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February 2005 Archives

February 3, 2005

Loving lace

One week down. One week to go.

We've watched four tapes full of Gilmore Girls. We made a wonderful Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Vanilla Glaze. We've laughed at American Idol auditions and been glued to the TV for Project Runway. We've empathized through the little one's teething and winter cold. We picked up 512 mb SD cards for our Palms at a great price. We've made some stitch markers. We've knitted.

My grand plan had been to work on Falling Leaves in week 1 and switch to the new, or should I say 'my', Charlotte in week 2. It was a good plan. It was a workable plan. It brings to mind the project management system where you rotate projects every so many days so that they all get worked on and you don't get bored or bogged down in one. That strategy never worked for me. I can't predict 'what' I'll want to work on let alone for how many days.

In this case, however, the plan was golden. Falling Leaves sped along swallowing up marker after marker. The diamond-shaped leaf clusters blossomed and tapered in slub-laden pools of vibrant purple, gold, orange, red, and brown.

shawl

(The lighting wasn't prime here. But this photo shows the color to some degree - though not to the intensity it is in person. The photo doesn't give a good look at the diamond leaves, unfortunately. I'll try to get a better one during blocking.)


I did face a few needle issues and did some swapping along the way. In her instructions on lace, Noble says she likes to use short needles - and not circulars. For Mom's Charlotte, I started on a shorter Addi circular - maybe 24". But as the triangular shawl grew, I headed out to buy a much longer Addi to keep the project protected when I'd lay it down.

For Falling Leaves, however, I took the author's advice. I was out of town when I started it, so I didn't have a circular 5 with me, and Mom only had really long metal straights (once my grandmother's). So I purchased my first set of Bryspun at a local store.

I really loved the Bryspun, actually. But I was constantly battling the expanse of the growing triangle. I hated to switch needles midstream, but it ended up necessary. I switched to the long metals (since I am at Mom's again). But those were cumbersome and hard to work with while holding the baby. Mom dug around and turned up a circular, so I transitioned again. That did the trick though. I think, for me, circulars work best.

So, I finished the eight vertical repeats up the middle. Having a small ball of Ariel left, I decided to do another half-diamond (which would make flanking diamonds complete). I finished up the twelve additional rows, five rows of garter, and loosely cast off to find less than ten inches of yarn hanging. That's what I call maximizing the ball!

I'll block it when I get back to SF. But I'm proud to claim shawl and lace project number two both complete and a success.

Finishing it up gave me leeway - and a clear conscience - to start my Charlotte. I would have liked to start on February 1, making it somehow a sentimental sweetheart project. That will make even more sense when I show you the colors! But, I got started on January 31.

(I'm actually on the plane heading home a bit early as I finish this entry in my Palm. M. tore something in her knee, so Spencer and I packed up and headed out a few days ahead of schedule leaving behind a sad mom/Gramma. We love you, Gramma!)

My Charlotte

Here are the colors I'm using for My Charlotte. I have a bag of pink and purple Koigu colorways, so I tried a number of combinations, but this is the one that stuck.

koigu

Baffling Codes

So, my Mom did some "shopping ahead" for upcoming occasions, and she made notes in a little book so that she doesn't forget what she bought and for whom.

A good idea. But not when you can't figure out your own notes!

While I was there, she opened up the book to see this:

coded note

"Yarn = 2 x SEMARF."

We puzzled over it for a while one evening. Then it hit her that she'd been reading the DaVinci Code when she made the note, and so SEMARF was really "frames." She thought she'd be clever and use a simple code.

So, she had part of it figured out. But she still didn't remember what the "Yarn = 2 x" part stood for.

Later in the week, she was showing me some of the things she'd bought and stashed away, and she got a sudden look of understanding.

In one bag or another, the meaning of "2 x frames" became clear to her, and it's something for me. So, "yarn," she's decided, must be what she was using as a code name for "Amy."

Too funny!

Funny that she couldn't remember. Funny that I'm "yarn" in her head.

(Actually, the "yarn" looks a little like "yam" to me, which would be "amy" jumbled, of course. But she said it's "yarn," and it's her handwriting. So I guess she knows!)

February 6, 2005

Easter Eros

Oh, and here's a snapshot of the Eros yarn that I referenced as "Easter Eros." The lighting at Mom's wasn't great, but I think you get the sense of it here.

Easter Eros

I started this thinking we might need it for the auction. But I think we've managed to raise (and make) plenty to meet our auction requirement. So this will probably end up staying in the house for one of us!

February 11, 2005

Craziness

Craziness is happing all around me. Or, more accurately, I'm in the eye of a tornado of craziness. I watch it spinning around me with zillions of things to do swirling in the air. But, things should calm down soon.

Tomorrow Matthew turns 4. So we have a super (but small) "Knights" party planned replete with Knight's Kingdom Bingo (which I designed), pin the shield on the knight, a shield-making project (foam and foamcore), and so on. Should be fun, and I'll share some photos next week.

I also have a number of auction photos to show off.

But, for now, I wanted to take a second and show off Clapotis. It blocked easily - which was good since I had a fairly rough time blocking my first Charlotte's Web. It's amazing how big it got, and how "lacy" it feels now that it's done. The fabric just totally changed in the blocking process. I liked it before. I like it now. It's just different now!

Actually, it came out a good bit larger than the pattern calls for. My end measurements were 28" x 69". So, it really did end up being a shawl/wrap rather than a scarf, but that was perfect - especially for an auction item.

Here are some photos.

clapotis clapotis

I would totally make Clapotis again. It was a fun (if long in the middle) knit, and the end result is totally worth it. Even Megan wants one - which is saying a lot!

I do want to do mine out of something more along the lines of Lion and Lamb rather than 100% wool (which I used here from stash). I'm not rushing to start one right away though. But it's in my 2005 project list. If the months slip away, maybe one for Megan for next holiday season.

(For more Clapotis fun, check out the Yarn Harlot as she attempted to resist the pattern's seductive call (she has since succumbed). Many great links to other wonderful Clapotis artifacts here. And, I'm relieved to see that I'm definitely not the only one who had trouble/fun with the name!)

Too much cuteness

And, to start my weekend right, here are some gratuitous photos.

First off is the most amazing case of bedhead ever.

bedhead

And, here are the boys posing as a "two-headed monster" (according to Matthew). Matthew turns 4 and Spencer turns 1 in the next few days.

boys

February 14, 2005

Electronically Sorted

It's not the same as donning the Sorting Hat, but it's virtual Harry Potter fun at nimbo.net.

i'm in gryffindor!

Assorted for Auction

Today is Valentine's Day. We spent a simple morning crowded on the bed exchanging gifts with each other and with the boys. Sweet. Fun. Special. I hope all of you received something (gift, word, hug, gesture) from someone you love be it friend, partner, child, or family member. Take time today to think about how lucky we are to have someone who loves us.

Didn't get to make it to Stitches this year. With M's torn ligaments, Matthew's birthday part, and winter colds lingering for all of us, we didn't get to go. Not that I "needed" to go. I have a huge stash - and not a lot of willpower when it comes to not buying too much yarn when it's in front of me. Even so, I'd really have liked to have gone. I was bummed about not going. Not much more to say.

I've talked a good bit about the upcoming auction for our cooperative preschool. We've got all our donations in now, and we managed to procure (and make) some really great items from some great companies, including a few yarn/fiber sources (which warmed my heart).

I've shown pictures of a few of the things we turned in (Clapotis, felted bags, etc.). I wanted to also share some pictures of three non-knit projects we did: Beep! Beep stool, Dream stool, and Mira the doll (she comes with a whole assortment of clothes).

miramira

miramira

stoolstool
stoolstool

stoolstool
stoolstool

Now, beyond the auction... we need a little list to note a few things that have caught my attention recently...

  • Project Dulaan - we all need to get involved.
  • The Hatmione Knit-Along - very tempted.
  • Must Have Too Knitalong - I've been debating and think I have to join. I have just the yarn to use - if I can just figure out where to get the pattern easily.
  • Flower Basket Knitalong
  • And aren't these the most adorable booties from leftovers here!
  • Finally, not a knitalong, not even a blog... but Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road. I ran into a copy at Border's a few weeks back and picked it up (thinking it might be hard to get via Web - which was wrong. It's still in print and much cheaper at Amazon.). This is an AWESOME sock collection. There are a number of socks in here I want to make. I don't think I've ever picked up a sock book before and found so many wonderful patterns for socks I'd really like to have/make/own. Definitely a winner.

February 21, 2005

Crenellated Sock

I finally finished the first of the Crenellated Socks for Megan in Lorna's Laces Bee Stripe using the pattern from Lucy Neatby's Cool Socks, Warm Feet. If you'll recall, these were the socks I started on January 1 as my "it's a new year" project. They are also my first toe-up sock and my first Turkish (or afterthought) heel.

bee sock bee sock

I can't say I love the sock.

I can say I think it's fairly ugly. I do like the yarn itself in terms of knitability and hand. But I'm not fond of the coloration. I know Megan was hoping for wider striping when she selected it. So, that's one thing.

I also can't say I love the toe-up process. I much prefer cuff down. Now that I've tried toe-up, I can say that. I didn't know that for sure before.

Part of the trouble here may be that when it came time to choose how to position the toe, Megan selected the triangle toe rather than square. I think it looks odd, and it feels a little funny under my foot. I think if we'd gone square, it might have worked out better.

(Note: I was thinking that maybe I can just pick up stitches about 2 inches down from the toe, rip out the toe, and work it as if I was doing a normal toe on a cuff-down sock. That would work, right? I'm going to go ahead and make a matching sock #2 first. But if it ends up that the toe is a sticking point, I'll rip out both and do them again the other way.)

I can say the afterthought heel was an interesting experiment. I liked the process. I was a bit skeptical as I knitted in the waste yarn and then kept knitting up the foot. But it all worked out nicely. I did consult both a Socknitter's reference and The Keyboard Biologist Knits for sustenance before I started the heel.

I got concerned when reviewing Neatby's directions when I saw something along the lines of "don't worry - you'll have big gaps here" and then in the finishing instructions "now neaten up the gaps."

I like sock patterns that take care of the gaps as much as possible during the knitting rather than going back at the end and taking extra steps to hide holes.

The other sources I looked at all pick up a few stitches in the corners to help alleviate gaps. For some reason, Neatby doesn't.

I did, and that worked out okay.

The rate of decrease for the heel that I used, however, wasn't fast enough. I still had several rows to go when I had M. try it on and found it was already too long. I took out about 7 rows and did the decreases on every row from there on in, and it turned out great.

I like the fit of it, actually.

I think I like the process of the other kind of heel better. But this does fit really nicely.

The garter cuff doesn't thrill me, but then, for myself, I probably don't lean toward cuffs anyway. But M. picked this one, and it turned out nice. The crenellated (picot) bind-off is a cool touch and worked out great. Sort of fun. Sort of unexpected. Sort of funky. Definitely different.

Again, there's not a lot to say except it's an ugly sock. But it's a sock full of "firsts" and adventures in sock knitting - which makes it a good thing regardless!

I went ahead and cast on for sock #2 so that I didn't allow myself the chance to talk myself out of it.

bee sock

Now, maybe, I can consider starting a sock for myself from Knitting on the Road. I do keep a number of projects going at once, but I haven't ever had more than one pair of socks going at a time before. (I don't know how Christy manages it!) But, I think this time, I need a break from the bee stuff and want to work on something I think I'll like!


In other news...

  • I did order the Street Smart pattern booklet for the Must Have Too Cardigan that's making rounds. I can't get it out of my mind, and I really want to start working on a new (as opposed to something started but in the closet) sweater right now. So, hopefully that will get hear by the end of the week so I can get going.

  • My Charlotte is coming along. The auction is March 5, so I've got to get a move on to get it finished in time since wearing it to that is my goal.

  • I love Theresa's iPod stocking and think I'm going to have to make one for my (nameless) mini.

  • I haven't listened to it yet, but I'm anxious to check out Marie's Knitting podCast.

  • I picked up the new Interweave, the old Vogue (so I'd have the flower trellis felted bag pattern), and the British Knitting (Feb. issue - check out the great red cabled zip-up on the cover as well as adorable intarsia heart cardi on the inside) while doing a bookstore run in the rain over the weekend.

February 23, 2005

Cascade/Skye Cardigan Complete

Ahah. At last. Finally.

I actually listed the Cascade Skye Cardigan as complete in 2005, and I even blogged its completion when I finished the knitting, seaming, and collar. But, the sad reality is that even after I bought the perfect buttons, it sat in a pile being moved here to there and there again until it ended up in a heap next to the toybox in the office.

It needed to be steamed a bit before putting the buttons on, and it just wasn't something I ever got around to doing in part because I didn't feel I'd wear it much during Spencer's heavy puking phase.

(This probably has a lot to do with why I didn't work on many sweaters last year.)

But, last week he turned one. Since it's the sweater I was knitting the night my water broke, and since it's really the only thing I was able to muster the resources to work on creatively during the pregnancy, and since I had it in my head that, like Penelope unweaving the shroud, I could somehow stave off early labor by working on the cardigan (because he would not come until it was done), since there's a lot wrapped up in the smaller sizing of it, and since it was the subject of my very first blog entry, the cardigan is very sentimental to me.

I call it Cascade/Skye simply because of the two yarns I used (predominantly) in the making of it. (I also used Alice Starmore chenille in deep purple and Collinette Apollo for cuffs and collar.) But, I think it's really my Spencer sweater. It's special. And as his birthday approached, it was on my mind because it really is something tangible that locks me into that day (he was a month early despite my belief in Penelope's unweaving tactics!).

In my head, I'll always have an image of my knitting thrown aside on my chair as we rushed around dealing with unexpected and far-too-early water.

I had hoped to finish it "on" his birthday. You know how sentimental and philosophical and superstitious I get about such things. But it didn't happen. So Saturday, I pulled it out and got to work.

The steaming went quickly. It didn't need much. Then I tackled the buttons. After #4, I realized I'd put #2 in one rib section too low, so I had to take them back out. But eventually, I had them all in place.

I love it.

It's actually a very cropped cardigan, and fitted (even though it looks boxy in the photo), but I still love it. And I love the colors. I really love them. The Skye in the Slate colorway is so beautiful, and the striping sequence I used worked out so pretty against the purple Cascade. And I like how the bulkier Collinette Apollo worked on the cuffs and collar, letting me use up some odds and ends stash I bought early on in my knitting when I didn't realize one skein of this and one skein of that might be hard to really "make" anything out of!

So, a proud Mama, I show off Cascade Skye.

cardi cardi

February 24, 2005

Many Faces Of...

Not a lot of time for the real entry I'd like to write. I just printed what must be the zillionth copy of the auction brochure for next week's auction, and it's still not done.

I will say, quickly, that...

  • I'm not sure I'll be able to get My Charlotte done in time. The reality depresses me. It's just one little project. Why can't I find enough hours in the day to finish it? I just started the section that uses colors 3 and 4.

  • The other day, I joked about starting a sock for myself from Knitting on the Road and taking a break from the bee-stripe. Along those lines, I asked M. to measure my gauge on the bees since she had a t. measure at hand. She checked it, told me, and then asked, "is that what it's supposed to be?" "Doesn't matter," I replied. "I'm going to start something else and needed to know what my gauge was in that yarn." You should have seen the look on her face. Stricken. Just stricken at the thought that her poor sock would likely never have a mate if I started another pair. She's probably right. I sat and diligently did a few rows on the second bee-stripe the other night.

  • Got a real kick out of the "Many faces of Clapotis"!

February 28, 2005

Bee socks go buzzing by

Rather than make myself crazy trying to finish My Charlotte for this weekend - and still risk not getting it done - I reconciled myself to the fact that it won't be done. It's not really a big deal. Having reached that conclusion. I turned my attention to Megan's second bee sock. Since the bulk of it is basic stockinette, it's a mindless knit and went quickly. Here it is. I'm ready now to pick up the Turkish Heel.

sock

These bzzzers are soon to be a honey of a pair of socks (or a pair of socks for my honey).

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