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!