised if you find yourself sucked into the world that is Mochimochi Land.

    When It's Time To Change

    Since I've picked back up with the blog I've tried to make some small changes here and there to keep pace with some of the technological movements that have taken hold since I first created this blog in 2005. I've come to the conclusion, though, that updates to the layout and overall direction of the blog are needed. The template is too generic and doesn't reflect the essence of the blog. But then what is the essence? I've noticed that the blog has morphed into a journal of my knitting escapades. This is not entirely surprising since I do consider knitting to be my primary hobby, but I haven't touched on any of my other interests in a long time. I'd like to get back to my original intent, only with a more modern twist. I have a good idea of what I want to do. It just may take me a while to set everything up and squared away on the Blogger side, not an easy task given that I haven't yet upgraded to the latest version of Blogger. Please note that these changes may result in some temporary content loss. I'll do my best to get everything up and running again as soon as possible.