Saturday, December 18, 2010

Softest Red Scarf Was Warming Your Throat


The Scroll Lace scarf I started in November for one of my Virginia nieces is done and drying! The knitting went very quickly, but the bind off was soooooooo slow--a lot of stitches, and alternating casting on a few and then casting off more to get the picot edge. Totally worth the extra effort, but not nearly as fun as making tiny Santas or gnomes.

The scarf used about 2.5 skeins of Blue Sky Alpaca 100% Alpaca sport weight, and it should be very warm and soft. Fingers crossed that she's not sensitive to alpaca!

I've finished a couple of other Christmas projects, and really want to make some more of those snowmen and santas this next week. And I need to locate the cards that I started last year but never sent, and get them in the mail, and I'm supposed to be at a Christmas party in an hour or so but am not yet dressed. I'd better get cracking!

Softest Red Scarf Was Warming Your Scarf: Laura Marling, Goodbye England (Covered in Snow). Love this song, love the album it's on. Just realized that it's a good Christmas present for at least one person on my list!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Santa, Gnome, Snowman, Santa, Gnome


My niece's scarf is ready to block, but above is the real accomplishment. I want to make many more tiny things--similar to my tiny mitten phase a few years ago. Which reminds me--where did I put all of those mini mittens, anyway? I need those for gift packages!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Christmas 2010: It's Closer Than You Think


Usually, by December I'm ready to forget the current year altogether, and move as quickly as possible with a clean slate into the new year. This is especially true this year, because 2010 has been the worst year since I returned to the Seattle area in 2003. It's been a super frustrating year from both a personal and professional perspective, and without dredging up all of that frustration over again, it's pretty clear that I need to make some changes (maybe small, maybe big) in 2011. It hasn't been all bad, of course, but it's been markedly more bad than good.

So jumping into the holiday spirit with both feet seems like a reasonable way to go to improve my bad attitude, and the idea took hold over Thanksgiving with work on Christmas projects & some quality (and decidedly NOT quality) time with family and friends.

Yesterday in particular was all about getting into the Christmas spirit, here's a rough schedule of the day:

  • 8:45am: Depart for the big city.
  • 9:45am: Pick up E___, leave for craft fair #1 after 5 year old J_____ shows me the awesome ornaments on her tree
  • 10:00 - 12:00: Craft Fair #1: Phinney Neighborhood Association Winter Festival
  • 12:00 - 12:30: Lunch at Dante's Inferno Hot Dog Cart. Delicious!!!
  • 12:45 - 1:00: Craft Fair #2: Urban Craft Uprising
  • 2:00 - 4:30: Volunteer @ company children's Christmas party, pouring soda to super excited kids, many in fancy holiday dress.
  • 4:30 - 5:30: Treadmill run (it's dark by 4:30 here now)
  • 5:30 - 9:30: Drive home, feed dogs, web surf, watch TV, organize supplies
  • 9:30 - 11:00: Knit the gnome above

The Phinney craft fair is one of my favorites, although it's super crowded and difficult to move through. It definitely has a neighborhood feel to it, with many vendors returning year after year, and festival entertainment. I always buy a gnome from the Thursday's Child booth, and for the second year in a row I picked up a letterpress / silkscreened desk calendar from ilee papergoods. Beautiful stuff!

Urban Craft Uprising has been going on for 5 or 6 years now, and I've been to it at least three or four times. I had a very limited time to check it out this year, and it was really overwhelming. Too much ground to cover in too little time! I had to all but ignore most booths in order to make it to three places I really wanted to see: Spincycle Yarns (one new skein of yarn), Queen Bee Creations (a new bag & zipper pouch), and last but certainly not least, Mochimochi Land (tiny unicorn + gnome inspiration).

After seeing the Mochimochi gnomes in person at the booth, I knew that I had to make one immediately. Regular (or even not so regular) readers of this blog know that this is not an uncommon reaction for me, but this time I followed through. While opening hundreds of soda cans at the Christmas party and running 2 miles on the treadmill, I thought about where I could find the yarn in my stash to make them, and where to find my fancy Signature double points in size 1. I bought the pattern online, and knit & finished the whole thing in about an hour and a half (timing includes ice cream break). I used yarn from stash, mostly Dalegarn Baby Ull. The pink is Libery's Yarn Kaguya, leftover from the Ishbel Pinky. I expected this pattern to be really fiddly (as toys often are), but even though there are a lot of ends to deal with it wasn't bad. I love that the arms are a single i-cord pulled through, because sewing on the arms was what I was looking forward to the least!

My gnome pattern came with a free Santa & snowball pattern, so I may try one of those next. Like later today. That should help this Christmas spirit thing along, shouldn't it?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Let the Madness Begin

Scroll Lace Scarf

I've added a bunch of new projects to my list of Christmas knitting. Based on the fact that I haven't finished any birthday knitting this year, I know that I'm setting myself up for failure, but when my 10 year old niece requests "something knitted," what am I supposed to do? Obviously, cast on something for her (Ysolda Teague's Scroll Lace Scarf, above), and then add projects for the other niece, etc., etc. Yikes!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oh, A Storm is Threat'ning

Shelter Yarn

Things feel like they are lightening up at last in these parts, enough to work just a little on the holiday. The rest? Spent taking the ferry to Churchmouse Yarns, to pick up a little Shelter. I should have done this weeks ago, I really would like a sweater's worth of either of these colors, but supplies were too low of both. That's Homemade Jam on the left, Button Jar on the right. A few of each will have to do for now (which should be fine, given that I have three sweaters in progress).

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Believe It or Not--I Finished a Ripley


Knitting on the various projects continues, but still slowly. A row on one sweater here, a row on another sweater there, and nothing on those damn Chevron mittens. I wanted a quick win, so I pulled a ball of grey Berroco Ultra Alpaca, and started Ripley on Saturday night. Worsted weight yarn on #10 needles = quick project! I used about 54 grams of yarn, which means that I should be able to get another hat out of the skein, maybe a smaller size with less slouch on top. It fits my large head, but is going in the "potential Christmas gifts" stash for the time being. It's closer than I think, I can feel it creeping up already!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I See a Ship in the Harbor . . .


. . . and I'd like to say that this will be the last time I quote Depeche Mode as it relates to this sweater, but it's fairly likely that it will happen again. I am not particularly a fan of Depeche Mode, and I can't remember why I called this sweater Blue Monday, but I guess I'm stuck with it now.

I've only posted a couple of times about this sweater, and really there isn't a lot to say other than "I'm still knitting the body." Although I guess that there is news, in that I have reached the waist decreases! It's really cool the way the waist nips in and brings the slipped stitches closer together on each side. I don't have a particularly well-defined waist (and that's being generous), so I am a little concerned that it will pull in too much. I may omit the last set of decreases, once I get there. Right now, I've knit about 7 1/2 inches of the body, which includes an extra inch or so of additional length. Even though I've been carrying around two balls of yarn so that I can alternate skeins, it's been an easy project to travel with. I knit quite a bit in Virginia in July (before leaving it behind at my brother's house), and knit for 3 or 4 hours yesterday while flying back from Boston. I've loaded the pattern on my iPad, and at this point I only have to look at it every eleven rows when it's time to decrease. It takes a really long time to knit eleven rows, I can assure you. The pattern is also simple enough that I was able to read on my iPad while knitting on the plane, which is key on a six hour flight. I should have been working on Chevron Mittens, but I can't manage a chart and a book at the same time!

I really like that there is no visible striping with this yarn (Dream in Color Classy)--I can still sort of see the skein changes on my Black Diamond sweater, but the blue skeins seem to be more consistent. The color is very rich--I got a nice shout-out about it from a passing knitter while taking the photo above.

I'm not anticipating having another concentrated block of time to knit any time soon, maybe even less time to blog. Maybe I'll see you in November?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Two Toe Tuesday: I Like the Cashmere


My plan to get cracking on some older projects seems to be paying off (at least a little)--I finished a pair of socks this past weekend for the first time in ages. This is a pair of socks that I started in March 2009 (the blue birthday duckies), and there's no legitimate excuse for them taking so long. The first sock was done pretty quickly, and based on my Ravelry project notes, I was stalled at the heel of the 2nd sock from June 2009 to September 2010, because I lost the pattern. Which is stored as a PDF in my Ravelry account, and was free to begin with. Not acceptable.

The pattern is Duckies (Rav Link) by Samantha Hayes, and the yarn is The YoYo CashSport String, a delicious wool/cashmere blend that I got at the Loopy Ewe. It's sport weight yarn, and the socks are not particularly tall, so 19 months is a long time to knit these puppies. They may be a little short for my feet (maybe o.k. after blocking), but there was no way I was going to rip out the toes and go longer. They may be my special birthday socks, but I'd rather give them away than re-knit at this point! This pattern knit up very nicely, and I ran the eyelets all the way down the heel flap rather than leaving them plain rib--the lacy heel will look good with open backed clogs, I think. Since the yarn is sport-weight, they are little on the thick side, but my clogs are a little stretched out so it shouldn't be a problem.

Part of my "get-cracking" strategy has been to work on long standing projects a little bit at a time, and to keep better track of what I've been working on so that I don't set any one project aside for too long. It's only been a couple of weeks now, but it seems to be keeping me on track a little bit better. I keep thinking that I'm now only working on small things (these socks and a couple of other pair, chevron mittens), but I am still squeezing in some time on one of my sweaters in progress. Right now, I don't really have enough time to spend on ANY of the projects, large or small, so we'll see how it goes. Yesterday, I worked a little on the second Appliance Mitten, while I have the needles free from Chevron #3, so my goal is to wrap those up in the next week or so before casting on Chevron #3, #2. While working on whatever else I feel like, a little bit at a time, too. Whew.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Not Really Back in the Habit of Blogging . . . .


. . . but steadily working on a project that is long overdue. Mitten #1 of Chevron #3 is done, except for the thumb. I'll knit the thumbs one after another the rest is finished. I'm still really pleased with this color combo, and I like that the tip ends up black (like my heart). Of course, before I knit the thumb on this mitten or the other one, there's a little bit of cleaning up to do:


Just a couple of ends. Maybe L_____ would prefer to weave in the ends herself, once we're sure they fit? It's interesting that on the inside, the mitten looks a lot different below the thumb (which was finished a long time ago) than above the thumb, where I stopped carrying the yarn across more than 3 stitches. I wish that the top looked as neat as the bottom on the inside, but I'm confident that L____ won't be snagging her fingers on any long floats up there.

I'm not expecting to have much time to blog (or do anything else) over the next month, but will check in when I can (if I've got anything to show / say).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sat on Their Park Bench Like Bookends

Knitting at Safeco

A really busy summer has morphed into a really busy fall! I am trying to get back into some regular routines--regular running, planned lunches and regular knitting have made some progress since Labor Day. Most of the knitting that I did over the summer was on sweaters, but I've realized that there are a lot of projects I abandoned in the spring that it's time to pick up again. Fitting other things into the routine (knit night & yoga) are next on the list, because both have been subject to fits and starts over the past three or four (or five?) months. And blogging, too, but that's sort of a follow on to the other things--I need to squeeze time in to blog, and I have to have something to blog about. It seems like I usually have one or the other, but rarely both at once. And of course fall is the busiest time of year at work, super crazy busy, which is why I'm looking for order, I suppose.

Anway, I've picked up some old friends and have been working on them! On the left, the second Yarrow sock, which has been almost-to-the-heel for a really long time. Very predictably, reaching the heel was enough to set it aside. The pattern is a really nice looking but simple rib that was my go-to project when I needed to NOT have to pay attention. Once I was close to the heel, it stopped serving that purpose. But the heel was turned last weekend, and now as long as I mildly watch the gusset decreases, it's a no-brainer until the toe, so it's once again a good take-along project.

On the right is a mitten that I started last December for a friend's birthday that it looks like I never blogged about. It's the third pair of Chevron Love (Rav Link) that I've started, and I set them aside for something else and then winter was over and I'm just getting back to them. It would be nice if I had them done for her next birthday (end of October), because I really meant to have them done by the end of 2009. The pattern is easy to knit and I've knit a couple of inches since starting them up again, so I'm trying to work on them a little every day so that they don't fall off of my radar again.

The first two pair of Chevron Love mittens that I've started are also not finished. The Appliance mittens are really, really almost done, but I need to reknit the top of the second mitten because it ended up being noticably different than the first one--I started the decreases in the wrong spot. They are earmarked for a friend who will need them weather-wise in the next couple of months, so I'm planning to transfer the Chevron #3 momentum to the Appliance mittens for an evening soon (maybe this weekend--it could happen). The Metropolis mittens are languishing because I need to rework the color sequence, and since they are probably for me, they are pretty low priority overall. I ran across them when looking for another project last week, and I still don't like the color scheme, so I'm glad I didn't soldier on with them.

With all of this good work on older projects, I did start a new project--a pair of socks. Will blog about them once I have a decent photo . . .

Monday, August 23, 2010

Something Blue is Done

I've worked on a lot of in-progress projects this summer, but until this past weekend, I haven't finished a thing. Seriously, I had to scroll back to April 30 to find a finished item on this blog, and it's not just because I have three sweaters in progress.

I am not really a fan of headless torso shots, but I can't quite bring myself to post the hideous faces I was making while taking these with a tripod. Really, hideous.

Now that fall is in the air, I've finished my first sewing project of the summer. I'm not counting the dress I made in the 90's that I had my mom make into a skirt (the dress was an age-appropriate length in my 20s, but I'm not in my 20s anymore), because I didn't actually sew that myself. This is a simple shirt, with an elastic gathered neck. The pattern is Built by Wendy for Simplicity (pattern 3835), and after having it cut out over a month ago, I finally found the hour or so it took to sew. This was a test run for some special Japanese double-gauze fabric that I plan to use for a summer shirt, and it works well enough. I may wait to cut out another one, though, because I think that I might still find a better pattern to use, and since it's almost September, it's unlikely that I will get much use out of a summer shirt this year. Back of the queue, Japanese fabric! Back of the queue!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Long Time Gone!

August 21, 2010

Well, I didn't really mean to let a month go by without a single post, but I spent three long weekends in a row at three music festivals in three different states. I'm pretty happy to be home this weekend (and likely every weekend until mid-October), but I saw a lot of great music, ate a lot of great food, and spent time with some pretty great friends. And took a lot of crappy photos.

Here's what's in the photos above:
Top Row, Newport Folk Festival: What Cheer? Brigade waiting for a boat, Andrew Bird, Scenic View from beer pier, Avetts in a golf cart.
Middle Row, Solid Sound Festival: Wilco sign at Mass MoCA, knitting Blue Monday on the train to western MA, Jeff Tweedy, Wilco.
Bottom Row, Pickathon: Langhorne Slim rocking the barn, Frank Fairfield, Woody Pines

Bumbershoot will be the fifth and last festival of the summer, and thankfully it's on my home turf. In between now and then, I've got some knitting to work on, some sewing that's been neglected, baseball games to attend, and a whole lot of other stuff to catch up one. Busy, busy summer!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'm So Tired, My Mind is on the Brink

July 19, 20101

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the reason I'm so exhausted is due to the following schedule. Times are Pacific (though I start out on East Coast time):

Sunday, July 18:
4:00 am: depart hotel for airport
6:00 am: depart DC for Los Angeles (cheapest routing home)
11:30 am: after sleeping very little, but knitting a bit of Kira sleeve, arrive LAX
2:30 pm: depart LAX
5:00 pm: arrive Seattle
6:00 pm: arrive home
7:15 pm: depart home for Avett Brother concert (see top right and bottom left photos)
9 - 11 pm: rock out!
midnight: arrive home

Monday, July 19:
6:00 am: wake up
7:30 am - 6:30 pm: work
7:10 pm - 9:30 pm: watch baseball game at Safeco field & work on Kira sleeve (see top left and bottom right photos)
10:30 pm: arrive home

In other words, this week is a little more jam-packed that I'd like it to be, although I wouldn't give up the trip, or the concert (it was really, really good, and my seats were really, really great). I should probably have skipped the baseball game, but didn't have time to trade in the tickets before we went to DC. Boo. The weekend isn't looking a lot better, nor is next week or the week after. Man, I've got to schedule some sleep sometime!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Back from DC (but I left my knitting there)

July 19, 2010

As the blog title states, I'm back from vacation. I made an excellent start on Blue Monday, but left it (and my beautiful new Signature needles) at my brother's house. When his wife called to tell us, my brother wondered what I would do on the plane--he didn't know that I brought two extra projects to work on. Hopefully, I will have the sweater back soon, because I'm making two more trips to the east coast in August and it turns out that it's a great travel project, and it will be at least until I get to the waist shaping.

My brother's family took the visiting folks (my mom, another brother, and me) all over to see the sights, we really crammed a lot into the four full days we had in the greater DC area. We also experienced some of the nastiest summer weather you could hope to find, high 90s every day and really, really humid. And a thunderstorm that knocked out power (i.e. air conditioning) for 8 - 12 hours and shook loose a tree limb across the street from their house, falling on and crushing a neighbor's brand new Volvo. A lot of excitement!

It was honestly too hot to take a lot of photos, but here's what I've got above (all left to right):

Row 1: Monticello (the best tour we took, well worth the heat & long drive), and a gorgeous plaster ceiling from the Kenmore Plantation in Fredericksburg.

Row 2: The Capitol building in DC (we went to the National Gallery, which I love love love), and a carved fireplace from Kenmore Plantation.

Row 3: The Mariners flag in the outfield at Camden Yards in Baltimore, and former Mariner Adam Jones batting. I know that I'm complaining a lot about the heat, but it was 95 degrees at gametime, and 91 degrees when the game was over. That's too hot, people! We had seats that were 15 rows behind the Toronto Blue Jays' dugout, and I'm really glad we went to the game. The only other time I tried to go to Camden Yards, the game was rained out, which was a huge drag, so this was a great treat.

Maybe next year, we should think about visiting earlier in the summer or during the spring (or Christmas 2011?). My brother and his wife have three school-aged kids, so it's hard to find a time that works for everyone--maybe just Frieda and I should make a special trip out there one of these days, I know she'd like to meet the rest of those kids!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How Does it Feel to Treat Me Like You Do?

July 11, 2010

I'm leaving to visit my brother's family in VA in a couple of hours, and although I didn't start packing until this morning, my vacation knitting plan has been in action for a few weeks. I've had Sabbatical in my queue since February, and somehow a long, complicated lace sweater converged with a yarn and needle buying opportunity and a little extra cash in my pocket, and I took the plunge. I bought my first pairs of Signature circulars (they are awesome), and beautiful Madelinetosh pashmina yarn, and got right to it. The swatch? There in the upper right? It's not very good. The gauge is too big, the color is too dark to show off the lace pattern. Also, the yarn is so dark that it makes it hard for me to read my lace, resulting in some errors. Or maybe not--it doesn't look quite right to me, but I can't really tell where I went wrong. This yarn and this pattern are not going to work for me, so that relationship is over. I will find a plain sweater for the yarn, and maybe I'll start saving up for the recommended yarn, which is gorgeous but even more pricey than the pashmina.

Since it was Sunday by the time it became clear that the Sabbatical wasn't going to work, the new-project alternative was to pull something out of the stash & give that a try. So I swatched for the Monday Morning Cardigan (Rav Link) in Dream in Color Classy that I've had for a year or so, using US5s. It looks good! I got gauge!! The downside? I need to alternate balls of yarn to blend the skeins, so I'm carrying two skeins with me--it didn't occur to me before I cast on that I should wind off smaller amounts, and now the project is packed. The upside is that after running out of tail during the long-tail cast-on, I remembered the advice that I should cast using two skeins. No way to run out, and since I need to alternate yarn, there isn't even any extra ends to worry about.

It's going to be hot in VA, so in addition to this big project I'm bringing the Iris Waves socks, and the second Kira sleeve. Let's hope that there's some relaxing knitting time in store--I could really use it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Jump! Jump! Jump Around!


It occurs to me that except for multiple posts about the Super Purple Girl skirt (which still needs finishing), lately I've been writing about a different project pretty much every time I post on this blog. I really do jump around from project to project a lot, and although it means that I rarely finish anything, at least the knitting stays interesting & I don't have to make any quick decisions. For instance, after knitting an inch or so of the Inamorata tank earlier in the week, I completely lost interest in it just as I am getting to the point where I can determine whether or not my gauge / sizing will work out. Maybe the reason I've set it aside is that I suspect it won't, or maybe that it's just been too hot to focus on cables. I'm tempted to just rip the whole thing out, which could still happen. The yarn is too beautiful to waste on something that isn't going to fit, or that will never be finished.

Another old project that was set aside because I was worried about it is Carrieline. It's probably doubled in length since the last time I wrote about it (months ago), a few rows of straightforward stockinette at a time with a few stitches of i-cord edging on each side. I'm alternating skeins of Sundara Sport to keep the sweater from pooling, which is working beautifully except that when I switch the i-cord edging has tightened up in places. Especially in a place where I knit four rows of one color instead of two. See the puckering here:


So for months, whenever I've picked this up, all I can think about is whether or not I should really rip back hours and hours of work to the puckered spot, or whether I should plan to pick up and knit a buttonband (and somehow cut and tack down the tight spot). All the while, it's gotten more difficult to think about ripping out, because I'm getting farther and farther past the pucker. Recently I realized that before I do anything drastic I should just block that edge and see whether the problem works itself out. So last night, before settling in on the back porch with a glass of rosé, a purple sleeve, and a movie, I soaked that corner. After the movie ("An Education", which I highly recommend), I pinned it out, and here's how it looks this morning:


No ripping back required, no need to plan post-finishing surgery--definitely flat enough for me! It's such a relief that the simple solution, requiring the least amount of effort and intervention, is the one that worked out. This is also good news because this is the only knitting I've got going right now that doesn't require a chart or keeping track of rows or any patterning. I will measure my gauge in the blocked section against the pattern & use it to make sure I'm still on track. I think that I swatched for this, but it can't hurt to use a "real" row gauge to double check that I'm getting enough length.

I am still really loving this yarn, even more so now that I see how beautiful it looks when it's all nice and blocked out. The three photos above, taken in different light at different times of the day, shows how the color shifts from blue to grey in an interesting way. It makes me wish a little that I'd taken a bigger color risk when I bought this yarn (bright red, anyone?), but this is a color that I will wear a lot and that isn't a regular boring grey. Now I just need to knit the other 70% of the sweater, and I'll be all set!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Hot in the City, Hot in the City Tonight!


Summer's really here, and the Iris Waves socks are back! Too bad the baseball is so, so terrible.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Oh when I look back now, that summer seemed to last forever


This is the summer that Seattle folks will remember as long. . . a long time coming, that is. Coldest summer I can remember since moving back here in 2002, that's for sure. But rumor has it that it will maybe be 80 degrees this week, so I've finally started Inamorata from Knitty as my new summer project. It's the third tank top I've started in recent months, and I'm not sure I like the odds that I'll finish in time to wear it this summer, but at least it's something a little different (i.e. not purple) and in a beautiful yarn. I'm using Kitchen Sink Dyeworks' Silk Linen Lace, and it's really nice--gorgeous color, nice and cool feeling to knit with. The yarn is 35% linen, but hasn't felt too rough on my hands so far (although now that I think about it, maybe I can feel it in my fingers a little). I'm altering the cable pattern slightly, by not filling in the loops with garter stitch, like this one on Ravelry. I like the original version, too, and really should probably gave swatched both, but didn't.

Unfortunately, the skein of yarn is gigantic, so I'm not sure if this will be a great project to take on an upcoming family trip to Virginia, even though it's very climate appropriate. I should start thinking about what else I should take, so there's time get it together. Any suggestions? I could also use summery reading suggestions--I just finished the Dragon Tattoo series, and nothing else I've started has been as gripping.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, July 05, 2010

Excuse Me, While I Kiss This Guy


I've not been blogging a lot, but I have been knitting a lot of purple stockinette. No, not the Super Purple Girl skirt (cast off this weekend! tons of finishing left!), but Kira, which I haven't posted about since early May. I've knit the body (all in one piece) up to the armholes, and am about halfway through the first sleeve. I lengthened the body by about an inch, which I'm usually too impatient to do, and I knit all of the waist shipping, which I usually avoid in favor of obscuring my fattest parts. We will see how that works out. I suspect that it may still end up shorter than I like (it's meant to be a short cardi), and more shaped than I like, but I'll deal with that when I know for sure.

For some reason, this project was what I pulled out whenever the purple skirt got to be too too boring to work on. It seems odd, given that it's also stockinette, with only the purl rows and waist shaping to add interest. Given that my knitting time has been a little limited in recent months (work pressure, starting yoga, & continuing to run are all interfering), that little bit of interest has been plenty. Time to adjust to slightly more stimulation, though--take a look at that sleeve:


I'm really pleased with this project so far, despite my various doubts and complaints. I've definitely made a lot of progress in a fairly short period of time, while having less knitting time than usual and not working on it exclusively. And maybe by the time it's ready to be finished, summer will have arrived and I will be able to put that part off for while. Wouldn't that be nice?

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Hope Your Fourth is Jam-tastic!


It struck me earlier this week that if I didn't get cracking on making some jam, the local berries would be gone. It was a hard realization, given that we've only had a handful of days over 70 degrees this summer so far, and I've been spending way too much time working to see July coming. It's here, though, and after a long afternoon of canning, I've got 18 jars of jam. I wish that I'd remembered that I linked to recipes LAST July, because I winged it a little. I made Strawberry Lime using a recipe that came with the box of pectin, and then I made raspberry-strawberry without pectin. Both are delicious, but the rasp-straw is a little bit runny. Live and learn. And if I can still get raspberries next weekend, maybe I'll try the recipe I made last year again--it's hard to have too much homemade jam on hand.

Happy Fourth!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

So Sorry, Super Purple Girl


J____'s birthday has come and gone, and her skirt is still not quite finished, along with my blog posts about Sasquatch, and some baby gifts that really need work. I'm not finishing much of anything these days, because I'm spending a lot of quality time with some Excel models & in a ton of meetings. I'm hoping that this lighten up a bit in July. Really, really hoping. Just like I'm hoping that this


is enough yarn to finish. I've knit a picot row & 3.5 rows afterward, and should knit a few more rows before binding off. I may just knit to the beginning of the round, though, and use another color in the he, to make sure I've got enough of the dark blue to sew the hem (or tack down the live stitches). Wish me luck!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad>

Note: Not one to disappoint a 5 year old, I found the perfect baseball hat for her. Purple, sparkly, and with (I kid you not) a big purple unicorn next to the Seattle Mariners' logo. Only available in youth sizes, unfortunately.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sasquatch Day 1: Sunburn > Cold Wind Storm

Sasquatch 2010 Day 1Align Center

Oh, Sasquatch--why did I ever doubt you? Why haven't I been back sooner? O.K., I'll tell you why--camping and freezing cold wind when I went in 2007. This year, I'm not camping, and the weather was ideal yesterday, and I knew to bring extra clothes for when it cooled down after sunset. My biggest problem was totally missing my chest when applying sunscreen, so I've got a bit of a burn (after silently mocking people with sunburns all day) that I will need to keep covered.

Here's what's in the photos, left to right, starting with the top row:

Row 1: Laura Marling, Fool's Gold, The Gorge
Row 2: O.K. Go, Ken Stringfellow of the Posies, the Blue Sea Sock
Row 3: Broken Social Scene, The National, the Hold Steady
Row 4: The Gorge, two Vampire Weekend photos

My clear favorite of the day was Vampire Weekend, who I haven't seen before (but will be seeing again in August). Very high energy set, high energy crowd, and I was able to get right down front. Dear Vampire Weekend--maybe it wasn't nice to say you're the new Haircut 100. I apologize, I love you.

The Hold Steady also impressed me--I really like their album "Stay Positive," but wasn't sure what to expect live. Also very high energy & crowd friendly, they really perked me up after seeing a different band that I had high hopes for that were kind of boring. It was nice to see the Posies, it's probably been 10 years since I last saw them (and 22 or 23 years since I first saw them).

I would like to have gotten a better look at Mumford & Sons, but their stage was mobbed and I couldn't see a thing. I definitely liked what I heard from afar.

Time to start getting ready for Day 2 of Sasquatch. Item #1: better sunscreen coverage!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Let it Grow, Now

I've found that the best time to work on a really boring stockinette project is when there are plenty of good distractions, instead of sitting in any easy chair, all sleepy-like. I knit at least an inch over coffee with friends on Saturday, up through the third row of increases. I'm on my third color now, and even though there are now twice the number of stitches I started with, I'm starting to feel like I'm going to be able to finish this before J____'s birthday party.

On Sunday, I dug into the third section at Safeco Field. The game was the second blowout we've seen this month, and we've yet to see a win this season. Not encouraging, not even a little bit.
At least the weather was pleasant and I'm more than an inch into the section:

Second Inning (Padres 1, Mariners 0):

Inning 2

Fifth Inning (Padres 2, Mariners 0):

Inning 5

Eighth Inning (Padres 8, Mariners 1):

Inning 8

Unless I can miraculously whip through the rest of the skirt this week, I'll be taking it with me to the Sasquatch Festival over Memorial Day. I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of great bands (all three days), but am not sure I'm prepared for three days at the gorge with tens of thousands of dirty hippies hipsters. Its very possible that I will be seen as the crazy "you-kids-get-offa-my-lawn lady", or that I will hear a lot of "hey, you must know my mom!". I'm not sure that knitting a skirt for a five year old is going to reduce the likelihood of either one of those scenarios.

As boring as this stockinette has been, I have my eye on Olive (Rav Link), an adult-sized sweater that's a bit of yoke and then pretty much all stockinette. It's such a pretty pattern, though! It's queued up, and I'm trying to figure out what yarn to use, and whether I should start it immediately instead of finishing this skirt or any of the other projects I have underway. Maybe it's time to fix the problem with Passiflora, and wrap that up first? Or to keep up with Kira, which is about 30% complete? Maybe start more medallions for Blue Celandine? Too many options, but fortunately or unfortunately the yarn I'd like for Olive isn't carried by any of the local stores I frequent, so I'll likely hold off for a little bit at least, unless I decide that something in the stash would work out. Hmmm, there's a thought.

"Let it Grow, Now": Pianosaurus, "Let it Grow".

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sheep to the Slaughter, Oh I Thought This Must be Love

April 30, 2010

Another project from my flurry of startitis in March / April: Celandine (Rav Link) from Twist Collective, in Halcyon Yarns fingering weight silk. It's a gorgeous little tank that is stockinette built off of the leafy medallions. So far, what I have done are the two swatches, and that may be where I stay for awhile. The designer (Jennie Pakula) has an interesting approach to incorporating the tendancy of silk to stretch lengthwise. The approach is to use it instead of fighting it, which is why the stockinette swatch is really important. You knit a swatch, and then hang it vertically with a knitting needle weighing down the bottom, so that you can measure based on the drape that you will end up with. It's pretty cool to see what was a squat swatch stretch out so much. I think that my gauge is o.k., or will be if I get a lot of stretch out of the final product. The fabric is a little on the sheer side, but I think that I can deal with that with a dark silk lining if my pasty white belly shows through. I have a feeling that it may be awhile before I really need to worry about it--those medallions use 000 needles, so they require a lot of concentration!

Sheep to the Slaughter, Oh I Thought This Must be Love: Elvis Costello, Big Sister's Clothes

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Underneath the Purple Rain

It's only raining normal rain here, but I am being crushed under the weight of tedious purple stockinette:


I've got close to six inches of J____'s Super Purple Girl skirt knit, and although I love the way it looks, it is mind-numbingly dull to knit. I made a ton of progress on Sunday, but I had to pull out a bit of lace to work on for awhile on Monday night to avoid snoozing at the needles. I wasn't sorry at all that I didn't have time to knit last night after getting home from yoga class, and tonight I am turning in early instead of pushing through a few more rows. I do look forward to the next color change (and am hoping that I've got enough yarn!), but it hardly seems fair that the yarn for Inamorata is now wound and taunting me. Here's a solo shot of the yarn, since the stockinette has totally numbed my brain, leaving me with nothing else to say:


Sunday, May 16, 2010

I'm So Sweet, Like a Nice Bon Bon

Super Purple Girl (twisted)

I've started the Super Purple Girl Twirly Skirt (that needs to be done in three weeks), and although I think it's going to be adorable, there's bad news and there's good news:

The Bad News:
I twisted the cast on row when I joined it, and didn't notice for the first, oh, thousand stitches. I've had to rip out everything you see above.

The Good News:
I measured my gauge before ripping it out, and I was getting 4 stitches to the inch instead of 5. That means that I was on track to knit a 28 inch waist for a 5 year old, which is about 6.5 inches too large. I probably should have noticed that it was huge independently of the twisted edge, but wasn't thinking about it.

The Even Better News:
At 4 stitches to the inch, this yarn makes a nice fabric that is neither too dense nor too open, so I can just cut the number of stitches by about 20% to adjust. 20% fewer stitches = faster knitting!

Now I just have to hope that the gauge I was getting on what I've knit so far is representative, at least until I start the ridiculous increases.

"I'm So Sweet, Like a Nice Bon Bon", The Beastie Boys, "Body Movin'". I'm listening to it right now, to encourage faster blogging.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Don't You Let Me Make You Blue, Too

Blues & Purples

Ack! I haven't even written about all of the blue projects I have underway, and today yarn for (at least) two new blue projects arrived. The blue hank in the upper right corner is Kitchen Sink Dyeworks Silk Linen Lace to make the Inamorata published in the latest Knitty. I can't wait to get started on this, I've been eager for this yarn since the pattern was published. The rest of the yarn is Cascade Cotton Club, which is for a certain young lady's 5th birthday--I'm planning to knit her a Twirly Skirt (Rav Link), but am not sure if I bought enough yarn. And I just realized that her birthday is in three weeks. I'd better get cracking!

"Don't You Let Me Make You Blue, Too": Lloyd Cole, Perfect Blue

Friday, May 07, 2010

Bad Night at Safeco Field (but at least there was knitting)

May 7, Mariners vs Angels

Truly lousy game. Mom and I left in the fourth, with the Mariners trailing 8 to 0. Sure, Jered Weaver had a no hitter going for the Angels, but that would be more impressive if the M's weren't hitting so poorly. They've practically been no-hitting themselves over the past week.

I did knit a bit on Kira. It takes a little of the sting out of it. Thanks for the long tail cast on suggestions--I've heard the use two yarns suggestion before, that would totally have worked. I just ripped back and used a longer tail--it was much easier to get the right length, having gotten so close the first time!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Problem With The Long Tail Cast On


208 stitches needed. 192 stitches cast on, with about three inches left. No way that's going to work out for me.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, May 03, 2010

I Loves You Until I Hates You


I mentioned in my last post that I've started a few new things, and the black sweater above is one of those things. It's from the awesome new Twist Collective,the pattern is Passaflora by Julie Turjoman, and it's a super cute sleeveless top with lace insets on the sides and at the neck. I'm using the recommended yarn, Incense from Elann. I worked on this on my recent flights, and have a few inches left, but it's about to go into a serious time out. It turns out that the pattern charts were incorrect in the first version, so my insets don't look right-- see how the solid part jog a a little instead of looking solid like in the pattern photo? I've got to rip back about 2/3 of what I've knit, which is a total drag because there are 236 stitches that I'm going to have to pick up I can't believe that I didn't notice that the pattern didn't look right earlier. I've got the corrected charts now (and no hard feelings or actual knitting hate--it was an honest mistake) but I don't have the will to rip just yet.

I will say that one thing I really like about purchasing patterns in electronic form is that when there are corrections, its super easy for companies to redistribute full, corrected patterns. I recently purchased another pattern from a company that only distributes hard copies, and happened to notice yesterday that errata was published in a blog post that I would totally have missed if I wasn't browsing Ravelry. I don't routinely search for errata before I start a project (I suppose I should), and I really appreciate it when a company automatically emails me an updated pattern.

So if I'm holding off on Passaflora for now, it means I get to start something else, right? Honestly, that was the first thing I thought when I realized how much I have to rip back, which could explain why I don't feel like doing it right now. The bit of purple you see above and below is indeed something new.


It looks like a swatch, but it's really a pocket! I'm starting Kira (Rav Link), in St. Denis Nordique. I checked out this pattern after hearing about it on the Doubleknit podcast, and my only regret is that there wasn't enough Robin's Egg Blue at the Fiber Gallery by the time I got there for the yarn. No matter--the eggplant was a close second place. I'm hoping that this is a project I can get started on and then just work and work on it when I want something fairly straightforward to knit. I've been jumping around between a few projects with vastly different attention requirements, and when I have a few minutes to knit but don't want to drag out a pattern or have to focus too deeply, I've been at a loss about what to work on (though the Carrieline does fit that bill--I need to put that on top of my knitting basket).

So I composed most of this post using my new iPad, and it worked a little better than I expected. I'm hoping to find a good blogging app, but in the meantime just used the web browser. I had to go back and center the photos and add the links from my desktop, although if I had HTML skillz I could have done that from the browser without a lot of trouble. I will entertain all suggestions about alternative ways to blog via the iPad!

Friday, April 30, 2010

A Sweater I've Already Worn a Few Times

Dachshund Upon Sweater
Special thanks to Frieda, for again appreciating my art

I really haven't talked about it since November, but the Black Diamond cardigan is done, and overall I'm very happy with it. I finished it (or I should say, my mother sewed the buttons on it) before taking Frieda with me to Boston, and it looks good and fits well. I wish that the body was a little longer, but I've worn it several times without showing any unsightly flab as far as I know, and that's really good enough for me.

The pattern is really nicely written, it's the Lucy in the Sky cardigan by Laura Chau. It's the first time I've knit a sweater all in once piece, so the construction was new to me but it wasn't difficult at all. I was worried about getting the sleeves even and the right length, but knitting both at the same time worked well. The yarn is Dream in Color Classy, which had more variation between skeins that I liked, but is very nice to work with and goes a long way. I alternated skeins, and made sure I didn't change both skeins at once, but still feel like I can tell where I changed (even though not alternating would have been much more obvious). It's also surprisingly comfortable to wear. Most wool is itchy to me, but this yarn is tolerably itchy with short sleeves underneath, and not itchy at all with a long sleeved T underneath.

Although I've barely been blogging, I do have a few new projects on the needles that I'll post about soon. And I bought yarn today for another sweater, though I think I should finish another project (ANY other project) before casting on for that!

In non-knitting news, I'm still running. Since my last post, I've been back to Boston to see my friend S___ run the Boston Marathon, and to run the Boston Marathon 5K the day before. I got a medal (everyone who finished got a medal). It was cold and a little rainy the day that I ran (and some presumably more elite runners chose to support the 5K crowd by yelling things like "Way to go, run-joggers!"), but marathon day was beautiful. S___ ran in 3 hours and 17 minutes, which means that he ran each of the EIGHT 5Ks that make up a marathon a lot faster than I ran my ONLY 5K. Super fun day, super fun trip.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Back in the Safe

April 12, 2010

I've definitely seen better baseball, but Opening Day is still a treat--special guests, extra introductions, and the grounds crew is guaranteed to dance. The Iris Waves I started for Spring Training made an appearance, too!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I Don't Think That Frieda Understands My Art

Frieda about to roll dangerously close to a finished knitted item.

The un-Spring-y project I crammed into my bag at the last minute before leaving for Spring Training is done! It's the sparkly, Dream In Color Starry black Damson that I started last summer, but put aside at some point for some unknown reason. It turned out to be a great travel project, because it didn't require a lot of attention--easy to work on a few minutes at a time, easy to work on while exhausted from travelling & baseball. Now that it's spring, I'm not sure whether I'll have a chance to wear this anytime soon. And if I don't use it myself before next winter, it seems fairly likely that it will end up being an emergency holiday gift--which is fine, since I can always make another one!

Here's a dog free photo, taken in Chez E____ last weekend:


Sunday, March 28, 2010

How Do People Stand All That Sun?

Spring Training

I've been back from Spring Training for almost a week, but it seems like a lot longer ago than that! We had great seats for most of the games we went to, and the weather was very pleasant (as long as I was mostly in the shade). We saw Milton Bradley get thrown out twice for arguing balls and strikes, and were close enough to hear the terrible name he called the umpire. Awesome. The baseball was bad at times, good at times, as is normal in Spring Training. This year, we visited two parks that we haven't been to before, which means that we've covered almost all the Phoenix parks. We haven't been to see the Cubs, but I think that's about it. The home opener is in a few weeks (sandwiched between two trips to Boston), and I can't wait! Although right now, I'm really spending my time thinking through the logistics of the first Boston trip, because I've got a tightish schedule on Friday (but can't leave on Thursday morning), and Frieda is travelling with me. Frieda has been to the east coast twice, and she should be fine on the plane, but there are still details to think through--health certificate from the vet, how to pack so that I can still carry everything on, how she cope with flying without rawhide (verboten now that she has pancreatitis).

Back to Spring Training, the non-baseball activities. I snuck in a little running, and we managed to hit a yarn store, a quilt store, and a bead store, in addition to trips to multiple Target stores in search of Liberty of London items. I didn't have the benefit of a whole Liberty of London Target Store, but picked up a shirt, a hat, and an XL child's maxi-dress that I'm going to turn into a skirt. I visited a local Target yesterday to make sure there wasn't anything I'd missed (there was more), and I may make a trip to another local one to check out their selection of lampshades.

In knitting news, I made a little progress on both Iris Waves, and Kernal, but not as much as I might have liked--there just wasn't a lot of downtime on this trip, and our seats were too close to the action to facilitate knitting. Also, at the last minute I snuck an "opposite of Spring" project into my bag, and worked on that on the plane instead of the bright, springy projects. More details to come--I may finish it this week, and if not it will almost certainly come with me to Boston (along with Iris Waves and Kernal, I would bet).

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring Has Sprung (Baseball-Wise, anyway)


I'm leaving for Spring Training tomorrow, and have a couple of new projects on the needles to take with me. It just didn't feel right to take the subdued, blue-grey Carrieline, or the wintry grey Peak's Island Hood to a place where it's supposed to be 75 - 85 degrees & sunny all week. Plus, I'm trying to keep room in my bags for running shoes & clothes, so a sweater and a bulky scarf are not the best choices. A little simple lace in a bright aqua, and a pair of summer-striped socks? Those seem just right for knitting at the ballpark, don't they?

The blue scarf pattern is Kernel from the Fall 2009 issue of Knitty. I picked the yarn (Spud & Chloë Fine, purchased @ Renaissance Yarns) solely for it's color, and frankly I think it's a little scratchy. The stitch definition is great, though. I soaked and blocked it after the edging and first repeat to see if it would soften up and hold the pattern, which is why it lays so nicely now. The yarn didn't soften up very much, but it was too pretty to start looking for new yarn. I really wanted that color, because I was thinking of making Anne Hanson's Coral Gables scarf, and because it screams "Spring is HERE!". I was worried I'd end up glued to the chart, though, which doesn't make it a great pattern for the baseball park. Kernel may end up having the same problem, which is why I also started a new pair of socks.

Even though I just ripped out six different socks, and have at least that many more socks started, I really wanted a new, bright pair to take to Peoria. The pattern is Waves and Piers (Rav Link) from The Little Box of Socks by Charlene Schurch and Beth Parrott. I'm using Yarntini Striped Sock in Iris from the Yarntini club I joined last summer, with a coordinating Dale Baby Ull for the cuff, heel, and toe. The pattern is just two rows (one plain, one patterned), and should be easy to follow along. If not, I know a couple of places not too far from the ballpark with yarn on offer . . . and I still have time to cast on one more thing!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Appetite for Destruction

Man, has it really been almost a month since I posted?

After the February whirlwind, I caught the worst cold I've had since December of 2001. In fact, the cold of 2010 may have been worse than the cold of 2001, and after hitting hard the last week of February, I'm just getting back into my regular routine (and still have a little bit of a cough).

The cold hit during the Olympics, and prevented me from finishing any WIPs or new projects. My initial plans were not overly ambitious--finish the Black Diamond cardigan (I started a few rows into the raglan decreases), start & finish the Komi Hat, and rip out a bunch of projects I haven't worked on in ages.

The Black Diamond is really, really close to being done now, but at the end of the Olympics I still had some work in pattern to do and it was more energy than I had. There's been zero work on the hat. I always think that if I am stuck home sick, I should be able to get a lot of knitting done, but I couldn't even pull something plain out to work on--I was too busy napping in between violent coughing fits. I've put the Komi hat in time-out for now (I don't love it, and now it's spring so no pressing need to finish it), and I'll most likely finish the Black Diamond after returning from my annual trip to Spring Training, which starts on Wednesday. I had hoped to finish it this weekend, but had a LOT of other things to get done since I've been neglecting all but the essentials for the past three weeks.

The Ravelympics weren't a total loss, however--I did summon the strength to rip out SIX works-in-progress that I was unlikely to ever finish. Here's the proof:

Mystery Socks

Mystery Socks, Started January 2008.


Kiila Greens, started May 2009

Purple Grafitti Cables\

Purple Graffiti Cables, started April 2009


Leyburn, started January 2009

Sockgate Socks

Sockgate Socks, Started July 2009

Blue Hawaiian

Blue Hawaiian, started July 2009

All that ripping earned me a medal, which is good, and now there are six fewer projects I have to worry about finishing, which is even better. I think that the main thing I've learned by ripping these out is that I don't love toe-up socks when it comes time to figure out the heel. For the Blue Hawaiian and the Sockgate socks, I didn't like how the heels interrupted the pattern. For the Leyburn socks, I tried to make some heel adjustments and it just didn't work. For wonky fits or stripes, top down is probably the best way for me to go!