Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's Been Really Busy!

OMG. Where did a month go? I'm just fine. Srsly. But there's been knitting and knitting, and reading and reading, and listening to audiobooks and podcasts and music. And the days just go by and I forget to post.

Before I forget to mention it, Chez CBM is a long way from the fires. Makes us very happy that we settled in the 'flats' of Burbank. One of my good friends from my Friday knitting group lives in a foothill area, a tad too close for comfort to the big trailer park fire, enough to be worrisome, but the fire never blew their way. We've suffered from the smoke and ash, with smoggy, smoggy days and difficulty breathing. The fires were really bad on Sunday, and Monday morning I woke up feeling like I'd slept with my mouth open all night. Sniffles, coughing, ugh, most of the week. DH said it was even worse over in West LA than here. Our air quality is much better now, but it's awful for the hundreds and hundreds of families whose homes are gone.

I've rediscovered the local library, and I can't tell you how much I've saved on books in the last couple of months. I've been toting big bags of books back and forth, books and audiobooks both, (reminds me of the junior high days when I used to check out as many books as I could cram into my bicycle basket). Burbank isn't a full part of the Los Angeles library system, so I'm planning on zipping over to Pasadena soon to get a card in the LA system. Then I can figure out the download systems LA libraries have.

Our librarians have commented that visitor levels are noticeably higher than last year; I expect it's the effect of the economy. And for me, it's part of the Ravelry effect, lol; all the new authors and audiobooks the other Ravelers tell me about that I have to read or listen to. I've also spent a bit at sales at Audible and AudiobookStand. Audible recently had a half-price sale on a lot of unabridged books, and AudiobookStand has some good unabridged selections in their $10 list. iTunes is a good source of audiobooks, too, and you can check the prices there by comparison to Audible and to Amazon.

And then there are the podcasts. Oy. News, music, knitting, Garrison Keillor, etc. And there's Podiobooks, too. Some of the serialized books I've been enjoying are Max Quick, Shadowmagic, and Karen Moning's Darkfever, which you can get as a podcast via iTunes. For those of you looking for good knitting podcasts, I'm not a good source for suggestions. I find many of them either tedious or shrill, though interviews with knitters like the Yarn Harlot and Franklin Habit are good. If you go to the Podcasts part of iTunes and search for knitting, you'll find a lot of choices.

OK, about the knitting. I warn you, I've had a terrible time getting a good match of actual color and photo color, and currently I can't get my digital camera to flash. Gotta go online to get this figured out.

I spent most of October madly knitting scarves and hats for my senior's charity boutique, which was Nov 7 & 8. I found myself knitting and frogging and knitting a lot; why is it we knitters feel that projects have to be the 'just right' combination of yarn and pattern???!! The multicolor scarf is knitted from Bernat's Satin acrylic yarn, in a 'moving square' pattern I dreamt up. It looks like there are cables, and I hope I remember where I left the notes for the pattern. Then I finally put together some deep purple Lion Brand Microspun and Crystal Palace's Little Flowers yarn I bought a couple of years ago, using the Montego Bay (aka Mimi Very-Long) pattern. And there had to be a plain warm hat and scarf set, this one with a mistake-rib scarf and a good deep brim on the hat for warmth. This took 2 of the big skeins of Universal Yarn's Classic Worsted Long Print, which is an 80/20 acrylic/wool blend. I loved how the yarn made perfect random-but-repeating stripes. And, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I finished 2 Odessa hats in red Bernat Satin.

There were noticably fewer shoppers at the boutique, and I think a lot of the other sellers didn't do well. We sold a LOT of scarves; we started out with more than 3 leaf bags full of scarves and had less than a kitchen trash can full left. We had some adorable baby jackets, lots of baby and adult hats, knitted and crocheted afghans and small quilts, mostly lap-sized, and tote bags. Overall, we made $1400+, which makes us very happy. We've already sent off checks to the local Temporary Aid Center and a local church's Thanksgiving dinner fund. BTW, we took over 350 hats (our liaison quit counting at that point, lol!) to the Operation Gratitude group for inclusion in the boxes they're sending to our troops. And we have at least 80 scarves left for the Christmas party given by a local foster kids' group.

Then I switched over to knitting Christmas gifts, and I've finished a hat & mitts set for my cousin and a cowl & mitts set for his wife. The cowl and matching mitts I did with WEBS' Valley Yarn Superwash Merino, and I have to give this a *RAVE* review. Nicely sproingy, good color, and it blocked very nicely. Good price, too. My cousin's hat and mitts are stash-busters: I found a last skein of the Cascade Lana d'Oro yarn (discontinued in 2005) I used for a scarf for him a couple of years ago, then I found a single skein of WEBS' Valley Stockbridge yarn (freebie from Stitch & Pitch) and a gorgeous hank of Shelridge Farm Soft Touch yarn that Curlerchik, one of my near-Toronto friends, sent me a couple of years ago in exchange for some Chibi needles. The mitts and hat don't quite match, but I think they're a close-enough set, since the hat does match the scarf and is trimmed with the same dark blue as the mitts. Yes, I'm sure my cousin still has the scarf; he still has one I made him some 20 years ago. Gotta really love family who appreciate home knitting, don't you!! Mitts being the addictive projects that they are, I'm half-done with another set of mitts with the left-over 1.5 skeins of yarn from the cowl. None of these three pictures has the real green. Sigh.

My remaining gift knits are for our honorary family and for my beloved DH. I have an EZ Ribwarmer done for one of our 'daughters' and another nearly done for her daughter, using some yummy pinky-lavender Cascade Cloud 9. Plus I think there are matching mitts and a hat. These are on my Mission Possible 2008 list, and I'd really like to get them done. The biggest project, and with some 5 weeks left there's some pressure, is the entrelac vest I started last winter for DH. I discovered when the first front was nearly done that it was way too short below the armscye; hence a lot of frogging and its long time in the UFO pile.

And for a very special Awwww! moment: Last week I got an email from one of our honorary daughters. I've sent baby things now for 2 babies, hats and scarves for the holidays, and nary a peep. Well, she made up for all of that BIG time. She said that she wanted me to know how much I am a part of their lives, and that each of them have favorite CBM gifts. The newest baby is now wearing the baby jacket I made for the first one (2005), and the matching blankie has survived and is still keeping babies warm. I wrote back, kind of choked up and teary, that I had just gotten a really big, warm hug! Yeah. Like that.


Cindy G said...

Wow, that's a lot of knitting! Glad your charity sale went so well. I love the matching hat and scarf in the brown stripes. And the gift cowl is just lovely.

maxquick said...

Glad you're enjoying the Max Quick books ... and thanks for the mention!

- Mark Jeffrey, self-googling author of said Max Quick books :)

Sandra said...

Glad you like the Shelridge - it is beuatiful stuff. ALso glad to hear the fires aren't directly affecting you.
I love my local library - every place we've lived, right after getting my license and stuff changed, I've gotten a library card - I love that I can try out the books first, and if I love them, I buy them. And novels! I go through a few a week, so it's a big saving! Even my 9 year old son has a library card, and uses it often.
THe cowl and handwarmers?? Pattern, please?? THese are GORGEOUS...

Sarah Laurenson said...

You have been very busy. Nice post and love the feel good at the end.

I'll have to look into some of those audiobooks.