Monday, March 31, 2008

Something new...

Thanks for all your compliments on the Swallowtail Shawl! I'm really happy with it, and I promise, even though it's a gift, to take some modeling shots with it to post with the write-up (which is waiting for those photos). As soon as the shawl was off the needles I decided I needed to knit some more lace, so I cast-on for the Hanami Stole. I've been meaning to make this since early last summer when I first discovered the pattern, and I've had the yarn since August, but I'm just now getting going. It's good timing though, as the cherry blossoms are in full bloom here in Seattle! What I'm showing you here is just over one repeat of the first chart. I had some trouble with the beaded cast-on so I just did a long-tail and then added beads every other stitch on the first row. I think it looks acceptably similar and the beaded cast-on was really just too tedious to bear. Your eyes are not deceiving you - it is a bit lighter on the right. The yarn is a semisolid with variegations from fairly deep pink to almost white, and unfortunately it's pooling a bit, but I suspect it won't be that noticeable and as the lace pattern changes it will probably sort itself out. Fingers crossed!

Friday, March 28, 2008


The Swallowtail Shawl is blocking! It went from this: To this:
in a matter of minutes. This was a group effort - I borrowed the blocking wires (which I only used on the top) from Jennifer, and Anne-Marie came over for moral support and to help with the pinning. We were both impressed by what a difference the blocking made. It is true that it's quite a transformation. I was able to block the shawl to about 60x27 inches, which is, I think, an acceptable size. It's still pinned to the futon although it's pretty much dry already. I must admit I'm a bit afraid to unpin it for fear that it might snap back to its unblocked state, although I know that's unlikely. I tried to get a good shot from the side but didn't really succeed. This is the best one. I'll take more close-up shots so you can all appreciate the nupps (and muse about the project) when it's finished blocking! I am, in all honestly, amazed that I knit this...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Something is missing...

The needles! I finished binding off the shawl last night, and I think it looks great, in that crumpled mess sort of way :) I'm going to get some more pins tonight and Dave is going to pull out the futon so I can get blocking. I'm really excited - first lace project almost complete, and I'm very much looking forward to the blocking magic. I have NO idea how big this is going to turn out, although I don't think it's going to end up much larger than the pattern even though I did five extra repeats of the main pattern. But, we'll see - I'm new to this, maybe it will grow by leaps and bounds? Fingers crossed!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A lovely weekend

Yesterday saw us off skiing again, this time at Mt. Baker for the Eighth Annual Golden Egg Hunt. They hid 4,000+ eggs around the ski area and (supposedly) gave away $15,000 worth of prizes. I only found two eggs (and I was the only one of us who found any), and they had (unlucky) raffle tickets inside. The weather was lovely and there was a lot of snow, although it was pretty heavy and a bit tough to deal with in spots. Anne-Marie took this photo of my trying to work out how I was going to get a turn started: It was, by the way, steeper than it looks. You can see above and behind me below how much new snow there was - I think almost two feet last week. This is probably the last time we'll get out skiing this year, although they got 15 more inches of snow today, so there is always hope for next weekend. But I'm okay with being done for the season - we've been out six times and that's pretty good considering we didn't go at all until after New Years, I was sick a couple of times, and I was out of town for a weekend. Anne-Marie has more photos on her blog - the one of Dave and I standing at the top of the run I'm struggling with in the photo above is a really nice shot you should check out. We took a break to watch the egg toss: They got really far apart by the end, and the prize was a pair of snowboards and several lift tickets, so I suspect people practive! And, as you can see, all the cool kids drink diet pepsi (sorry Mom)! Well, Anne-Marie is behind me drinking hot cocoa, but...

The Easter Bunny (aka my parents) sent me a nice surprise! Lots of chocolate (but not too much) and some other goodies, in a really pretty bowl with sunflowers on the inside. Dave and I tried the game (top right) this afternoon and it's really hard! Thanks Mom and Dad! Oh, the Peeps? I'm embarrassed to say that they're long gone...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Quick shawl update

I have finished the nupps! I'm on the final chart! The end is in sight! Please let me not screw it up now! In all seriousness, the nupps weren't that bad, although those rows were quite slow-going. By the end it was taking me about 30 minutes per row, which, although there are a lot of stitches (don't ask me how many), is still a long time for one row. I don't know how many stitches I have because I enlarged the shawl by five repeats of the Budding Lace, and I could do the math, but I haven't. All I know is - more stitches than the pattern. I've been following the modifications made by Pepperknit (here), although I just did the purl5tog instead of the decrease she used - I didn't find it that difficult (but, again with the slowness). I did start out doing a slip 2, p3tog, psso decrease, but thought it looked sloppy because one of the slipped stitches was a yarnover, so I moved to the p5tog because it was tidier, but after a few rows I noticed that the first couple of funny-looking nupps had sorted themselves out and really did look just like the p5togs. I guess I didn't have the faith, but I stuck with the p5togs anyway. I just finished the first two rows of the last chart, doing four increases as recommended so that the final chart numbers will line up. This is a leap of faith because I don't know how many stitches I have and I'm not counting! Tonight I'll move my lifeline and proceed with the final bit. I've really loved knitting this, and I'm sorry there aren't any photos, but it's too jammed on the needles to spread out, and hopefully I'll be done with it this weekend and I can stretch it out for you!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Oops, I made a hat!

Yesterday afternoon I stumbled on a cute pattern on Ravelry, and despite really needing to get on with my shawl knitting, I decided, what the hell, it's MY knitting, and cast on. And then proceeded to knit the whole hat in under three hours, or two episodes of Jeopardy (sans commercials, thank you tivo) plus A Life Less Ordinary (which you should see if you have not). Without further ado, I present my new alpaca hat:
Just to be clear, I don't actually smirk very often, even though I'm always smirking on the blog. The reason for this is that I'm trying to avoid having a double-chin, so I avoid actually smiling for most of my blog photos. Just so you all don't think I'm a smirker...
Project Stats: Alpaca Hat
Yarn: Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky, less than one skein, in ivory. Yarn purchased at Weaving Works, where I also got the button.
Needles: Size 10.5 bamboo straights and DPNs
Time to knit: March 14, 2008, about three hours
Impressions: Cute! Fun! Fast! Warm! This is a fun pattern, really simple and really quick to knit up. If I make another (Not unlikely - I have lots of potentially appropriate yarn in the stash. Many people might get one of these for Christmas next year.), I will make it a tad smaller, especially if it's for me. But it does fit, although I made it slightly too long. I have that problem with hats - either too short or too long, and always just a little bit either way so I don't bother to fix them. Alas, I like it anyway!
In other news, I have finished the first border chart of the shawl, and have mastered the nupps. I actually haven't had much difficulty negotiating the p5togs, but that's probably due to the spectacular Knit Picks needles with their lovely sharp tips. Now that I'm all into the lace and feeling confident that I might actually finish a lace project, I'm looking forward to what I want to knit next, and thinking that whatever it is I'll have to get more of these needle tips in whatever size I need, because they are great. I knit eight rows today and I think I have 25 left, although the last 15 don't have nupps and hopefully will go by quickly. I doubt I'll get much accomplished tomorrow because we're going skiing, but we'll see. If my eyes aren't tired when we get back I'll try.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Moral Dilemma

So this morning I found a lovely brown and turquoise umbrella on the SLUT (= South Lake Union Streetcar, originally named SLU Trolley, hence the SLUT, which stuck even after they realized it was a bad acronym and changed the name). Now, I was the only person on the slut, so it's not like someone put the umbrella down and was coming back for it, so I thought, "Ah, free umbrella, and just in my colors. Lucky me!" But then I was a bit torn, because whoever lost the umbrella might have come looking for it. I really doubt that though - in my experience when you lose an umbrella you don't know where you lost it and they aren't that expensive and you just buy another one and try to be more careful. I could have given it to the driver for the lost and found, but as per my above point, I doubted anyone would come looking for the umbrella, having probably not known where they lost it, so it would just sit forlornly in the lost and found forever. Thus, I took the umbrella, because I'll appreciate it and one can never have too many umbrellas - this will be my work umbrella. Many people in Seattle will not deign to use umbrellas so as to not appear weak in the face of the elements, but I am not one of those people. Umbrellas are my friend. I blame the glasses. I wish I had my camera so I could show you this umbrella - it's really quite cute, brown/turquoise/white squares and a good size...but to be honest I probably wouldn't have taken it if had been plain black or something (ie not something I would have bought on the spot if I was in the market for an umbrella). Now - did I do the right thing? What would you have done?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Quick update about nothing

Dave is back from Florida (well, on Monday, I'm a bit slow), and he brought a huge bag of Florida oranges, which we've been enjoying quite a bit. Oliver was very glad to see Dave (as was I, but I don't purr), and Dave was glad to return and find out that the class he's teaching next quarter is almost full.
This will be quick because Blogger is having an outage in 4 minutes, but I wanted to check in and update that I finished the main lace section of my shawl and now I just have the three edging charts to knit. Those might be a bit slow, since they have nupps, and they keep getting longer each row. I'll try to post another photo soon but the shawl is too wide to stretch out now so it might be tough...

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Weekend Update

Thursday: Sense & Sensibility
Knit half of first Chevalier Mitten after Rachel fixed by miscabling at lunch.
Friday: Pride & Prejudice, 5-hour BBC version with Colin Firth. This is my favorite P&P.Finished the first mitten, aside from the thumb. I'm not sure if I'm happy with the way the tip looks and I think I might rip it back and just to decreases along the top chevron instead of the bizarre thing the chart calls for, especially as this is a tad too big for my even with the extra chevron removed. Also knit a bit of the Swallowtail Shawl.
Saturday: Pride & Prejudice (again) with Rachel this time, and only the first half. Then I broke with Jane and watched Vanity Fair, which is at least the same time period. Knit lace. In the evening Anne-Marie and I went to see The Other Boleyn Girl, which was quite good, and, although much earlier in time, still involved romantic intrigue and good dresses.
Sunday: I'm going to watch Persuasion, the new Masterpiece Theater version, which I have on the Tivo, and knit lace. I have two repeats to go on the main section so I hope to finish that tonight, although it's already 8:15. Where did the day go?!?
Well, part of the day went to hitting up the dregs of the Hilltop Yarn fire sale, which, as you might recall, I skillfully avoided last weekend by going skiing. I stopped in there today on my way home from the grocery store and was pleasantly surprised by how many great pattern books they had left. I got this whole lot, plus some row counters, for $45. I've been wanting some of these Rowan books, but they never go on sale, so this was a great find!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

What have I done to anger the knitting gods?

URGH! You know, I just wanted a simple project, easy-peasy, for work and when I couldn't deal with the complicated lace. So, I started the Chevalier Mittens, which are lovely and almost still seasonal if I can finish them quickly. I cast on last weekend and brought them into work with me to knit at lunch, and I was moving along, slowly (due to the tight gauge around the cables) but surely.

Then yesterday at lunch I took a look at them and thought, "You know, something doesn't look right here." Can't see it? Look on the upper right. Here's a close-up:

I'm not sure what went wrong here, really, but Rachel diagnosed that my cables weren't traveling (hence the stacking on the right, where it looks like a real cable cross instead of a chevron like the left side and the section underneath). I'm not sure how I messed this up - surely I can read a narrow chart? I suspect I just didn't knit two before starting the cables on one row, but now I have to rip it back, and I'm really not looking forward to that because of the exceedingly tight gauge. But, I have small needles with me to make it easier and will proceed accordingly. If all else fails I can just start over, it didn't take me very long to get to where I am...But, this is frustrating because I just want something simple to work on, you know? I haven't even attempted to fix the lace hat...

Dave and I watched Into the Wild last night, and I would really recommend it. The book is great, but the movie has better scenery. I find the protagonist to be a very selfish character, mainly as regards to how he treats his family, but he has many redeeming qualities and by the end you're with him, at least sort of. By that I mean you can empathize with him, but you're probably not going to think twice about going into the wilds of Alaska and camping in an abandoned bus. Now Dave has flown off to visit his grandmother in Florida (lucky) so I have the house to myself for the weekend. I intend to watch as much Jane Austen as I can find time for and maybe to eat some chicken. I might also go skiing. And some work will be done, I suppose...

Monday, March 03, 2008

Past failings and new goals

Failings is a bit strong, really, but I liked the sound of that title so there you go. February was a tough month for me in that I kept getting sick, I had a ton of work to do in lab and for my writing class, and I was out of town for almost a week. You'd think since I was sick I would have accomplished a lot of knitting, but I was actually too sick for that, believe it or not. Plus, February is a short month, so perhaps I should have been less ambitious in the first place...

As a recap, the February goals were as follows:
1. Finish Anastasia Socks - Done
2. Knit to armholes of Ivy League Vest - Ha! I think I knit two rounds of this because of #3 and 4
3. Finish woven scarf - Done
4. Finish first section of lace repeats on gift shawl - Well, mixed bag here. There are supposed to be 14 repeats, but I'm doing 19. I have 15 done, which means I sort of met this goal, if I was to be making the original shawl...

Looking back, that's really not that awful considering how busy I was and that the lace is time-consuming to knit. The only thing that really suffered was the vest, because I was knitting the shawl at the times I would otherwise have been working on that. The woven scarf came to Boston and was knit on the plane and in seminars, and the socks were mostly knit on the way to and from Boston on the plane. The lace is the evening with the TV knitting...

March Plans
1. Finish lace shawl - This is not optional as there is a deadline involved. I think this is doable as I'm getting faster even though the rows are getting longer.
2. Finish lace hat that you haven't seen yet. We'll see how this goes. I was trucking right along on it but hit a snag that I couldn't figure out last night so it's in time-out for the moment.
3. Finish Chevalier Mittens - I started these last night to take the edge off after finding an issue in #2 and not having the patience for #1.
4. At least work on the Ivy League Vest, but the rush seems off with this project now that it's getting on toward spring and it might be time to break out the hibernating spring/summer knits from last year...

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Another "woven" scarf

Behold, another woven knit scarf! This is my third (here and here) one of these, and I think it's my favorite, but that might just be because I get to keep this one! Project Stats: Colinette Woven Scarf
Pattern: Woven Knit, from Knit Scarves! by Candi Jensen.
Yarn: Colinette Prism, colorway Toscana, 2 skeins. This is the recommended yarn and it's great. I bought it from an Ebay vendor in the UK in December 2006 for just this purpose.
Needles: Size 11 Clover bamboo straights.
Time on the needles: January-February 2008. Finished on 2/29 - thank goodness it was a leap year or I'd have been up very late on Thursday trying to finish in February!
Impressions: Love it! I'm honestly not sure why this pattern isn't more popular. It's dead simple and results in a cool fabric that lays completely flat. There are only 13 of these on Ravelry and three of them are mine! It can get a bit tedious but that's true of most scarves so I doubt that's the deterrent. The yarn is great - a bit pricey but I got a good deal on it and it was nice to, for once, be using the recommended yarn (even the same color!). I'm really excited to have finally knit this, since I acquired the yarn quite awhile ago and had been meaning to knit it up ever since, but it always got pushed out the way for gift projects and more exotic knits. Here's the obligatory texture close-up:The color is fairly accurate there as well. It's a nice mix of green and blues/reds, so it will go well with a lot of things. I suspect I'll be getting a lot of use out of this one!

I am SO glad I went skiing yesterday instead of braving the crowds at the Hilltop Yarn fire sale! It sounds like it was utterly chaotic with people and that the good stuff went fast. People were lining up at 9:00am for an 11:00am opening! For YARN! I love yarn but that's insanity. So, I'm glad I didn't go - crowds and disorganization frustrate me to no end so it wouldn't have turned out well for me, plus the skiing was great. Dave, Anne-Marie, and I went to Crystal Mountain, where we found much good snow and Dave did a hike up/ski down race (Because he is crazy. Anne-Marie and I rode the lifts, because we are sensible). Fourth time skiing this year and I would like to go at least once more, maybe next weekend if it keeps snowing...

February accomplishments and March goals to come later today!