Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sunlight on the Lino Woke Me With A Shake

Yes, I was holding a piece of kibble.

Over the past several months, I've been working a little at a time on some dishcloths. I'm using basic kitchen cotton from cheap craft stores, the cool Linoleum Dishcloth pattern (Rav Link), and just going a little at a time on them. It's a nice, nubby pattern, and if I could bear to clean dishes with these cloths, they'd do a really good job. The pattern is a two color slip stitch pattern, so it's very thick, and I expect it will be durable. It's likely that these are destined to be housewarming / hostess gifts, or they'll just pile up until I run out of cotton (sometime in 2010). I'm currently knitting one in red, white, & blue for the 4th of July, maybe Halloween next? Or should I skip right over to Christmas?

Here are some outtakes from the photo above, which basically mean that I need to wash these before I give them away. My favorite is Frieda jumping and licking her lips, too fast to be captured in pixels:

June 29, 2009

Maybe instead of washing, I should just give fair warning that they've had close contact with both dachshund and patio--I'd hate for them to look "used" before they are even out of the house!

Sunlight on the Lino Woke Me With A Shake: Squeeze, "Goodbye Girl"

Sunday, June 28, 2009

When We're Not Sure We're Not Alone

Wilco @ The Greek Theater

Whenever I plan to post about a concert, I have the best intentions of infusing my post with the pure rock emotion of the actual show, and I fail every time. I'm not a poetic, lyrical writer, as much as I'd like to be, which makes it difficult. I'm a boiler-down of ideas, if not a master-summarizer, with a small side order of humor and self-reflection. A very small side order. Any attempts to stray from my writing style reeks of smarmy-ness, which isn't really an issue if I'm writing about knitting, or dachshunds, or baseball, but I worry that it flattens out the rock show experience into Wesley-Willis-style reviews. You know, "I went to the rock show. There were about 100 people at the show. The rock show was awesome, it whooped the camel's ass" (for those of you unfamiliar with Wesley Willis, this is as close to a direct song quote as I can get without digging out a cd). Plus, while I take a lot of (semi-focused, point and shoot) photos, I don't write down anything during shows, so while I remember many of the hideously 80's inspired clothes that todays youth were unfortunately wearing, I can't faithfully recreate a set list--basically, I'm short on useful details, and long on tangents.

Anyway, that's a lot of space to apologize in advance if I undersell the Wilco show I saw last night at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, because it was truly a great show. Possibly the best Wilco show I've ever seen, with perfect sound, an incredible venue, and incredible energy. Note that I say this even though I tripped and badly turned my ankle almost immediately after getting out of my car, which made standing on concrete (and getting jostled by stoned hipsters) for hours physically uncomfortable. And if you are my brother K____ and reading this, I turned my ankle before having a single, 12-oz Heineken, so no smart comments.

Wilco's new album is coming out on Tuesday (currently streaming live here), and they mixed in the new songs with the old, which is always a plus--I hate to go to a show and hear one or two old songs, then an entire new album that I haven't heard yet, a couple of other old songs, and then one big hit as an encore. Stylistically, maybe it makes sense, but as a live-music consumer (ugh, what an awful term), I don't like it--it's too compartmentalized. Anyway, Wilco's set was really well balanced, if a little light on songs from their first album. I think that every album was represented in the set list, but I don't always remember which songs are on which albums so I can't say for sure. They didn't play my all-time favorite two-song Wilco combo (Blue Eyed Soul and Too Far Apart from A.M.), but maybe next time? Pretty please? You want song highlights, and not just the two songs that I wished I'd heard? I loved "You Are My Face", and "Hate It Here", and "Spiders (Kidsmoke)" is a really great live song. And I could go on and on.

Now a little something for the knitting-only readers: Since I was travelling by myself and am unfamiliar with the Berkeley area, I arrived over an hour before the doors opened, so I had a long wait & was glad that I brought some knitting. Then it was another long wait before Okkervil River (who were also really good--must get one of their albums immediately) went on. I had a nice shady spot in line and in the theater, and I managed to finish the gusset and turn the heel of the first SS09 sock, as documented in the iPhone photo below. I'm a little afraid to pick it up today, in case I made any mistakes. Also, although the photo is very fuzzy, there was a sock monkey onstage. A semi-goth, charcoal/black striped sock monkey.

Wilco sock related

O.K, this post is taking way too long, and it's time to ice my ankle again. Comment away, if you want more details about the show, the sock, the sock monkey, or the ankle.

"When We're Not Sure We're Not Alone": Wilco, "You Are My Face"

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Taking This Show on the Road


I guess it would be more accurate to say that I'm taking to the road for a show, since I flew to Northern CA this morning to catch a Wilco show in Berkeley tonight. If you're interested in the show, it's going to be streamed live on the Wilco website. I knit quite a bit of Cabana Boy socks on the flight down, more than I expected. Gotta love sport-weight yarn! I also have the SS09 socks with me in case I get bored--as well as a plan to visit some local yarn stores this afternoon. I'm having the typical quick trip dilemma, though--run myself ragged now and regret it when I'm driving back to the hotel after the show, or take a delicious, sweet nap. The nap is currently winning that argument.

If the formatting of this post looks stranger than usual, it's because I'm using a new tool. It's a Dell mini laptop, and I'm still getting used to the touchpad. It's a LOT more convenient than taking a big laptop, and is more powerful and solid feeling than the eee tiny laptop that I took with me to Europe last year. The jury is still out on whether I can learn to stop dragging my fingers on the touchpad, though!

I brought more things with me than I think I'll need, but here's what I've realized I forgot, so far: a brush. I'm hoping keeping track will help me on the next trip . . .Align Center

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Two Toe Tuesday: I Told You I Was Starting Something New


After blogging about the Bee Fields shawl last week, I immediately started a new pair of socks, and in only a week, the first sock is done (it's on the right, obviously). It's Yarntini sportweight, in the Cabana Boy color from her semi-solid summer sock club. I love this yarn--it's really squishy, it's incredibly bright, and since it's sport-weight it knit up quickly. I love the second yarn in the club also, and I'm looking forward to the third yarn, which should be in the mail soon. The pattern is Cotty (Rav Link), but I made one small "modification". "Modification" is in quotes because really I just misread the pattern, and instead of working three plain knit rows in between each lacy row, I only knit one plain row. The result is a lacier pattern, and I liked it so I just kept going. I've cast on for sock #2, and am expecting it to be a quick knit as well, though probably not quite so quick.

Then there's that other sock--it's the sock shown in the Sock Summit logo, the pattern came out over the weekend. I'm using some STR lightweight from the 2007 (?) Rockin' Sock Club, and some blackish Claudia Handpainted that's been in the stash for awhile. I'm not totally sure I love this color combination, and have seriously been thinking about ripping it out and using another yarn, but that may just be because I wish that I'd used a true solid black instead of the handpainted grey/black (it's Claudia handpainted). I also wish I'd just used a blue and black, so that the sock would exactly match the Gothsocks that the pattern resembles so far. But a bright green and black would also look really cool. The pattern itself is great, and I'm learning how to knit jogless stripes (via Techknitter). I do wish that the pattern wasn't six full color pages, it seems a little wasteful--I ended up skipping the first and last page, but it's still a lot of paper and ink! Anyway, I am still thinking about how to proceed, so in the meantime maybe I'll get back to the second Cabana Boy. Or maybe I'll just rip it out. What to do????

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I Got a Lion (on) My Pocket, and Baby He's Ready to Roar


Lion, Kitten, same diff, right? I'm making some sock project bags (similar to the small bag pictured here) for Liberty's booth at Sock Summit, and these are the pockets. I've been sewing them a little at a time, assembly line style, which is not normal for me but is probably a good exercise. You may have already noticed that I wander a little when I'm crafting, without much focus or a plan, but that's not an approach that will work here. First I cut out the main fabric and zig-zagged all of the edges, then I cut strips for the handles and pockets, and now I'm sewing the pockets. I'm trying to be more focused primarily so that there won't be big size or quality variances from one bag to the next.

I'm shooting to have 20-ish bags, which seems reasonable to finish. I'm not sure how they'll sell (I'm a little concerned about how to price them), but it all feels pretty low-risk given that most of the materials have come out of my sewing room. A friend suggested that I put together a pattern and sell it, which I'm considering--there is a lot of overlap between sewers and knitters, but this is a pretty simple bag to make without a pattern, so I'm not sure if it's worth doing. I may also make some simple drawstring bags (maybe even one with another kitten on it), if there's time or if I can engage the services of a certain retiree who I live with who has far better skills and more free time than I do.

In Sock Summit class news, I have ended up with two classes, and I'm very excited about both of them. One is a sock design class with Anne Hanson, and the other is "Respectfully Breaking the Rules" with Yarnissima. Both of these classes were first-tier on my list, and I expect to learn a lot, so I know that I'm luckier than many people who didn't get into their first (or any) choices. I'm still disappointed that I didn't get more classes, and that E_____ and I each have different full day classes on different days. I feel like I'm not getting full vacation value out of taking three days off work and paying for four nights of hotel, and now it's really too late for me to plan a real (week+) vacation time before work gets crazy in mid-August. Live and learn--eggs, basket, chickens, hatch.

Monday, June 15, 2009

18 months, 5.3% more done (but it sure is pretty)

Bee Fields

A point was made to me recently that I have a lot of half-finished knitting projects. A L-O-T of them. I think that I have more projects in the "hibernation" state on Ravelry than I have even in the sidebar. And I'm not totally pleased with the last several projects I've started--the blue seasilk scarf is likely to be ripped out, the third Barnraising square is as good as gone, and I'm no longer sure that I like the way Smooshy is knitting up on the Kiila greens. For once, starting something new doesn't seem like the answer (though I might cast something new on this evening, just for kicks).

I did really enjoy knitting the Ishbel, though, so I've been revisiting my (extensive) stock of hibernating lace projects, most notably the Bee Fields Shawl. I started this project in July of 2007, worked on it fairly regularly for six months, and then put it down. I'd like to pretend that it sat because it was winter (and this is clearly a summery color), or because I had to get my Christmas knitting done, but the real problem is the pitfall of the triangle shawl--the ever-lengthening rows. There are three main sections to the shawl (the wonderful pattern is by Anne Hanson), and when I got to the third section I really thought that I was in the home stretch, and I was really excited. Then I used a shawl calculator on Jessica's blog to estimate how much I had left to go, and realized that I wasn't even 60% done. It was totally deflating, and I'm still not quite over it, but it felt like time to take up the Bee again. This past weekend I worked on it a fair amount (but not exclusively), and am back in the swing of the pattern again, more or less. Six rows, 5.3% more done, and I doubled the section three bees. I'm planning to keep this in the rotation for the time being, but even if it slips back off the list, at least I've got that 5.3%.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

World Wide Knit in Public Day!!

June 13, 2009

Yes, my non-knitting friends, there is such a thing as World Wide Knit in Public Day. And today was that day! Renaissance Yarns set up a knitting area outdoors at Kent Station, and the weather was great. Mom and I took Frieda and Gretel to the dog park before heading to Kent so that they would behave, and they did pretty well. There was some barking, some licking and jumping on people, but as you can tell from Frieda's glassy eyed expression above, they did eventually settle down. This is the first time I've been to a local WWKIP day, because I've either been travelling or at a certain young lady's birthday party, and it was a lot of fun. Next time, I'll have to remember to bring a sun hat (and maybe only one dog, or none), and to bring just one easy project because that's all I can pay attention to! I started out working on a project with a chart, but after less than a row it became clear that that was asking for it, and my trusty stockinette Gothsock came out. I made some progress, but not so much that I have to worry about the heel yet (soon, I hope).

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Killing the Blues

Blue Knitting - June 2009

Sometimes I get in the mood to start things (see blue lace above). Sometimes I get in the mood to finish things (see Cables, Baby! sweater). Sometimes, this all happens in the space of a few days--the scarf made a trip to the Mariner's game last Friday, and I finally finished the weaving in and button sewing on the sweater (which I started, no joke, last August).

Overall, I'm pleased with how the baby sweater came out. It was a giant pain to sew up, and the color of the yarn wasn't quite what I expected when I ordered it, but I really like the cable pattern and the off-centered buttons. Assuming that it fits the baby I'm giving it to (who is obviously not the baby I started this for a year ago), it will look really cute. The pattern is Baby Yours (Rav Link) by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, and the yarn is Socks That Rock mediumweight in the Nyame colorway. I knit the 6-month size, and have a little bit of yarn leftover from a single skein. Not so much that I feel like I've wasted anything, but not so little that I panicked while knitting.

On to the next blue item, one which may not be long for this world. It's the Lace Ribbon Scarf by Veronik Avery, in blue Handmaiden Seasilk. I've had the Seasilk in my stash for a really long time (at least 3 years), and I really like some of the scarves I've seen knit from this pattern (there are 3,600 on Ravelry), so I thought it would be a good match. After knitting about five inches, I'm not so sure. In the original version, the diagonal zig zag lines are very strong. I think that the key is the double yarnovers, which are flanked by single yarnovers on the outside edge of the lines. In the original, the single yarnovers are not very noticable, but in seasilk the drape of the yarn makes the singles look almost as big as the doubles. This assumes, of course, that I'm knitting things right. Here's a close-up version that may show better what the problem is:


See? You can't really tell which YOs are wrapped once, and which are wrapped twice, and the zig zags are all jagged-y as a result. I'm taking this to knit night this week for further opinions / dissections. I may be making a mountain out of a molehill, but I'd hate to waste such beautiful yarn on a pattern that I'm not loving. And I'd love to knit this pattern out of something that will really show it off--it's super easy to memorize, but not so easy as to be totally dull (in the first five inches).

Sunday, June 07, 2009

And It's a Pink Moon

Ishbel collage

A certain little girl turned 4 this weekend. She likes things that are pink, and she likes things that are fancy. I just finished knitting something pink and fancy! Ishbel (Rav Link) turned out very nicely, and I think that she likes it (and will hopefully have a photo to post of her wearing it, once the cake high wears off).

I was a little surprised how quickly this knit up, and that it was relatively trouble-free. I knit the small size shawl, and it took up about 75g of the 110g skein. It's put me back on lace, after what seems like months of plain knitting, sock knitting, and sweater knitting. I was also a little surprised when I bought this pink yarn (Liberty's Yarn Kaguya), because just a few weeks ago I was complaining about how much pink yarn I'd received in various yarn clubs. Also, I've never knit a bamboo blend before, even though there's certainly some in my stash. I think of it as being kind of squeaky (probably because of the shine), but it felt nothing but soft when I was knitting. I'm still not sure I want to knit socks with it, but the drape is very nice for a shawl, even if you wear it stagecoach-bandit style, as above.

In Sock Summit news, it's starting to look like E____ and I will have some answers soon. E____ was charged for four classes (she registered me for two and herself for two), and it looks like my classes were confirmed but hers were not. Hopefully, we will both get what we paid for (even if it's not exactly what we wanted), but if not we will split the classes we did get. This means that we won't get to be in any classes together, and that if we stay for the luminary panel we end up paying for four nights of hotel to go to two things each, which I'm not sure makes sense. But we both have friends in Portland who we'd like to visit, so I guess the upside is that we'll have plenty of free time . . .

"And It's a Pink Moon": Nick Drake, Pink Moon.

Monday, June 01, 2009

You Made Me Feel So Blue


Still no word on Sock Summit (no news is good news? I'll be surprised), and my third Barn Raising Quilt Square is having some problems. I noticed a couple of rows ago that something had fallen out of sync--the pattern was changing at the second stitch marker, instead of the first. I looked, but couldn't find an error, and thought that maybe I'd mixed up my markers. Until yesterday, when I took a flat-out photo of it, and could see that I'd screwed up just above where those markers are now. Time to rip!

The yarn is Smooshy in Dusky Aurora left over from these socks. Assuming that I do in fact finish the square, I may run out of yarn, but I've got plenty of backup options that should look fine.

You Made Me Feel So Blue: The Jayhawks, "Blue". There is an annoying ad at the front of the video, and it's a weird video. But it's a great song.