Friday, July 27, 2007

Stitch & Pitch

Phew, I am really stressed about leaving for vacation in six hours (at 3:00am), but I thought a quick update was in order before I left. Last night several of the Fiberphiles and I attended the Seattle Stitch & Pitch, where we watched the Mariners lose their 7th straight 2-6 to the Oakland As. My sockapalooza sock enjoyed the trip immensely:So much so that it flew off the needles and the socks were completed this evening, just under the wire. Although I'm not planning to mail them until I get back from vacation, I didn't want them hanging over my head uncompleted.

Project Stats: Angel's Rest Socks

Pattern: Angel's Rest, from the Peak Experience Socks leaflet (Fiber Trends AC-49).

Yarn: Angora Farms Monarch, colorway Ivy. Yarn purchased at the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival this past winter.

Needles: Size 2 Brittney birch DPNs, the little 5" ones.

Time on the Needles: The second sock took less than a week but the first lanquished. I'd say about a month.

Impressions: These were much easier than my first choice for my sock pal, Cookie A's Twisted Flower Socks. I really like this Monarch yarn - it's similar to Socks that Rock mediumweight I'd say, and generally it stripes instead of pooling, although it did pool a bit on these socks, probably due to the increasing and decreasing, or perhaps just the stitch number. It bugs me a bit that the yarn behaved differently on the second sock, but I'm working hard to just let that go. I do find it surprising though...I really hope my pal likes these, and that they fit. Her feet are slightly larger than mine but only a bit so I think these will be good. We'll see.

A brief note on my impending absence. Dave and I are going camping in Utah for the next week with both sets of our parents. This will be the first meeting of the parents, so I'm sure I'll have good stories when I come back. I sense there is a movie script in here somewhere - whether it's a comedy or tragedy is yet to be determined. For knitting, I'm planning to start the Ruffled Tuxedo Tank from the Summer 2007 Interweave, using Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy. I'm also going to take some sock yarn for simple socks just in case the tank proves to be more problematic than expected. This is not unlikely as I'm converting the pattern into the round, as well as knitting it in stockinette instead of reverse stockinette. I was thinking of doing that anyway, because I think reverse stockinette tends to look a bit sloppy no matter how evenly one knits, but I was sold when I saw someone else on Ravelry used stockinette. Have I mentioned how I love Ravelry? It's great. Hope you all have a good week!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sockapalooza Update

First things first, let me say that I loved the Harry Potter (no spoilers). I got a bit of a slow start with it, and had some trouble getting really into it, which I think was due largely to the fact that I didn't want to finish it and have the whole series be over. That changed around midnight Sunday night, when I became obsessed and ended up staying up until 3:30am reading and 4:15am thinking. And then I dreamt about it. In my dream I was reading extra chapters, which all fit in quite nicely and would have made good additions. Too bad I didn't write them down! Anyway, I loved the book and will be rereading it again soon - I was reading so fast at the end that I'm sure I skipped some interesting stuff in my desire to find out what was going to happen. Yesterday was thus a bit of a wash, due to the fatigue...
I have been working diligently on my Sockapalooza socks. I finished the first one on Friday, and today I turned the heel of the second sock: For a recap, this is the Angel's Rest pattern from Fiber Trends Peak Experience Socks, knit with Angora Farms Monarch sock yarn, in Ivy. Sorry for the lack of links but it's late and I've linked them before. I'm hoping to finish these this week because I'm going to Utah for vacation on Saturday, and although I don't intend to mail the socks until I get back (a couple of days late - I will let my pal know so she doesn't worry), I'd like to have them done so I don't have to worry about them on the trip. I have other knitting plans for my vacation, which I'll hopefully share before I go. A quick question for the Sockapalooza veterans out there - is it customary to mail other gifts along with the socks? This is my first swap of this nature, and I don't want to send only the socks if my pal is going to be expecting other little gifts as well. Please advise. I have no qualms about including some goodies, and would do so happily, I'm just not sure what the standard is for this type of swap.
Ooh, ooh, ooh, I finally got my Ravelry invite last Friday!!! Happy dance, happy dance! It turns out I got my invite on June 20th, but my Hotmail spam filter ate it, and until recently there wasn't an easy way to find out where you were in the Ravelry waiting list. Just Friday I noticed the 'type in your email and we'll tell you where you stand' function, and in minutes I was raveling away. It's SO great, I love it. It has been sucking up a fair bit of knitting time, but it's worth it to have everything organized so neatly. I love organizing and making lists. Ravelry is perfect for me. I couldn't be happier. I'm eemarsha, if you want to come find me!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Are you ready?

Catch you when it's over...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Finished Object: Chevron Scarf

It is finished! Not that I've mentioned it much, but I spent a long time making my Chevron Scarf, from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts.

It took me almost five months to knit this, but it was my at-work project, so I only worked on it for about 30-40 minutes at a time, and sometimes deadline knitting got in that way of even that, so it was a long slog. I enjoyed it though, and the results are lovely!

Project Stats: Chevron Scarf

Pattern: Chevron Scarf, from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson.

Yarn: Koigu KPPPM, colorway P529 (how's that for descriptive?!?), purchased at Weaving Works. I used three skeins.

Needles: Size 5 Clover bamboo.

Time on the Needles: 2.16.07-7.12.07. Would've been faster but I only worked on it at lunch, and not even exclusively.

Finished Size: 5" by some ungodly length. Seriously - it's really long and I used one skein less than called for in the pattern.

Modifications: The pattern calls for two colorways of Koigu, each used for two rows and then switched. I decided I didn't want to deal with carrying the extra yarn (and I can never get enough turquoise) so I just used one color. I also only used three skeins instead of the four called for in the pattern. I think four would have made a scarf that was really way too long. I like long and this is borderline too long for me. In the photo I have it around my neck three times and both tails are still past my hips.

Impressions: So pretty! So wearable! So prone to curling! Seriously, I had a hard time blocking this baby flat, as it really wants to puff up where the increases are (the mountains, if you will), and curl under at the edges. I was afraid of this because I've heard of other people having issues with it(Wendy has a great description of hers, with an awesome photo, here), so we'll see how much of a problem it is when I wear the scarf. I considered making it even longer, since I have a fourth skein of yarn, and then sewing it together along the long seams, but I think that would be way too much effort and make the scarf too bulky. I think curling will be okay - it's not meant to to thick and warm so if it rolls and becomes narrow I think I can live with it. This was my first Koigu experience and while the yarn was nice I didn't find it to be anything special. If I make another of these (not unlikely) I think I'll use something softer, like Socks that Rock. But. overall I'm really happy with this and I think I'll get a lot of use out of it!

With that completed, I need a new work project. It has to be something simple where progress can be made in small chunks of time. For the moment I'm taking my Sockapalooza sock with me (almost to the toe of sock #1) but when that's done I'm thinking about starting the Back-to-School Vest from Fitted Knits. I have the yarn and I think a simple circular project would be a good choice. or I could make another scarf. We'll see...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Status Report: Mystery Stole 3

Well, after some intense weekend knitting, I've finished clue 2! I realize it's difficult to tell what this is looking like, since it's all crumpled up, but since I'm knitting on straight needles it's hard to stretch it out properly. I know I could do it mid-row, but that makes me nervous, so I'm just waiting until the end to really see it. But, I'm loving it so far, and miraculously I'm quite enjoying the lace knitting. I'm finding it strangly addicting, and I've even signed up for the Hanami Knitalong, which will be starting just after the finale of MS3.
Oliver has been enjoying the lace as well, and has taken a shine to the Zephyr:

So much so that Dave had to ward him off with the extra knitting needle and crochet hook on Friday night:I realize he doesn't look threatening there, but I promise you, he was going for the stole before he got into watching the tv. By the way, Dave was doing that before I got out the camera, I promise! Note that Dave is also protecting the beads in his lap (in the red lobster dish, which was a gift from Amie as part of my Knitters Tea Swap package). Good man. All the right priorities...

Edited to add: Amie reminds me that it's a crab, not a lobster, holding the beads! My bad, it was late and I wasn't paying attention. Amie, I totally agree with you that crab is superior to lobster!

The third MS3 clue came out on Friday, and I'm hoping to get somewhere close to finished with that before the giant clue this week. We have two weeks for this next clue, due to the impending release of the final (sob) Harry Potter book on Saturday. But, this next clue will be over twice as long as the previous clues, due to the extra time, so I don't want to be too far behind when I get it. Melanie says this clue, while long, will be fast to knit, so there's hope!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Trip Report

Right, well, I'm back! Been back for a few days in fact, but I've been busy since I returned so my trip report is a bit late in coming. As a recap, I went home to PA last weekend to visit my family and attend my 10-year high school reunion. I always like going home, especially in the summer when all the flowers are blooming and the house looks lovely. It's been very dry so my mother was complaining about the state of her gardens quite a bit, but I thought they looked quite nice, despite the lack of moisture. We had great weather the entire time I was at home, which made for a lot of sitting around on the very comfortable deck (check out that swing!) reading and catching up. Love the hanging baskets, and I wish I'd have taken a better close-up. Friday we took a short hike on the Trolley Line Trail, which follows an old (intended) trolley line near Cambridge Springs, PA. Although the trolley wasn't built, they did build some nice bridges for it to travel on, and this one is largely intact:On the hike we encountered some poison ivy, and I was lucky to get away with only two tiny spots on my right ankle. My father and I are both quite susceptible to the stuff but we washed it off thoroughly as soon as we got home and that seemed to have done the trick.
My reunion was on Saturday night, and it was quite fun. I'd say maybe 30% of my class was in attendance, give or take. We didn't have the reunion in a closed location, so there were some interlopers in there interfering with my counting, and there were plenty of people who I'm pretty sure I did go to school with but didn't remember, so I could be way off in my attendance estimate. I didn't get many good photos, but this is me (on the right) with my high school boyfriend (who had more hair then) Matt, and our friend Lauren (middle). Between Lauren and Matt is Beth, another good friend from MPS. I spent the most time catching up with Beth, and had a good time doing so. All in all I'm really glad I went to the reunion but I was SO nervous about it beforehand. Even driving there I was almost feeling sick I was so nervous. I'm not sure why really, as I enjoyed high school and was looking forward to catching up with people. I guess it was due in large part to feeling bad for not having kept in touch and worrying that everyone else had kept in touch and that I'd be an outsider. But, that was not the case, and apparently everyone had been nervous, so the whole operation was a success.

I spent most of the day Sunday preparing for a barbeque that my parents were having, and at the party itself. My parents have fun friends so it's always enjoyable to hang out with them, and the party was quite fun. Monday I sorted through a ton of stuff that was still taking up residence in my old bedroom closet, and got rid of a lot. I'll be meeting up with my parents in Utah later this month and they're bringing me a big box of clothes and crafty stuff I want to keep. Then we went to the Erie Zoo, where I met this little guy:

Seriously, how cute is he (she?)? Adorable. The zoo has gone through many changes since I volunteered there in high school, and is looking great. I got a lot of good animal photos but as this post is already photo heavy I'll just show you one more, of some lovely tropical birds that you can visit in their cage:Sadly I don't remember what kind of birds these are, but they came in a multitude of colors. They are probably Rainbow Lorikeets. Then I visited with my grandmother a bit and headed back to the airport. I just barely made my connecting flight in Atlanta (and I mean just barely - they reopened the plane door for me and the three others from my flight) but my luggage did not, although I got it Tuesday afternoon, only about 16 hours late. Not bad really. The only thing I needed wanted in there was my MS3, but I didn't really have time to work on it anyway. Oh, and Dave brought me flowers at the airport! I've always wanted to be greeted with flowers! I hardly did any knitting while I was at home. About 6 rows of the stole (I've done a lot since I got back though - I'm currently on row 121) and a bit on the Chevron Scarf. Didn't even touch the Sockapalooza sock. But after a good effort last night I'm up to the heel of the first sock. I'm kind of addicted to the lace, which is interfering with the socks, which I'll now be rushing to finish...

Oh, Tuesday night Dave, Anne-Marie, and I went to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It's great. You should go see it. Be smarter than us and don't go at midnight. It's shorter than the previous movies but that's not really saying much.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

I'm Off!

As feared I did not finish the first clue of the MS3, but I only have 10 rows to go and that's certainly managable by Friday. I've really enjoyed working on it but have had limited time to do so, and although I did consider taking it on the plane, I think the beads on a plane might be problematic. Hehehe - beads on a plane...So, into the checked luggage it went (please let them not harm it if they go through my luggage). For plane knitting I brought my Chevron Scarf (not mentioned for ages, being my work project, but which is tantalizingly close to being finished) and my Sockapalooza socks. I also (yes, this is out of hand) brought all the requisite equipment to start my Anemoi Mittens, but it's also going in the checked bag. I was thinking of casting them on before I left but didn't have time and then thought starting a Fair Isle project on a plane might be dodgy. Probably fine once I've gotten a bit done, so maybe on the way back.
Hope everyone had a wonderful Fourth of July and has a great weekend! Wish me luck for my 10 year high school reunion - I'm worried I might not recognize anyone!!!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Mystery Stole 3 - Chapter 1

Well, my most recent attempt at the endeavor we call lace knitting has been quite successful so far (knock on wood). I've made it to row 70 on my MS3, and I only had to tink back half of one row about 15 rows back because I forgot a k2tog. Here's the current state of affairs: Sorry that you can't see the pattern overly well. I'm using straight needles so I can't really stretch it out to its full width anymore. I'm SO excited about how this is going. I started it on Friday night and finished the first chart, up to row 50, that night. I was stretching it out and holding it up to the white wall after every single row. I'm not sure if Dave was actually impressed or not, but he made a good show of it. I'm really enjoying putting in the beads, and I'm hoping there are more in the latter parts of the pattern because they add so much sparkle. Yes, there is a lifeline in there, at row 70. Just in case. Better safe than sorry, eh? I was worried that my fabric was too lacy, but now that I'm looking at the photo it looks pretty good and the design is quite apparent, albeit a bit squished. I would like to have the first clue finished before I traipse off to PA on the Wednesday night red-eye, but we'll see. The rows are getting longer and the time is getting shorter, and I still have to pack and hunt down some Hemp hand lotion from the Body Shop to take home for my mother. Can I do it? I'll let you know tomorrow what the odds are...Now I must go rescue my stole from the sofa before Oliver removes it for me!