Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bumbershoot 2008, Day 2: How to Avoid All Lines

Bumbershoot 2008, Day 2

After a rainy morning and a day playing catchup, I only made it to Bumbershoot to see Jakob Dylan this evening. Totally worth the trip, and I managed to squeeze in a quick look at Flatstock. I found a poster (center row, far right) that I really liked, but by the time I went to the ATM and came back it wasn't on the wall and things were being packed up. I'll check again for it tomorrow, and I see that I can order it online. Other than Jakob Dylan's set, the highlight was meat on a stick (delicious BBQ pork), and not standing in any lines. Tomorrow I'm hoping to be there the whole day, so there probably will be some lines, and I'll try not to complain as much as I did yesterday.

Bumbershoot 2008, Day 1: How to Wait In Line for Everything

Bumbershoot 2008, Day 1
Clockwise from upper left: Band of Horses, Space Needle, Tim Finn, Beck

Best things I saw today: Tim Finn, and Beck. I'm not sure if I've ever seen Tim Finn solo before, but his set was great and at a small-ish stage so it was easy to get pretty close. I really prefer this type of immediate experience to the really large crowd type shows, although they both have advantages at times. I haven't seen Beck in more than 10 years (wow, that's alarming)--he played at South by Southwest after Mellow Gold came out, and I saw him in a tiny room there, but haven't seen him since. The crowd at the mainstage was huge, festive and not too pushy, and the sound was great. I was about one long line away from calling it a day before his set started, and I'm glad that I didn't.

Speaking of lines, there has got to be a better way to handle the crowds at Bumbershoot--it was totally ridiculous. Here are the things I waited in very long lines for yesterday:
1. Getting in the doors - 45 minutes
2. Getting in the beer garden - 20 minutes
3. Getting a beer - 15 minutes
4. Getting into the Mainstage - 15 minutes
5. Getting back into the Mainstage later - 10 minutes

I was only inside the gates for about five hours total, so that's a lot of waiting in line. I arrived early so that I could get in the gates, pick up a mainstage pass, and then leave to do other things, but by the time I made it through the gates, the mainstage pass line was at least an hour long. Today, I'm not planning to get there early, and it's rainy, so I hope to face fewer lines. Maybe next year I should save up for one of those fancy passes that would let me skip the line--I might be reaching that age where it's more than worth it!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Slowly Twisting in the Wind

Cables, Baby!

I was out of town on a work trip for a few days this week, and although I should have my whole 3 day Bumbershoot weekend mapped out, I'm a little too wiped out to be in full rock festival mode. There are a few loose ends from the week to wrap up, and all of my clothes are dirty, and the weather is more like October than August today. Instead of handling the laundry or powering through the work last night, I started a Baby Yours sweater. The yarn and pattern arrived while I was out of town, and although I wish that I hadn't switched colors at the last minute (I had originally decided to make a red sweater), I like the way this is coming together. The blue of the Nyame is a little yellower and paler than I expected, but it's certainly baby-appropriate. It doesn't really look like the color that the sample is knitted in (although it is), but that could be light related. I'm knitting the 6 month size, which should only take up one skein. I probably won't carry this project with me, but it should still be a fairly quick knit.

Time to start on my list of things to get done before I go into the city--I'm sure that once I'm eating meat on a stick at Seattle Center, I'll be much less lethargic.


Slowly Twisting in the Wind: "Twisting" by They Might Be Giants. Whole quote: "She wants to see you again, she wants to see you again . . . slowly twisting, in the wind". Other fav lyrics from that song: "She doesn't have to have her Young Fresh Fellows tape back now. There's not a lot of things that she'll take back".

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Two Toe Tuesday: Gretel Demands Equal Screentime

Tomato Maelstrom

The first thing I did after monogomously finishing the Olympic Orange Oolongs? Work on almost every sock WIP that I had within reach. I worked on the Summer Sky Socks, which are meant to be finished this week (maybe they'll be anklets?), and on the M's socks. Last but not least, I finished the first of the Tomato Maelstrom socks that I started just before the Ravelympics kick off. Yes, I know that only makes one toe. I may start the second right away, I really like the way this one turned out and it was relatively fast to knit. The yarn is Sundara Sock in Heirloom Tomato, and the pattern is Maelstrom by Cookie A, from the Twist Collective. What more can I say? Love this pattern!

p.s. This is really an unflattering angle for Gretel (and me, really), which isn't fair because she has lost a whole pound in the last month or so. She could still stand to lose another pound or two, but she's not as fat as she looks here.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Stayed Up All Night, But They Got it Finished Just in Time

Felted Bag

All night? O.K., that's a stretch, it was more like 10:30pm, after which I stayed up for at least another hour or so. This was my WIP wrestling project for the Ravelympics, and I'm really glad that it's finished. I first (and last?) posted about this in my first blog post, which I wrote shortly after finishing the felting. That was over two years ago--this bag only needed a lining and handles, but I've sucessfully avoided it since then. The pattern is the Noni Carpet Bag (rav link) by Nora Bellows, and the yarn is Cascade 220.

I bought the handles is maybe March 2007, but wasn't able to locate them over the last couple of weeks. I finally decided yesterday that I would check Renaissance Yarns for another set of handles, and if they didn't have them I'd forget about finishing these before the closing ceremonies. Luckily, I found handles exactly like those I lost. All along, my plan has been to put together a photo tutorial on creating the lining. However, since I didn't really get started on this until maybe 7pm last night, I didn't take the time to photograph all the steps. I think that in the last couple of years, the void of "how to line a bag" has been more than adequately filled, so I don't necessarily have anything valuable to add in any case. Here's an outline of what I did for the lining, sans photos, in case I ever make another felted bag (and I really want another one, now that this one is done):
  • draw a schematic of the bag pieces. In my case, there are five main pieces: bottom, 2 sides, front, and back. Add some seam allowance.
  • cut a rectangle of plastic needlework canvas that will fit into the bottom of the bag, and baste it into place. Use thread that matches the bag, or don't baste all the way through.
  • Take a piece of fabric that is big enough to use for your lining pieces, and iron on heavy-duty stabilizer to the back of it. I used a craft stabilizer, but not one of the super thick or extra super heavy kinds.
  • Decide what you want for pockets, and attach them to the front and/or back. You could put a little pocket on the side lining, but I didn't do this. Make sure that the pockets are lined and sturdy enough to hold things.
  • Sew the front, sides, and back into a rectangle, stopping about a 1/2 inch above the bottom of the bag on each seam. See if it fits into the bag. Mine was a little too big, so I increased the seam allowances on all four seams, and rotary cut some of the top off. Inexact? Yes. not really a problem, though, because the pockets were low enough.
  • One the "box" fits into the bag, attach the bottom. The 1/2 of each seam that I left open make this a lot easier, but I can't really explain it without a photo.
  • turn the top edge under to a height that makes sense for the bag, and iron it well.
  • Attach the handles to the bag with fabric loops, making sure that it's all even-steven. I used the sewing machine to attach them, because I want them to stay attached.
  • This is the very worst part--hand sew the lining into the bag. I know that my sewing machine could handle sewing this thick bag to the lining, but I don't think that I have the skills to make it look good, and the idea of ripping out the stitches was too much to tempt me.

I originally knit a giant red flower that will not match the lining, so I may eventually make another flower. If I really plan to use this, though, the flower might be a little over the top for my normal routine, so I'm fine leaving the bag relatively unembellished. The lining is from a collection of fabric that my friend N___'s mother was getting rid of, I think that it's perfect for this!

Done! Now I'm just waiting for my Ravelympics medal!


Stayed Up All Night, But They Got it Finished Just in Time: "I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock & Roll)" (this is a recent version) by Nick Lowe.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Drop Me in the Water

Frieda Drinks

There's been a lot of Knitting, Rock Shows, and Baseball on this blog this summer, but not nearly enough Miniature Dachshund. Here's Frieda enjoying a drink at the off-leash dog park this morning. Gretel won't drink out of the faucet, but she does like to keep a close eye on things.

Drop Me in the Water: "Take Me to the River" by the Rev. Al Green and Teenie Hodges (but I really know the Talking Heads version better).

Thursday, August 21, 2008

For Once, Devotion Is Enough

Finished Oolongs!

It's hard for me to believe that if I work on ONLY one project, I can finish a pair of cabley, lacey socks in two weeks. But evidently, I can. The toes are grafted, the ends are woven in, I had about 7 inches of yarn left on the second sock. Towards the end, I thought that I'd have to break into the 0 grams I had left from the first sock, but it didn't come to that.

I really like this pattern, I really like this yarn, and I'll probably post more finished photos (too dark to shoot outside) even though I've already got maybe 50 photos of these socks at various stages.

Here are the stats:
Pattern: Oolong by Mona Schmidt from the Twist Collective
Yarn: Filatura Di Crosa Principessa, which is now discontinued (per Ravelry), 330 yds (with only the tiniest bit of yarn leftover.
Needles: Knitpicks fixed Options circular, 2.25mm.

Post Titles
Almost all of my post titles come from song lyrics, and it was suggested to me by my Boston friends that citing sources might be a good idea, so I'll give that a try for awhile, semi-footnote style, until I get tired of it. I hope that's cool with you.

For Once, Devotion is Enough: Richard Buckner, "Ed's Song", from the album Devotion + Doubt, 1997.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I'm Halfway to Crazy

Oolong 1

Sock #1 is done! It fits well, and I didn't have to shave any length off of the toe or stripe it or anything. But it was close--see the image at the bottom of the post, where the kitchen scale indicates that I have ZERO grams of yarn left! I'm all for using up the yarn I have, but I hate to cut it this close. I'm excited about wearing these with my clogs, this sock feels really good and not too bulky. I will not be wearing them them sandals, but they do look kind of cool, for a photo at least. This will probably be the last photo I need to take until the PAIR is finished, although what will I blog about in the meantime? Maybe my WIP-wrestling project, the long unfinished Noni bag--though it's really too hot to be in the hot sewing room today.

It's much too hot for me to sit in front of this computer any longer, I'd be better off knitting, maybe in an air-conditioned coffeeshop. I'm a total heat wimp these days, and having Frieda and Gretel all over me (mostly Gretel) compounds the problem. Good thing that it's supposed to cool down a little tomorrow, and more on Monday.

Oolong Montage

Friday, August 15, 2008

It's Getting Better All The Time

Ravelympics: Day 8

Oolong, 8/15/2008

It's been awhile since I posted a photo of the Olympic Orange Oolong socks, so here's an update! Of course, it's only been a few days, but in that time I finished the leg, knit the heel flap and turned the corner, and am getting tantilizingly close to the toe. I had hoped to be done with sock #1 by today, but the last couple of days in Mass were spent behind the wheel or rocking out, neither of which is compatable with turning a heel. I had a little counting problem with the heel turn, and my first attempt ended up very off-center. I'm not sure if it's because I mis-counted and made a wider or narrower heel flap, or what, but it was an easy enough adjustment and the heel feels good on my foot.

If I knit these again, I may make the leg a repeat or two longer, although I don't think that would work with the Principessa yarn--the yardage is very close to what is called for, and I'm still slightly concerned that I'll run out at the toe. I have about 10g left, or 20% of the skein, so hopefully it won't be an issue. I've got a few ideas about what to do if I run out, since I can't get more of this discontinued, purchased-in-Venice yarn. Contrast color toes, or striped toes, or something along those lines--or the more drastic path of making shorter socks for someone else. There are no good alternatives.

This past week I have only worked on this sock, and although I really like the sock and the pattern my fingers are itching a little to move onto something else, possibly because I'm tired of all the orange photos I've been posting. I've ordered the pattern and yarn for the Baby Yours sweater (because I don't already have enough patterns/yarn to deal with), and it may be tough to hold off if I get it before these socks are done. I'm planning to use Socks That Rock Medium weight in Brick, although I love the original blue as well. Hmm . . . maybe I should think less about knitting, and knit more--maybe that would work?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wherever You Go, Wherever You Land

Wilco @ Tanglewood 8/12/2008

clockwise from top left: Tanglewood is pretty, Wilco Rocks, Annie Monkey also loves Wilco, Wilco Rocks Some More

Ah, to be back in Boston, for more than 48 hours. I probably did as much in 5 days as I normally do in a weekend trip, but with much more sleep thrown in. Not very productive, but I'm not as wiped out as I would be otherwise, so that's great.

The Wilco show at Tanglewood was the big event, and it was a completely different kind of show than the Fairbanks show I went to last month. In Fairbanks, the vibe was very laid back, and the venue and crowd were relatively small, so it was easy to get close to the stage and/or move around. Plus, it was still light out when the show ended--that was unusual for me. At Tanglewood, the vibe was much more energetic, much more rock, with a full horn section and glittery, Nudie-suit type outfits. Our seats were pretty far away from the stage, though the view was still o.k.--the Boston Symphony Orchestra performs at Tanglewood all summer, so the layout is meant for a seated audience and there isn't enough slope to provide great views to the back. The place was also p-a-c-k-e-d. I loved it! Loved it! (I would have loved it more if they had played my request for Blue Eyed Soul / Too Far Apart, but not much more).

Other highlights:

  • A trip to Tanglewoods meant that we drove close enough to Northampton for a side trip to Webs. I picked up some yarn--are you surprised? There was a lot of yarn there, in a lot of colors. I wish that I had been more prepared to shop, but then again, I still probably picked up more than I needed.
  • The All Star Sandwich Bar. Seriously, if you are in the greater Cambridge / Inman Square area, you must eat there. And you must order a side dish of sweet pickles, and you really should also have an order of devilled eggs. 99 cents for three egg halves!
  • Miracle of Science is also delicious, if you are closer to Central Square.
  • Emma's pizza is also delicious, and I've almost forgiven them for not smoking their own chicken anymore.
  • I highly recommend hanging out with my friends, particularly if an evening of trivia (or cancelled-due-to-electrical-outage-trivia) is part of your plans. But if I revealed their true whereabouts, they wouldn't have time for me when I come to visit, so you'll just have to ferret them out on your own. Bars are a good place to start looking.
  • Mamma Mia is a really fun movie. There, A___, I said it! Fun!

I did some more knitting too, on the Orange Oolongs, and will post photos tomorrow or over the weekend--got to get back to them now!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Orange Olympic Oolongs: Day Four


This pattern is really cool. This yarn is really cool (why is it discontinued??). Progress is being made, the first heel flap is within sight. But it's really hard to photograph that orange--it's so bright that it glows on the camera screen, and is only slightly less oversaturated on the computer. I've taken some iPhone photos that are a little less glowing, but color still overshadows the really cool lacey cabley pattern--the black & white photo above shows off the pattern better.

The safety pin is what I was using as a cable needle, since I forgot to pack one on Friday and didn't realize it until I was at Safeco Field. I've also used a paperclip and a plastic darning needle to cable, and of these three the darning needle is by far the best. I visited Woolcott & Co. yesterday, and picked up an actual cable needle, but haven't used it yet. I suspect that the darning needle may still be the best option.

Today, my friends are working and it's cool and rainy here in Somerville, so I'm doing a little work myself and hope to get some serious knitting in later. Or napping. Less work, more nap?

Friday, August 08, 2008

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Buy Me Some Peanuts and Cracker Jack

Stitch N Pitch!

This is the third time I've gone to Stitch N Pitch at Safeco Field, but this is the first time that the baseball was worth watching. I have to admit that I missed a lot of it, distracted by all of the yarn, but I saw all three runs that scored, including Raul's walk off home run. This is the second really great M's performance that I've seen in person this week, which makes me a little afraid for the game I'm going to tomorrow. We sat on the third base side for part of the game, and then switched over to the first base side, where the Renton and Auburn stitchers were based. It took us a long time to make the move though, because of the 15 or 20 booths we had to take a last look at in between. It was a lot of fun, and it's the first time that I've known a lot of people at one of these games, so that was a treat.

In between shopping and chatting and cheering, I finished the foot chart for the Tomato Maelstrom. I've made a small error and may need to rip back a few rows if I can't ladder down and fix it, but it shouldn't be too traumatizing. Here's how close I am to the toe (ignore poor photography skills, please):


C______ offered to take a better photo, but I am sorely in need of a pedicure so I prefer the cut off foot look. Once I fix the error, I have another inch or so to knit in plain rib before starting the toe. After finishing the gusset decreases, I did switch to using size 0 on the bottom of the foot (2 circs at once method). The foot is nice and snug as a result, so I think that it was a good choice.

I'm still totally in love with this pattern, but tomorrow I must set it aside to start the Olympic Orange Oolongs. I ripped out my swatch tonight so that I can start fresh tomorrow--though probably not at 5:08am, the offical start time in my time zone. I'm off to Boston tomorrow night for about five days, and I'm hoping that I'll get a good start on these while I'm travelling. I'll check in when I can--I'm probably taking a real laptop on this trip!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

And I Won't Get Any Older Now the Angels Want to Wear My Red Shoes

Maestrom In Progress

I'm about halfway through the right leg of the Maelstrom socks that I started late last night, and I really like the way they are coming along. The gauge feels and looks good, even though it's a little less "firm" than I prefer for socks. I'm using a larger needle than the zeroes that I use for most socks, because the pattern starts with 65 stitches, and I'm not looking for a repeat of the Froot Loop issue (great firm fabric, too small for me).

The pattern itself is really interesting, and in some ways it reminds me of the Monkey pattern even though it looks very different. This stitch pattern has a lot of torque--the decreases are all on the right side (for the right foot) of the pattern, and the increases are all on the left side, so there's a very noticable twist. Usually when I knit socks I use the cast on tail as my "beginning of round" indicator, but there's so much twist that I'm now starting each round about halfway around the circle from the tail. I've been using a split-ring marker in the fabric to mark the beginning instead, and moving it every few rounds, so that I don't just blow right past it.

I love the way the foot pattern flows out of the ribbing. Love. It. I love working with the Sundara Sock yarn. Love. It.

The Monkey, as you may know from knitting it (you've all knit it, right?) has no twist at all--the Vs are very vertical. Maelstrom also uses V shapes for the increases and decreases, and it feels like a mixed up, spiraling Monkey. It also makes me feel like Cookie A. is a genius, which I guess I already kind of knew. Other ways this pattern reminds me of the Monkey:
  • while knitting it, I keep thinking "why not do another repeat right now?" I really hope that this isn't what I'm thinking all day on Monday, while I'm at my normal job.
  • for a complicated pattern (13 or 14 stitches wide x six rows) it's pretty easy to remember without relying heavily on the chart. This came in handy today at Safeco Field, when I snuck in a couple of repeats before the game and between innings.
  • it's one good looking sock. Different than Monkey, but very good looking.

The sock gets less Monkey-like as it goes along, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops. There are currently 4 pair started on Ravelry, the other two with photos are much further along than mine and they look great. I really want to get to the foot--and not just because it will mask my incredibly pasty ankles during future photo shoots.

I encourage you all to start a pair immediately, although those of you who don't knit (I'm looking at you, S____ McA____ and A__ M_______) might want something slightly more basic to start with.

Can't Sleep . . . Socks'll Eat Me

Another Sock

Same photo, different sock. I couldn't resist starting a new project, but I still want to save the Oolongs for the Olympics. You know, because Olympic Orange Oolongs is a catchy name. Above is the start of the right Maelstrom sock, knit in Heirloom Tomato Sundara sock. You may remember this yarn from my failed Bayerische socks, I like it better with this pattern so far. The Maelstrom pattern is more about motion than about small details or individual stitches, so I think that the variation in the yarn will not interfere with the overall look, the way it did with the Bayerische socks. I've finished the ribbing, the set up rows, and one repeat of the pattern. Can I go to sleep now, please?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

I've Got My Spine I've Got My Orange Crush

Oolong Sock Swatch

Have you seen the Twist Collective? Man, are there a lot of patterns I'd like to make. First up will be Oolong socks by Mona Schmidt, which I will be knitting for the Sock Put event in the Ravelympics. The Ravelympics that I had no intention of joining until I saw this pattern, and needed an excuse to start them. I'm using the orange Principessa yarn that I bought in Venice in May, it is exactly as electric as it appears in the photo above. Since I can't cast on until next Friday, and I was unsure about the weight of this yarn compared to the pattern yarn (I've not knit with either before), I knit up a gauge swatch last night & earlier today. I like it--the gauge is fine, the texture is good, the pattern is visible. This yarn is sproingy!

Let the record show that I am not currently planning to wake up early to cast on at the official 5am start time, but I will be taking the bus to work that day so I may cast on in the morning.

Knitting a pair of socks in 17 days is stretch for me, but I'll be on vacation for part of that time so I'll try to make a good run of it. The cuffs are not exceptionally long on these socks, and I suppose that I can shorten them by one repeat once I get going. That would help on another front as well--I'm a little worried about running out of yarn, since I might need a slightly longer foot. If I can hold off on signing up for any additional events (WIP wrestling is probably what I should be doing), I'll come a lot closer to finishing.