Monday, July 31, 2006
These are in no particular order, so don't be swayed by any inherent ordering bias. Leave a comment, let me know what you think I should knit next! And yes, I will also finish the Hike sweater, but I need something else to do as well.
Option 1) Demi, from Vintage Knits.
This will be in a darkish green tweed (Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran), or a dark purple Donegal Tweed. I'm leaning towards the green, since it's lighter and will show off the pattern more, but this sweater looks lovely in the dark brown in this photo.
Option 2) Salina, from Vintage Knits.
This one I have the actual recommended yarn for, in dusky navy blue Rowan Felted Tweed (is that a color or have I just made it up? Anyway, it's navy, but lighter). This baby could be made in the round and is the simplest option, I think. I intend to look happier when I wear mine.
Option 3) Rogue, from The Girl from Auntie.
This was intended to be my next sweater, way back last fall when I had good intentions of finishing Hike much faster than I did. I have the yarn, light blue Rowanspun Aran. In fact I have enough yarn to make two of these, since it was a huge deal from Ebay that involved getting a whole bag, and this stuff comes in huge skeins.
Option 4) Asymetrical Cabled Vest, from Loop d'Loop.That is a horrible photo. I bet this woman is quite attractive, but that face she's making is really doing nothing for her. However, in reality this vest is quite cute and reminds me a bit of DNA. Plus, it has an adorable matching hat. And the gauge is huge, so it would go quickly. I'd wear it more like a sweater, over long-sleeved t-shirts, hence it's in the potential sweater section. I have some Rowan Polar (not tweed!) purchased for this item. Or anything with comparably huge gauge, say the Lace Leaf Pullover (option 5): I also have a few side options, without photos. I had intended to knit a vest for someone who shall remain nameless in case he/she reads the blog, but I've not really found the perfect pattern. I thought I had, but the more I look at it the less it calls to me. So I'm still looking for that, but I could get on with some zeal if you all think it wise. Then there is the option of making something summery, say a tank top. I have several patterns and appropriate yarn, and this might be a good choice since it would be simple (fewer pieces=less finishing=better chance of getting it done). But the sweaters call to me as better things to knit, since knitted tank tops seem slightly oxymoronic to me. And summer is fleeting in Seattle. In fact, after our brief wave of hellish heat we're now back in the 60s, 40s at night, and a sweater sounds like just the ticket. And a scarf. Maybe even a hat and mittens. I love it here but I'd really appreciate some warm evenings!
Okay, the poll is open. What should I make? You've got until Wednesday. Speak now or forever hold your peace (until we do this again, say next summer, when I finish whatever I'm about to start)! By the way, I do have an opinion about what I would like to make, but I'm interesting in getting opinions, so I'm keeping it to myself. Maybe you'll all agree with me...
Friday, July 28, 2006
Garlic fries and nachos were consumed. No beer for me though, since I can't drink and knit, even stockinette. The sleeve would've gone totally crooked.
Daisy made some sock progress:
And Jennifer won this fantastic basket from Michaels (I think):
The basket is chock full of yarn as well as a Learn-to-Knit book and kit with tons of nifty knitting gadgets, and some of those bizarre circular knitting frames that remind me of the loop potholder kits that were everywhere when I was growing up. They gave away quite a few of these giant baskets, which was really impressive when you think how much is in them, and that they were (I think) free raffle tickets.
I promise to get back to more regular posting now that the herpes meeting is over and done with. It was totally exhausting. Too much beer, too much science, too many late nights and early mornings. And NOT enough knitting. I think I can finish the sleeve this weekend if I put my mind to it...And then you guys can decide what sweater/garment I knit next! I have the potential victims all lined up for a photo display in my next post...
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Package 1: From my Secret Pal, who remains a complete mystery to me. I don't know much about her aside from that she lives in San Francisco (great city) and that she's been quite good to me. Here is my second SP8 package:
Here we have two skeins of purple (hello Project Spectrum) Patons Bella (she suggested a cabled hat, which is an idea I can totally get behind), Outside magazines 2006 Buyer's Guide (which I had actually looked at and meant to buy, but I didn't get around to it, so this is great), and a needle felting kit and pack o' fiber. I'm pretty excited about the needle felting - I'd seen this kit before and was curious about it, so I'll definitely be trying it out soon. I have some yarn ready to make a felted purse, so I'll probably put some needle-felting on that when it's finished. I also got a new Knit Picks catalog on Saturday, with a big section on needle-felting, so I read up on it a bit and I'm all set to go. Thank you secret pal, I love my package! Can't wait to find out who you are :)
Package 2: The yarn I won in the Dye-o-Rama swap, from Cider Moon:
I have to say it - this yarn is very nice in texture, and in dyeing, and is all around lovely, except that the colors are not really me. In reality the yarn is less teal and more chartreuse than it appears in the photo. However, I'm sure I will use this yarn to make a lovely gift for someone who can pull off chartreuse with more panache than I can. And, I'm very happy to have won it, since I never win anything, and it is really nice. In fact, the more I look at the photo the more it's growing on me. We'll see...
Package 3: My July Colorswap package, from Kristi:
Kristi went all out with this package! There are two skeins of purple Knit Picks Palette, which I think I might use for socks, maybe lace armwarmers? There are many options. There was also a bath bomb (love those), lip gloss, and a nifty purple flower, which will live on my desk in the lab. She also made me a little pouch for stitch holders and yarn scraps and the like, which is very nice. There was also a tube of very pretty amethsyt beads, that managed to sneak under the tissue for the photo shoot. I'm not sure what I'll do with them - there may be enough for a necklace, I'm not sure. Cetainly a bracelet. Then there was some fun stuff, like glitter watercolors (can't wait to use those - I don't remember the last time I painted something that didn't count as home improvement), and some interesting candy that I've not seen before but I'm hypothesizing is like PopRocks, which are totally great. And a cute card as well. Kristi has impeccible handwriting. I have pretty neat handwriting but I'm very jealous of hers. Thank you Kristi, I love my package, and I hope that yours arrived and that you liked it as well!
Phew, that was a lot of stash enhancement! Tonight the Fiberphiles and I are going to the Seattle Mariners Stitch & Pitch. The Mariners play the Toronto Blue Jays. The weather is lovely, and the knitters will be out in force. I'll try to document the occasion like a good blogger, but it might be a few days before I get the photos up since I'm spending the week at the International Herpesvirus Workshop (in Seattle - my first international research meeting and I don't even get to go anywhere). If you click on that and like the logo, it was designed by my labmate Stephanie and we're very proud - it's been a huge hit at the meeting.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Yes, I'm still working on the sleeve. It's well over half done. Maybe later today I'll post the options for the next sweater so everyone can weigh in with the decision...
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
I started the second Hike sleeve last night around 9:00, worked on it for about 1.5 hours, and then again this morning while watching the Tour. I could've gotten more done had I started knitting when I started watching the race, at 5:15am(!), but I really wasn't awake enough to knit until around 7:00...And what a stage it was. Very exciting. Still no idea who is going to win this one. SO much more exciting than all the Tours de Lance...I've not been going on about on this blog, since it's supposed to be about knitting, but I'm a huge cycling fan and have been since I was probably 10 years old. So, the Tour is always an exciting time of getting up early to watch the race live (remember, I live on the left coast, so we're talking pretty early here). I also do this in May for the Giro d'Italia, and again in September for the Vuelta a Espana. It is possible I am insane.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Carefully he waits, ready to pounce (or purr) on anyone who might come near his domain. Or maybe he's just lazy. Either way he's cute, yes?
I found out yesterday that I won a prize in the Dye-O-Rama handdyed yarn swap! I'm really excited, I never win anything! My yarn should be on its way today. I'm getting 2 skeins of handdyed mohair and one of merino (I think) from Cider Moon, enough to make a scarf (pattern included with my yarn). I'll be sure to show it off when it arrives.
Last night, in lieu of knitting, I did some Project Spectrum crafting. I dyed some yarn, and made purple paper. Here is the yarn, which I've christened "Luscious Lilac:" The picture doesn't really do it justice but there's just no way to get good lighting in my apartment...It's 300 yards of Gems Pearl (fingering weight) dyed in four shades of lilac. Once again I've tried and not really succeeded in getting dark purple, but regardless I'm really happy with the way this turned out. Now if only it was for me!
Monday, July 17, 2006
1) I'm afraid it won't fit. I swatched. The pieces appear to be sized to fit my body. But I didn't wash my swatch, so god knows what might happen. I know it's a good thing to do, but washing swatches seems like a waste of perfectly good yarn.
2) I'm scared I won't like it, even if it does fit. And then all the time and energy will have been for naught. The front pockets are looking gigantic. They could be made smaller without ripping anytthing but them, but I'd rather not get into that...
3) I don't want to sew it together. I should've picked something with fewer pieces. What if I mess the whole thing up in the finishing? And then I have to attach the collar. And I think I was planning to make a hood instead, which is really frightening...
4) If I finish it I'll have to start a new sweater. This isn't a bad thing, especially since I already have the yarn for several sweaters, but choosing which one to start next might overwhelm me into total inaction and months of regression into garter stitch scarves...or maybe hats...
Give me strength. Perhaps with your support I can get through this. Maybe I'll start tonight. Maybe...or next week. Month. Year.
Ooh, and during the stash sort, I ripped out Elspeth. I was never going to figure out where I'd gone wrong, and I'm not so into light pink now, so out she went, and I've got four skeins of Calmer to find a use for...
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Now this is
obviously a horribly unflattering photo of me, but I'm posting it anyway, to empathize the magnitude of what I had gotten myself into with the stash reorganization, which started at about 9:00 last night. See that notebook and calculator? That was me making the wise decision to document just what it is I have in the stash (well, the stuff I have large enough quantities of to make such a task worthwhile). And that huge pile above my head? That is sock yarn. I have no idea how I have amassed so much. It's true what they say though, that sock yarn creeps into the stash because you don't need a lot at a time and it's relatively cheap, and thus doesn't count as stash. Right? The pile by my hind end is lace-ish weight yarn. The sweater yarn is by my feet. By my reckoning I have enough yarn for about 7-8 sweaters, and ALL of it is tweed. What's up with that? I guess I like tweeds. I mean, I knew that of course, but seeing it all laid out there was a bit of a shock. All of that yarn has a pattern to go with it, which is good, although when I will get around to knitting any of those sweaters is another issue that we shall not go into this afternoon. Suffice to say, eventually. Oliver spent a bit of time investigating the stash as well (note tweeds!), although for the most part he laid on the couch with Dave, both of them looking a bit shocked and awed by the mass of fiber taking over the living room. I managed to get most of the stash back into the closet, but I'm going shopping for some new containers for the rest. Deciding between giant clear tupperware bins or nice big wicker baskets with lids...
This morning we had a nice surprise, right in time for Project Spectrum July: This is Suki the African Violet, which Rachel gave us as a housewarming gift back in February. This is her first bloom and we're so proud :) Not to worry, she doesn't usually live on the carpet...
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Rachel, Pam, and I: Print o' the Wave stole, from Eunny Jang. Rachel is using SeaSilk, Pam something I'm not sure of, and I am using teal kid mohair from Wagtail Yarns, which I showed off a few days back. I plan to incorporate some beads into the border of mine, but that decision will be made much later (aka don't hold your breath for me to actually be knitting the border of this stole).
Daisy: Persimmon Lace stole, from the Summer issue of Knitters Magazine. She is using red(ish) Blue Sky Alpacas alpaca. We've not seen this yet but she is wisely working on it at home and getting used to the pattern.
Jennifer: Adamas Shawl, by Miriam Felton, in Knit Picks Shadow, Jewel I believe.
Shibani: Shibani is a new member to our group, and picked up her knitting needles a few weeks ago. However, she has taken to knitting like a fish to water, and is contemplating starting some lace of her own. Brave girl, this one!
As for me, I've swatched. And I've had a lot of issues. Not with the pattern, but with my method of making yarnovers, which is apparently backwards. If you're a regular reader of my blog you might recall that I was always having problems with my yarnovers not really leaving large holes, and I finally figured out (on an airplane working on socks) that I could solve that problem by knitting the yarnover through the back loop on the next row. However, this only works when you are knitting in the round, since otherwise you are purling the next row. That's what I was doing last night, and I started purling through the back loop, which worked to leave nice holes, but also left me with twisted stitches that confused the hell out of me when it came time to do things like K2tog and SSKs, which come at you fast and furious in this pattern. So, my swatch is a bit weird but pretty much correct, and gives me an idea that my needles are bit too small and that my lovely unhaloed-in-the-skein mohair is making quite the halo when knitted. Thus I will be going up a needle size. Rachel also solved my yarnover problem with the obvious solution of making the yarnovers the other way. What I was doing before was bringing the yarn over the needle so the yarnover came from the back, but what I should be doing is bring the yarn forward as if to purl, and then just doing the next stitch. I did a few rows like this and can report that it did indeed fix my problems, so once again Rachel has saved me from knitting disaster! It might take me some time to get used to this, but hopefully I'll adapt...I plan to get my new needles (It is unfathomable to me that I don't have size 3 or 4 straight or circular needles, with the needle stash I have. I had to swatch on DPNs) this evening and cast on! Photos as soon as there is significant progress, I promise.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Shrewsbury is a very old city (hell, everything in England is old), and there are a lot of bits that still look like this:
All in all Shrewsbury was a lovely place but we didn't stay long, since we were on a mission to get to the Lake District. From Shrewsbury we drove pretty much straight north. All of a sudden we started to see many, many fiber-bearers! Now, being a knitter I was very excited about the sheep, but bonding with them had to wait. On the way we ran into this little obstacle in the road: Now we think what happened here was that the farmer was transporting these hay bales, made a turn, and oops-a-daisy, all over the road. He was making a valiant effort at hay retrieval:
We did eventually make it to Keswick (don't pronounce the 'w'), where I got to commune with some fiber-bearers. One of the neat things about England is that you're allowed to walk anywhere, including through grazing livestock, as you can see me doing on the left. You really have to mind the sheep sh*t though...it was pretty thick.
There were also these cuties:
The paint marks come in many colors and are used by the famers to tell who is who and who has done what to whom, breeding-wise.
Keswick is a pretty nice little town. It's the gateway to the hiking in the area, of which there is plenty. The city was pretty crowded with people hiking or preparing to do so, and I've never seen such a huge collection of outdoor gear anywhere. Even in a big outdoorsy city like Seattle there are only a few stores that sell hiking gear, so this was really bizarre. Here is a shot of the Keswick town center: I'm really sorry these pictures are all so dreary, but it was dreary. It was beautiful in Bath, and again in London, but the weather was absolute crap for about the middle 6 days of our trip, starting with this one. More about that later. Stay tuned. Tomorrow I'll tell you all about the wonder that was the Lakeland Sheep and Wool Centre...
This is the Baby Bobbi Bear from Blue Sky Alpaca, in organic cotton. It's SO soft and cuddly! I'm really happy with it, and I hope that Paula (and her baby, of course) enjoys it. As you might recall, I had a lot of trouble understanding this pattern just reading it, although when I finally just started doing what it said without over thinking it things were just fine. So, in the end I'm happy with the pattern and could see myself making another one.
Project Specs: Baby Bobbi Bear
Yarn/pattern: Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton, 1.5 skeins, sand
Needles: Size 9 bamboo DPNs, and several large stitch holders
Time: Longer than necessary due to severe procrastination and pattern confusion. Probably about two weeks or less of actual effort.
Comments: See above. No real complaints. I could be happier with my face embroidery, but that's hardly the patterns fault. I was in a rush but I think it looks okay. And it gave me an excuse to head to the embroidery floss stash, which is substantial since I was really into making friendship bracelets and doing cross-stitch back in the day.
Now I have to start something else (yes, there are already current projects...if we don't talk about them maybe they'll go away). My lunchtime knitting group, the Fiberphiles, has decided to have an informal lace knitalong, so that we're all kind of knitting the same type of thing at the same time. Too date I think Rachel is the only one who has started a new project (which is the same as what I'm making - her's will turn out better and be done months earlier since I'm knitting above my skillz, (and I never finish anything) so the choice may have been ill-advised). Daisy is making some lacy socks, so that counts, and I think Jennifer is also making a lace shawl, but I'm not sure where it stands. Although I'm not big on lace shawls because I think I'm really not old enough to wear them and I never know what I would do with a purse with one (I feel the same way about ponchos), I feel rectangular ones are really scarves (stoles), and I love scarves, so Rachel and I are making this. Sorry that's a PDF, if you go here and scroll down to the free patterns you can see a small photo. I'm using this yarn:
The yarn is 100% kid mohair from Australia that I got at a fiber festival this spring. It's unbelievably soft and doesn't have too much of a halo, so it should be ideal for the lace. Don't hold your breath on seeing progress with this. I'm just swatching!
Thursday, July 06, 2006
As I recall, when we last spoke we were hunting for our hotel room in the lovely city of Bath. We were tired. We hadn't eaten. We had no map. It took us well over an hour to find our hotel room. Tempers were flaring, but we made it, and then ate dinner at a lovely Italian place with 4 waiters for each diner (were we eating really early? No. Not sure why there was such a huge waitstaff). This was our first experience with the need to order tap water instead of just asking for a glass of water, after asking for water got us a large bottle of still water that cost about $6. Should've seen that one coming, having made the same mistake in Europe before, but I was tired. C'est la vie.
The next morning we got up early. Very early, since we were apparently next to a dance club that opened its windows at about 2:00am. Thankfully we went back to sleep and got up at a reasonable hour and headed off to breakfast and then to find the Roman Baths. We walked in a fairly roundabout way to get there from the hotel, and it was only on the way back that we discovered our hotel was in fact quite well placed near the city center. Anyway. We saw this:
This is the main bath at the Baths. The water comes from a geothermal spring off behind the upper right corner of this photo, and the waters were believed to have healing properties. The Romans built a huge temple here as well as the baths themselves (everything from the pillars up in the photo, including the very Roman-looking statues, was built by the Victorians after having been buried for centuries). From the Baths you can also get a lovely view of Bath Abbey:
Bath Abbey is beautiful. This was our first (of many) large churches, and one of the best. I had been to Bath before, and since this is right at the Roman Baths I have no idea how I missed it, but I honestly don't really remember seeing it. Then again, there is so much to see everywhere that you just get overwhelmed. Here is an inside shot:
After this we walked around a bit, explored the riverfront, and then had our first pub lunch, complete with pints of beer, which my dad is convinced aided his driving immensely (he might be right on this, honestly). Then we left Bath and headed to...
Ah, you thought I was done. But it's occurred to me that I'm never going to get done with this whole trip retrospective thing in a decent amount of time (too late?) if I don't cover more than one place a day...
From Bath we went here:
This is Tintern Abbey, in South Wales. Not to be confused with Knockturn Alley (Harry Potter fans?). Obviously it has seen better days, but it was really neat. I like places where you're allowed to wander around at will, exploring and climbing over stuff. This building is pretty much intact aside from the roof (which was wood) and the windows (which were stolen/destroyed). It's actually huge, the photos don't really do justice to the scale of the place. There was a wedding party taking photos there, which was pretty cool.
From there we meant to stay in Wales (we were going to spend a night in Wales, but we were on the eastern edge already and well, it didn't happen), but we ended up driving back into England and headed up to Shrewsbury, which I will discuss at length tomorrow. The World Cup was on, and the US was playing Italy. So we went to an Italian restaurant!
Oh, I've been knitting! I'm almost done with the stuffed bear for Paula's baby. Just the arms and ears left, and a good thing, since the baby shower is this Sunday. Nothing like waiting until the last minute...And I've been working on the Clapotis while I watch the Tour de France every morning. So things are moving along, but I really should some up with something purple for Project Spectrum...
Monday, July 03, 2006
I can't believe she made this for me! I had really been needing one, and this is perfect. All weekend I was picking it up and telling Dave how cool it was. So, thank you very much Kim, and your package is on its way! Sorry it's late : (