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May 2004 Archives

May 1, 2004

Choice Combos

So, here are a few of the combos that really speak to me off of Rob's BlackDog site.

I still haven't decided which to actually go with. The Lily Pulitzer one speaks to me right now. I love the pinks and limes. But then the Bonne is sort of classic me with its vibrant reds and oranges with a bit of lime kick. (I liked the Cherry Pie one, too, which is not shown here but similar - just more true red.) And, the Blimey one is the one that immediately jumped out at me. I love the purple and lime blasts. I just can't tell if that one hank is more yellow or more lime. I think I'd like it more limey - and it might be. It just looks sort of yellow in the photo.

So, I'm still thinking - and hinting!

May 4, 2004

Vest Redo

A dissapointing weekend for the Oriole vest. Somehow, my gague ended up way off base. The pattern has one gague in fair isle on 7's and one in stockinette on 6's. I did swatch first in stockinette to ensure that the gague was okay, and it was fine. So I started off without worrying about it. And I kept not worrying as I went through the first 17 rows of the pattern in fair isle. But it was clear at that point that the vest front was far too wide. A tape measure proved it. A whole stitch too wide, basically. The only thing I can figure is that it's because my gague is so much looser on metals (Addis in this case). So, I had to take the whole thing out and start again on bamboo. The tension is looking better this time.

I'm a little worried about my color choices. The pinks are really bright. But, sometimes I glance over at it lying on the end table and think, "If I'd seen that in a store, I'd definitely have bought it!" I guess that's testament to the fact that it's the right mix for me right now.

Cookie Shop

Went to library this a.m. and then to the "cookie shop" as Matthew calls it (Tully's for coffeee, and he gets a chocolate covered graham because I have become the sugar mama I never thought I'd be!) with J and T. While I was ordering my coffee and his cookie, he was sitting on his knees backwards in the chair and got his knee stuck in the groove. He was telling me that (and I guess trying to free himself) when the chair tipped. It was like in slow motion, and I jerked forward, sticking my hand out to try and somehow stop his head from banging into the floor (concrete). The head didn't hit (thankfully), but the still stuck knee took quite a crack on the concrete. He's at an age where he won't let me "look" when he gets hurt, and boo-boos send him for an emotional tailspin for weeks until the heal. But, I was able to bend the knee, and he was able to stand on it. So I guess he's okay. Yikes. He then tripped again not ten minutes later over the leg of a chair and ended up on the ground. He's never been a tripper. But all of a sudden… J says it's a growing spurt - that causes the clumsy stuff. I'll take her word for it since I don't have a better explanation.

I've been out reading about everyone's trip to the Maryland sheep festival. Wow, I'm so jealous. When I lived in MD going to graduate school in College Park, I didn't know about it. Wish I had. I'm also jealous of all the comaraderie between knitters. I want to have knitting friends, too!

Coffee and storytime for the kids on Tuesdays is great, but I sure wish I could convert one of my friends into a knitter (or pick up some new ones who knit!). For J, knitting just didn't work. It didn't become a passion or even a fun passtime. I gave her needles and yarn for her birthday last year, hoping she'd really take to it, but no. This week is her birthday again, and after a year, the yarn hasn't turned into anything, and she's still not finding herself "wanting" to knit.

May 5, 2004

Sock Alert

Blog jumping, I ended up at Knitting Notes. I love the Onion Domes socks she shows. They are so cool. The variegated detail is wonderful. Intrigued, I headed on out to Rebecca Bowen's site and found myself oohing and aahing over a number of the sock patterns I found. Some of those could get me back into knitting socks!

In theory, I love to knit socks, and I've got lots of yarn for socks. But I've never been thrilled with the ones I've made - especially the ones from sock yarn (versus thicker socks). The last pair I did was in a great Opal, and they're really beautiful. I used a Fish Ladder pattern. What I didn't like was that they pilled some, and the bottoms/heels do look a bit worn, and the overall sock just doesn't seem as tightly woven as I'd like it (and I used 1's). So, I put socks down for a while. But, there are days when I really do wish for a whole drawer of beautiful handknit socks just because they showcase such great yarns.

Charlotte Addiction

Okay, I feel like a Charlotte's Web addict. Every day, first thing I do is head to Rob's site (he has a ton of great yarns photographed there which makes me itch to ignore my stash and works in progress and buy something new) and then on over to the Close-Up site for the Koigu combinations they've got available.

I hate it that I missed out on some of the combos I really loved last week just because I couldn't make up my mind. So, I'm now watching carefully and will pounce on something pink and lime most likely if another one appears.

May 6, 2004

Sleeve On

I'm frustrated with my Oriole vest. I'm using the two-handed method of fair isle that I learned from Philosopher's Wool, and that's working fine - even though I'm working back and forth because the vest has a solid back so is not in the round. The problem is that I seem to have "ridges" in the knitting. Every other stitch appears to be a raised row, creating vertical lines. I can't figure out what's wrong - unless it's somehow related to my two-handed purling technique.

I was out looking for some insight into what's wrong, because I'm thinking it must be a tension issue. (Geez, I can't imagine having to frog this and start over again!)

I ended up looking at Wendy's site and found some discussion of floating versus weaving. Maybe I should give floating a try. I just don't know how to do that two-handed and I hate have to drop the yarn each time and then deal with the tangled mess of yarns I end up with. Can someone help!?!?!

At any rate, I'm really disheartened by how it looks up close.

So, last night I picked up the Cascade Skye cardigan and cast on the second sleeve and did a few rows of that to get it going so that it's ready to be picked up and knitted on whenever I've got a minute.

Here are a few pics of the finished sleeve close-up:

sleeve detail    sleeve detail

The thicker yarn at the cuff is Apollo from Colinette.

May 10, 2004

Third Time's a Charm

Well, last week I blogged that I was having some question about the tension on my Oriole vest. It was really bothering me, so I did go ahead and take it off the needles to start over. In doing so, I discovered that my tension had loosened up a bit as I'd gone on, and while the fair isle looked flatter, the vest was also growing in width. Frustrating! So, I frogged the whole thing and spent a lot of time pondering the pattern (which has so many mathematical errors that it makes me want to scream) to decide how to compensate.

I also decided to change the colors - tone them down a bit. I'll post pictures of the original colorway and the new one later this week.

May 12, 2004

Hands Full

Well, I've got a baby asleep in my arms (and the other one sitting next to me playing a game on his computer), so I'm finally able to sit and do some blogwork.

Vogue Knitting
I picked up the new issue of Vogue last week on a quick trip to the bookstore with the kids. It's not always a magazine I buy, but as I've noted many times in this blog, I'm liking different styles and sizes right now, so I feel like a new knitting dimension has been opened up before me. It's exciting.

(Not, of course, that the smaller sized items I've started are going particularly fast!)

Anyway, I figured with Matthew carrying a truck book, a Bob book, airplane stickers, and two new and very cuddly stuffed animals, I deserved a quick peak at magazines. So, I picked up Vogue and thumbed through it just enough to see two things - a really really cute tank top and a great hooded jacket made out of Koigu.

That's all I needed to see! I knew I had to have it, especially for the hooded jacket. So, not wanting to take the fun out of flipping through it later and savoring each page, even the ads, I headed for the checkout counter.

Later, when I got time to flip through it (I think it was actually a day or so later), I discovered that the Koigu pattern uses Kersti, a worsted weight Koigu - not the sock yarn that I'd expected. I haven't seen the Kersti in person yet, so I'm going to keep my eyes out for it. The variegated doesn't come in quite the range of colors of the dk weight Koigu (at least not yet), but I'm still interested in seeing and feeling it. I'd like to do the pattern in multiple colorways to have a progression of colors sort of like Charlotte's Web. (I'm working on plotting a design that does this right now, in fact.)

Oriole Vest
The vest is coming along. Tension looks better this time, but after the color swap, it looks so different than it did the first time. In my head, I keep seeing the bright palette of the first attempt. Now, it's so much more muted and pale. My partner likes it better. I'm not 100% sure, but I am sure that I won't start it again! (That would be 4 times, and even I am not that compulsive.)

BlackDog Addiction

I think I'm becoming addicted to Rob's Black Dog site. At first, it was just an obsession (still going) with the idea of Charlotte's Web. (I'm still waiting for a colorway to show up similar to the ones I liked originally.) But, now I find I just love reading Rob's blog. Not only does he always have great discussion (and photos) of new yarns, but he's always making something interesting. For example, I like Tasia's Cardigan that's he is working on now. (And I fired off the url for the Sophie bag he mentions to both my partner and mom. It's very cute.)

May 13, 2004

Making Progress

orioleGot some time to work on the oriole vest last night while I held a sleeping baby. I'm still not sure about the color switch. (The new colorway is shown at left.) The original colors were so bright, and it made the main pink (used in the ribbing and solid stripe as well as in one of the two-color rows) sort of icy. The original colorway is shown here at right.
orioleWith the change, the new colorway is really muted, and oddly enough, the pink that looked icy before is really toned down now.

I do like it. I'm just not sure I didn't also like the other one! The good thing is that the tension is much better now.

I'm pretty close to the section where you bind off for the underarms. Then it will almost seem home free.

May 17, 2004

New Project Itch

Well, I have to admit I have the "start something new" itch. I'm notorious for not finishing things, unfortunately. This time though, I'm trying to be really good and finish the Oriole vest and the Cascade Skye cardigan before I start something else big. I've got a whole stack of other things I'm hoping to finish up, too, many of them just needing to be seamed, and two scarves that there is no real excuse not to have finished already.

I worked on the vest last night a bit, and the first side after the split for the v-neck is speeding along. It's amazing how mentally satisfying it is to work on these steadily decreasing rows that seem to just zip by. Several times, I'd find myself "surprised" that I was already ready to change yarns again to do the next stripe sequence.

I found myself at Quixotic Musings the other day and thought the picture of Claire smiling was so adorable. It's comforting somehow to stumble over blogs of other knitters in similar positions - with a newborn, in this case.

Here are a few photos of Spencer, my 13-week old, and Matthew, my 3-year old.

By the way, I was so excited to get my first blog "comment" the other day from SavannahChik Knits. It was exciting to find that someone had stumbled across my blog. And it was ironic that it was her because I love the photograph she's used in her site banner and had been meaning to send her a message to tell her so.

I've been feeling pretty lonely here in blogland, especially since I don't already have a circle of knitting friends flocking to my site. So, thanks!

Mo' Mediums

Not only does everyone have their own style, but everyone's got their own medium, a point that was brought home to me recently by three year old Matthew. Because the pursuit of creative fulfillment has defined most of my life (and underwritten most of my angst), I'm a mom constantly pushing creative activities - and hoping to see a spark emerge. We've gone through weeks and weeks of solid-color painted trucks. I have to draw the truck - bulldozer, scraper, grader, excavator, loader, cherry picker (the list goes on) - and he then paints it into single color oblivion. Fun for him. But I'm not seeing the spark. (He is just three, of course.)

Playing outside recently, however, he picked up a bucket of chalk and while we were milling around in the basement (looking through baskets of yarn, in fact), he sparked. With the concrete patio as his canvas, he'd drawn an entire assembly of trucks of all kinds - from fire trucks to bulldozers, they were all there - and you could tell what they were. There were even drivers inside many of them.

And they were each in different colors!

He proudly was telling me what each one was, and I just wanted to cry I was so excited. It would be nice if his primary medium was something smaller-scale and "indoor"-oriented, but seeing the spark that flared when he was working on his chalk drawings was a mom-moment of magnitude.

chalk drawings

Right now, he's sitting next to me playing a Blue's Clues computer game that allows him to create all different kinds of artwork via the game interface. And he's loving it. (This is saying a lot since there are no emergencies, rescue vehicles, tools, or trains in this game!) So, maybe he's just coming into his creative own.

My problem is that I've always been drawn to too many mediums. From yarn to paint to fabric to words to programming, to photography, my energies are always split between various projects.

Who knows what I could do if I could ever settle on just one medium. It'll never happen, of course. I'm just one of the multi-medium crowd.

May 19, 2004

Spyware Be Gone!

Having hopscotched my way across a zillion knitting and non-knitting blogs in the past few weeks since finally getting the blogging itch and doing something about it rather than just hydrocortisoning it with the "I'm too busy" cream, I ended up with some nasty malware - or what I've now seen termed 'scumware' - on my system.

I keep Adware installed, and I use Pop-Up Stopper, too. But somehow I ended up in deep trouble. The windows kept popping up, toolbars took up unwanted residence in my browser, a Trojan virus landed on my system, and so on. The infestation was nasty.

The next step was installing SpyBot Search and Destroy. It's free. And when you review the license agreement upon installation, you'll see the following:

spybot terms

I love both reasons. Of course, there is an art to superb clean, effective, and user-friendly software development. And it's an art that should bring in money to good developers. But, I still have to give him credit for noble notions.

Unfortunately, that didn't do the trick either. It would appear to clean up the problems, but upon relaunching a browser, the problems returned. The scumware was embedded deep.

Finally, I found my way to the SpyWare Warrior Forums - and found help under the guise of "Java, a warrior in training."

It took installing HiJackThis and RegEdit, a number of safe-mode boots, and dozens of file and key deletions to get things back under control. But with Java's help, I'm hopefully scumwarefree again.

Just in case, I've now got SpywareBuster installed now, as well as a firewall (which admittedly I should have had long before now).

As I read on one other scumware victim's thread, "protection is better than the cure."

It's a motto I'm taking to heart.

Now I can breathe easy and get back to knitting.

(Yes, while all those reboots and scans were going on, I've managed to almost finish the front of the Oriole vest. Hopefully will have pictures tomorrow.)

Deep Thoughts

I ran across this line in the "about me" blurb on Alex Soojung-Kim Pang's Relevant History blog:

    "Being an historian and a futurist might seem contradictory, but they're not. Both use the same intellectual instruments, just pointed in different directions."

Clearly I'm going to end up having to consider having more than one blog going. While I chose "threaded thoughts" because it alludes to the kinds of multi-stranded thinking I do, I did really intend this to be a largely knitting-oriented site. Knitting is a passion. But so is technology, mobility, postmodern theory, and on and on and on...

So, I'm trying to decide if I need to segregate... will knitters still come back if not every post involves knits and purls? And will readers from the other avenues stop in (more than once) if many of the posts do involve knits and purls? I'm not sure.

Personally, I like reading multi-layered, multi-textured blogs that may have some central and recurring theme but touch on many other hotspots of thought as well. What matters to me is good voice, good writing, and engaging thought.

But, I'm not sure that's the prevailing attitude. Thoughts?

May 20, 2004

Digital Kids

I watched two of Matthew's playmates yesterday. They had been watching Disney's Kim Possible when I served up the kid classic of chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs on fun animal plates. Distracted by their bellies, they sat down to eat only to realize a short while later that they'd missed part of their show.

"Amy, can you rewind Kim Possible please?" the four-year old asked.

"It's not a movie," I started to say. Then, looking at her confusion at my confusion, I realized what she meant.

"We don't have TiVo yet," I told her.

In fact, we ordered it over the weekend, so it's on its way. We've known for years that we needed it, so it's about time.

What struck me as amazing was that these kids are growing up knowing that real-time TV can be "rewound" if you miss something.

To her, not being able to rewind the TV show made absolutely no sense. It's just the way TV works in her mind.

May 21, 2004

Front Done

Well, no photos yet (it's been a long Friday in babyville), but I did finish the front of the Oriole vest last night. There are a ton of ends to be tucked in, which I hate. But I'm excited to have the fair isle part done. Oriole is interesting not because it's a complicated or even traditional fair isle. It's interesting somehow in its simplicity and repetition. I think it's going to be cute. The back is all solid, so that's easy. I went ahead and cast it on earlier when holding the sleepster.

I also am ready to start neck shaping on the first front of the Cascade Skye cardigan I've been working on.

My goal is to finish both of the above before my birthday in June. Definitely is doable. I've got a number of other things to finish, too. And I was thinking even today of a raglan that I've never sewn togther for Matthew. The problem is that he hates sweaters that go over his head. I've never actually tried sewing and cutting (steeking), but I'm wondering if it would be a way to salvage an otherwise cool sweater. I'm thinking about it. I'll probably need lots of support if I decide to do it!


Was out at Fluffa's blog and saw mention of the Harry Potter Azkaban knitalong. We are a totally Harry Potter household, so it was cool to see so many other knitters jumping on the scarf wagon.

I also saw that Fluffa linked to this compilation of knitalongs. That's a great URL to have. I'd been thinking recently that some kind of system would be good for cataloging them in a central place. (I'm a developer, so I was thinking through a database-driven system where everyone could go to log knitalongs as they come up.) It's cool to see that some repository exists already.

May 23, 2004

More Digital Kids

So, when my nephew visited us in San Francisco last year, a point came when I gave both boys a new Matchbox car. (We have hundreds, as other Moms, especially of boys, but even of girls [I was a Hotwheels/Matchbox girl as a child], may understand.) Upon returning home, my nephew forgot his car. On, no! Or at least it was a major "oh, no!" in the eyes of the then two year old Matthew. Every time he sorts cars or lines them up (a majorly fun pastime), he spots that one and informs us that it is "Alex's car." We've offered/suggested many times that we should send it back to him in the mail. (Not that Alex cares. He doesn't even know he left it. He's not "into" cars the way Matthew is.) But, no. We had to keep it, even though it bothered us that it was Alex's.

The other day when lining up cars, however, he suddenly realized that he has a car just like the one Alex left - just a different color. His is red; the other is purple.

That settled it.

He does not want two.

Now we need to send it back.

I said okay.

"Maybe we need to send it to him in an email," he tells me.

Geography Goof

We were putting together a floor-sized puzzle of the United States last week, a challenge for me since geography has never a strong suit of mine. The box of the puzzle touts it as the "child's first map"

Why then did they think it was a good idea to put Alaska butted up right next to Mexico?

May 27, 2004

Pattern Parade

(Uggg... I was typing this in MT rather than somewhere else first and just inadvertently erased the whole entry while shifting between screens. How frustrating!)

I love weeks when the mail box yields knitting catalogs and magazines. This week was a good one. The summer update of Patternworks, KnitPicks, and Ram Wools arrives. Plus, I picked up the new issue of Interweave Knits last week. So, I've had plenty to look through.

It's good timing since two local yarn stores are having upcoming sales, and I'm constantly drooling over things Rob highlights on the Black Dog site. Every day I go out to read what he's doing, what they're stocking, and so on. And every day, my mind starts spinning anew with what I could do next.

That's not a bad thing, of course. Especially as I wrap up the projects I'm working on now, I'm spending a lot of time thinking about what I want to work on next - especially what "major" project I want to have on the needles (not counting incidentals like hats and scarves and even projects for the boys).

I have plenty of things started and tucked away throughout the house, plus a basement of stash. But, I'm still planning on hitting the first sale tomorrow.

My birthday is coming up in less than a month (I'm 30-something). I always get in a bit of a creative funk around that, so having a caderie of new projects to work on or to grab whenever the "I need to start something new" urge hits will hopefully help balance me out through the philosophical life crisis that seems to hit every year and that feels especially painful again this year as I'm spending all my time being a mom of an infant and less of my time writing and programming. A bit of an identity crisis, I guess.

New Books
I noticed there are a bunch of new books either out or getting ready to come out this summer. There were a ton. But here are a few that jumped out at me that I'd like to thumb through:

I may have completion issues, but I absolutely love patterns and the "what if" they allow.


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