Thursday, December 20, 2007

Croshay!

Okay, so this is actually old, but let's pretend it's not! Because I have very little other content to offer you.

I finally mustered the nerve to crochet something marginally useful and pretty. Not that I can't crochet, but I don't have the pattern-reading fluency yet. And I can't make anything too complicated because I'm left-handed and if I'm not careful it all comes out backward. So I made the Mermaid Scarf, which is a free pattern from Interweave.

The stats:
5 1/2 balls of Laines du Nord Cashsilk
H hook
Lots of safety pins, but not too much time!

Once I got the hang of where to attach the motifs to each other, this thing was a breeze.

DSC01744

It comes out something like this.

I don't know what I did to the camera settings, I'm sorry.

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Here it is laying in a lump.

Or you can roll it up, which makes for an interesting gifty package, if you need something gifty.

DSC01737

I didn't have enough space to wet-block it, because we were in the process of packing to move. But I was able to steam it out fairly well. Maybe if I had tougher little fingers I could have gotten it to be more open.

I love this little scarf, but I need something warmer these days. While we haven't had very cold weather here, I still like to bundle up.

Only five days 'til Christmas! I can't wait to see my family, especially the little kids when they get excited.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ten things

Sarah tagged me!

Here are ten of my favorite things... although I can't make an awesome picture collage, I can make a good list.

1. My new apartment! I think I'm in love... except for the insects that have invaded a week after we moved in....
2. Knitting! And yarn! Fuzzy! Fluffy!.... oh no, drowning in yarn!
3. Citrus fruits. All of them. (Especially when they come with gin. Or chocolate. Oh wait, did I say that out loud?)
4. Books! I am starting to love books again after escaping from graduate school.
5. Plants - indoors, outdoors, any kind. I love me some plants.
6. Cooking and baking. I think I'm happiest when I'm in the kitchen, especially when it's with someone I love. Oh, and eating, too.
7. Art nouveau. I can't get enough peacocks, or drawings with heavy black outlines, or heavily stylized flowers.
8. Being outside on a nice day. Okay, generally being outside.
9. Animals and insects and spiders, most of them. They fascinate me.
10. Breakfast. Breakfast is non-negotiable.

...and making lists, but that's kind of silly to put on a list!

Okay, gotta get back to some last-minute Christmas knitting... has to be done by the 18th, yikes.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Everything changes....

Well, it's been a hell of a couple of weeks.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving and trip through upstate New York. Unfortunately the New Jersey turnpike was awful, but it's always awful - what can you do?

After coming back to Virginia, we began to pack up and move.

This is what life looked like for a few days...

Packing 1

And this is what life looks like now:

Downstairs Hall and Stairs Spare Bedroom/Office Downstairs Hall

We live in a happy yellow house! We're not all the way unpacked yet but the kitchen is all set up and that's most of the battle.

I'm still working, trying to keep up with the work vs. life thing, and get through all the issues surrounding moving. Hopefully soon I'll find more time to knit!

Monday, November 19, 2007

On the road again

We're up in Rochester for Thanksgiving (we both got to take the whole week off - yay!) and I have a little time to catch up on the internets and some blogging.

We drove up to New York through the mountains of Pennsylvania. As we climbed in altitude the weather worsened and it began to rain, then snow. We passed a four-car pileup in Liverpool and had to slow down to get through the snow. But we arrived safely and things have been pretty nice here.

I finally finished my gloves a while back.

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So now I stay a little warmer on my way to work.

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They look kind of stupid just laying there but they fit really well. I made sure to make the cuffs extra-long to keep my wrists warm, because that's the greatest annoyance about gloves.

I'm dealing with some personal stuff these days - looks like things will be a bit hectic for a while.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Socks

Well, this is a bit awkward, as I have apparently fallen off the face of the earth for nearly two months.

However, I have now figured out how to use the camera we have, and I have my own memory card now, so I can make with more pictures! As I'm becoming more balanced between job and home, I think I'll have more time to blog again.

I am still, unfortunately, learning the camera settings. But I'll try to make these better next time.

I've been working on some standard socks with the new Kaffe Fassett sock yarn.

DSC01732

I love the colors, love the yarn. Happy. These are my basic top-down pattern with a longer heel flap and 3x1 ribbing. They may not be exciting to knit, but they're great to wear and I know I'll go back to them over and over again.

I also had to get some of the new Socks that Rock Raven series... the little bitty goth part of me decided that I couldn't go on without some nice black yarn.

Socks that Rock Korppi

This is the Korppi colorway, which doesn't, of course, photograph well, but it is eggplant and pine green under the black. Yum.

In other news we're looking forward to moving to a bigger, nicer place soon. I'm also looking forward to the holidays. We have 16 people joining us for Thanksgiving and this will be the first year in many that my entire family will come together happily for Christmas.

Also we rigged up an old keyboard to run the Dvorak layout... we'll see if I can learn it this time!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Bad Blogger! No Cookie!

I will blame being at work 8 hours a day for no significant bloggage. Of course, I know many, many other people are able to handle getting a post out every once in a while, but evidently since my job involves typing at a computer all day, I can't get it done.

So here is a photo-less knitting roundup, because I gave my digital camera away and I haven't yet learned how to use S's.

Old things:
Gloves: at the same stage they were at in the last photo. Yep, I'm awesome like that.
Anastasia socks: I've finished the first and am halfway through the foot on the second, and somehow I am not really working on them right now.
Raglan V-neck: is getting ripped out. It's a little too short, a little too small, the raglan stuff doesn't fit right, and it's a little too itchy. Maybe it will get made into something with some jacquard-style fair isle on it. Who knows.

New things:
Mermaid scarf: I have somehow managed to crochet and not die. I will probably run out of yarn but oh well... I can get more. And it's foofy and ruffly and fun and cute and aww!
Faux Russian Stole from A Gathering of Lace: Is made 100% of awesome. The chart looks daunting but once you've got it set up it just flies along. Yay stole!

Can you tell that I'm way more excited about new projects than old ones? I think that happens a lot.

Today I make birthday cake for S. Time to celebrate!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Catch-Up

I have a feeling I'll be playing catch-up for a while. As I get used to my new job I think it will become easier, but that may be a while.

So I have worked for a week in my new job and I'm happy to be going back tomorrow. I'm getting to learn about interesting things as I write reports on patents. My co-workers seem pretty nice and I get to go home for lunch.

I have found some time to knit, amazingly... although most of it was this weekend.

I have been slowly working on my custom-fit gloves.

Trekking glove

I think it's important to make the process look as scary as possible and add all the extra dpns I can to stick out of the glove. I don't know why this project is going so slowly, but I'm just not excited about making those fingers. Maybe once it cools off a little....

And I am impatient and started another sock.

These are Anastasia socks, in Claudia Hand Paint Bearded Iris. It's shades of brown and purple, even if my camera cannot properly photograph royal purple to save its life.

Anastasia in progress

This is such a great and easy pattern. I have been knitting through movies and soccer matches and it just flies along.

And to celebrate my new job (okay, even though I haven't been paid yet) I went to an enormous sale at my LYS Saturday morning. Everything I bought was 70% off (yes, Koigu at 70% off!) and it was awesome. Actually that many people in a yarn store was a little crazy. Ladies with armloads of Manos and Malabrigo. Dazed husbands. Wool fumes. You get the idea. Much fun was had by all.

I think I'd better turn in for another day at work. I'm glad I got to start with a long weekend!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Speed Post!

I started my new job today and whew, I'm pooped! But I'm looking forward to going back tomorrow, so that's a good sign. The work is reasonable and interesting, the people are pretty nice, there's fresh coffee whenever I want it, and I can go home for lunch. All in all, very good. The BF resigned today to take a new, better job and soon he will be working at home. All is well here.

And with no further ado, here, please look at where I keep my socks. They make me happy.

sock box

I have to go clean up the kitchen and go to bed. I hope your week is going well!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

V-neck Progress

Sometimes you just have to love stockinette stitch.

V-neck

I have been racing along on my new v-neck pullover and I've gotten to the point of finishing the body. All I have to do now is add the collar and sleeves. Amazingly, there will be no seams whatsoever in this sweater! I'm not even going to bind off at the neck; I'm just going to keep knitting for the collar. The sleeves are all picked up and knit, so when I bind off, all there will be to do is weave in some ends and block it.

While the pattern says the finished size is 39" - and when calculated, that's about what it should be - it's a little snugger than that. I think the reason is because I am knitting it out of wool and the original is in cotton. Here is a lovely headless photo of me wearing a half-finished sweater (these are always the best!)

V-neck

For the first time in weeks, it has been cool enough here to actually open the windows and get some fresh air in the apartment without feeling like we're going to die of heatstroke or horrible, oppressive humidity. I'm enjoying the unseasonably cool 80° weather. But in this swamp, I'm sure it won't last long.

Last but not least, we had some family friends in town for company this week and I received some very early birthday presents. I got one of the little Vogue Knitting on the Go books, the one on shawls, as well as some of the lovely new Kaffe Fassett inspired sock yarn. Thank you so much for thinking of me! What a pleasant surprise!

Kaffe Fassett sock yarn

Can't wait to cast on... must finish something else first....

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Gainful Employment

No knitting today - I have other kinds of good news to share.

I got the job that I've been agonizing for weeks about!

All my history and museum education aside, I'm now going to be working as a technical writer for a very small firm that does research and analysis of intellectual property and patent law for investors. I'll get to write about different inventions all the time, which does kind of fit in with some of the graduate work I did on the history of technology. The business end is not so familiar, but that's okay. And the best part is I can walk to work! My former museum employers will probably be disappointed, but I've discovered I like to eat and I'm halfway decent at writing. So on to a new kind of adventure!

I have two weeks until I start, so my summer vacation is getting extended just a little longer. More time to knit and make cupcakes and get new work clothes!

Don't worry, this will still be a knitting blog. I have no interest in writing about work and I'm sure my employers will have little interest in me discussing it with the world.

Happy weekend -- happy knitting!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Ravelry

I have joined the masses having fun over at Ravelry, and I, too, am having a great time obsessing over getting every last little detail on line. I'm "GoldenIris" over there, so if you haven't yet, look me up and say hi.

Ravelry is also a fabulous way to occupy my mind and time as I wait to hear back from the possible employer. I have to get through today and probably most of tomorrow! But that is okay and I can be patient. And once I get a job I'm springing for a paid flickr account so I can really get the most use out of it as well as Ravelry. No more losing photos!

Here's what I've been working on lately. And by lately, I mean the last three days.

Pullover1

This is a very basic v-neck in-the-round raglan that I am just cruising along on. Well, now I'm cruising. Earlier I was very, very angry with my yarn.

I swatched. There was a knot. So when I ripped out the swatch to start, I left the few yards in front of the knot behind. Then as I cast on and knit a few rows of ribbing, there was another one. And another one. And three more after that! There were six - SIX! - knots in this ball of yarn (I know because I re-balled the whole darn thing), all within the not-quite 2 inches or so of ribbing at the bottom of this sweater. SIX! Let me tell you, I got pretty good at splicing these together with a needle, but I was so mad I could have spit. And all I can say is if the other balls are like this, the yarn company is getting more than a polite complaint. Six knots within the first third of the ball is completely uncalled for.

Okay, I'll take a deep breath and step away from the wool, and play with pretty photos instead.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

M&M Surprise

I finally found some great buttons for the Baby Surprise Jacket I finished knitting a little while back, so now I can say it is officially done.

BSJ1

Don't they look just like little M&Ms?

The stats:
Pattern: Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jacket
Yarn: a little over 3 balls Hobby Kids
Needles: #7?
Buttons: From a nice yarn shop we visited in Bethesda, Knit and Stitch
Modifications: As you can tell, my buttonholes aren't even. Oh well! I think they look fine where they are. I made this on slightly larger yarn and needles, so it's a bit bigger than an ordinary BSJ. Finally, like many people have been doing these days, I did one round of single crochet around the neckline to neaten it up. Otherwise, this is very much the same friendly BSJ that we know and love!

BSJ2

I can't wait to find a small person for this.

In other news, I should be receiving my Ravelry invite this week! I have been watching the list with increasing anticipation and as of right now I'm 43rd in line. I hope it's all what it's cracked up to be, because there are over 15,000 people in line behind me!

I also hope to be able to post some more good news by the end of the week. Job-type news. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Grannie Smith Cardigan

Finally, a finished sweater!

Even though it was almost 90 degrees outside, I threw on my fuzzy little sweater for photos out there. And this was the best I could do for a facial expression -- it was still better than any photo that would have been taken indoors.

Granny Smith Cardigan

The stats:
Pattern: Melissa Wehrle (neoknits)'s Grannie Smith Cardigan
Yarn: Crystal Palace Kid Merino, from Simply Socks Yarn Company (looks like it's no longer available here, but I found it to be a good, economical substitute for Rowan Kidsilk Haze or K1C2 Douceur et Soie - it doesn't have silk, however, but some merino and nylon along with the kid mohair.)
Buttons: Some old lavender-colored shirt buttons from mom's button box
Needles: #3 and #4 nylon circs
Modifications: I decided I wanted more, smaller buttons, so I tried (unsuccessfully the first time) to redo the math for the button bands, screwed up the first time, got upset about ripping out buttonholes in mohair, and eventually fixed it. Otherwise I don't think I changed anything beyond adding some selvedge stitches where I needed them.
Notes: At first I didn't think the mohair was that bad to work with. I had to rip out a major mistake on one of the fronts and it was fine, but ripping out buttonholes was another story entirely. And it's not annoyingly itchy, which is the good thing about kid mohair.

I'm disappointed with my button placement, but that's my own fault entirely. Even though I'd probably never button the very top button, I think it looks kind of silly that there's no button right at the top. So if it annoys me enough, I may remove the very bottom button and sew it onto the top of the button band even though there is no corresponding buttonhole. What do you think? Does it look stupid? Can you even tell?

As for the pattern, it was great -- well written, easy to understand, and definitely worth the price. As I keep worrying about how to design sleeve caps, I noticed these worked very well and I think the sleeves are a good length for a sweater like this. Thanks, Melissa!

For a relatively fine-gauge sweater, this just flew along. I started it in June after graduation, set it aside a few times, and was still finished by the beginning of August. Getting the nerve up to put the seams in probably took the longest, as I knew I didn't want to screw up the sleeve caps and have to rip them out and re-set them. But thankfully those, too, were very well designed and I had no problems easing the sleeves in. I used to really mind laborious seaming but now that I've learned what a difference it can make in the finished garment.

Granny Smith Cardigan

I'm looking forward to wearing this when it cools off this fall (hopefully at work)! It's a good color for fall and very warm for something so lacy.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Unlimited Possibilities?

So whoever told me (which was probably nobody at all and really I'm just making this up) that a 1-lb cone of fingering weight wool yarn offered me infinite possibilities was wrong. What it really offers is unlimited waffling. If you know how hard it is for me to make up my mind about anything, you know this is a bad, bad thing.

Anyway, here I am with my pound of yarn in a color that is not grey or green or blue, but some intermediate, indeterminate color. I thought, hooray! Finally I can make a big pretty lacy thing and not worry about running out of yarn!

Enter Exhibit A: The Print O' The Wave Stole.

At first I thought I was going to make this up as a gift at the end of the school year, and guess what? Of course it didn't get finished. In the interim I'd made a few things from Victorian Lace Today and subsequently decided I didn't care for the construction of the stole.

As you can see, this was after I'd begun applying the border.



Well, interesting. Once I took the needles out, I could actually see what the darn thing looked like! Kind of nice, even. Oh well. It wasn't making me happy, so now it's gone.

I then had another, brilliant idea -- how about a nice cardigan sweater?

Enter Exhibit B: Ridiculously tiny swatch of doom.

I've been seeing a lot of doom-y swatches these days. Mine is a different sort. I decided to try some eyelet patterns over a stockinette stitch fabric, which would make a nice sweater, don't you think? I decided to be a good knitter and make a nice, big swatch that I could measure easily, and I washed it and blocked it before I even looked at the tape measure. So far, so good, right? Except I got the bright idea to knit it up on #1 needles.

I'm not scared of fine-gauge knitting and I know it's been done by lots of other people (and heck, I've knit one sweater on #2s and another on #3s and lived to tell the tale), but really, 8.5 stitches to the inch? 13.5 rows to the inch? This is madness!



The eyelets don't even look that good.

So here I am, seized with a fit of misdirected creativity. What do you think? Should I try again on #2s, block the eyelets out a little more and try to make the gauge slightly less ridiculous? I only have Barbara Walker #1 on hand right now... do you know a better eyelet pattern hanging around? Should I give up and cry for mercy, hoping that the yarn will make itself into something spectacular and amazing while I go back to making more and more socks, which are evidently the only things I've knit all year? Help!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Sidewinder Socks

Evidently I was terribly mistaken and let the computer confuse me. I can indeed take photos off my camera, edit, and upload them. Guess I've been a fool these past weeks. But now there's no stopping me!

Without further ado, let's ring in the new incarnation of the blog with a bright and sassy FO.

Sidewinder2

These are my new Sidewinder socks.

I'm not sure if it was the novelty of the project or what, but when I sat down to knit these they seemed to go very quickly. Even the 100+ stitches of grafting weren't that bad (but it does help if there's a movie in the background).

Sidewinder3

The stats:
Pattern: nonaKnits' Sidewinders, which were put up serially in her blog starting here.
Yarn: 2 skeins Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Bittersweet (see notes).
Needles: #2 circulars
Modifications: I couldn't get the recommended gauge on #2 needles for my size and didn't like the thinner fabric on #3s, so I made the largest size in length and fudged the width to be wider than medium but not really wide. The socks ended up fitting pretty well, although my fudging was inexact and caused some problems on the short horizontal graft.
Notes: I think the increases look awful because I didn't knit them loosely enough. If I were to make these again, I would not use the raised bar increase but probably something that doesn't take extra yarn out of surrounding stitches, something like Elizabeth Zimmermann's M1, which is just twisting an extra wrap onto the right hand needle to make a new stitch without the YO hole. I think that would take care of any distortion. Also, the pattern is accurate -- these use very little yarn! One ball of the Lorna's Laces went all the way through the first sock and more than halfway through the second, even for the largest size. I have lots of yarn left over.

And I never thought I'd say it, but I love love love this fine-gauge garter stitch. Beautiful!

Sidewinder4

This (above) is also probably the best photo for color.

Sidewinders

I love the colors, I love the vertical striping, I love the smoothness of the fabric. Would I make them again (keeping in mind I almost never make anything twice)? Probably not. It's a fabulous novelty and they were fun but they don't fit as well, particularly in the heel, as I would like. But I have wide feet and high arches and heels are always kind of a pain to fit properly.

What's next? Possibly the evil swatch of doom, or maybe some new socks, or maybe I'll get off my butt and sew up that sweater once and for all. Today's about the last day I want a lap full of sweater, though. Maybe I'll just lay here and hope someone brings me some nice cold lemonade....

Monday, July 30, 2007

The White Stripes

First of all, I'd like to thank everybody for your supportive comments on my last post. I'm glad to know I'm not alone with occasional frustration and misunderstandings over something as inessential as a hobby. And don't worry, I don't get nasty comments like that all the time; mostly I just get mild confusion. When we're watching movies, I get the same reaction as you do, Sarah -- you know, I am capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time, so why not knitting and paying attention to a movie?!

In any case, I'll still knit happily on.

Unfortunately we're still having computer issues over here, so I can't show you any knitting photos (but I finished my Sidewinders, so hopefully I can show you those soon!)

Yet through the magic of iPhone, I can show you this fabulous photo of Jack White and the wonderful mirrorball that took my breath away during Saturday night's show. Actually, it's not that great of a photo, and it doesn't sufficiently show the awesomeness of the light in the venue, but that is okay. I don't know how they did it but it was luminous and amazing, and the effect of the white light and red stage was mesmerizing.

Jack White and mirrorball

Embarrassing confession time: before Saturday, I'd never been to a rock concert, and we kind of went on a whim. We'd talked about it but never got the tickets. So Saturday afternoon we're running over to Vienna, checking craigslist, calling strangers, and generally hoping to luck out and find sold-out floor tickets. Somehow we did, and ended up on the floor about 8 rows back from the railing. I had a lot of fun! Jack was all over the place, and Meg even got up and sang In the Cold Cold Night while Jack hid behind the drum kit. Very entertaining. And we were good and wore earplugs so as not to go deaf quite so quickly!

In other news, I've gotten further in planning the blog overhaul. There's going to be a new name, a new layout, a new color scheme, and a new feel overall. Of course if you read this through RSS you may not notice! However, the url is going to change; I'm not sure if everything will automatically redirect. If it seems like I've fallen off the face of the earth in the next two weeks or so, check in with me because that might not actually be the case.

And finally... another week or so and I should be getting my Ravelry invite! And the overhaul on this end should correspond to a new name over there, too. The check-your-spot-in-line feature at Ravelry is addictive for those of us who are a little antsy....

Friday, July 27, 2007

"Knitting is a stupid hobby"

"Knitting is a stupid hobby." Those few words, spoken by the other member of my household, nearly drove me to inarticulate rage last night.

We had sat down to dinner - enchiladas, if you want to know - and I was in the midst of talking about the new 25th Anniversary Vogue Knitting magazine. I had wanted to share it, show how it was put together, and figured we could have a laugh at the preponderance of advertising and bizarre design that filled its pages. Alas, this was not to be so. Not only was I interrupted with a complete non sequitur on his part, showing me a different magazine from another genre (hello, can you sit down and listen for a minute? you're not the only one here with interests or opinions), but the reaction I got was totally unexpected. I was shaking my head at the latest Maie Landra-Koigu design (a suit set with short tuxedo pants, modular construction to the tune of 55 skeins of KPPPM and sequins, sequins for crying out loud), hoping to get some agreement on the fact that the design as written was prohibitively expensive and a little ridiculous. No, in response, I hear, "of course -- knitting is a stupid hobby."

That about killed my appetite right there (which was a shame; they were good enchiladas).

Look, I don't believe for one second that everybody should be a knitter. It's not economical, it's slow, it's repetitive, and in most cases (unless you're a pattern designer) it's not even that mentally stimulating. I recognize these drawbacks, if you want to call them that. But I enjoy the process; I like choosing colors and patterns and making something that is beautiful, flattering, and interesting.

So why did this comment bother me so much? Yes, it was a little insensitive. As we all know, there's no accounting for taste. I don't have to enjoy playing video games, or collecting porcelain figurines, or working on cars, or breeding cats, or any other hobby out there. I don't expect other people to enjoy knitting. I can't even expect people to like the way knitting looks, and that's acceptable to me. I didn't worry too much when he said that he didn't personally care for the aesthetic of knitting. This is fine - I don't have to like the aesthetic of high heels, cropped pants, or synthetic fibers, and I certainly wasn't trying to force him to wear anything I'd knit.

Our discussion continued and the opposing viewpoint emerged that knitting was slow - so slow as to be a throwback to a pre-mechanized era (which, of course, is true). To the other member of my household, who works with computers, this was anathema. He couldn't understand why anyone would want to make something so slowly, by manual labor, when surely there were faster ways. When I countered that of course there were faster ways, but they were less satisfying and produced different results, his argument gradually seemed to boil down to the idea that I was wasting my time as well as my intelligence on such drudgery.

Part of the argument was about a difference of opinion on aesthetics, and as I said, that's a matter of taste and we don't have to agree there. But the accusation that I was wasting my time and intelligence fell into a different category. I felt insulted. I don't knit all day at the expense of my other important responsibilities. I don't define myself exclusively as a knitter. Why, then, is it so bad that I enjoy something that is slow, that is downright inefficient? How can I explain that it's not always about the product but the process? That it's not about speed but creative expression? That it's about personalizing my wardrobe and my surroundings, about having something unique? I should be able to take pride in this work as much as any other work I do. Why, then, do I feel so belittled?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Beautiful Argosy

Beautiful and delicious. And quick!



I think Argosy gives a lot of bang for the buck, especially if you pick a yarn you love. This is a pretty simple pattern that is easy to memorize and fun to knit. I don't often make things twice, but hey -- I will definitely recommend this pattern.

I wish I could just up and splurge on Noro yarns so often, but maybe these things are like candy: it's only fun if you only get it every once in a while.

The stats:
Pattern: Vyvyan's Argosy, on knitty.com
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden Lite 2011, 2 balls
Needles: #6 circs that were annoyingly long, but they're the only ones I've got
Mods: I widened the scarf to 7 blocks wide rather than 5; I like to wear my fingering-weight Clapotis and figured I'd be happier with a wider, slightly shorter, scarf. I got 22 center-panel repeats with just a little ball of yarn left over. I haven't actually measured the scarf, but it is a nice scarf length and I wouldn't want it to be much longer.
Notes: I got lucky with the yarn. Noro usually ends up with awful knots in inconvenient places in the color progression. In 2 balls I only had one knot and was able to successfully splice my way out of any overly jarring color changes. Before I blocked it I washed it with wool wash and conditioner -- between that and the blocking it feels much softer and drapes nicely.

Here we are, blocking:



This is in the room that is still full of cardboard boxes and unpacked stuff, so it's a miracle I had enough room to block this.

And finally, to see all the colors closer together, the cognitively-dissonant pre-blocking shot.



Modeled shots? Maybe when it's not a million degrees with killer humidity (actually it's gotten better around here and I didn't want to hassle anybody with the photography right now).

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sidewinders

Please enjoy this slightly stiff photo of my foot inside what actually turned out to be a sock. Can we say, hellooo, awesome vertical stripes?!



Shocking, indeed. With a foot not in it it doesn't seem quite sock-shaped, but I'm sure a washing and a blocking will take care of that. I love my cheap ol' wire coat hanger sock blockers.

I need to get on the ball and make the second sock, but I've spent most of my knitting time today working on the button bands, collar, and sewing on the Grannie Smith cardigan. I've got one sleeve left to set in, the side seams to do, and the buttons to sew on, and then it will be ready for fall. Unfortunately doing the sewing on mohair requires serious natural light, or sitting under my hot hot halogen lamp, so it will have to wait for another day.

I've been killing time today while the other member of my household has savored the latest offering in the J.K. Rowling enterprise; it arrived around 2PM today in a cute little Harry-Potter themed box from Amazon. Wonder what it cost them to print up all of those boxes special, with warnings to muggles and cute little delivery owls. I still have to read the prior 3 books before I get to book 7, so I'm absorbing spoilers and figuring I'll forget them by the time I get to the last book.

Blogging has been stifled in the past week due to computer problems (said other member of household had to take the only computer with iPhoto to work to fill in for a very broken desktop). I didn't want to bore you with no photos whatsoever.

Still to come: Argosy! Cupcakes! Grannie Smith! All with lists and lists and lists of stuff to do, because I forever am trying to organize myself that way.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Madness

While I am probably unable to believe six impossible things before breakfast, I have been able to scare up some weird and wacky things to do.



Like this Sidewinder sock. I hope blocking makes these better, because a fix seems to require ripping out 100% of the sock.



Which I have finished knitting. And I ripped out the provisional cast-on, and have been avoiding trying to graft 125 stitches together all afternoon. I put it around my foot, and I think it will fit. I think. Kind of. It used surprisingly little yarn, which makes me even more suspicious. The thought of stripes running the wrong way for an ordinary sock sways me when I am discouraged....



But I love love love these colors and textures! Even garter stitch is pleasing on little bitty needles, and I really like the feel of it. Even if it is a weirdly shaped object that may or may not actually fit, depending partially on if I can summon up the guts to actually, you know, sew it together. Because if I didn't, that would be a big waste. Guess I need to get on that!

Who wants a mojito cupcake?



Looks yummy, huh?



All lined up and ready to go... sadly these were a disappointment, and for all their attractive qualities were actually rated a C- (!) for achieving mojito flavor. For all the rum and lime and mint I put in these, they turned out more like vaguely minty muffins with weird frosting. No good cakey texture, no hint of rum (except an overwhelming punch from the few that we literally injected rum into)... just a disappointment.



Okay, so they're better than no cupcakes at all. Once these are gone, even though I want to make some orange ones, I think we've had enough citrus (I made lemon bread, too). Mmm, devil's food? Chocolate and peanut butter? Chocolate and amaretto? Chocolate and coconut? The possibilities are endless... until I run out of those little paper wrappers.

Just trying to stay cool and collected in the face of heat, humidity, a never-ending mess in the kitchen, and continued unemployment. Forgive me if I get a little twitchy... but it's time to go knit.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Four Things for a Thursday

Lately I've been thinking about a blog overhaul. We've been considering buying new domain names, and I could actually have an independent blog, all of which sounds cool and scary. With all this time on my hands, I thought, I could surely think of a name that was something clever, easy to remember, and representative of me and my interests. Well, I thought wrong. I am completely free of clever, snappy ideas. It's almost blissful, until I remember that it's really irritating. It's as if I don't know myself well enough to put my essence into a word or two. Then again, maybe it's a good thing that I can't fit into a word or two. Let me know if you think you could do it.

Know what else is really irritating? A room that looks like this:



That's the second bedroom in the apartment, which I tried to tackle today. I got about halfway through and suddenly ran out of closet space. What used to go in a huge walk-in closet now has to fit in about 4 feet of hanging space. The remainder of the closet is full of boxes, and there's nothing I can do about it. Anybody have any good storage solutions?

My blissful state means I've been knitting like crazy.



I am still trying like crazy to get a color-accurate photo of the Pomatomus socks, but I am coming to the conclusion that it's simply impossible.



These have been the bane of my existence for way longer than they should have been. Pomotomus got its introductory post way back in last September. I knit the first cuff on #2s, decided it was too big. Ripped. Remade the entire sock on #1s, which, of course, was too small. Waited until I could swap for #1.5 dpns, which aren't made by too many manufacturers. Ripped out the entire first sock and started over. Then when I finished it it mostly fit but the toe was too pointy. At that point I decided to give in and make the second sock, which was finished in line waiting for the iPhone; I ripped out the first toe and re-did it then, too. Finally they are done!

Yarn: Brown Sheep Wildfoote, 2 skeins.
Needles: #1.5 bamboo dpns (2.5mm)
Time to complete: 9 MONTHS
Mods: Stubby toes for my wide feet
Comments: This yarn is wonderful; beautiful jewel-like colors, but it's overdyed. It crocked (transferred by rubbing) all over my bamboo needles, which are sort of bluish now. And when I washed and blocked the socks, the water ran a gorgeous, brilliant electric blue. This seems to be fairly common for Brown Sheep yarns, so I wasn't surprised. But if you see me wandering around with blue feet, maybe these are the reason why.

On the other end of things, breaking a land speed record for finishing was the Baby Surprise Jacket. I love love love innovative patterns, and this has been one of my favorites for fun construction techniques. I think everyone who tries it and is careful to follow the directions feels the same way. I stumped a friend last night with the unfolded sweater when I asked him to fold it into the proper shape... it's such a neat feeling to transform the non-flat surface into something wearable (that is, if you're small). And I was so excited about it coming together that I neglected to take a photo of it unfolded.



Yarn: Hobby Kids, just a little over 3 skeins
Needles: #7 nylon circs
Time to complete: 3 days
Comments: Ok, so I messed up the buttonholes. That's okay. And it still needs buttons. That's okay too.
This wasn't my first BSJ; you can see that one (which, I have to admit, I like a little better) here. And there is a great shot of BSJ topography here.

Continuing in the realm of strange and wonderful construction techniques (huh, guess I must be feeling adventurous lately) are these.



Just like the ruffly thing turned into a baby sweater, this somehow is going to turn into a sock. Fabulous. I'm enjoying the Lorna's Laces and I think the instructions for the Sidewinders are exhaustively well written. Not looking forward to two giant grafts, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it!

Last but not least, there is Argosy. I need a new scarf or wrap for the fall, and while I wasn't initially that impressed with the photos on the knitty pattern, seeing Argosy up close and personal changed my opinion.



Noro Silk Garden Lite is yummy, especially when you get it on discount from the yarn store where you were once employed as a graduation/going away gift! Thank you, Linda and Sara! I joined the KAL so I guess I should go introduce myself over there.

The marbled cupcakes are all gone (there were only twelve!). Next in the cupcake lineup looks like mojito cupcakes. Sounds good for summer, doesn't it?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Marble Cupcakes

Even though it was almost 100 degrees and humid here yesterday, I ran the oven to bake cupcakes. Normally I'd balk at the energy use, especially with the air conditioning on (we really should get a toaster oven) but these were a special request from my overworked partner-in-moving. And since moving is a pain in the neck, he gets what he asks for.



Marbled cupcakes, from scratch. I used the old Betty Crocker Dinette Cake recipe (the original edition of this says something along the lines of " 'most cakes are too large for my small family!' Here's one you can actually finish before it goes stale!") so it wouldn't make so many, partially because I didn't want 2 dozen cupcakes hanging around, partially because I didn't have enough sugar, and partially because I only have two six-cup muffin tins. I had almost forgotten what real cake tastes like because I've made too many box mix cakes lately. The only drawback is that I don't have an electric mixer, and I actually gave myself a blister beating the batter by hand. How silly!



And if marbled cake wasn't enough, these ended up with marbled frosting, too. This was not as successful, but still fun.

I went to the grocery store this morning, and they had super-fancy decorated cupcakes, with flowers and fruit and even some with frosting octopi on them. But I bet none of them were marbled!

I don't think I'll be venturing out any more today. It's well on its way to breaking 95 again today and if I don't have to be out in it, I'm not going to.

I just joined the Argosy KAL, so I think I'll get started on the scarf... but I also want to swatch for Sidewinders and I wound the yarn last night. And I have to cook ravioli filling. But I think the very first thing I'll do is have another one of those cupcakes. Yum.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Home Sweet Home

...more or less. I moved this weekend and while nobody likes moving, I'm glad it's over and I had no major snags with packing, driving, unloading or returning the truck.

Most of the public space in the apartment was unpacked yesterday.

This, however, is what the spare room looks like:

Moving leftovers

Same boxes, different apartment. I have to find room for all of that somewhere (where, I don't know) and make that useable as a guest room again. Yikes.

But I have found free time to knit! Hooray! To celebrate being all in one place, I'm starting a whole bunch of projects.

Current projects

There is Noro Silk Garden Lite in a beautiful colorway (greys, pinks, purple, brown) for an Argosy scarf.
There is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Bittersweet for Sidewinder socks, which I have been dying to try since the pattern came out.
And there is about half of a Baby Surprise Jacket in Hobby Kids, which I started yesterday. No, there is no emergency knitting needed for imminent babies, but I like to have at least one baby sweater in reserve should the occasion arise. I'm so happy to just be able to sit down and see all my stash and knit whatever I like. Again, this is my poor sick mind in denial over the fact that I really do need a job and I can't stay home and knit and do laundry (and bake cupcakes!) all day. Even if it's going to be 99 out today.

I will miss my knitting friends from Delaware as I look for new people to hang out and knit with here in Alexandria!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Transitions

After weeks of pretending -- and believing -- I've moved to Virginia, I had to come back to Delaware and face reality. I might have been living in VA but all my stuff was in DE. It's amazing how long you can live out of a suitcase provided you have laundry facilities....

But this is my reality:
packing

A living room full of boxes and tubs. For a (ex-)grad student, I don't have that many books, but for somebody who wants to move, I have way too many books. Funny that.

And gee, in this photo you can't hardly see the two giant tubs of yarn, or the two sewing machines, or the, um, other tub worth of yarn that hasn't been packed yet. Right. This is what a yarn diet gets me?

The kitchen and the closets haven't been touched. Those are next. Yuck....