Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Creative Recap

I'd been wondering if it was in good taste to have a recap, but then I decided that this is for me. I have a hard time remembering what I've been up to, so seeing it all in one place makes me feel like I was productive. This year I've decided to separate the knitting into two categories: my designs and other people's designs. I've knit more than what will be shown, but I didn't take pictures of everything and I'm certain I've accidentally left some knits out.

First off are all my designs. The bottom left corner has four designs that are going into the book.
Row 1: Bear hat, Sheep hat, Fox hat,
Row 2: Giraffe hat, Bear hat, Bear hat
Row 3: Giraffe hat, Fox hat, Lion hat
Row 4: Lion hat, Appalachia, Blue footed boobie hat,
Row 5: Blue footed boobie hat, Sprig, Bear hat (with panda colors)
Row 6: Sprig hat, Free bees, Elven hero
Row 7: Silent snow, Scooter's blanket, The Book designs x4

This year I finished knitting my first ever sweater. I didn't stop there, though. I ended up knitting three adult sweaters and one child's sweater.
Row 1: Fireside sweater, Leyburns, Koolhaas
Row 2: Moose, Emilien sweater, Mitered mittens
Row 3: Mini socks, Gnarled oak cardigan

I also started to read more regularly in July. I finally finished the rest of the Anne of Green Gables series (#4-8), the Bible from cover to cover, Treasure Island, Tom Sawyer, Hans Brinker, Secret Garden, and Black Beauty.

I do have a few things in progress. My Rocky Coast Cardigan, a pair of Boromir socks, another secret design for The Book, and I'm reading 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.


Friday, December 30, 2011


My buddy over at Fernknits is releasing two pattern in the not too distant future. And to celebrate she is offering a quick contest where you can win one of her patterns. So go check it out! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Which will you choose? The Zest Cardigan or the Botanical Doubleknit Caplet? (Does anyone else have the voice from Street Fighters 2 Turbo saying the last few sentences in their head?)
These images belong to Fern. I scrunched them down a bit so they would fit my blog format better. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Second Blogoversary

This year my blogoversary crept up on me. I've now been posting to this blog for two years! And to help celebrate this milestone, all my patterns will be 50% until the end of today, the 29th (PST). Just type in "bearearsblogoversary" into the coupon code section of the screen when it comes up. And in case you aren't sure where to find them, my patterns are at
Even Scooter is excited. 

And in keeping with tradition, I'll be at Green Planet Yarn. I just can't help myself. I always seem to end up there on December 29th.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

California's Best Kept Secret

I'm going to tell you all a little secret about California. In the movies you always see people out on the beach in summer. But the best time to go is actually in the winter. 

Unless a storm is actively going through, the weather is gorgeous. And there are no crowds. None. A beach during the summer is a nightmare. It's boiling hot, no parking spots, and a bajillion people competing over patches of sand.

Scooter, Mum, and I went yesterday. I love taking Scooter to the beach. He loves the beach. When we drive up near the eucalyptus groves that edge the area, he starts making loud sniffing sounds. He knows where we are.

He makes loud whining noises. And as soon as we park, he paws at the door of his crate. It doesn't matter how fast you open that door. You are too slow.

A quick note about this picture. I'm overdressed. I would have been comfortable without the hat and sweater, but I was too lazy to walk back to the car.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Holiday Cheer

Christmas went well. We usually have a Christmas Eve dinner and go to a movie on Christmas. (This year we saw Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.) There isn't much done in the way of present or a tree. So I was quite surprised that my brother got me something. He never gets me a present. It was even a thoughtful gift! We'd been watching Venture Bros together and I mentioned that I didn't have the season 4.1 or 4.2 DVDs. He secretly went out and got them, wrapped them, AND labeled them. And while I deeply appreciate all the effort, there is one little thing that confused me. He spelled my name wrong. He said it was because he knows my name is spelled "the weird way" but the normal way looks weird to him, so he spelled it with an E. My personal theory as to why he didn't spell my name right is because he's never actually ever had to spell my name. The gift still made me feel special, though.

Mum has taken to decorating one of the house plants in lieu of a tree. I put Scooter's gift under it.

And he loves it. Or at least he can't tell me otherwise. I've been putting it on him every time he lays down so he might develop a bond with the blanket or something. He doesn't seem opposed to being tucked in at least.

Mum gives us all stockings. This year a donkey was donated to Heifer International on behalf of me. I put some mini knitted socks that she requested into her stocking this year.

I hope everyone has had a lovely holiday season. Does anyone else have any holiday traditions?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Turtle Rock

For the last two evenings I've gone up to Turtle Rock in the Santa Cruz mountains. Turtle rock is an Ohlone sacred site and it is said that when the sun set through the notched rock and hit the turtle's back, the back cracked open which set the souls of people and animals free.

It is only around the winter solstice that the sun even sets between the notch in the rock. And as the sun goes through the notch, it hits Turtle Rock.

 It is only at sunset that the light hits the base of Turtle rock.

My brother was a pretty good sport and went up with me on the 21st. Before we left I asked him if he wanted to borrow a hat or mittens. He said no. But once we got there he decided that he was cold. I had been wearing that hat, but he plucked it off of my head as I took pictures. I think I'll just bring an extra hat next time.

There was a group of people up at the rock and I overheard that if you spread your fingers a finger's width apart and line up your pinky with the horizon, each finger's width represents 5 minutes. It's true. I tried it out and within five minutes of my measurement, the sun had set.

My Mum went up with me on the 22nd. I spent just as much time taking pictures as we watched the sunset. It's simply magical up there.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Moments ago I published a rather whiney blog post about feeling a little burnt out on knitting. After laying on my bed for a few minutes moping, I realized that it is pretty cool that there are people who would like me to knit for them. One of those knitted items is the Boromir sock test knit I did for my co-worker. It is a beautiful socks and the sizing is accurate. Unfortunately my foot is a bit long, so I need to rip a bit out so I can add an extra repeat of the pattern. I didn't realize that the toe was a little short for me until I was nearly done, so I thought I'd just finish the sock up for the test.
Boromir Sock

I have decided to let this sock sit for a little while before I rip. And hopefully I'll stop being mopey soon. There's a been some stressors in my life and I'm embarrassed to admit that I've fallen to pieces. But after getting a wonderful e-mail from kiwipurler, I'm feeling a lot better. And hopefully everything that's been stressing me out gets straightened out soon. (Or at least stops making me cry. This puffy eye thing is getting a little old.)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Liar

A few days ago I boasted that I wasn't doing any Christmas knitting. None. Well, I'm going to have to admit to you all that I am a Christmas liar. It wasn't suppose to happen this way. I really wasn't going to do any Christmas anything. I even delivered all my "before Christmas, but not really for Christmas" presents. But then a shipment of Cascade 128 Superwash showed up at work. As I labeled it all I realized that I really couldn't deny one fuzzy little guy a Christmas present.

You see that? He is posing with yarn. I asked him to and he did! No treats, no nothing. I just asked him to be near the yarn for the picture. A guy who is willing to jazz up a yarn photo without incentive deserves a Christmas present. So Scooter will be the recipient of the only "for Christmas" present I am making this year. Note the colors. Does it remind you of a certain project I finished not too long ago?

I already know he likes the yarn. I presented a skein to him and he grabbed it, ran off, deposited it near the dining room table and barked. I'll assume he said, "I love it. You had better start knitting tonight."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Spinning

In addition to my "knit before Christmas" knitting projects, I had a few "spin before Christmas" spinning projects. I didn't want to show them off until they were delivered because they were a surprise. (And I know the recipients read this blog. Hi guys!)

I spun up three skeins of yarn for my three regular knit night buddies.

It's silly, but I had been worried that my buddies wouldn't like the yarn. I was of course completely wrong. The skeins were a big hit. I also put homemade cookies in the packages as well. I'm sure that helped.

The labels, as seen below, are organized by: skein name, dyer's name, breed of sheep, yardage, yarn weight, and wraps per inch. 

I am now officially done with all things Christmas. I'm now focusing my attention on a sock test knit and a sweater for myself. Go me!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Knitting

I swore to myself that I wouldn't do any Christmas knitting. None. And lo and behold, I started realizing that there were requests for knits. I am not going to admit that I did any Christmas knitting, because I haven't. What I have done is knitted things that had to be done before Christmas. It's totally different. I swear.

Last night I finished the very last "knit before Christmas" knit. Originally it was going to be a blanket for Scooter. But then my Dad wanted a blanket and it was pointed out to me that the dog is messy (i.e. barfs in his bed on occasion) and that the alpaca would be wasted on him. So Dad got his lap blanket. What makes this not a Christmas knit is that I left it on his computer chair (at 2AM when I finished it) so that he could be nice and cozy in the morning. He was so happy about the nice surprise that he treated me to coffee.

Other non Christmas knits that had to be done before Christmas include Oma's Cardigan, my stocking pattern,  Mum's Mini Socks and Alina's Tam. I don't want you all to think that I am a magical knitting elf. I just happen to have some bizarre drive that won't allow me to sleep until I knit "one more row".

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gnarled Oak Cardigan

The cardigan is done! I'm pretty excited to send it to my Oma. I'm fairly certain that this project will solidify my position as favorite grandchild. 

I'm modeling it here. It is a wee bit tight on me. I definitely would go 1-2 sizes up if it were for me. I only hope I haven't stretched out the cardi too much. The Tosh Pashmina seems to be a pretty forgiving yarn though.

For those who haven't followed the progression of this cardigan, it is the Gnarled Oak Cardigan by Alana Dakos. I made a modification to the button band, which is detailed on my ravelry project page. The buttons are 5/8 inch and are made of carved shell. This is the smallest size and took 4 skeins of Madelinetosh pashmina in the Denim colorway. I think I could have done it in three, but I didn't want to attach the two partial skeins I had to the button band. Plus it give me an excuse to knit a little something with the leftover skein.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Maybe I'm Addicted

I bought more yarn yesterday. Apparently I can't go more than 24 hours without buying a skein. Reasons it's ok that I bought more yarn:
1. It's for a test knit I promised to do. I found out that the test was being released today. I had to get yarn for it. (The test is for someone I have the pleasure of knowing in real life. Her designs are fabulous, so keep an eye out for them.)
2. It wasn't an extra trip. I had to get the one pair of needles I don't seem to own so I could knit button bands on my Oma's cardi.
3. The cardi is almost done. I can start the test knit within the next day or so.

Of course in between buying yarn on Tuesday and going to the shop on Wednesday, the one skein I was eyeing had been sold. It's even a color AND brand that doesn't sell all that quickly. It took me awhile to find an acceptable skein that I thought I could get gauge in. As well all know, my gauge is crazy loose, so I'm knitting the size small. The yarn is Heritage Silk in color 5674.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Silent Snow

Meredith of One Sheepish Girl has let me do a little feature on her blog. Have a peek. It involves the release of my latest pattern, Silent Snow.

To get a copy of the pattern, you can either go to ravelry or But I'd highly recommend checking my feature first. There's a little bonus in it for you.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tardis Yarn

I'd been waiting to see if we would get Spud & Chloe Fine Sock in color 7809 again. I've seen the color way is listed as Navy and Snorkle in two different places. But really it should be called Tardis, because it matches the Tardis just right. Well, it came in and I made a little deal with myself. If I finished the second sleeve of my Oma's cardi, then I could buy two skeins. (The last pair of Tardis socks I made fit my Dad due to my lack of understanding with sock fitting. My knowledge is much improved now.)  And I did it! I finished the second sleeve within my self imposed deadline.

Then I did the unthinkable. I resisted buying the yarn. At least I did for three more days. I covered a shift today and left without the yarn. Actually, I was going to buy it, but I forgot. As I walked back to the car, I remembered and kicked myself. I figured it was meant not to be. At least it wasn't until I reached the car and I realized that I left my water bottle at the shop.

It was meant to be. Does anyone else make little deals with themselves? It doesn't have to be yarn related.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Books And Suitcases

It seems that there is a direct correlation between how many hours I work at the yarn shop and how much blogging I do. I didn't really turn on the computer for the last few days. I did, however, get a bunch of reading and a little knitting done. Also, a few new things have come to me. I won a contest on over at Forgotten Bookmarks and won 24 children's books! They arrived a week and a half ago and I can't wait to start reading them.

I've also been given two old suitcases that had belonged to my grandparents. They no longer wanted them, and it is widely known through my family that I had been on the lookout for some old suitcases. I like using them to hold my finished knitting projects. They keep the moths out pretty well. And they make pretty good photography props.

I'm still knitting away at my Oma's cardi. Hopefully I'll have something to show you all in the not too distant future.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Polygamous Knitting

Even though I had been monogamous with my Oma's cardi for three... maybe four days, within an hour of my post about being a monogamous knitter I cast on for something new. I had a good reason though. An opportunity came up and I had to act. So what I cast on for was a new design. I'm hoping to release it within the next week. Until then, here is a little peek.

The actual knitting for this pattern is all done, so I'm back to being monogamous with the cardi again. I'm half way through sleeve #2.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Tough Decision

I'm not exactly sure how to say this... but I have some bad news for everyone who has been enjoying the Spring hat and scarf. Sprig has been free since May and the matching Sprig Hat has been free since July. As of tomorrow, they will be pay for patterns. I've been wrestling over this decision, but ultimately, I think it is for the best.

I actually wrestle with whether or not each of my patterns should be free or not every time I publish. Honestly, if there was some way for me to make money and give away my patterns for free, I would. Obviously that is impossible. But for me to continue writing, I have to sell my patterns. But the good news is that even though the Sprig set will be pay-for patterns, Free Bees and Mr. Tumnus will remain free.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monogamous Knitting

Monogamous knitting is not something that comes easy to most knitters... Actually, I challenge you to find a knitter with only one project on the needles. I've heard they exist, but I personally think that they are as common as unicorns.

Anyways, I am giving monogamous knitting my best shot right now. I'm currently knitting the Gnarled Oak Cardigan for my Oma. Boy is it difficult resisting the temptation to cast on for a pair of socks. That's all that is on my mind while knitting the cardi. Socks, socks, socks.

I suppose it wouldn't be so bad except that I'm in the sea of stockinette. I've  finished the main portion of the cardi and am now working on sleeve #1. Once I'm done with the sleeves I'll be joining them to the yoke, which looks much more exciting.

Even when I'm not being exclusive with a pattern, I'm usually not wild with projects either. My average wip (work in progress) pile has three knits. One easy "movie watching" project, one "complex as hell" project, and an extra for when I'm upset at the other two projects.
Almost done with sleeve #1

But I'm sure we all have the, "this project doesn't count because..." pile. For me that pile usually has to do with designs. All though, at the moment I don't have any designs on the needles, which has made it more difficult to avoid being monogamous with the cardi. It would be cheating if I cast on for another project... but if it were already cast on, it wouldn't count.
The latest temptation

Anyone else being monogamous with a project at the moment?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tradition, Tradition!

Yesterday was Thanksgiving for those of us in the States. Everyone has their own tradition. My brother and I have a long standing tradition that includes getting along for the day. My brother has made the turkey for six years now. He faithfully bastes it every half hour.

Scooter holds vigil near the oven.

In between basting, we play video games. The games change from year to year. Usually we'll hook up the Super Nintendo and play a round of Sunset Riders and Turtles In Time. But this year Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword came out. So we took turns playing that instead. (Actually, I let my brother play most the the day so I could get some knitting done.) I insisted that he wear proper adventuring gear, aka the Elven Hero hat. He protested, but didn't take it off. I think it improved his game play.

What kind of Thanksgiving traditions do you guys have?
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