TENTH BLOGIVERSARY!!!

Thursday (January 23) marks 10 years since I started blogging. I would love to do some wrap up of the last 10 years, but I don’t have time right now with my exams coming up on February 5th. (Short version – 2nd Masters degree, started a PhD program, started knitting, life, friends, family, and birthdays.)

So, let’s do a little 10 years of blogging giveaway instead – this is mostly for the yarny folks, but there’s a little something for the non-crafters, too.

These prizes all come from my personal stash of yarn and stuff, so let’s take a gander at them below.

Yarntini Concord
1 skein Yarntini Merino/Nylon Fingering in Concord (2009 Summer Sock Club) + random selection of 5 (or more) stitch markers from my collection

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1 skein Dyeabolical Strong Arm Skinny – Seymour Krelborn (Showtunes Sock Club 2011) + random selection of 5 (or more) stitch markers from my collection

PC120558
1 skein Socks That Rock Mediumweight in Rooky + random selection of 5 (or more) stitch markers from my collection (there are 2 skeins pictured, but only one of them is part of the giveaway).

Untitled
Monster Notions case & stitch markers with British curse words

Owls
Your choice of 2 of these 4 little owl guys I crocheted last year.

Comment below and I will use a random number generator to pick a winner for each prize. Make sure you mention if you are NOT a knitter or crocheter – don’t want to send you yarn if you can’t use it, but you’ll be in the running for the notions case (can also be used as a pencil case) & owls.

You have until Midnight Central Time on Thursday, January 23 to get your entries in. I’ll choose the winners on Friday sometime. Be sure to leave your email address in the comment field so I can contact you if you are a winner. Good luck!

FO: Dyeabolical Skew Socks!

People, I do not know where the time has gone. The holidays have come & gone, Christmas break is over, and the spring semester started this week. I have so much to talk about (cake! frosting! knitting!), but my written exams for grad school are in 3 weeks, so I’m a little stressed out.

Let’s talk ever so briefly about my semester: I’m taking 2 of the 3 written exams for my PhD program on Feb 5, still working full time (though using much vacation to get through the semester), TAing a research class, taking 2 classes, and writing a manuscript with my mentor that’s due early April. It sounds insane when you write it all out and I’ve had it on my mind during the school break – I should study, I should work on this, I should do that. So, naturally I knit a lot instead. In fact, I spent so much time on the second sock one day that my arm and hands were sore.*

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Speaking of the socks, there is something magical about the Skew pattern. I had it in my queue (with this yarn earmarked for it) for a few years, but I was convinced that I would work on this sock & then it wouldn’t fit. I was afraid that I would need to somehow compensate for my size 10 feet. The reality is that I just had to knit a few extra rows on the foot (which is easy to do) and not worry about the width of the sock – they fit great!

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The magic part is the heel – you increase for it at the center of the round and then do a bit of origami (the designer’s term) to get the heel formed, kitchener a few stitches and BAM – sock heel. I LOVED IT.

For me, one of the best things about these socks was that they were simple enough to knit while watching tv or chatting with friends, but not so simple that I was bored. You have to pay just enough attention to what you’re doing for them to be interesting. And how great is this yarn? It’s Dyeabolical Strong Arm in Wicked Garden (both base & color are sadly discontinued, but allow me to pimp out Rachel’s other yarns – any of her variegated colors would be a great match for this pattern). This was one of the first colors (maybe THE first color) that I helped name, so naturally it had to be mine. I just can’t believe it took me so long to knit it up. There are more details on the ravelry project page.

And, in what may be a record for me in sock knitting, I finished these (and another pair to be discussed later) both in the same year I cast on for them. I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal for most folks, but socks are generally my “I don’t know what to knit” projects, so they wind up being WIPs a lot longer than other projects do.

Yay new socks! My first few pair are slowly felting themselves to death, so I definitely need to be getting more of them knit to keep my feet toasty.

*These socks. Once you get past the heel, it’s just a bit to decrease your mini-gusset. Then once you start the short rows, you don’t want to stop in the middle of them. Then it’s just like 10 rows of ribbing at the top and you’re done! I knit half the second sock in a day. It’s no wonder my arm was sore.

Books 2013

According to Goodreads, I read 16 books in 2013. The reality is that I attempted to read 12 new books last year, 6 of which i finished. The other six were book club selections, 2 of which I hated & couldn’t make myself read any more, 3 were books I was enjoying reading but I just ran out of time before book club, and one in which I got so mad at the main character that I stopped reading the book & couldn’t finish. The remaining four of the 16 were re-reads of the first 4 Harry Potter books.

So, what did I actually finish (and enjoy) reading in 2013?

LetsPretend Let’s Pretend This Never Happened – Jenny Lawson. I actually started this one in 2012, but I’m a slow reader (and an easily distracted reader) these days. I finally finished this year and it’s so funny. If you aren’t familiar with Jenny, she blogs over at TheBloggess.com & is irreverent and hilarious.

brothersgrimm Fairy Tales from the Brother’s Grimm – Philip Pullman. This one was a book club selection. New translations of the original Grimm’s Fairy Tales. It was really interesting to read the stories as they were originally written (or close enough given they were newly translated). It was not great to be a woman in fairy tales, though – the daughters always got in trouble for their dad’s lies. What was that about?

OceanLaneThe Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman. I loved this one so much. My goodreads review was simple and accurate: I just finished this book and I was crying and I don’t know why I was crying. It was lovely and a tiny bit scary and perfect. 

I’m not really setting a reading goal for 2014. I have 3 PhD exams this year (2 in February, 1 in October) along with finishing my coursework. I’m sure I’ll be busy with studying for them, though I’ll still try to read the book club selections for the year.

Knitting 2013

I only completed 18 knitting projects this year (compared to last years 25), two of those were completed in the last week.

Knitting 2013

We have here:
5 pair of fingerless mitts
4 pair of socks*
4 scarves/shawls
2 hats
1 partial sweater (re-knit the yoke & created my own neck shaping, so it counts)
1 baby sweater
5 wee owls (crocheted, actually, but they still count).

*I started and finished two pair of socks in the 2013. This is actually quite the accomplishment for me. The others were both very long-term projects.

Garden Glow at Missouri Botanical Garden

The Thursday before Christmas, when the weather was lovely and almost warm, I headed to see Garden Glow with knitting friend Grace.

It was fun & I quite enjoyed seeing all the lights in the garden – it’s on for a few more days, so check it out if you get a chance.

Garden Glow at MoBot

These photos all came from my phone, as my actual camera I took failed completely at being able to capture anything.

Garden Glow at MoBot

Garden Glow at MoBot
Hogwarts!

Garden Glow at MoBot
Stuck in the Labyrinth.

Garden Glow at MoBot

Garden Glow at MoBot