Wednesday, September 30, 2009

AHHHH SO EXCITED!

So, I have done some writing about my financial plans and goals, so I figure I might as well add more as it comes along.

A few months back, I realized that soon, my mortgage interest rate would be adjusting, and I was worried about that. So, I re-read my mortgage documents, looked online for current LIBOR rates, and called around to see what kinds of deals were out there for refinancing. For the most part, no one wanted to touch my loan with a ten foot pole, except for the company who already owned the loan. This made me suspicious. So, I kept researching, and finally decided that I thought my rate would actually drop upon readjusting.

To answer your question if you were wondering, here is a link to the explanation of a LIBOR rate. My mortgage documents state that my loan will adjust to the one year LIBOR plus 2.25% or something to that effect.

Anyway, on a whim, I looked up my loan info online today, and... boy oh boy, my rate is definitely dropping! I am thrilled for more than one reason... of course, I'm happy that my monthly expenses will be dropping, but I'm also pleased that I was able to research the situation and then make a sound decision that ended up being the RIGHT decision!

I am definitely beyond relieved. And of course, the extra money will mean added cushioning for any unanticipated expenses that may come along, although I am truly hoping for NONE of those for a while... that car repair last January was plenty for a long while, as far as I'm concerned!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Keepin' the Streak Alive

Yep, another blog post... but don't get used to it or anything!

I also whipped up a cozy scarf recently, using the glorious Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica yarn. I did the "My So Called Scarf" pattern, which features a herringbone stitch. I am certainly not the first to pair this pattern with this yarn (even in the same colorway); it is a great pairing, in my opinion.


Here's a closeup shot of the stitch pattern. It really requires a jump in needle size, so if you strike out on your own and make this with a yarn other than what is called for, be sure to use a needle larger than is noted on the ball band.


On the topic of weather and the seasons, I have been happily enjoying this unseasonably warm weather! However, I was quite dismayed to note how much earlier the sun is setting now... before you know it, (less than 2 months from now, I suppose) the sun will be down before 5 PM, which I just hate so much! I suppose it's good news that it's Christmas then, as well - always a fun and welcome part of the year!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Shoulderette Bonanza!

As promised, I will now share the details of the three shoulderettes I knit up over the past couple of weeks. In the past, I have been very insistent that shawls and scarves should be enormous and should wrap around the neck one meeeeelion times. However, I have more recently decided that this is perhaps too narrow a view, and that perhaps there is room in this world for a smaller version of the shawl. Enter, the shoulderette.

First up, was Laminaria by Elizabeth Freeman. I used a skein of Malabrigo Sock Yarn in the "Solis" colorway. The yarn color was gorgeous, and I can tell it would be lovely and squishy as socks, as well. I also adored the knitting pattern - there were several different pattern charts, which kept things interesting. And not only were the charts interesting, but the resulting knitted fabric/ pattern was soooo pretty! Unfortunately, I ran out of yarn with 1/2 a row left to go, plus the bindoff. What a dilemma - do I buy another $20 skein of yarn? Ugh, for just one more row? Nooooo! Instead, I went onto Ravelry and searched for completed projects worked out of the same yarn/ colorway. I ravmailed a couple of those people who lived fairly nearby, and asked them if they had any leftovers. Indeed, I found several people willing to send me some of their leftovers, and I was able to complete the project! The donated yarn wasn't really the right color due to differences in dye lots, but because it was just the bindoff in question, the difference wasn't noticeable. If I had had to change mid-project, it would have been a much bigger problem.

Check out how pretty:


Some of the flowery lace and edging detail:



Up next was the Zetor Scarf by Jatta Soheltaa. I used a ball of Noro Kureyon Sock yarn, which I really enjoy working with. It is a very rough, primitive, and rustic yarn, with very unusual color combinations, and I just love that about it. The pattern itself was simpler than that of Laminaria, which was a better fit for the more busy/stripey nature of the Noro yarn.

Check it out:



And last but not least, the Aeolian shawl, again by Elizabeth Freeman. I used 1 1/3 balls of Knitpicks Shadow in the Snorkel colorway. When I ordered this yarn, I was super disappointed when it arrived, because the color was WAY off from how it looked online, at least on my home computer. Now that I look at it from work (naughty, naughty), it actually looks more accurate. It's a lovely color, but is very close to a knitpicks lace yarn I've used in the past for TWO different shawls! Blagh. Anyway, I decided to suck it up and use it anyway - no sense in wasting perfectly good yarn! You will also notice it's awfully close to the Malabrigo sock yarn I used for the first shoulderette in the post... too bad, so sad!

Again, I really enjoyed this pattern. There were several different charts to work through, and the pattern includes nupps, which look so cool in the finished project! The pattern also called for beads, but I decided to omit them this go 'round. I did do two extra repeats of the "Yucca" chart to make the final size a bit larger than the wee shoulderette size, which meant that I ended with 599 stitches to cast off at the end. Elizabeth uses a nice bindoff that provides enough stretch to block out nicely at the end, and it is firm enough that it's not rolling up all over the place. I like it.

Here are some photos:



And looky here at those wonderful nupps:



I have to say, I hope that Elizabeth Freeman writes more and more patterns... it may mean that my shawl collection becomes ridiculously huge, but who cares? It's more about the enjoyment of the knitting for me than it is the utility of each and every knitted project.

I'm currently working on another for-pay project, but I'll be sure to share more pics as more projects are completed...
Knitting Needles Afire!

All month, I have not had any knit-for-pay projects, until last night, actually. So, I have had the chance to do a LOT of knitting for myself!

First up, I pulled out the Forecast Cardigan , and finally finished up the second sleeve and the button bands, and sewed on the buttons... that thing had been languishing in the UFO pile for an eternity! I used one of Webs' Valley Yarns selections, called Berkshire, in the lovely "Ming Blue" colorway. It's a great wool/ alpaca blend that knit up very nicely. I did make some mods to the pattern... I did a braided cable instead of the bobble-icious cable called for in the original pattern. I also lengthened the ribbed torso segment, and removed the garter ribs around the wrists... they stuck out funny even after blocking.

All in all, I enjoyed knitting this sweater, and think it turned out well. I am reevaluating whether I did a good job with button placement... and I do have a criticism about the button hole band... the ribbing causes the buttons to slide into the ribbing, which looks dumb. I may have to consider fixing that, actually, if it drives me crazy enough.

Here are a couple of photos:



Up next, the Slanting Gretel Tee from the Fall 2009 Interweave Knits Magazine. As soon as I saw the pattern, I was very excited to realize that I had yarn that would work just right for the pattern! I then had to slightly reevaluate that decision, since the yarn I had was actually a bit thinner than the yarn called for. I made the next size up, and it all worked out just fine. I had a big ol' cone of Brown Sheep Lanaloft Sport in "Cherry Splash", and I actually have a decent amount of that yarn left. Probably not enough for another sweater, but certainly enough for a hat or two.

Here are some shots - the red did NOT come out right at all in these pictures. It is not nearly as nuclear as all that! I'll try to get better photos, really.




Isn't the center cable pretty?

I also made THREE 'shoulderettes', which are small, shoulder covering lace shawls. I am thrilled with how they turned out, and had a lot of fun making them, too. However, I feel that I should save them for another post, so stay tuned!