Thursday, January 31, 2008
(I am obsessed with this site because I love looking at the pass cameras.)
Snoqualmie Pass (3022 ft) (This is I-90.)
Restrictions Eastbound:Pass Closed
Restrictions Westbound: Pass Closed
Conditions & Weather: Snoqualmie Pass remains closed due to extreme winter conditions from milepost 34 near North Bend to milepost 106 near Ellensburg. The pass will remain closed for at least the next 24 hours. Due to wet, heavier snow, the avalanche threat has increased. Friday, Feb. 1, at 9 a.m. is the earliest WSDOT will be able to assess the effects of this storm and our ability to reopen the pass.
Stevens Pass (4061 ft)
Restrictions Eastbound:Temporarily closed
Restrictions Westbound: Temporarily closed
Conditions & Weather: Stevens Pass will be closed between milepost 56 to milepost 99, Scenic to Leavenworth, while wreckers remove a pair of semi trucks that slid off the highway on the west side of the summit. Avalanche control is also in progress. Estimated time to open is 6:00 p.m. Snowing.
I love living somewhere where they have to close the roads due to snow! How exciting - I predict epic snow when we go skiing on Saturday!!!
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Oliver looks all cute, doesn't he? And loving? He loves to cuddle on the sofa, and he only chews on my hair in the bedroom, and he's been doing that less and less frequently. However, he has developed some annoying new habits...
Dave has been having insomnia, so after we read our nightly installment of The Intellectual Devotional (Yes, we are supremely nerdy, and happy about it. The Intellectual Devotional is based on the religious devotionals where one reads a Bible passage and comments each day, but with topics like visual arts, science, music, philosophy, etc. There is also an American History version that we'd like to get next year.), he usually heads back out to the living room to read until 3:00am while I fall asleep immediately. Now, generally Oliver wakes up and starts agitating for breakfast around 6:00-6:30, but sometimes earlier if he's really feeling peckish. I've been trying to get up and to work earlier, not to mention to my 8:00 pilates class, so the 6:30 thing isn't that big of a problem, especially considering I usually drag myself out of bed grudgingly, feed Oliver, and go back to sleep. And I do mean me, since Dave rarely deals with the hungry beast. Because Oliver only pesters me. Me. Even at 3:00am. When Dave is AWAKE in the living room. Meow. Leap onto my head. Off of my head. Back up. Back off. Meow. Feed me. Chews on my hair. I'm starving. Don't ignore me. At 3:00 in the morning! Eh. Dave? Completely oblivious to all this, although he did feed the cat when I
Those are bins of yarn behind the towel, as seen in this post. I've always covered the bottom bins because sometimes the yarn rolls out and Oliver finds that quite intriguing. But, generally speaking he ignores the stash in this form. However, suddenly I've been finding chewed on yarn balls - some Cascade 220 (still in the skein, now with more than two ends) on Thursday and then some turquoise mohair (now with many ends and some thin bits) on Saturday. So, desperate measures were taken, as you can see. Although I miss seeing the yarn I'd rather have Oliver not chew on it and hurt himself, so this is what I've got. Oh, and despite all this complaining, I love Oliver to death and wouldn't change him for the world :) Well, aside from the waking up early!
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I tried to only get it damp and I was very careful not to allow it to put weight on itself so it wouldn't stretch out. It's already a tad big and I don't want to have to felt it into shape (although I bet that would be lovely)! This is the last time I don't wash my swatch - just saying (Remind me that I said that if need be, please.). If this grows I will have learned this lesson twice, but I think I'm safe. Laid out on the futon it looks about the same size as it did pre-blocking. The only reason it really needed to be blocked was to teach the bottom ribbing to be flat and to (hopefully) make my decent armhole seams even more presentable. And maybe to soften up the yarn a tad as it's pretty itchy on the neck. The stitches, however, were remarkably even. I procured buttons and will attach them as soon as the sweater is dry. You can see in the photo the the front center must not have gotten very wet as it's much lighter...That's some lazy blocking, that is!
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Can you believe that that lumpy mass of garter stitch turns into an adorable jacket? It's amazing. I can't wait to make another one!
Project Stats: Baby Surprise Jacket for Vivian
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted, colorway Rainbow. I used about 1.5 skeins.
Needles: Size 8 Clover bamboo circulars. To think I contemplated knitting this on straight needles! Thank goodness I read over the pattern before I was stuck on plane with 9" needles with way too many stitches on them...
Buttons: Purchased at Weaving Works. I think they're my favorite part of the sweater. So perfect!
Time on the needles: December 21, 2007-January 10, 2008. I cast-on for this on the plane home for Christmas - see:
Instead of peanuts we had bananas! Actually, we had a whole little breakfast pack - it was pretty good, thank you Continental!
Impressions: I've already mentioned how fun this was to knit, but it really was, and I'd recommend it to anyone up for a bit of an adventure. The pattern is, shall I say, a bit vague. What you see in the photo is all there is, and the top bit isn't even directions. You have all the info you need, but if you're like me you'll find yourself wishing you had a little bit more. However, if you just trust in the genius of EZ you'll get there in the end. I didn't take photos of the folding process, but Anne-Marie has a really good series of them here. I also really liked this yarn. It's a bit bright but Vivian and John intend to be surprised by their baby's gender, so neutral was key, and who doesn't like rainbows? The yarn is very smooth and nice to knit, which is good because I have a whole sweater's worth in the stash, ostensibly for a Dave sweater, but that is on hold because of the sweater curse. We are not married nor engaged, so no sweater for him. I don't actually believe in the curse, but it's a better excuse than the reality, which is that I'm too lazy, although Dave isn't really much bigger than me. What else can I say? The buttons were a great find. I was unsure of what color/style I wanted, but these jumped right out at me and they were perfect. The sweater has buttonholes on both sides (with the intention that the knitter would gift post-birth, thus knowing the baby's gender and afixing buttons appropriately). Waiting wasn't an option for me so I just went with the buttons on the right. I doubt the baby will care what side the buttons are on, frankly, and neither do I! The simplicity of the garter stitch is one of the appealing parts of this sweater. It creates so much textural interest while being truly simple to execute - no purling the entire sweater! Overall I call this a roaring success, and I think Vivian and John really liked it. Their baby is due on Valentine's Day, but it might be awhile before he/she can fit into this sweater!
In other news, I have finished the hat for Rembrandt and, drum roll please...the Drops Swing Cardigan! It just needs blocking and buttons, but it is seamed and ready to go. I hope to get the buttons tomorrow and have a photo shoot soon thereafter! In case you're counting those make foru FOs already in 2008. Phew - wonder if I can keep this up?
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Project Stats: Carpathia Hat and Scarf
Pattern: Carpathia Scarf from Cider Moon. I improvised the hat based on the scarf pattern.
Yarn: One skein each of Cider Moon Champagne (mohair) and Glacier (superwash merino), colorway "Ruffled Feathers," held together throughout.
Needles: Size 11 bamboo straights, circular, and DPNs. This is why one needs so many needles!
Time to knit: Not long, a week maybe?
Impressions: These were lovely yarns to knit with, and I'm really happy with the finished scarf, although the hat came out a tad larger than I intended. Daisy seems to like it (or she is a convincing liar!), and it looks better on her than it did on Dave and I when we were testing it out during the knitting, which is good (notice there aren't any photos of us in the hat...). The stitch pattern is easy but results in a pretty cool pattern, as you can see in the close-up from yesterday's post. I didn't get a chance to block the scarf, but it's quite drapey and I'm not sure how well it would have held the blocked state. The scarf pattern called for one skein of each yarn, but I knit the scarf almost to the length in the pattern, with hardy fringe, using only slightly over half of the yarn, leaving me enough to knit the hat as well. If anyone is interested I can reconstruct how I made the hat - I wouldn't mind having one for myself, albeit a bit smaller in circumference.
Now for the juicy details of what I really learned knitting this project! First off, it is not wise to try to be efficient by winding two skeins of yarn together into one ball to save oneself the trouble of carrying around two balls, especially when one winds up knitting the entire project at home anyway. Ask me how I know this. Because this project entailed knitting with two strands of yarn throughout, I had the brilliant idea of winding them together with both skeins on the swift at the same time and a giant ball on the ballwinder. Well, in theory this was a good idea, but the first go at it I had one yarn going one direction and the other going the opposite way, which obviously didn't work. A little foresight could have prevented that. Also, a little foresight could have prevented me from putting the larger wool skein above the smaller mohair skein, such that it kept falling down around the mohair while I was winding the ball. Although annoying, that didn't result in any real difficulty. The problem I ran into was during the knitting itself. Anyone who has knit with mohair knows that it likes itself. Very much. So, while I was knitting (from the outside of my giant double-yarn ball), several rounds of adhered-to-itself mohair would peel off together, causing tangles and preventing the wool strand from coming off the ball. So, I spent a lot of time untangling yarn, removing it carefully, or, when all else failed (often), breaking the mohair, removing the mess, and tying it back together. Let me tell you, this was really irritating. If I was really careful I was able to prevent the yarn belching (not vomiting, as it was only one yarn of the two, and in smaller quantities than would have come out if I'd have been using the center-pull method), but more often than not, even with due diligence, it would happen. But, that's all water under the bridge now, right? And I've learned my lesson on this one...
In case you're keeping track, I'm doing pretty well with my January goals. I have accomplished #2 (soon to be gifted and then blogged), #5 (Carpathia Hat), and #8 (the gold shawl). #4, the hat for Rembrandt, is at the crown decreases (thank you Dave) and will be finished any day now, and I am almost finished with the sleeves of #3, the Drops swing cardigan. So, I consider that good progress being made, although looking at the sleeves I'm a bit skeptical about them going into the sleeve holes, but I'll have an answer on that pretty shortly, maybe even this evening...
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Since I waxed poetic about Mt. Baker last week, I feel I should give my 30-second review of Stevens Pass. This was only my second trip there, and it was much better than the first. We went there three years ago (Really? Wow. Time flies.) and that day the visibility was awful because it was snowing like the dickens (What does that even mean? Why do people say that? Do other people say that? And should it be Dickens?), and really crowded. As I've mentioned the weather was beautiful on Sunday. But, it was still really crowded, and the lift lines were totally chaotic and completely unorganized. However, aside from that it didn't really seem that busy since the ski area is pretty big and everyone was spaced out around the mountain. So, although I wasn't keen on the waiting, overall the skiing was pretty good. They have a nice variety of terrain and good grooming, and Dave reports that the double black diamonds were to his satisfaction. The drive is about an hour less each way than to Mt. Baker and much less frightening. Plus, leaving home at 6:30 instead of 6:00 felt downright luxurious - I even took a shower! I suspect we'll go back.
I'm sorry that this appears to be turning into Emily's Musings on Skiing (Maybe I should grab that and save you all the boredom of reading this? And why aren't there more knitters who ski? Do they just not talk about it, or are they mutually exclusive activities?), but most of my knitting has been secret gift knitting that I can't talk about yet. However, here is a snippet of something I can post about soon, and after Sunday I can show off another secret project.
Them some bright colors! Sorry about all the parentheses this evening - apparently my mind is wandering...
Friday, January 11, 2008
The color is less orange in person - more of a deep gold. I'm suspecting it's going to be a difficult color to photograph accurately. This isn't a color I would have chosen for myself, but light gold was suggested to me and I did my best to find appropriate yarn (Which was NOT easy - there is a dearth of gold yarn out there.). This is Zephyr wool-silk, the same yarn as I was using for the mystery stole (Yay, no need to swatch since I already know it'll work on these needles!), colorway "Curry." It's similar to Oliver's lighter orange bits, and he's pretty interested in it. Or in the blocking pins - just before this photo he had one paw on the yarn and one paw in the pins:I realize it still looks orange. God, now that I'm looking at it in these photos I'm a bit worried about the color. Eep. Last night I ordered some Knit Picks Harmony needles to work on this, but I'm using my Clover bamboos until they arrive. I'd continue with the Clovers but the tips really aren't sharp enough for the complicated stitches that are going to come up later in the shawl. I resisted the urge to even look at the Knit Picks yarn and just ordered the needles, which even with shipping were much cheaper than the comparably sized Addi Turbo Lace needles I was eyeing at Acorn Street when I bought the yarn. Plus, I really prefer wood needles, especially for lace with slippery yarn. I have enough problems keeping my stitches on the needles without the needles conspiring against me!
Monday, January 07, 2008
We had a grand time. I really have no experience skiing powder so it was a day of experimentation for me. Kristen does a fair bit of backcountry skiing so she had some useful advice for me, but mostly I just made it up as I went along. There were a lot of ungroomed intermediate runs for us to deal with before moving on to the really tough stuff, which I should do. I'm in a "I'm a blue run skier" rut, when really I'm certainly competent enough to ski harder runs, I just lack the confidence to get on with it. Kristen and I did go down 1 (2?) of the black runs yesterday because there was so much snow that it was hard to get too much momentum going. It's not the steepness so much as the potential moguls that freak me out, to be honest. And it was fine, and fun, because the snow was nice and fluffy. They have SO much snow at Mt. Baker - the base is up to 140" (That's 11.5' - the most in the country.), with 20" more forecasted by Wednesday. Baker is interesting because they're not particularly interested in providing a pampered skiing experience. No high-speed lifts, lifties who may or may not notice you're there, etc. But, they have the best snow and the cheapest rates around, which makes it well-worth the drive for us, even though it's the furthest ski area from Seattle (within a reasonable drive). The remoteness and the "lack of amenities" result in fewer crowds, which is great, and I think it's part of their strategy to not upgrade the lifts and such in order to keep the mountain less commercial and more for the locals and purists (I'm not really either of those, but after having fun with the powder yesterday I could see how it could be addicting). Some of the closer ski areas get really crowded on weekends, but even on great powder days like yesterday the lift lines were really pretty short, especially in the afternoon when all the people who are only there for fresh tracks have gone home. Plus, when it's not cloudy, you get views like this:
Hope you all had a good weekend!
Thursday, January 03, 2008
1) Finish the Anastasia Socks for my grandmother, which were a Christmas present.
2) Finish a secret gift project that I really can't show you (Sadly, as I might advice on it!) as I suspect the recipient might be reading.
3) Finish the Drops Swing Cardigan, which is currently at the upper sleeve stage.
4) Knit a hat for Rembrandt, which will be a belated Christmas present. An army green skein of Manos is wound and ready next to the sofa.
5) Finish the Carpathia Hat I'm knitting to go with the Carpathia Scarf (No, you aren't losing your mind, you haven't seen the scarf or the hat.). This might be dodgy because I'm really winging the pattern on the hat, and it's lacy. I'm charging along but I fear the decreases might get a bit interesting. Maybe I'll just do the top in stockinette...
6) Cast-on and knit 5 inches of the Ivy League Vest. I'm SO excited about this project but I feel like some of the others really have to be accomplished first.
7) Design my ski hat, as it's really past the time to have done that, being January and all, with the snow falling fast!
8) Pick out a pattern and yarn for a semi-secret gift that I'll probably blog about whilst being coy about the recipient and occasion.
Anne-Marie and I were planning to both knit Bird in Hand Mittens over Christmas, but I didn't get to mine due to items 1&2. I'm not sure how she's doing with hers, but I've not heard mention of them. I'd like to add them to the list but I think I'll just have them in my mind and cast-on if it suits me. I see a lot of things on my list, but most of them are small(ish) or mostly finished already, so we'll see. I reserve the right to add projects as needed for sanity/gifting/procrastination/etc.
I think January might be a pretty busy month for me. I have to give another talk next Wednesday (I plan to largely recycle the one I gave in December), a journal club (basically another talk, but short and on someone else's research) next Thursday, and prepare a poster for the annual American Academy of Sciences meeting in mid-February. Plus, I'm taking the second term of the science writing class I took last fall, as well as doing some copy-editing for the magazine that is partly attached to the class. I'm also taking pilates, at 8:00am (eek!). Oh, and I'm supposed to be finishing up experiments to write my first research paper. And I'd like to go skiing a few times, if I get my hat finished!
You know what I've just realized? I mistype "the" as "hte" almost half of the time...
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
The gifts I knit (knitted?) went over very well, and all of them fit their recipients except for the Anastasia Socks, which ended up being okay in the heel/leg but too long in the foot. I had only finished one of them as I was fearing heel issues, so at least there is only one to fix, and I think I can do it by ripping out the toe and knitting it again shorter instead of taking out the whole leg/heel/etc. And yes, despite the photo above my grandmother's clogs did felt down to the perfect size and hopefully my parents will gather some photographic evidence of that for me to post at a later date.
I finally went back to work today and it was a struggle. I tend to completely forget about the whole operation as soon as I leave for more than two days, and it's always tough to get back into the swing of things. Thankfully this year I planned ahead and had experiments ready for right after the holidays, which should minimize the amount of "what am I doing again?" that usually goes on right about now...
Oh, while I got many lovely gifts for Christmas, the only one that was knitting related was money to get my five pounds of alpaca cleaned and spun. Remember the alpaca? Here it is again, just in case. That's only four pounds of it. It's a lot of fleece, and fairly clean already so hopefully I won't lose too much. Anyone have recommendations for a good place to ship it off for processing?