Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Little Lace

Lest you think I have forgotten about Icarus, I haven't. I've just been busy with all of the holiday projects. But I did get time to work on it while I was in Las Vegas over the Christmas weekend. (I did decide, however, that it was not really a good thing to work on while in the car - too many bumps in the road.) So although I'm still not too far along, at least I've gotten a couple of repeats of the first chart done. At the top of the photo is the beginning of my VLT project. I had 9 rows done, and then one side of it sort of vaporized somehow - I must have dropped a stitch. So now it's started again from scratch. I can see that this is going to be a challenging project for me. I think I need one of those magnetic boards for my chart, so I can keep track of my rows better.

And did you know that the morning of December 31st is a great time to go to Costco? Hardly anyone there this morning! But still no $1.00 lattes. I keep hoping they'll come back. I know, it's just wishful thinking.

Hoarfrost on Horehound

Brrrrrr... baby it's cold outside!

But that hard frost does make for some pretty pictures. I'm sure the neighbors think I'm strange for taking photos in my front yard in nothing but my bathrobe when it's only 22 degrees.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Closing out 2006

As 2006 draws to a close, I'm working on the Irish Hiking Scarf, made with recycled Galway Highland Heather destashed by Laurie. I'm also planning to make this headband from the same yarn - I think there will be enough for both.

And I'm finally about to start my cast on for my Victorian Lace Today KAL project. I'm going to do the "Scarf with the No. 20 edging" on page 84, in Kidsilk Haze. The color name is "Khaki" - I don't know if that's really the best description for it, but it's a silvery gray-green. There are so many wonderful patterns in this book that it was difficult to choose one to start with. I could keep myself busy with this book for a long time - even if all I did was look through it and drool. I highly recommend it.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Mr. Smith

Sigh. Boring, but true enough, I guess.



Classic Movie test ripped off from Mim, who ganked it from Terri. Not only did I amuse myself with this test, but I learned a new word (thanks, Mim).

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Death of Espresso - RIP

Yes, it is with great sadness that I announce the demise of Espresso Logic 2. After completing my arrowhead lace project (for the second time), I noticed yesterday after blocking it that I had managed to reverse the right and wrong sides less than halfway through. Shit. I don't really expect perfection - if it had been just a few yarnovers in the wrong place, I could have lived with it. But this was way wrong. I can't believe I didn't notice it earlier. It wouldn't be so bad if there was more time before the swap, but now I don't know if I even have time to start over and get it finished. (Unlike most people, I'm actually going to have to work on New Year's day.)

I suppose that after I calm down for a few days, I'll probably at least try, since I'm very stubborn (of course I am, I'm a Taurus). But for now, I don't even want to look at it. Or more accurately, what's left of it, after I ripped it back into oblivion.

I shouldn't be surprised - yesterday was yet another day from hell. (I've been having way too many of these lately.) Anything that could go wrong, did go wrong. All day. I even broke an old Corelle dish. You know how many times I've dropped those things on the foor without a problem? Hah. Well, yes, they do break. And shatter into many nasty slivers. Trust me. Conversation goes like this: DH asks from the other room "What's for dinner, sweetie?" CRASH! My answer: "Not yellow squash" (which is what was in the Corelle dish). Bless his heart. He came into the kitchen, and without a word, cleaned up the whole mess. I just drank more wine.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Random Thoughts, Dec 23, 2006

I find it very amusing that 30 years later, I can tune my radio to KRSP and listen to Wooly Waldron playing the same music he was playing when I was in high school.

Happy Festivus...

Friday, December 22, 2006

Bubble Wrap Cap


I was so excited about Lark's Bubble Wrap Cap, that I just couldn't wait to make it. I'm not sure why it appealed to me so much - maybe because it just seemed so "fun". It seemed like the kind of hat that would make you want to go out and play in the snow. I didn't think that I had any yarn in my stash that would work (I wanted to use a variegated yarn), but then I remembered the DK-weight Cheyenne Interlacements merino wool I had left over from another project. It was already divided into two balls, and I figured that if I used two strands together, it would be close enough to the right gauge. I was worried not sure if there would be enough yarn for the hat, but I had a feeling that it would work out. And it did! Now I have two hats that I really like, so I'm ready to face the winter. Brrrrr. Well, almost.

Since this pattern is so stretchy, the hat will fit a good range of head sizes. I kept thinking about making one not just for myself, but for friends and family, too. And for charity knitting. I was envisioning Bubble Wrap Caps all over the globe. People everywhere united by the sisterhood of Bubble Wrap. Young, old, rich, poor. Wouldn't that be a beautiful thing? Bubbleheads of the world unite!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Coronet


coronet
Originally uploaded by Hither-n-Yarn.
Introducing "Coronet", from Knitty. I used Cascade Pastaza, less than one skein. Instead of making a "foldover" brim, I just knitted the cable band, then picked up the stitches and knit straight up for the rest of the cap, following the remainder of the instructions for the decreases. Since this is a bulkier yarn than listed for the pattern, I only needed to do 14 repeats of the cable instead of the pattern's specified 16 repeats for the smallest size. I picked up 78 stitches around (approximately 2 stitches for 3 rows, but making a multiple of 6). It was an easy knit, and I love the hat! I might even make just the cabled band part again some time, and just use it as a headband/ear warmer.
A special thanks goes to Allison, who was so kind and helpful in giving me information about the Coronet she made.

This was an interesting experience for me on different levels. To start with, it's the first hat I've ever knit. Although I like hats, I almost never wear them. But not because I don't want to. Putting on a hat usually means that I have to keep it on, for as long as I'm in public. Although my hair is curly, it's unusual in being very thin and fine. Wearing a hat flattens it out, but doesn't straighten it, so it just ends up looking incredibly strange. Add that to the static electricity that hats tend to produce, and I'd probably frighten small children by taking off my hat. But if I pull my hair into a ponytail, it's pretty flat anyway, and it doesn't matter so much.

The other thing that was so interesting about knitting the hat was my reaction to the yarn. It's wool and llama, and definitely a bit "scratchier" than I would normally like. I'm pretty sensitive to wool other than cashmere, merino, or alpaca. But a funny thing happened. While I was knitting with the yarn, and feeling the scratchiness of the wool, it occurred to me that I really didn't mind it. And in fact, I appreciated it. It made me think of the sheep and llamas who provided the wool for the yarn. And the roughness on my fingers, though slightly irritating, was also pleasant in an odd sort of way. Kind of like how I feel after I've done a lot of physical labor. Even though my body feels tired and sore, there's still some pleasure and satisfaction in it. Instead of just seeing the yarn as a finished product, or as the the means to an end, I was really appreciating it for itself, and what it took to make it.

Even Weirder

I was in a hurry to post my six weird things last night, so I didn't really take a lot of time to think about it. But it's hard to come up with a list right on the spot. So of course, all kinds of things came to me while I was in bed trying to sleep. So I decided to tag myself and play again. Yes, I'm weird enough to voluntarily list another six weird things about myself. So here we go again:

1. My normal body temperature runs lower than average. Usually 97 to 97.4 degrees F. I wear socks to bed nearly year 'round.

2. I have Raynaud's Phenomenon.

3. I hate black licorice, but love cooking with licorice-tasting herbs, like fennel, tarragon, and chervil; or with liqueurs such as Ouzo or Sambuca.

4. I can't burp. Really. Not naturally or by intent.

5. My ears often "fall asleep" when I lay on my side, unless I have a pillow where I can make a "dent" for my ear.

6. I despise talking on the telephone. Always have. I only have a cell phone because I'm on call for my job.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

6 Weird Things About Me

6 Weird Things About Me

Jacquie tagged me for this game, so OK, I'll play.

THE RULES:Each player of this game starts with the ‘6 weird things about you.’ People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog.”

1. I have worked at the same place for 27 years.
2. I skipped second grade.
3. It doesn't feel like Christmas until I've heard Alvin and the Chipmunks.
4. I like artwork that makes me smile.
5. I can never come up with "one" favorite color/book/movie, etc., because I always think it depends on my mood and the circumstances.
6. I tend to get all excited about some new hobby and do all kinds of research on it, only to drop it after a short time. Yes, the word of the day is dilettante. (Knitting seems to be sticking, though!)

And I tag... Eileen, Gwen, Stephanie, Lark, Elizagrrl, and LuLuPurl

What, Me Worry?

Yes, I admit it, I'm a worrier. This morning I read Margene's Zen post, and was impressed by her story of how she has worked to "stop the fretting". It certainly struck home. Then this afternoon I took my mother to see "Charlotte's Web" - one of my favorite books as a child. I won't even tell you how many times I cried during the movie, but I will say that one tissue wasn't really enough. When Wilbur is entered in the state fair, and he wants to know if he should worry about the competition from the pig in the next stall, Charlotte tells him "no", because it won't help. Seems to me that the writing on the wall is as clear as the writing in Charlotte's Web. I don't usually make New Year's resolutions, but I think this time I'll make an exception. And try to worry less.

Last night Lark gave me a narcissus bulb. Wouldn't you know that I had a bulb vase just waiting for a bulb? I forgot where I bought this, but it's got the attached metal ring to hold the leaves upright as they grow. It's sure to bring a sunny spot into a dreary winter. Thanks, Lark. I love flowers. And if you haven't yet seen her amazing Bubble Wrap Cap, be sure to check it out.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Double Shot of Espresso, Please

Today is definitely shaping up as a much better day than yesterday - thank goodness. I've reworked my "Espresso Logic" Arrowhead lace project, and I think this one will do. The second shot is the charm. (I'm not counting the innumerable swatches I did with various different yarns before doing the first Espresso.) I blocked the part I had finished last night, and it's laying flat. Yay! Of course, it's only about 1/3 done, but there's plenty of time to finish it before the swap. Now that I can do the arrowhead lace in my sleep, it's going pretty fast.

This weekend we'll be off to Las Vegas for what has become a traditional Christmas for us in the past few years. Latkes in the morning, and Chinese food for dinner. Maybe a movie in the afternoon. But no snow. Speaking of movies, we finally got around to seeing "Casino Royale" over the weekend. Loved it. We're big Bond fans, and both thought this was a great new installment in the series. No one will ever replace Sean Connery as my favorite Bond, but I think Daniel Craig just may be in the running for second place.

Just One of Those Days

Yesterday was the day from hell. I was home sick, my supposedly-completed Arrowhead lace project was a disaster, the toilet was clogged, and my washing machine overflowed all over the laundry room floor. And no, there's no drain. The laundry room is the old "coal room" in the basement of our house, and it's below the water/sewer lines. So the washing machine drains into a laundry tub, which drains into a sump pump, which then pumps the water up into the wastewater pipe. That's the plan, anyway. But the washer got out of balance (and it was just lingeree and a couple of very lightweight knit tops!), and "walked away" from the sink. An entire load of water then proceeded to spew forth onto the floor. Fortunately the floor in that room is about an inch lower than the rest of the basement, so by the time I heard the banging and ran downstairs to shut off the washer, the water was only just starting to creep over the lip. We have a shop vac in the basement (which, of course, had about an inch of dusty crud in it, as we'd been using it "dry"). No time to worry about emptying that out - I just yanked off the paper filter and started sucking up the water. Gee, I hardly got started when the 6-gallon tank was full. OK, so now it's full of yukky, dirty water, mixed with all of the strange little bits of things that DH had sucked up in his electronics workshop. Hmmmm... there was NO WAY I was going to be able to haul that thing up my rickety old stairs. I could probably lift it up enough to empty it in the sink, but all the crud in it would clog the filter in the sump pump. Shit. Why didn't I think of that and dump out the stuff in the shop vac first? Oh yeah, I was panicking. That was it. So instead I had to pour it out of the shop vac and into a bucket. One bucket at a time, up the stairs. Well, at least that cleaned out the shop vac. Another 3 1/2 tanks full of water later, I was mostly done. Except for the water that was still pooled under the washer and dryer, since I wasn't strong enough to move them. I just poked some towels under them and called it "good enough". DH felt so bad for me that he left work early and came home to finish cleaning things up and give me a hug.

There was one bright spot, though. I picked up a skein of Cascade Pastaza in a beautiful dark purple in the bargain bin at Black Sheep Wool a few weeks ago. I thought maybe I could use it for a hat. So I started looking for patterns, and spied Coronet on Knitty. Ah - perhaps that would work! I didn't have quite enough yardage, but then I noticed in the instructions that the brim is folded up. I never would have known from the photo. Maybe I could eliminate the foldover? I Googled for Coronet to see who else had done it and what their results were. Wouldn't you know... the third hit on the page was this one. Also knitted in Pastaza, and even in a similar color (blue and purple). I emailed Allison to ask her if one skein was enough, and crossed my fingers that she'd reply soon. And she did. Within a couple of minutes! She did use only one skein, and eliminated the foldover, just as I was thinking. Isn't the Internet wonderful, and even more wonderful are the fantastic people you "meet" who are so kind and helpful. Of course, in the meantime, Lark posted her darling Bubble Wrap hat. Tempting, very tempting. But I think I'll stick with Coronet, and if it doesn't work out, I'll move on to Bubble Wrap. And if it DOES work out, I'll just have to buy more yarn and make Bubble Wrap anyway.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Espresso Illogic

Well, CRAP. I finally finished my Arrowhead lace swap project (code-named "Espresso Logic"), washed it, and blocked it. It looked pretty good while blocking. But then when it dried, I discovered the sad truth. It is simply not going to stay flat. Period. I did wash and block my swatch, and it seemed okay. But this is clearly not going to work. I'm going to have to start over completely with something else. Bah, humbug! I guess the upside of the fiasco is that I can now probably knit arrowhead lace in the dark.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Is it a Virus?

Yesterday when I was getting dressed, I had a strong feeling that I wanted to wear some funky socks. Who, me? ME? Where did that idea come from? OMG. I think it must be something contagious. It's all those grrls at SnB, I just know it. They're not keeping their sock germs to themselves. But, alas, I have no funky socks. I had to settle for some tweedy-looking green socks, it was the best I could do. Well, I do have the one pair of anklets that I made, but those are my bed socks. And besides, I'm not sure I'd be up to wearing such bold stripes other than around the house. I don't think the virus has gotten THAT bad. Yet.

After putting on my conservative-yet-casual tweedy socks (and the rest of my clothes, of course), I headed out to Unraveled Sheep (LYS), where I picked up some Kidsilk Haze I'm planning to use for the Victorian Lace Today KAL, and an impulse buy of a few skeins of Jamieson's 2 ply Shetland Spindrift. I'd like to just try some sample knitting with it, and maybe try a little fair isle. Who knows, maybe it will even become a hat or mittens or something. Someday. Anybody have some good sources for learning how to do stranded knitting?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Gloomy Saturday

We were supposed to have a major snow storm last night, but we woke up to only a little bit of snow. That was good, because we had to go to a friend's house this morning to give her a bit of help with a computer networking problem, and we didn't want to have to go out if there was a ton of it. Supposedly more's on the way tonight, but it doesn't sound like it will be too bad - probably not more than a couple of inches at most. The day was pretty gray and gloomy, though, with all of the cloud cover.

Christmas Redux

I have been told that my Merry Christmas link from the previous post no longer works. However, I've found a new one, so let's all have a White Christmas, if not in reality, than at least in our hearts.

Friday, December 15, 2006

I've Got a Secret

It's my arrowhead lace project for our local SnB swap. After trying many different things, I finally think I have what will be the final product, and it's about half done. I'm hoping to have enough yarn to make a bonus piece to go along with it, but I'm keeping the whole thing a secret in case I don't have enough yarn, or (more likely) because it turns out to be a stupid idea, or it looks crappy after it's done and blocked. So at least for now, it's going to stay under wraps. All I'm going to say is that the pattern uses little arrowhead lace, and that I've code-named it "Espresso Logic".

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Season's Greetings

I finished the final pair of Fetching last night, so they're finally both done and ready to go! In celebration, I'm going to provide you with a little song and dance appropriate to the season.

To my Jewish friends and family, Merry Christmas Happy Hanukkah - yes Virginia, there is a Schmanta Claus.

And to all, Merry Christmas, and may all your Christmases be white.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Still Fetching

Pretty sunrise this morning, but it was fading a bit by the time I got out the camera. The Oquirrh mountains in the west were beautiful too - snow covered and lit up by the morning sun. Unfortunately, I can only just get glimpses of them between the trees and houses.

I did my second pair of Fetching with US4 needles, and had plenty of yarn to finish - I could have made them a couple of rows longer. They're pretty snug, but the niece they're for is very slender, so I think they'll be fine. So that's one pair done. I decided to frog the first pair and redo them. Besides not having enough yarn to do the thumbs, I noticed that I'd dropped a stitch in the cuff of one of them. I have one hand redone except for the thumb. Hopefully I'll get the pair finished tonight and can get them mailed off tomorrow.

Monday, December 11, 2006

And I thought _I_ had problems


If you can't read the caption, it says "My socks never match".

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Fetching Problem

The first time I made Fetching, I mistakenly used the wrong size needles (7 instead of 6). So of course, it was certainly understandable that I ran out of yarn and had to use contrasting yarn as trim. Now I've been requested to make 2 more pair for my nieces. I figured that using the size 5 needles I'd meant to use originally would be fine. But no... I did one pair and had enough to finish the main part, but not the thumb. Now I've got to decide how to deal with it. I'm not sure I have anything in my stash that will work to finish them off. Maybe I'll just bind off the thumb stitches and call it good. For the second pair, I'm going to go down to size 4 needles and see how that works. Maybe I'll get lucky. I think I'll do that before I decide what to do with the first pair - if there's enough yarn, I can redo the first ones. It's a quick knit.

I haven't been posting too much in the last couple of weeks... I've been under an enormous amount of stress at work, and it has been driving me insane. But things should finally let up a bit now. I'm just finishing up a 2-year data conversion project that had to be done by the end of this year. It's in place now, but not without a few glitches (of course). But looking at the big picture, it actually went quite well, considering all of the changes that were made. I'll still have to "gird my loins"* for the beginning of January, because we may have a few more issues pop out of the woodwork once we go to a new calendar year. But at least I'll have a little breathing room between now and then to try to recover my sanity.

* I don't know why this phrase always strikes me as being so funny. I guess it's just the way it sounds. But I was inspired to Google it today, since I never really thought about what it meant literally, only figuratively. Explanations can be found here and here. If you look at the comments in the second link, there's an interesting reference to a similar Spanish phrase, but it would be anatomically incorrect for me to use it. So I guess I'll have to stick with girding my loins.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Hot and Buttered

Anybody got a favorite recipe for a single Hot Buttered Rum? I don't want to have to make a batter ahead of time, I don't want to use ice cream, and I don't want anything that takes a whole stick of butter. I just want one. Well, actually, I want a whole pitcher of them since I had a freakin' lousy day today, but I still want to be able to make a good "individual" one. I just mixed one up with 1 1/2 oz Barcardi 8 (darn, all gone now), hot water, a pat of butter, a few cloves, 1 1/2 tsp of brown sugar, and a good sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice. I don't mind having to smoosh up (technical term, dontcha know) the butter with some spices, as long as it's only for one or two servings. OK, I guess I could take a recipe that uses a whole stick of butter and cut it down. Or just drink a lot more. Actually, I was considering having a box dinner tonight. A box of chocolates and a box of wine. Yeah, it was that kind of day. Thanks for letting me wine whine.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

It's not much, but...

It's a start.

I've been so busy with holiday projects that I haven't had much time to spend on Icarus (pattern is now available at Mim's website, for those who don't have the Interweave issue.) I only got this far because I hadn't yet gotten the yarn I needed to make two more pair of Fetching gloves for my nieces. But I got their yarn today (green for one, blue for the other), and now I'm going to have to set Icarus aside (once again) and get those done.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Filatura di Crosa Empire Shell in Zara

It's done! And I got it finished in time for the Christmas party. Well, at least done "enough". I haven't decided yet whether to add the crocheted edging around the bottom. I'll do a little bit of it and see whether I like it or not.

Pattern: The Empire Shell from the "Filatura Di Crosa: Zara & Zara Plus Fall/Winter 2005" booklet.

Yarn: Filatura Di Crosa Zara, in red.

Modifications: I made the top 2" longer than the pattern stated. I also made the back 4 stitches less in width.

Notes: The pattern for size small called for 8 skeins. I ordered 9, since I planned to make it a little longer than what the pattern specified. Even with the extra length, I used only a small amount of the 8th skein, and I could easily have left off a few rows of the neck ruffle to finish with only 7 skeins. I've decided that my gauge must have been a little tighter than recommended, but it was impossible to know since the sample gauge is given for ribbing "lightly stretched". So although I cast on 4 less stitches for the back in order to make the finished size a bit smaller (and had planned to do the same for the front), after the back was finished I decided I didn't need to do that for the front. It fits fine, although if I were to make it again, I'd just use the number of stitches indicated, so it would be slightly less stretched when wearing it.

The Neck Hug


Neck Hug
Originally uploaded by Hither-n-Yarn.
I finished my Lion and Lamb Neck Hug a few days ago, and even found buttons that match the colors perfectly. (Maybe too perfectly - they're such a good match you can barely see them.)

I wanted a gaiter instead of a scarf because my winter parka has velcro tabs that keep attacking my scarves. A gaiter will keep my neck warm without getting in the way of the velcro. And I really liked the idea of a gaiter that buttons, so that if I have a reason not to mess up my hair by pulling it over my head, I don't have to. Not that I usually have to worry about it, since my hair's usually a mess anyway. Sigh.

By the way, check out the newest version of Ashley's Neck Hug in Alchemy Synchronicity. Lovely.

Lorna's Laces Lion & Lamb, 1 skein, in "Camoflage"

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Zara Progress

I'm making good progress on the Zara Empire Shell - but the neck ruffle is going slow because it's about 400 stitches around, and I'm only about 2/3 done. Will it be finished for me to wear on Friday? Well, I think so. But just in case, I think I'll do the side seams now, and make the tie that goes through the top of the ruffle to gather it together. If I'm still not quite finished with the ruffle, I can thread the tie through the unfinished loops of knitting, rather than through the eyelet border it should have when it's done. Clever, huh? Well, in theory anyway.

This next photo is what I woke up to this morning. Sigh. I used to love having four "real" seasons, and the fact that our winters here were much milder and sunnier than in the East. But the older I get, the more cranky I get over the cold and the snow. No wonder people move South when they retire. Of course, if I can stay indoors and don't have to go out and drive around in it, it's not so bad.

Friday, November 24, 2006

A Walk in the Park

It was such a lovely day today, that I even managed to talk my husband into a walk in the park. It was in the low 40's, but sunny enough to make it lovely walking weather. A few photos we took along the way inspired me to do a "Walk With Me" ala Margene.



I tried to talk Princess into taking the walk with us. But she just gave me that "you want me to do what?" stare. I couldn't even tempt her by telling her all about Moxie and his tree climbing adventure. OK, no tree climbing for her.
Great Honk! The lake was totally filled with ducks and geese. (A gold star for getting the movie reference.)
A few birdwatchers by the lake. Hmmmm... aren't you feeling a little cold? A slight draft perhaps? (Gee, I hope that's not anybody I know. Or at least, nobody who reads this blog.)
And, of course, a texture photograph. Leaves in the pond.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Empire's Back

As hoped, I did get the back of the Filatura Di Crosa Empire Shell done last night. And here it is, being modeled by Brown Betty. Unlike husbands, she doesn't mind trying on the same thing a zillion times, and never even complains when I stick her with pins. I'm hoping to have the whole thing done before the end of the month, so I can wear it to a Christmas party in early December.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pirates and Walkers

Knitting progress: Almost done with the back of the Empire Shell. I had hoped to get it finished this afternoon, but had too many errands to run to do any knitting - but I should be able to get it finished tonight, and maybe get started on the front.

But on the bright side, I got to go down to Draper for a stop at Pirate O's. What a great store - too bad I don't get down there very often. I came back with all kinds of goodies - some anchovy-stuffed olives (which I love, even though I normally don't like anchovies), some Valrhona dark chocolate, Sanders fudge sauce (from Michigan - brings back many memories for DH), Lavosh crackers, and a great find: Walkers mincemeat tarts, made with Glenfiddich. And boy are they good! (You can also get them without the Glenfiddich). And Jackie, not to tempt you or anything, but they have a whole shelving unit full of Walkers products. On the way home, we stopped at Nevole's for some New York style pizza. It was very good, and we'd go there again, but we still think the best in the state is Tommy Angelo's (but it's not easy for us to get to since it's on the air force base now). Rusted Sun is probably still going to be our "usual".

For your drooling pleasure (these remind me of the raisin cookies I used to get at the bakery):

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

53

That was the temperature at 7:15 a.m. when I took this sunrise photo from downtown Salt Lake City. Amazing.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Lightly Stretched

This is the top I'm working on now, from the Zara & Zara Plus 2005 book. The gauge says 24 st = 4" in 2x2 rib "lightly stretched". Hmmmph. Now that seems a bit open to interpretation, doesn't it? I'm using Filatura Di Crosa Zara, which is very elastic. I'm knitting the size "small" (34" bust finished measurement), but I cast on 4 stitches less, as I wanted it to be a bit closer to 32/33". I'm knitting it flat, so I was expecting to get somewhere close to or just over 16" in width. I've got about half of the back done, and unstretched it's barely 10" wide. If I stretch it almost fully, it's close to 20". In order to get it to 16", I have to pull it out about 3/4 of the way between compacted and fully stretched. That seems to be a bit more stretching than "lightly stretched". What to do, what to do... continue on and hope for the best? That's one of the reasons I decided not to attempt to convert the pattern to knitting in the round. It leaves open a lot more options if I need to adjust the size. Maybe for the front I'll cast on the original number of stitches. I guess I'll finish the back and see what I think, then decide. I must say, though, I'm really loving the Zara yarn. It's so soft and squishy. I shall call him squishy. And he shall be mine. And he shall be my squishy!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Camoflaged

I wanted to make this neck gaiter to wear with my heavy winter coat. The colorway of Lorna's Laces Lion & Lamb I really wanted was "Gold Hill", but I also planned on buying some other yarn along with it (the total of both would give me free shipping), but for months either one or the other was out of stock. Finally I gave up and bought the colorway "Camoflage". I was a bit turned off by the name, but it was difficult to find colors that would go with my coat. When I bought the coat, I was walking to work every day, and wanted something that was both very warm and very visible. And I got it - I look like a walking construction cone in it. But at least I was a little less likely to get run over in the street. After I got the yarn, though, I wasn't quite so excited about it. There was a lot of dark steel blue in it, and I wasn't sure I was going to like it. And, in truth, it's a little dull just to look at by itself. But as it turns out, the coat has a dark gray lining, and the colors actually work - and perhaps even better than the color I was originally looking at. But the irony of it. Wearing my bright orange construction cone costume coat for visibility, with a camoflage neck wrap. Go figure.

And the other yarn I bought with it? Filatura Di Crosa Zara for this shell. I've got to get working on it if I hope to wear it this Christmas.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Afternoon Musings

I cast on for Icarus last night. It will probably be a slow project since I have so many other things to get to before Christmas, but at least I've made a start! Fortunately, the main body of the shawl should go pretty quickly. I just wish I wasn't trying to knit dark red laceweight yarn with dark red needles. I'm forced to look geeky at SnB with my REI headlamp. But I think I'm going to start a new trend, and everyone will be wearing them soon. I'm such a fashion-setter.

I just got back from lunch at my favorite little pastry shop, Les Madeleines. Sigh. It's both a blessing and a curse to live only a couple of blocks away from this little piece of heaven. It is virtually impossible for me to ever go there without getting the most incredible pastry I've ever had, their Kouing Aman. (Unless of couse, they're sold out.) Fortunately that was not the case today. On Katherine's advice, I also came home with a tropical parfait, something I haven't tried there before (it's really hard to get past the Kouing Aman. Or the chocolate croissants. Or the fruit tarts. Or... well, you get the picture). I'll be having the parfait tonight for dessert. Oh, and I know this will make Gwen happy - they do make their iced coffee with coffee ice cubes. Of course.

After that delightful lunch, I came home and checked my mail and Google News. It's bad enough to be inundated with all the latest crap about Britney Spears and Tom Cruise, but my God, did I have to see this? I'm speechless. On so many levels.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Seduced



Yes, it's another non-knitting-related post. (Well, actually, I will slip in something about knitting, I promise.)

I admit it. I love good food. Sunday I made my usual morning trek to Costco. And there, in all their glory, were huge King Crab legs. Whispering my name as I slowly wandered by the seafood case. "Halibut Oscar!" I thought. I was seduced. Totally seduced. So I had them wrap up one of those bad boys for me. One leg, one pound. Next, over to the fish section for a nice piece of Alaskan halibut. Would they have asparagus? Yes! And wait, what's that I see? Butternut squash, all nicely peeled and cubed and ready to cook. Perfect! So for dinner, I tossed the cubed squash with a little olive oil and some fresh thyme from the garden, then popped it in the oven to roast. While that was roasting, I de-shelled the crab, steamed the asparagus, and sauteed the fish. Then I made my never-fail Hollandaise sauce: egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and melted butter (plus a bit of fresh tarragon, just because I had it), all whirred up in the blender. Simple and delicious. Halibut topped with crab, asparagus, and hollandaise, with the roasted squash on the side. DH was in orbit. Well, at least until he had to wash the dishes. I cook, he cleans up. Fair is fair.

I also made a cocktail from a recipe I found on the Internet, called "Worried Monk". I found it when searching for drinks using Orgeat syrup. I'm not sure what's stranger - the fact that someone actually created a cocktail using this combination of ingredients, or the fact that I happened to have all of them on hand: white rum, coconut rum, triple sec, yellow Chartreuse, lime juice, and Orgeat syrup. After all, how many people do you know in the U.S. who have yellow Chartreuse. Or green. (I have both.) Anyway, I'm glad I found the recipe. It's quite tasty.

And now we return to our regularly scheduled knitting posting. (See, I promised.) Yesterday I had made up a few samples of various ideas for our arrowhead lace swap, and was holding them up to me and looking at them in the mirror. It was only then that I realized that the sweater I was wearing had stripes of - you guessed it - little arrowhead lace. Then this morning at work, I noticed that one of my staff members was was wearing a sweater with arrowhead lace. The word was out.

Tonight's SnB was great... I got to see the start of Erin's beautiful Venezia pullover. Blogless Karen was wearing a stunning sweater that looked totally fab on her, and the angora in it made it as soft as a whisper. I covet it. Miriam shared some yummy dark chocolate (my fav). And yippee! Laurie brought soap! I bought three bars. "Gentle" for me, "Smolder" for DH, and "Zinger" just for fun.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Language Fun

Last week our SnB group was discussing irritating language usage. I mentioned that one of my own pet peeves is the written use of the possessive instead of the plural. One of my examples was the sign on 300 West near Costco, which said "In-line, Midbox and Pad's Available". Every time I saw that sign I couldn't help thinking "Pad's what are available?" Today I noticed that someone has finally painted out the apostrophe. Thank you.

Last night we had a decent but inexpensive French wine, and I decided to look it up on the Internet. Not surprisingly, some of the search results were in French, so I clicked on the link to do a machine translation of the page into English. This was my result:
Granacha 2003 is a pure wine Grenache, trés dense and rich in alcohol, it is a solid wine to be heated the winter.

Vine growers of Estezargues:
Festive wines - a co-operative cellar except standard! Under the brilliant crook of Jean-François Nicq (now party to fly of its own wings in its field of the Red Scarves) all the bad habits were given up, finished the selected yeasts, the excess treatments. After grape harvest with full maturity, the wine making is done without suffers and at low temperature in order to preserve to the maximum the fruit. The result is there: wines greedy, full, fleshy, with drinking in their youth, when they are still full with the sun and the heat of the rolled rollers, emblem as of the these Rhone-native soils of the accesses of Lirac.
LMAO!! It made me wonder just how mangled a paragraph would be if you repeatedly translated it from one language to another. So I took my previous posting on Green Gableness and translated it from English to French, from French to German, and then from German to English. Here's the final result:
Here the proof - my second green gear wheel finally made. (And this mark is even green it). I made just these a little smaller than first. I like the adjustment better these, but I think the fact that I like filé red that I used myself the first time, that better than this green (both of them is brown wading animals from sheep cotton). But I will certainly carry both of them. It is ungerad, as I had completely different cord experience with the same model. First went without any jerkiness and fast. This was a dog, and I am lucky, in order to let it terminate. Now I can travel above to some from my other intended projects! I must begin to find me outside what I will make for the exchange of point arrow tying lacing of SnB.
I'm so easily amused. I could entertain myself for days this way. I challenge all of you to take one of your postings and do the same.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Green Gableness


Here's the proof - my second Green Gable, finally done. (And this time, it's even green). I made this one just a bit smaller than the first. I like the fit of this one a little better, but I think I like the red yarn I used the first time better than this green (both are Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece). But I'll certainly wear both. It's odd how I had such a completely different knitting experience with the same pattern. The first one went smoothly and quickly. This one was a bitch, and I'm glad to have it finished. Now I can move on to some of my other planned projects! I need to start figuring out what I'm going to do for the SnB arrowhead lace swap...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Done and Blocking

Green Gable is done, washed, and drying. Finally! And I think the fit will be okay. I was so tired of working on it that when I got to the ribbing on the second sleeve, and knew I only had a three rows left, I promised myself that I was not going to stop for any reason until I was done. Not even though I had just had a big glass of iced tea and already felt like I had to pee. (You can see where this is going, I'm sure.) Just as I was finishing up the last row of ribbing, I came across a knot in the yarn. DAMN! Wouldn't you know it - this was the only skein of yarn I didn't rewind on my ball winder. And all I had left was a few stitches and the bind-off. I knew that the right thing to do was to rip out the 150-or-so stitches I'd done, and reknit them with a fresh piece of yarn after the break, especially since I had plenty of yarn. But, the bathroom was calling and I wasn't going to go back on my promise to myself. And besides, I just wanted to get the silly thing done and out of the way. So, I just went ahead and finished it. So there. Finito.

On a more positive note, I made a very yummy dinner tonight. I baked some spaghetti squash and also cooked a bit of whole-wheat capellini to go with it, since the squash was a small one. Then I chopped up a can of artichoke hearts and added them to the squash/pasta, added a bit of fresh chopped rosemary, and grated in some cheese (some kind of French hard cheese - I don't know the name of it). For a sauce, I grabbed a jar of Alfredo sauce out of the pantry and added a couple of tablespoons of homemade pesto (I make a lot of it and freeze it in ice-cube trays - then I can just grab a cube of it whenever I want). Mixed the whole thing together and served it with extra grated cheese on top, and a nice glass of French Chablis. Hubby was very pleased. And I have some leftover artichokes and Alfredo/pesto sauce - I think I'll make an omelette with it tomorrow. Another glass of that wine and I'm going to forget all about that stupid sweater. I think I'll go watch Dave. Seems appropriate for post-election entertainment.

Knitting Progress

I'm nearly finished with Green Gable, but I have to say that I'm not really motivated by it. The first one I made was a quick, easy knit, and I love wearing it. This one seems to just have the wrong karma. Hopefully I'll be finished with it soon, and it will be wearable. It seems just a bit snug, but I think it will grow a bit when washed. It'll be good to have that project over and done with. In the meantime, I've finished two wristwarmers from my cashmere... but they're not the same. After making the first one, I decided it was a little too tight, so I changed the pattern for the second one, and I like it much better. So now I'll go back and reknit the first one to match the second. Also good news is that it will only take half the skein of yarn for both wristwarmers, so I'll have enough to do another pair, or perhaps something else.

I also bought some yarn for the SLC SnB arrowhead lace swap, and have a general idea of what I want to make... but I'll have to do some sample swatches.

My trip to Tucson was great. The weather was fabulous (80's during the day, 50's at night), and we had a wonderful time. I can definitely see myself moving down there in a few years. We toured the city, went to the DeGrazia gallery, the Richard Avedon "In the American West" exhibit at the Center for Creative Photography (fabulous!), browsed art stores and antiques fairs, went to the Agua Caliente park, hit the 4th Avenue shopping district several times, went to the All Souls Parade, ate lots of good food, went to Trader Joe's three times, drove to Tubac for an afternoon, had a nice time with our friends, and even spent a little time in a casino before our flight home. All in all, a perfect vacation.

I'll leave you with a couple of images from the All Souls procession for your enjoyment:

Monday, November 06, 2006

Putrified Pink

I just got back from a lovely visit to Tucson (more on that later). While waiting in the SLC airport for my flight, I had the great misfortune of entering the women's restroom in the E concourse that's located in the food court (behind Starbuck's). It was so hideous I had to go back and get my camera (try explaining to a bunch of women in a restroom why you're taking photos...) The person who designed this restroom should be shot fired. Did someone just decide that it should be decorated in pink and gray, and just order "pink" countertops, stalls, and tile without bothering to see out what color they really were? Well, perhaps I'm stretching things a bit in calling the tile pink. It was more of a peachy-sand color. The countertops were not a bad color, but they were a warm pink that didn't coordinate AT ALL with either the color of the tile or the color of the stalls. Or the colors on the floor. The stalls were a ghastly pink with a slight purple undertone - sort of a vomitous orchid. I can't believe any company would even spew forth manufacture something in this color. Unfortunately, my camera could not capture the true essence of this color. I really do normally like pink, even though I don't wear it often. But even she-who-loves-pink would have cringed in horror at this sight.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween SnB

Being that it was Halloween, last night's SnB was only lightly attended. But it was nice, because everyone was in on the same conversation. Margene bemoaned the error in the Toasty Toes socks she knitted (like anyone would care, it just makes them extra-special, doesn't it?), while Miriam removed half of her clothing partway through the evening (I'm not telling which half). Meanwhile, Bruce showed off his legs in his Fred Flintstone costume. Woo-hoo! As usual, a good time was had by all... oh, and Happy Birthday Jacquie!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Sneaking In Some Knitting Time

My sister's on her way home, and I did manage to sneak in a little knitting time while she was here. This is (hopefully) the start of my cashmere wrist warmers. I'm designing the pattern, and I'm praying hopeful that the size will work out. I've done a lot of test knitting and frogging, so I hope this one will be the real deal.

I think I should carry a camera with me everywhere I go. Thursday night I was on my way to a family dinner at Cafe Med (good food, great prices, and free entertainment on Thursday nights - how can you go wrong?) , and was totally bowled over by the beautiful sunset. If only I'd had a camera with me, you could be enjoying it too.

At the restaurant, we didn't get to see our favorite belly dancer Papillon, who is cute as a button and a wonderful dancer. Instead, we had three belly dancers who put on a great show, but unfortunately, I didn't get the name of their group - but I think they're there on the 4th Thursday of each month, while Papillon is there on the first three Thursdays (or at least, she has been - I hope she still is).

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

It's Working!

Yeah!! After frogging my Green Gable back to the underarms and adding 4 extra rows, it now looks like it's going to be a good fit. Phew!

But not much time for knitting this week, my sister is visiting me from Massachusetts, and I'll be pretty busy.

I still need to get started on my cashmere wrist warmers. I think I have the pattern all worked out. Maybe I can sneak in a couple of hours here or there...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Butterfly Lace Dishcloth


Butterfly Lace Dishcloth
Originally uploaded by Hither-n-Yarn.
I finally got around to finishing my first dishcloth, using the Butterfly lace pattern and about 50 grams of Lion Cotton. I didn't notice until after I'd finished, but one row of my butterflies has an extra set of wings. I'll just blame it on DDT.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights*

What's wrong with this picture? This is my first (red) Green Gable, with my new (green) Green Gable sitting on top of it. WTF??? Do we see a slight sizing problem? I went to a conference in Phildelphia, and took along Green Gable. But unfortunately, I didn't take along my first one for comparison. Then, because I didn't end up with as much time to knit as I thought, I didn't get to the underarms (where I could try it on for size) until I got to the airport for my return trip. Yes, I did in fact try it on in the airport restroom. It seemed like it might be too small, but it was hard to tell without a mirror, and I wasn't about to parade around the women's restroom in my bra with a little piece of knitting around my shoulders. So I continued knitting, and waited for my chance on the airplane. Trying on a piece of knitting in an airplane restroom is not exactly an easy task, by the way. And again, it did seem like it was a little too small. However, when I made the first one, I did a couple of extra rows right before separating the sleeves, and had decided not to do that with this one, so I expected it to be a little smaller. So there I was, with a dilemma. A 4 1/2 hour flight with no other knitting to work on. And my book was in my checked luggage. Should I forge ahead, hoping that it was going to be okay, but knowing that I'd have to frog it if it wasn't? Or should I stop and wait until I got home and could compare it to the first sweater? Hmmmm... well, with nothing else to do on the plane but watch a documentary on crossword puzzle tournaments (who picks out these movies????), I decided to go ahead and knit. I thought that maybe if the armhole really seemed a bit small, I could just pick up a couple of extra stitches or something. So I knitted away. After the first movie, they actually put on a second - "The Devil Wears Prada". At least I had something to watch while I was knitting. But alas, this morning I was faced with the sad truth. The top is indeed too small. After reviewing my notes, I realized that I had accidentally done an extra 4 rows in the lace section on the first sweater, in addition to the extra rows at the underarm. Grrrrr. I guess that's what happens when the pattern doesn't have any stitch counts listed other than for cast-on. Nothing to verify against. Evidently I got confused by the "repeat" instructions... how do you "repeat" something unless you've already done it before? So instead of doing the lace sections 5 times in total on the first sweater, I did them once, and then "repeated" them another 5 times - knitting 24 rows instead of 20. Shit. This time around, I knitted the pattern as it was intended, without realizing I'd done it differently before. Crapola! Now I have to decide whether to just rip it back to the armholes and do enough extra rows there to make up the difference, or rip back all the way to the lace and make the same "mistake" I did the first time. Arrgggh... all of that knitting time wasted.

* Wasted Days and Wasted Nights ~ in memoriam: Freddy Fender

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Packing

I haven't been doing a lot of knitting for the past few days for various reasons (too busy), but I've been doing some sample swatches while deciding what to do with my cashmere. I still think I'll do wrist warmers of some sort, but I'll probably make up a pattern and I'm still working out what I want to do.

Meanwhile, I've been packing for my trip to Philadelphia tomorrow. It'll be a lot of hours in the airport and on the plane (plus my evenings in Philly), so I'm trying to make sure I have enough to work on. I'll be taking my latest Green Gable as the main project, but I'm afraid that won't last for the whole trip, so I'm trying to figure out what else I can take, but which won't take up a lot of room. Maybe I'll just take a couple of skeins of cotton and make more dishcloths. Oh but wait... I still haven't finished my first one. I guess I should finish the first one before I think about making more. Well, I'm sure I'll come up with something. And maybe I'll throw a book in my suitcase, too, just in case.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Fino and Cashmere

Here's my Alpaca With a Twist "Fino" purchase from yesterday (color is "ruby slippers"), along with my precious skein of Black Pearl Yarns 100% Cashmere, in colorway "Bamboo", purchased from YarnBotanika. And oh, is it delicious. I think it will become a pair of wrist warmers. Either that or a neck warmer. Something to wear right against the skin. Mmmmmmm. Saw it (Mim's) , touched it, had to have it.


And now, thanks to Marsha for providing us with a button to distract your attention while we post non-knitting-related items. Ahem.



I Don't Get It, Chapter 2:

My cat simply refuses to finish the last few kibbles in her bowl. Ever. I think she'd rather starve for days than eat that last little bit. What gives? Is she leaving something for Miss Manners? She'll whine and cry until we put more in the bowl. And even though the entire bag of cat food sits in the mud room where she could easily get into it (literally), she never touches it. Well, maybe she rubs up against it occasionally, cats are like that, you know. Yesterday morning my husband refused to put any more food in her bowl. We took a photo (upper left photo) and decided to see if she'd actually eat what was there. After all day in the house by herself, she did eat a couple more kibbles, but not much. This is what was still in the bowl at dinnertime (upper right photo). Of course, she complained loudly about it when I got home. And as soon as I filled the bowl, she dived right in. I just don't get it.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Lonesome Skeining


Waist pack and Dish cloth
Originally uploaded by Hither-n-Yarn.
I finished the waist pack I was making as a gift. I knitted it on size 7 needles, and used less than one skein of Lion Cotton. Having several skeins of this yarn, I also started my very first dishcloth - the Butterfly Lace from this site. It's an easy lace pattern, but still I had a few rows go awry that I had to redo. Sheesh. This doesn't bode well for my plan to do Icarus.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I Don't Get It

It's a gorgeous fall day today. I replaced the grass in my (tiny) front yard with water-wise perennials in the spring, and made sure to include plants that would give lots of color late in the year. And they're certainly doing that! It's much more interesting than the grass was.

I picked up a lovely hank of Fino by Alpaca With a Twist today, that will hopefully someday become the lovely Icaraus shawl, designed by Utah's own very talented Miriam. It's a beautiful deep red called "ruby slippers". Mmmmmm... nice and soft.

But there's something I just don't get. The guy renting the house across the street is almost always sitting on the front steps. All day. All evening. All the time. Not doing anything, just sitting. He seems young and healthy. So what's the deal? Now I could understand it in the summer when it was blazingly hot. He has no air conditioning, so it was probably much more comfortable to be out on the porch. Like the people down the street - also renters with no air conditioning. The whole family spent the summer sitting out on the lawn under a big tree. We called them the "tree people". But summer has passed, the tree people have gone inside, and still this guy just sits. I can't understand how anyone could just sit on a porch for hours and hours doing nothing. Day after day. Isn't there something to do? The beautiful city library is only a couple of blocks away, and has lots of comfortable sitting areas. How about reading? Or at least looking at the pictures in the magazines? How about taking a walk around Liberty Park, or a hike up City Creek Canyon? Volunteer work? Some kind of hobby? I definitely don't get it. All of that time wasted, when he could be knitting.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Monday Musings

Last night I worked on my Waist Pack for the Lonesome Skein KAL and cast on for another Green Gable (this time it's actually green!). I'm planning to take Green Gable to Philadelphia with me next week, and I wanted to have it already cast on and at least have a few rows knitted before I left, so that I wasn't trying to deal with the cast-on while sitting in an airplane.

Saturday night I had the pleasure of seeing Lily Tomlin at Kingsbury Hall. What a hoot! It was mostly a very liberal audience, but there were a few people who didn't seem too pleased with her politics. I don't know what they were expecting. Nothing but old Laugh-In routines? Who knows. Anyway, we had a great time, and I'm glad we had the opportunity to go.

"Delusions of grandeur make me feel a lot better about myself" ~ Lily Tomlin

Sunday, October 08, 2006

I'm a Screamer

There are some days ya just wanna scream, aren't there? Especially when you have to rip out hours of knitting. (That never happens, does it?) But screaming is very theraputic. I ran across this cute little doll at Big Lots the other day. If you press her belly, she screams like this. I thought it was so funny that I had to buy a whole bunch of them to pass out to some of my stressed-out friends, and they all love them. It makes me smile just to look at her... and when you feel like screaming, you just give her tummy a little squeeze, and she does the screaming for you. It's amazing how much better it makes me feel. If someone calls and asks me a stupid question, I can just have her scream into the phone for me. Or if someone dumps more work on me, she's more than happy to scream at them, too. She's most useful at the office, but I have a second one at home, standing by in case I have to frog a lot of knitting. I actually did have to frog a lot of the yoke on my Drops pullover the other night because I did two decrease rows in a row, instead of every-other row, and didn't notice it until four or five rows later. But oddly enough, I didn't really mind it too much. I think it's because I was really enjoying knitting it. In fact, I'm going to miss working on it now that I'm done.

But I think she needs a name. Any suggestions? I've sort of been thinking of her as "Screamin' Sally", but I do have two of them, and each should have her own name.

And if you ever feel like screaming, you can just come here and have her scream for you, too. I'm happy to share.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Oceans Away!

My Drops 88-23 pullover is done! Doesn't it look like I'm all set for a nice trip to the Mediterranean? Too bad I didn't have this for my trip to Greece! But never fear, it will see the ocean yet. I wanted to make it for my "Ultimate Caribbean" cruise in February, so now I'm all set.

I used three skeins of Douceur et Soie to knit the pattern in size small, but only used 4 or 5 grams from the third skein. I ran out of the second skein about halfway through the yoke. If I'd made the pattern as specified for the bottom (not increasing the hip size), and hadn't increased the length of the sleeves (and had re-used my swatch yarn), I might have just barely made it with two, but it would have been very close. Douceur is 225 yards per skein, Vivaldi is 305. Kidsilk Haze is 270 yards, so I think two skeins of KSH would have worked. If I wanted to try it again with only two skeins of Douceur, I'd probably decrease the overall length by an inch, just to be safe. The pattern length is 22", so even at 21", it would still be a good length. The upside is that I have most of a skein left for my stash. Susan's Branching Out, perhaps?

Pattern Corrections:
  • In instructions for "Body", where it says to put a marker at each side, the resulting number of stitches on each side should read (49-54-59-66-72) instead of (49-104-59-66-72).
  • The last instruction for the "Sleeve" says to bind off 8 sts each side of marker. This should be 4 sts each side of marker, for a total of 8 sts bound off.

Modifications:
  • Used Douceur et Soie instead of the recommended Vivaldi. I still used the US 10-1/2 needles specified, but used US 15 for the bind-offs.
  • Instead of just casting on normally and picking up the cast-on edge for the hems at the bottom and sleeves, I did provisional cast-ons, because I was worried about the cast-on-edge being too tight. But I think it would have been fine if using the size 15 needles for the cast-on edge.
  • Made the sleeves 2" longer (not necessary, but I wanted the length to be about halfway between elbow and wrist, and the specified pattern length would only have been just past the elbow).
  • Cast on with the same number of stitches as the bust and decreased to the waist, then increased back to the bust. This was a mistake - it's very loose around the hips. If making it again, stick to the pattern!
  • The final decrease row at the neckline made the neck opening much smaller than what is shown in the pattern. I undid my cast-off and tinked the last row (the decrease row), and then just cast off again.
New Techniques Used:
  • Knitting a raglan from the bottom-up instead of top-down
  • Knitting and turning a hem (I liked this method, especially the way the pattern used a row of K2/YO's at the edge to make the edge scalloped.

Friday, October 06, 2006

What Happens When You're Bored

I had an incredibly boring afternoon today.

Normally I don't take an afternoon break because I've got way too much stuff to do, but today was an exception. I was finishing up some projects, and didn't want to get started on a new big project right before the weekend, so I was doing some piddly stuff and trying to find small things to keep me busy for the rest of the day. I thought I might as well take an afternoon break, but then found myself with nothing much to do... so I brought up MS Paint and started doodling. After creating a crude beautiful mountain and lake scene, I decided that it was so childish lovely that Margene should be there in her ribby cardi and Opal socks, knitting something pink. So there you have it. (This is what happens when you don't have any knitting handy. A word to the wise.)

I decided you couldn't really get a good look at Margene and her socks in the main photo, so here's a closeup. Astonishing likeness, if I do say so myself.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Warm Hands, Warm Heart

These are my Mrs. Beeton wristwarmers (made without the beads), and my wrist warmers from Last Minute Knitted Gifts (If you have the first edition of this book, be sure to check the errata, because this pattern has some corrections.) I love how the Mrs. Beetons look with a jacket.

On the LMKG wrist warmers, I know what you're thinking, but I did not run out of yarn. When I was almost done, I thought that with such a neutral color, they looked a bit boring, so I added a bit of dark red at the end for a little zip (same yarn as I used for the Mrs. Beetons). For the main part of the wrist warmers, I used a cashmere blend yarn that I got on sale.

Both of these are for me, me, me... (selfish, aren't I?) And with the weather like it's been, I'm going to be needing them very soon. But for now, we're having a spectacularly beautiful (but rainy) fall along the Wasatch Front.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Shake Your Booties

I decided to post about the baby booties I made earlier this year, because I thought one of them would be a fun project for the Lonesome Skein knitalong, or for anyone else looking for a quick project, especially with the holidays coming up. I'd like to draw your attention to the "ruby slippers" on the right side of the photo. These are the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road booties, and I think they're just too cute. Trust me, the photo does not do them justice at all. You can probably make at least 2 pair from one skein of Glitterspun. The version on the left side of the photo is a similar pattern, but crocheted instead of knitted (I think I got the pattern from Crochet Pattern Central, but it's not there any more. The pattern says it came from Crochet World magazine). The crocheted cowboy booties turned out cute, but I hated making them, so I doubt I'll do them again. Save yourself a lot of headache and buy 'em here instead.

The angora booties in the second photo (my camera couldn't handle the bright white when photographed along with the other booties) are from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, and use one skein of angora yarn. This was an unusual pattern - the toe is double-knitted. It was an interesting technique to learn, but I don't think I'd care too much for the booties if knitted in a plain yarn - the squared toes remind me of little duck feet. But in the fuzzy (and oh-so-soft) angora, they're very sweet.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Feeding and Frogging

I've set up a site feed, so see sidebar for the link to subscribe... if you dare.

I was not a happy camper last night. I had the second sleeve for my Drops pullover just a few rows from completion. But then I noticed a small problem - I'd totally forgotten to do the increases. CRAP! So I had to frog most of the sleeve. Fortunately I didn't have to re-do the hardest part of the sleeve (the provisional cast-on and hem), and surprisingly, it turned out not to be too difficult to frog the Douceur et Soie. So by the end of the evening, I had the sleeve almost back to where I was when I had to frog it.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Let's Get Waisted

This is Glampyre's Waist Pack, made from Lily Sugar & Cream in sage green, on US10 needles. Using the Sugar & Cream, I used a little more than 2 balls, but my gauge was looser than what the pattern specified, so using smaller needles and getting the right gauge, it might be possible to make it out of just 2 balls. The pattern specifies one ball of Lion Cotton, which is 236 yards. The Sugar & Cream was 95 yards per ball, for a total of 190 yards, so I was short of the recommended yarn - if I'd used the Lion Cotton, I'm sure one ball would have been plenty, even at my looser gauge. This was a fun little project, and I get lots of compliments on it. In fact, a friend asked if she could buy one from me - I told her no, but that I'd make one for her as a gift. So I think this will be my project (or one of them) for the Lonesome Skein KAL. I've got several skeins of Lion Cotton hanging around.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Di-aaaaaaa-naaa

Nothing much new to report today. I'm still working on the Drops pullover and have the body and one sleeve done - still need to do the other sleeve and the yoke.

So... I'll get my blog caught up with another project from earlier this year. This one is "Diana" from Hot Knits by Melissa Leapman. I made it with Interlacements "Cheyenne" merino wool (discontinued). It was an interesting knit, and I liked the twisted rib. What surprised me was how the back goes together. The book has no photos of the back, and although the schematic shows the straps coming from the shoulders, I didn't really "get" how it was going to go togther until I was knitting the straps. I followed the pattern instructions and sewed the bound-off ends of the straps together at the back of the neck - but if I were to make this again, I'd graft it instead. (I made this before I learned how to Kitchener.) DH loves this sweater. He likes how it looks in the back, and he really likes how varigated yarn knits up (he's already thinking about another vest). I, on the other hand, always love how the skeins of varigated yarn look, but tend to be disappointed in how they look when knitted. I like this top, but if I make it again, I'll use a plain yarn to show off the ribbing pattern.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Cloud Knitting

I've started knitting the Drops 88-13 pullover I've been wanting to make. I decided to use Douceur et Soie instead of the Vivaldi specified in the pattern. It's a much lighter yarn (about half the weight), but I think it will be okay. At Tuesday's SnB, Eileen said that it looked like a cloud. It's really true. The knitted fabric is so light and ethereal that I can hardly feel it on the needles. It really is like knitting a cloud. When I was knitting on it the other day, the sunlight was coming through the window and the yarn practically glowed where the light hit it - it was truly a thing of beauty. Hopefully I'll like it as much when it's finished as I do on the needles.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Fully Vested

It's done! I finished the vest requested by DH, and he's very pleased. This was the first time he'd ever asked me to knit anything for him. He even helped design it - he was very specific about wanting a very heavy wool vest, and choose garter stitch as the pattern (so it would be very thick and dense). He also helped pick out the yarn. For the most part, it was a quick knit, but picking up all of the stitches for the ribbing along the front and collar nearly did me in. I had to re-do it several times before I got the right count. He wanted to wear it to work yesterday because he has lunch on Thursdays with friends and wanted to show it to them (one of them has a wife who knits), but I just couldn't quite get it finished in time, so he'll have to wait until next week to show it to them. But he wore it all last night and wore it to work today. He emailed me to tell me he'd gotten several compliments on it. Now let's hope the knitting curse doesn't catch up with me.

Yarn: 2 skeins Wool Pak Yarns in "Goldstone" (used about 1-3/4 skeins), plus Patons Classic Wool in "Deep Olive" (I used about 3 1/2 skeins). The body was done with one strand of each yarn, and the ribbing was done with 2 strands of the Patons, both on US10 needles. Design was my own.