Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Squatch This!

Sasquatch Panorama

I can't quite tell who was performing, but here's a panorama of the Sasquatch mainstage from the top of the amphitheater. Pretty gorgeous, isn't it? Slightly less gorgeous when the winds picked up on Sunday, lowering the temperature significantly, whipping dust in my eyes, and stopping the show for several hours.

Overall, my photos from the weekend are pretty bad. I didn't try to get particularly close to the stages, so my photos of bands are generally blurry and far away. One of my travelling / camping companions went down front and got some nice shots of Mixmaster Mike, but that's about it. Here are the best of the bunch:

Squatch collage

Clockwise from top left: Beastie Boys (via the big screen), Polyphonic Spree before wind shut down the mainstage, Arcade Fire, Mixmaster Mike

The clear highlight of the weekend, music-wise, was Arcade Fire's set on Saturday evening. The Beastie Boys mainstage set was great, but there was too much overlap from their "instrumental" set the night before so it didn't feel super fresh. I also really liked Viva Voce, the Dandy Warhols, and the few songs that the Polyphonic Spree squeezed into their set. I've been checking out reviews of Sasquatch (a good one is here), and a couple of people have said that they didn't like the Long Winters. I completely disagree--they are not a band that I'm familiar with, but they seemed so pleased to be playing that they really stood out for me. Interpol, by contrast, were overly reserved for this type of show--not much interaction with the audience, not much interesting going on onstage. By the time they played, I'd been at the festival for maybe 10 hours, and had spent maybe 3 of those hours trying to get away from the wind and warm up. I needed a band with some energy!

A lot of the bands that played were new to me, so I didn't have huge expectations for anyone so I wasn't super disappointed by anything--I didn't HATE any of it, and some of my criticisms are probably based more on the surroundings / challenges of a huge festival than of the music itself. For instance, Ghostland Observatory sounded great for a couple of songs, but was a little too loud and shout-y for me after that, probably due to the headache that was induced by drinking gigantic beers in the very hot sun. Did they pour the beer down my throat? Of course not!

The biggest non-weather issue that I had with the festival was that they ran out of stuff (fries, straws, sweatshirts) as early as the first day, and many of the vendor staff were pretty unhelpful / unfriendly. The festival is a professionally run event, with much (if not all) of the concessions provided by a huge company. How hard is it to have enough straws?

Camping worked out just fine--we stayed at the "premium camping" site rather than the main site, and it was very nice. The concession stand had unexpectedly delicious food.

In knitting news, I worked on the Sailor Girl socks on the way to the Gorge, and worked a little on the new Chevron Scarf during the festival. I'm much happier with the new colors than the red / yellow combo of the false start I posted last week. I'm not sure how true the colors are here (try to ignore the shadows), but this is the scarf in progress on the Sasquatch lawn:


Note that the High Street Messenger Bag performed very well on this trip, holding lots of extra stuff for those long festival days--on Sunday, I packed a pair of yoga pants, an extra shirt, and wool socks in addition to the stuff I took in on Saturday.

Wow, this post was almost as exhausting as the festival itself. I apologize in advance for any errors, omissions, or general confusion, as well as the lack of comprehensive linking, but this has already eaten up too much of my evening!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Camping + Rocking = Exhaustion

Dog Tired

I've been back from Sasquatch since early afternoon, and I'm dog tired. Rock show photos to come tomorrow or later this week.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Finish One, Start Two

Finished Chevron

This week I finished the pink and green Chevron Scarf that I started as my Project Spectrum project for April / May. The yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport, in Envy and Tickled Pink. I think that I still need to give it a good wet block, and I'm a little concerned that it will still roll in a bit, but I do love the colors and it was a very quick knit. So quick, in fact, that I've started another one:

orange and red

These yarns are also LL Shepherd's Sport, but I'm not totally happy with the choice. I think that there should be more contrast, although after letting it sit for a few days I like it a little better than I did. Even so, I've picked out a new set of colors:

New Chevron

I'm hoping that the blue/brown will tone down the red a little, and make a nice fall scarf. We'll see how it goes.

The second project I started this week are a pair of socks made with the Sailor Girl duet sock yarn that I picked up on the LYS tour. I love the spiral-y, stripey pattern!

Garter Rib Socks

These are whipping along, because the yarn is DK weight. The pattern is the Garter Rib sock from Sensational Knitted Socks--very simple, stretchy rib pattern. I'm using Addi Lace needles for the first time, and I like them. They feel a little flimsy when you take them out of the package, because they are lighter than the regular Addis and KnitPicks that I've been using. Once the yarn is on the needles, they are ideal--nice and pointy, not flimsy at all.

I'm off to the Sasquatch music festival tomorrow for a couple of days of rock and camping, and both the new Chevron Scarf and the Sailor Girl socks will probably be going with me, along with the School Bus Socks. It's about a three hour drive away, so there should be plenty of opportunity to make some progress.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Yarn, Yarn, Yarn, Yarn

This past weekend was the Washington Local Yarn Store Tour, and although I didn't go whole hog I did make it to a few shops. Each participating shop (there were 20, I think) had a free one-skein pattern and offered a discount on the yarn for the pattern. There was a drawing for those c-r-a-z-y (or maybe lucky?) people who made it to all 20 shops--$400 at the LYS of their choice. Although I'd love to have that $$ in the yarn bank, I didn't have the time this weekend for three solid days of shopping.

Sailor GirlFirst on the list was Renaissance Yarns, which is truly my local yarn store. I'm in there all the time, it's right between home and work, I can pop in during lunch. Their pattern was for a toe up sock with an afterthought heel in Duet Sock yarn. My plan was to just zip in, pick up the pattern, and zip out, especially since I've got a few sets of this yarn at home already (including the as yet un-restarted Leprechaun Socks), but the new colors were too good to pass up. I picked out a color called Sailor Girl, shown at the right. I love navy and pink together, and I love that the yarn comes with a little solid hank for the heel and toe. I've started a pair of garter rib socks, and they are zipping right along--this yarn is medium weight. I'm looking forward to trying the lighter weight version of the Duet yarns too, although maybe I should wait until I work through some of the yarn that I already have. These are great commuter socks, at least until I finish turning the heels on those school bus socks. I'll post photos / details about the Sailor Girls soon.

STRThe shop that I travelled the farthest to (with Mom) was Churchmouse Yarns & Tea, on Bainbridge Island. I enjoyed taking the ferry over, especially since we walked on and the shop is a short walk from the terminal. I wish that I'd spent more time looking around the shop, but the wall of STR was too mesmerizing for me to get away from--I was afraid that someone else would get the last hank of something I wanted, if only I could decide what I wanted! The shop's pattern was a tea cozy made from heavyweight STR, each hank should be enough for two. Mom and I each got a skein, we opted for one bright and one mild colorway--Fire on the Mountain and Barney Rubble. One of the samples was knit up in Barney Rubble and it looked great, but the Fire on the Mountain should look good too, I think.

While on Bainbridge, we stopped by Esther's, a great fabric store. I picked out some fabric for summer skirts, which I had hoped to work on this weekend. I did not work on them. I will probably not work on them next weekend, either, but maybe . . .

FFI also picked up a skein of lightweight STR in Fred Flintstone, which is going to make one bright-ass pair of socks. Before you ask, K_____ W______, your feet are too big for socks from one hank. You got a giant pirate hat, isn't that enough?? I love how mysterious and moody this yarn looks in the photo, by the way.

These are the only photos I have, so I'll just give a brief summary on the other shops that I visited:

The Knittery: very nice selection of yarns--this is my source for Dale of Norway, and is also pretty close to where I live. Reasonably priced, too! Their store pattern was a cute fingerless glove.

Fiber Gallery: Close to where I've been dogsitting, so I spent some time there not too long before the LYS tour. Source for the yarn/pattern of the Soft Serve hat. Tons of Brown Sheep, also Koigu, Opal, and Artyarns. Their store pattern was a very cute felted teddy bear. I didn't get the yarn for this one, but I may go back for it. The samples were great--one had a happy face and the other was a little grouchy or sad.

Seattle Yarn: Great store in West Seattle--lots of yarn, plus an excellent selection of buttons and bag handles and notions. Their store pattern was for a small entrelac bag made of some sort of Noro. I forgot to take a photo of the yarn that I bought, but I'm really looking forward to making this one. I've never done entrelac before, plus the yarn is really cool. It was nice to see a $10 one-skein project after the $25 - $30 skeins that I bought in other stores.

Hilltop Yarns West: I love Hilltop, but my blood sugar was critically low when I stopped in, so I ended up leaving without pattern or yarn. Booooo, me. I find that I like visiting Hilltop during the week instead of weekends, when it gets crowded. I've had more success when I've gone in looking for something fairly specific, too, so I should probably have just stayed away.

O.K., that's about as much as I have to say about the LYS tour--more, in fact, that I thought I had to say.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

This sock sure is going places . . .

This week I've worked on three different projects--the Chevron Scarf, the school bus socks, and the Bavarian Rockstar socks for Sockapalooza. This makes it feel like I'm not making a lot of progress on any of them, which isn't helped by my lack of car knitting. I'm dog and house sitting for a friend, and although my commute is longer in miles it's mostly highway and as a result there are virtually no long lights on the way--I've been lucky to get more than a 48-stitch row done in a day. Still, those little bits of knitting do add up, and I may finish the Chevron this weekend. In Sockapalooza news, here's the latest on the Bavarian Rockstar:

My creation

I took these photos on the ferry to Bainbridge Island this morning, Mom and I were headed to Churchmouse Yarns & Teas as part of the Western Washington LYS Tour (I'll write about that more tomorrow). On the right you can see some indication that we're on a boat, and on the left you can see the actual pattern and a better color representation. Good progress so far, I think, although I'm not 100% sure the four side cables are totally correct. It's a hard cable for me to visualize and the color variation hides the pattern (and hopefully any errors) a little. The biggest problem with knitting two socks at once is that ripping back involves two socks instead of one, or getting out of sync on the rows. I really think the socks look good so far, though--the center cable is pretty awesome. If at the end there are visible errors, there should still be time to knit another pair for my sock pal.

As I type this I'm watching the Mariners play San Diego. Can I just say that Adrian Beltre has an incredible arm? Seriously, that guy is good. Plus, he must have heard me typing nice things about him, because he just hit a home run over the bullpen.

p.s. Sock Pal, if you are reading this, please note that I will wash the socks thoroughly before sending them your way.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Gnomey Gnitting


I haven't made a lot of (or interesting) progress on any current knitting projects over the past several days, so I thought that today I'd feature an OLD piece of knitting that recently resurfaced. Back in December, I went to a cookie-baking party with my Prom Date T__ K___ and a friend from grade school, S____ P____. The green gnome above was a special guest star--I'd given him to T___ maybe 10 years ago, and he's been carrying him around over hill and dale since them, none the worse for wear. The gnome couldn't hold onto his hat, so T__ has requested a new one, which I will make, although I haven't yet.

The blue gnome surfaced in December when I was packing up my remaining belongings in Boston. This gnome never got a face, and looks a little thin next to ol' Greenie. I purchased the pattern / materials as a kit from a yarn store in the greater Ashland, OR area about a million years ago, and I think that the pattern at least will turn up again. I'm tempted to just give Greenie the blue hat, since it is the right size and is period-appropriate, having been knit within a couple of weeks of Greenie himself. However, I think that Greenie's new hat will probably be made of left over sock yarn, possibly in multiple colors or self-striped. And wouldn't a stripey gnome be cute? I could name him Mr. Stripey, in honor of the socks I started last summer but haven't yet finished.

Aaach! You Got Me!

I was tagged today by Missmalice:

Here are the rules:

"Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write in their blogs the 7 facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and to read your blog."

So the toughest part of this is to tag seven more people--anyone willing to be tagged, please leave a comment!!!

Here are my 7 random facts:
  1. I loooooooove pub team trivia
  2. I'm going camping over Memorial Day weekend for the first time since 1988, when I camped out for a Grateful Dead show in Eugene, OR. That last camping trip cured me of any desire to adopt the "hippie" lifestyle or wear patchouli. This time, I'm camping at the Sasquatch Festival.
  3. I selected my MBA program almost exclusively because it meant living in Vienna for 7 months.
  4. I like South Carolina and North Carolina BBQ better than Texas or Memphis BBQ.
  5. Right now I'm dogsitting / housesitting for a friend who has a black lab named Max. Ever since I've had Frieda and Gretel (the mini-dachshunds) he seems HUGE, even though he's totally normal sized.
  6. In high school I won a $1000 scholarship in a bowling tournament.
  7. My grad school internship was with Harry Barker. The people I worked with were great, and I loved having dogs around the office all day. Frieda and Gretel are currently destroying this toy, which I found in Harvard Square at Black Ink when I was there in March.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

And we danced!

Mother's Day at Safeco Field

O.K., I didn't dance, but the grounds crew sure did. I took mom to the Ms vs. Yankees game this afternoon for Mother's Day, where she was given a super giant Mariner's Mom shirt and had the satisfaction of seeing the Mariner's stick it to the Bronx bombers. Nothing says "Mother's Day" like booing A-Rod! The next game that we're hitting is Felix Hernandez bobblehead night--we try to maximize the baseball experience by going to all of the hot collectible nights. I think of it as my retirement plan, since Megamillions once again failed me this week.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Yarn with Pirattitude


Two skeins of sock yarn from Yarn Pirate arrived earlier this week, and I couldn't be happier with the colors. Above is Coho, and below is Coho with Sweet Magnolia. Although I don't want to start any new projects right now I had to wind up the Coho immediately so it's ready to go when I need it.


If my Bavarian Rockstar socks don't work out for Sockapalooza, I think that the Coho might be a good fit for my sockpal in a plainer pattern. Assuming that the Bavarian Rockstar socks do work out, Coho might be a good match for ME. ME! The yarn is 100% superwash merino--480 whopping yards! Maybe enough for some very long socks, maybe even knee-highs! May10Beez

Speaking of socks, and socks in progress, here's a shot of the schoolbus socks on the passenger seat of my car. Pretty good progress in a week, considering they've been knit exclusively in the car during my commute. I wanted to take a photo of them with a school bus (and I still might), but to photograph socks you need to be at even more of a complete stop than you do to knit them. I tried unsuccessfully to crop out the schmutz on the seat--it's time for some spring cleaning, I see!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

When are you bringing us treats?

They're bigger in Person

It's hard to believe how small Frieda and Gretel look when they are watching me leave the house. Those beady little eyes following me to the car . . . .

Two Toe Tuesday

Two Toes

Toe #2 has been added to the needles, and from here on out I'll be knitting two at once. Although Toe #1 looks a little misshapen above, that's just the way it's resting--I hope. I'd hate to rip it out, although I'll take another look at it when I'm not so glad just to be done with the short rows. I like the results, but I need to knit a toe like that all in one sitting which can be tough. Here's a close up of toe one (with the orange marker), showing the pattern:

Toe One

I don't like to choose favorites, but Toe One is my favorite so far. Toe One doesn't stay out late, or wake me up in the middle of the night, or cause any of the problems that I suspect Toe Two is cooking up.

Monday, May 07, 2007

24 Inches of Prime Chevron

Chevron Progress

The Chevron Scarf is growing quickly, and is posing here at the park next to my office. Places where I've worked on this include my favorite knitting chair, my car, E___ C_____'s house, and the dive-y bar I popped into last Friday to watch part of the Mariners game. The patrons of the bar, who may best be described as extremely regular patrons of that bar, were curious about the scarf but not unfamiliar with knitting and crochet. Odd experience, really, but funny, too. This weekend was devoted to the Sockapalooza socks, but I'll start working on the Chevron Scarf again once I have both toes on one set of needles. Or maybe I'll start working on it again right now.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Bavarian Rockstar Begins


I've got the yarn, I've settled (for now) on a pattern, and I have one toe. The Sundara yarn looks a little darker in these photos than in my last post, and is closer to the actual color, at least on my monitor. I've started the Bavarian Rockstar pattern, which I've decided upon based on it being toe-up and less ubiquitous than some of my other choices. I just realized that this also makes my sock wholly Pacific Northwest--the yarn and pattern are both local, though both were purchased online. I swatched yesterday with size US1 needles, but the gauge was too big so I've started this sock on Knitpicks size 0s. I'm pretty happy with the gauge / cable pattern, and my plan is to start sock #2 from the other end of the yarn cake and then knit both at the same time. When I knit two socks at once, the gauge tends to be more consistent, and that will likely be important since I'm not planning to race through this pair. Here's another view, with foot out:


Yes, I deliberately included my manicured toes. I love the brown polish, but it's really too cold to wear open toed shoes right now. The angle is a little better on this photo to see the center cable motif, which is flanked by stitch markers that I bought yesterday at the Renaissance Yarns anniversary sale. The color is very matchy-matchy with the yarn, and so far they are working well--no snagging, no flying off the needles into the mouths of dachshunds.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Choices, Choices

Now that I've more or less gotten over the bitterness of Sock Wars, I've taken on a new, non-competitive sock swap--Sockapalooza Four. There are 1,006 knitters signed up for this swap, and the socks are due to be mailed the day before my 20th high school reunion in August. Plenty of time to knit something nice for my Pal, and to knit it right. No hoping that gauge is close, or accepting that the socks are "just about" the same size!! I think that I will use the Sundara Yarn above for my pal's socks--it's Caribbean over Light Blue. The yarn depends a little on which pattern I choose, of course--I can't risk running out of yarn! I think that this yarn will look beautiful with a twisted stitch pattern, and I've wanted to try that technique for awhile. Right now, these are the patterns I'm leaning towards, and some photo examples--any help deciding would be greatly appreciated:

From Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road: Conwy or Canal du Midi (also lovely in green here). Both of these are really nice, and I keep wavering about which I like more. The Conwy is so orderly and tidy looking, while the Canal du Midi has more intricate stitches on the top and a plain back. My Pal has indicated that she prefers thinner socks, so less bulk on the back is probably better.

Another option is the Bavarian Rockstar. I'm not sure where I first saw this, but a completed pair is here. One big advantage to this pattern is that it is knit toe-up, so I can knit until I'm out of yarn. However, the pattern on the back of the leg seems a little bulky, although the chart doesn't look that way.

Option #4: Bavarian Twisted Stitch socks (on the Knitpicks site) from Cat Bordhi's Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles.

Option #5: Clessidra from Knitty--this is the least likely of the bunch, but I'm still sort of considering it, though it would require a lot more yarn. Plus, there could be additional fit issues, what with them being knee-highs. I'd have to ask for more measurements from my sock pal, and then somehow incorporate them into the knitting. Yikes!

If anyone has feedback about these options, or similar alternatives, please let me know. The Canal du Midi is the front-runner, but I do waver when I look at the other options!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Come on Aboard, I Promise You it Won't Hurt the Horse

Yes, I've jumped on the Chevron Scarf bandwagon. I picked up a some Lorna's Laces over the weekend for my April/May Project Spectrum knitting, one skein of Envy and one of Tickled Pink in the sport weight. I'll try to get a daytime, outdoor photo of this, it looks a little dull in the photo below:

Preppy Chevron

It's pretty quick knitting, I've knit about 18 inches in six days without a lot of dedication. I knit while I got a pedicure (featured polish: Can You Dig It? by SpaRitual), and a little at home. I tried to knit it in the car, but I kept making mistakes on the pattern row--it's a very portable project, but it does require a little attention. The pattern is from Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

There are a lot of gorgeous Chevrons out there, many that are more interesting than mine. Don't get me wrong, I do like this yarn in this pattern, and it's nice to put down the tiny needles for a little bit. But I recommend checking out the Flickr group, the range of colors is amazing. Or just Google it--you've heard of the Google, right?

That Pencil Smell Reminds Me of School

And my new knit in the car project reminds me of school buses:


This is one of the two projects I started last week in a rash of start-itis. I needed something to knit in the car while stuck in the commute (it staves off the road rage, to a certain degree) and I didn't have my Sockapalooza pal's info or my STR Grasshopper kit yet. These are basic, cuff down stockinette socks, knit in Lorna's Laces Bee Stripe Shepherd's Sock. I bought this yarn at Renaissance Yarns last summer (I think), the colors are great.

The two socks on magic loop works really well for the car because the socks are sure to have the same number of rows (i.e. no keeping track of anything) and the needles won't just slide out at random like slick dpns--they're either in use or the stitches can be moved back onto the cable. Very important for the quick drop when the light turns green. I also workd on these at Safeco Field last Friday, when I had to get to the park extra early for Ichiro Bobblehead night. These socks don't take a lot of attention (though I suppose they will when I get to the heel), so they go well with batting practice. I can't knit during the game itself, it interferes with the drinking and watching closely. Not coincidentally, the drinking can interefere with the watching closely, too--I tend to stick to a one (giant) beer limit.

p.s. I'm not sure what's up with using song lyrics as titles lately, but I can guarantee that it isn't going to stop. Two alternate titles for this post were "My name is Cheech and I am a School Bus Driver" and "Can I Buy Your Magic Bus?"