Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Testing, testing...

Is anyone writing this blog? You know, after I posted last week about not having much to post about, I thought, Emily, you must get on with starting something new so you have something to post. So I did. Last Tuesday night I swatched for Anais, even going so far as to wash wet my swatch and pin it out, and then I got a bit excited and knit the lace inset: Anais - lace insertI thought, aha! I can blog about this on Thursday, but then Oliver got into something and we were in a panic about him on Thursday night and Friday (he's fine), so I didn't post, and then it was the weekend (the Fiber Gallery anniversary sale was great as always), and then I had to finish up a news story on the potential environmental disaster about to be wrought by our current biofuel strategy, due today, and so on. But, since the story is done and the back of Anais is almost complete as well, I guess this post is overdue.
I am tempted to hold forth on the biofuel issue, but I will restrain myself and talk about Anais instead, this being a knitting blog. I am loving it so far. The Shine Sport is wonderful yarn to knit - very smooth. It makes a fairly dense fabric that still drapes, so I think it was a good choice for Anais, which is a relatively close-fitting (hopefully) top. My row gauge is 7 st/inch instead of 8, so I've been having to modify things a bit. I had to space out my decrease and increase rounds a bit more and then had to do fewer of them to compensate, but I think that will be okay. The overall length will remain the same but it won't nip in quite as much at the waist, which is fine. I'm at the neck shaping on the back piece, which I'm going to do using short-rows so I can graft live stitches at the shoulder seams like I did for the Drops Swing Cardigan. I think that will look neater. I was tempted to knit this in the round but decided not to so I would have the stability of side seams. I've been slipping the first stitch of every row and that will make the seaming a breeze.
Oh, the Tuxedo Top is finished, and I wore it yesterday. It's great, I love it, the fit is perfect, etc. I'll post the report about it as soon as I have modeled photos!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I know, I know

It's been awhile, but you haven't missed much, because I haven't been doing much knitting. I am almost finished with the Sleeveless Tuxedo Shirt. As evidence, I present a horrible blocking photo. Ruffled Tuxedo Shirt, blockingLet me tell you, trying to photograph a navy shirt on a black futon is a recipe for disaster. But, you get the idea. The straps were knit and blocked separately, which is why the armpits look so short. All I have left is a LOT of crocheting, which hopefully Anne-Marie will help me with (Go check out her beautiful new shawl. I'll wait.).
What else? Not much is happening. I've been pretty busy, but aren't we all. The weather has continued its downward spiral. Friday I rode home from the gym in SNOW. In late April. It snowed several more times over the weekend and then yesterday I rode home from the gym in SLEET, which was actually worse than snow because it stung. Thank god the summers are lovely here! Actually, I don't mind the rain/snow/sleet/grey oppression that much unless I have to be riding my bike to work/class/home in it, and even then I only mind it if I'm not in the mood to accept it. Friday I thought the snowy ride was kind of fun, for the novelty. Yesterday? Not so much. I'm not a saint.
For my next "me" project I will be knitting Anais, using Knit Picks Shine Sport (in River). I have to swatch so I can figure out how the yarn behaves, and then I'll be off. Maybe I'll even post swatch photos, since I probably can't bore you all with chatter about the weather much longer before you tune me out...

By the way, Pennsylvania? You're on notice.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Spring Tease

It was SO nice in Seattle on Saturday. So nice. I even got a tan sitting outside of Peet's with Anne-Marie (although it's only on my right arm because of the way I was sitting. Oops!). I was there in a tank top, shorts, and flip-flops. Lovely. In the 70s. And then yesterday? Back into the 50s, with rain. Today? 40s and rain. The rest of the week? The same. Anyway, here are some lovely tulips to brighten the gloom!
Pink TulipsI finished the main part of the tank top and the first lace panel on the front, so I'm almost finished! I have the second lace panel to finish and then the straps, which should go quickly. Then, even though I converted it to the round, there is a lot of finishing to do because there is crochet around all the edges plus some sort of fancy crochet (Have I mentioned that my knowledge of crochet stops at single crochet edgings?) around the lace panels. I think I'll be enlisting Anne-Marie for help on that, and it should be finished soon!

Friday, April 11, 2008

It takes two

To get photos like this!I just realized I hadn't shown any photos of the Sleeveless Tuxedo Shirt I've been working on (the one that is part of the April goals). I think the only photo that got blogged was the swatch, back in July, which is really quite pathetic, although to be fair I did set it aside for quite a few months. I'm almost at the armpit split, so I thought I'd try it on, and hilarity ensued. It's a good thing Dave was around because there's no way I could have gotten out of it, seeing as it's on a 24" circular and I am, well, larger than 24" in circumference. As Dave was helping me out of it (it fits, by the way, as you may or may not be able to tell), he said, "Oh, this would be a great blog photo!" and disappeared to get the camera, leaving me with my arms falling asleep up in the air. The things I do for you!
We finally had a glimpse of warm and sunny weather today so I went for a walk after work, where I discovered this: This is a statue across the corner from our apartment building. It's called Waiting for the Interurban, and people from the neighborhood often dress it up to suit different occasions. I'd say this is a good occasion! I'm not sure who the hopeful suitor is - presumably there was another t-shirt on the rightmost figure (out of frame). My hope is the intended viewer took the shirt and ran to say yes!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Viva Las Vegas

I spent last weekend in Las Vegas, and let me tell you, it is a surreal place. My trip was a mini family reunion of sorts, organized by my cousins in honor of their mother's 60th birthday, which was in January. My mother and I tagged along for moral support and gambling. I myself didn't do too much gambling, although I was getting into the spirit of it by the end of the second day. I find I'd rather have something for my money, even if it's just a mocha. But, I can see the appeal, especially if one is lucky like my mother. My aunt was very pleased with her shawl. Here she is wearing it before dinner on Friday, flanked by my cousins.Naples The highlight of the trip was probably O at the Bellagio. O is the Cirque du Soleil show with the water, and if you ever get a chance to see it you really should, even though it's expensive. It's worth it.
I realized when I got home that I, as usual, have no photos of myself. I'm sure others do, but for now we'll have to be satisfied with general Vegas shots. I'm particularly proud of this photo of the fountains at the Bellagio, taken while we were eating dinner at Olives (very good). Bellagio Fountains I'm amazed I was able to get a good shot of the fountains in motion. I have a few actually, but this is the best one. The fountains are really cool. I was also impressed with the class ceiling in the lobby of the Bellagio, done by local (Tacoma/Seattle) artist Dale Chihuly. Glass ceiling at Bellagio
On Saturday I found a machine I loved called Easel Money, and here you can see evidence that I made $20.06 from the $1 I put in (trust me). Treasure Island voucherI of course lost that $20 later, but I was pretty excited at the time.
And look, they have an Eiffel Tower!Eiffel Tower du Vegas
And, just in case you haven't had enough gambling, they have slot machines all over the airport. Here's a fun shot of my mom whiling away the time waiting for our flights:Airport Slots
I had a great time but I really think a weekend is long enough to be in Vegas. It's an interesting place but totally overwhelming to the senses! And no, I didn't do any knitting while I was there, and hardly any on the plane...

Thursday, April 03, 2008

March recap and April goals

My March goals were apparently a bit lofty seeing as I did quite poorly at meeting them. Let's discuss them, shall we?

They were:
1. Finish lace shawl - DONE
2. Finish lace hat you (still) haven't seen - NOT done. The snag I hit before the last goal post is still present and unresolved. But, I did knit a different hat, so I guess this goal was sort of met.
3. Finish Chevalier Mittens - NOT done. I wasn't happy with the decreases on the first one so I planned to modify it on the second, but then didn't get around to even starting. When I finished the shawl last week I planned to do it, but then I smashed my left index finger folding a tv tray and there was no way I could deal with tight gauge knitting with that type of bruised and battered left hand. The nail is still bruised and a bit numb...
4. At least work on the Ivy League Vest. - NOT done. Oops.

So, as you see, my progress was abysmal, but at least I finished the shawl, which was really the important thing. The rest were all secondary to that and are all for me so there's really no rush.
Moving on...

April Goals
1. Finish Ruffled Tuxedo Tank - This one I started last summer and then abandoned until the weather started looking up. I've been working on it at work and progress is being made.

2. Get through trellis repeats on Hanami Stole - I've done 1/7 so far...
3. Finish secret project pieces - I can't show this project, but I'm 3/5 finished already so this is doable.

I swam 1000 yards yesterday, which is almost five skeins of Cascade 220, and more than twice as much yardage as I used for the Swallowtail Shawl. I really like swimming but I tend to forget about it as a form of exercise. I have a lot of practice as I swam competitively when I was a kid. Well, by that I mean there were swim meets, and I swam in them. Whether I was competitive is a different issue. So I decided to take up swimming again, and I've been enjoying it. It's like riding a bike in that you don't forget how to do it, but different due to the whole lack of ability to breathe underwater. It's tough. I'm hoping it doesn't increase the circumference of my already burly arms!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Elegance of the Swallowtail

I have to preface these photos by reiterating that this shawl isn't for me, although I kind of wish it was because I really like it! I didn't think I'd be able to pull off a triangular shawl (and honestly I'm still not sure it's something I would actually wear) but it's pretty in the photos. Dave took a ton of photos, most of which got thrown out due to my arms looking more akin to those of a linebacker or the sudden appearance of a double chin, but some were good enough to display on the blog: I think this is how I would be most likely to wear something like this, and it certainly adds a degree of elegance and sophistication to an otherwise very plain black dress. Here's a good "from the back" photo. Please ignore my apparently gigantic arms. I think some of that is the light. Hopefully.
And then a "demure" pose, although I was probably glaring at the wall or sticking my tongue out or some such silliness that is thankfully well-hidden.
And finally, a close-up of the nupps which I went on and on about in so many posts. You can see that they really do add quite a nice texture to the lace and thus were well worth the effort.
Project Stats: Swallowtail Shawl
Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl, by Evelyn Clark, from Interweave Knits Fall 2006.
Yarn: Zephyr Wool-silk, colorway curry, about 475 yards. Yarn purchased at Acorn Street in Seattle.
Needles: Size 4 Knit Picks Harmony bamboo. These needles are great - I can't say enough good things about them. You should get some.
Time to knit: Mid-January to March 24, 2008, with about a month of laziness mixed in. It went pretty quickly considering it was my first real lace project, but there was a deadline involved which provided motivation not to slack.
Modifications: The shawl as the pattern directs is pretty small, so I made mine larger by adding five repeats of the budding lace pattern (the main section), for 19 total repeats. I followed the instructions provided in this post by Pepperknit, and had no problems with the math working out correctly. I did the nupps as instructed in the pattern, and although they were tedious it wasn't so awful once I got used to them. I think the super sharp needles helped a lot in that regard. My shawl ended up being 60 inches across the top by about 27 inches long, which I think is a good size. It's perfect for me. The recipient is a bit broader in the shoulders, but hopefully it will be okay for her as well. I will be gifting it this weekend so I'll update about that soon!
Impressions: I love it! While it's not the first laceweight project I've started, it is the first I've completed, and I'm really happy with how it turned out. I made my only mistake early on and got it over with (bet you can't see it! I can't and I know where it is), and although I had to tink back a few stitches a couple of times, I really didn't have any issues. This is a very simple pattern because it's so repetitive, and I'd recommend to any new lace knitter. I put in lifelines but thankfully I didn't have to use them. I was a bit concerned about the color but I really like it in the end - the photos are fairly accurate, especially the close-up of the nupps. I was going for gold and this was the closest color I could find. I have a ton of yarn left, and gold is not my color, so I need to come with another gold shawl giftee! I'm all inspired to knit more lace, although I'm still not really sure it fits into my dressing style. I'm thinking rectangular stoles like the Hanami will be more wearable for me, but I jumped at the chance to make a triangular shawl when I thought of a recipient I knew would appreciate it.

We'll have a March goal recap and April planning post later today or tomorrow!