Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bring on the Christmas Knitting!

I realize it's just the end of September, but I have ambitious Christmas knitting plans so I needed to get a headstart. I have seven gifts planned, and a couple of them are pretty big ones. There will be no felted clogs this year (thank god!), but there will be mittens, scarves, and even garments. I've actually finished one of said gifts already (in August - hate me if you must), and several of the others are on the needles. In fact, all but three of the others are on the needles, and they're all planned and waiting, patterns and yarn just raring to go. I had to order some size 4 Harmony needles from Knit Picks to start this scarf for my grandmother (the one who appreciates my knitting, as opposed to the one who asked me this summer if I was going to, and I quote, "waste my whole vacation knitting." I love her, but she's not getting any more knitted gifts.). I'm going to use the leftover gold yarn from my Swallowtail Shawl, and as soon as I decided on this project on Saturday I walked over to the bead store and picked out the perfect shiny dark brown beads. I also ordered some larger circumference cables from Knit Picks so I can continue with the garment I'm knitting for someone, which was started on Saturday but put down once I realized I really couldn't jam all the stitches on the needle I was trying to use.

Of course I can't show you most of these wonderful gifts I'm creating, although I did think about posting them and lying about who they were for and trying to confuse the recipients, but then I just figured it wasn't worth it because they'd figure it out anyway based on color, or size, or shape, or something. Although, if you're on Ravelry you'll be able to see most of them soon, unless they're for you, in which case I won't be posting them up there! But, these are the mittens (Annemor #2 from Selbuvotter) I'm knitting for my little cousin Andie, who I really doubt reads my blog:
My grandmother is also not a blog reader, so I'll be showing her scarf in progress once I get my needles, but otherwise, just trust that if you are closely related to me or a good friend, I'm probably hard at work on something special for you!
I'm hard at work on the i-cord edging for the Estes Vest, so hopefully there will be a finished object soon!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tough working conditions...

Wednesday morning I arrived at work to see this in the hallway: Lab hallway
and this in the storage room where we keep our extra lab supplies:Storage room Good times! Apparently someone overflowed the sink in a room on the other side of these rooms, which flooded through our storage room and out into the hall. The flood happened Monday early evening, and the fans and the drywall cutting began on Tuesday morning - I'm posting photos from Wednesday because that's when the fans really started to multiply. The building has a policy that they overreact in cases of dampness. I'm pretty sure I've now met most of the facilities engineers as they've come by to check on the status of our walls, which they're trying to dry out rapidly to prevent mold. Hence the removed sections of drywall and all the fans. The fans finally left this morning. They were really loud and even with the lab doors closed they were pretty irritating. Plus, as you might imagine it was like a wind tunnel out there - thankfully I didn't happen to wear a flowy skirt this week!
I've been knitting - I've knit a entire Selbuvotter mitten which I'll post as soon as I take a good photo, and I seamed the Estes Vest and did the neckband. I'm waiting to borrow a long circular needle so I can do the attached i-cord border, and I'm crossing my fingers that it will fit. Presently it's pretty tight across the chest, and I'm not sure how much width the i-cord is going to add. Severe blocking may be in order if I want this baby to button without gapping...
Oh, and it's snowing in the mountains! Check out these photos from the Washington DOT...
Can I just say that I love that WSDOT has a Flickr page?

Friday, September 19, 2008

More cables!

Remember how I said I really wanted to knit some Evangeline Mitts? Well, knit them I did! I started these last Wednesday after digging around in the bottomless pit of stash (where I found multiple treasures that I was unaware of possessing - for someone with a good memory it's amazing how much yarn and how many purses I stumble upon that I've forgotten), and finished them on Saturday morning. This post is a bit delayed because I was out of town Monday and Tuesday and then didn't take photos until yesterday (thank you Shibani!). But, without further ado, here are the Evangeline Mitts:Project Stats: Evangeline Mitts
Yarn: Reynolds Andean Alpaca, purchased on Dave and I's trip to Bend in 2006.
Needles: Size 7 Crystal Palace bamboo. These happen to be the first DPNs I purchased (not for this project, obviously).
Time to knit: September 10-14, 2008.
Modifications: I made several to compensate for my small skein of yarn (in the end I had plenty, but probably not enough for another repeat) and to suit my preferences. First, I cast on 36 stitches instead of 40 because I have small hands and I figured these would be stretchy, and that the cables would be shown to their best advantage stretched out a bit. I also only did six rows of ribbing at the cuff instead of 10, and left out the ribbing at the ends because I decided I'd rather have more cabling and less ribbing (frankly I'm not fond of ribbing). I did seven cable repeats total, and these turned out just the length I was going for. See random musing below.
Impressions: They're great! These were quick and fun to knit, and were exactly what I was hoping for. It's not just the photos - the cabling is subtle, and I blame the fuzzy yarn and its slight marl. That's okay - I wasn't really trying for bold here. My only issue is that the yarn is a tad scratchier than I expected from how soft the skein was, and I'm noticing that to be a trend with alpaca. I'm knitting something else with 100% alpaca and it's heavenly in the skein but also a little bit scratchy once knit up. Not enough to be an issue because I don't have sensitive skin, but maybe something to consider if you do.
A random musing: Have any of you made actual elbow length mitts? They seem like they'd be annoying - my thought is that if it's cold enough for mitts one is likely to be wearing a long-sleeved shirt/sweater/etc, and how does one deal with elbow length sleeves with that? Unless you're wearing a t-shirt, but none of mine have sleeves that come down to the elbow, so I would be left with a patch of upper arm showing, which just seems silly. Then again, I did queue some elbow-length mitts from the new Knitty, so apparently I'm at least game to try...

And, what is this?
I've finished the vest pieces and seamed the shoulders - now for the crazy amount of finishing. In the photo the vest looks quite large because I haven't done the side seams. In reality it's going to be quite fitted I think. Annoyingly it's still quite short even though I added 1.5" before the armhole shaping. I haven't done the i-cord along the bottom yet but still. I'm short and if it's this short on me I think there might be some issuese there for the taller set. The vest is blocking now and I hope that it will be dry by tomorrow so I can attack it this weekend...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Cabley goodness

The Estes Vest is growing! I started the left front on Friday and finished it Sunday night, and will probably start the right front tonight. It's nice to be knitting something that moves along this quickly - even with all the cabling it really flies off the needles (size 10.5). One thing I should have noticed earlier, especially since people have been discussing it on Ravelry, is that the pockets are awfully close to the center line of the vest, meaning that they're likely to be too shallow for actual handwarming.You might be able to see that from the photo (on the left) - that cable next to the pocket slit is only 12 stitches wide, and the whole area left of the pocket is probably only 3 inches or so. We'll see. I don't have very big hands and I don't really need functional pockets. I know some people have been moving the pockets out a bit, but since I'm making the smallest size and it's already pretty narrow I'm not sure how that would look. I'm concerned that the pockets would gape at the sides and be unflattering, so I'm going to leave this as it is and hope for the best.
In other news, all this cabling has resulted in me fighting an urge to cast-on for these mitts immediately. Of course (How is this possible?) I don't think I have what I want for them in the stash, but I'm going to at least look and try to find something. The trouble is that I want grey, and I don't have a lot of grey yarn that isn't already destined for something else. Plus, the urge wants me to make them in alpaca, and I know I don't have that. Well, I might, actually, but only one skein and I don't think it's the right weight or enough yardage, so that's probably no good.
This post was brought to you by the control+i function.

Friday, September 05, 2008

By the cat's tongue...

The cat, while cute, is a bit of a trouble maker. Observe what he's done to my So-Called Scarf: See? Perhaps a close-up:He looks all innocent, doesn't he? He would like to say a few words in his defense:

"You know, you've only gotten what's coming to you. You and Dave, you don't make it easy for me around this house. We all three of us know how I love the wool. First I tried to go for the stash, thinking that it would be less traumatic for you if I destroyed something you hadn't yet poured hours of effort into. But then you had to go and cover it up, limiting my access. So I spent some time licking my felted cat bed (which I might point out is way too small for me, hence it now stores my toys), but that just wasn't satisfying enough. I wanted more. And then you left this scarf dangling from a shelf, and what did you expect? Restraint? I am a cat. I do what I want. Plus, it's Manos - lovely flavor, very sheepy. Besides, you never wore this scarf anyway - there was mumbling about it being too stiff, or pooling, or something. So, really I did you a favor by destroying it, right? Right? Oh, and where's my second breakfast? I already finished the one you gave me at 5:00am."

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


It's been awhile, so I'm going to make a chronological list of the things I was going to blog about but didn't, if that's okay.
1) The epic hike up Mount Si on 8.23.08 - Dave and I headed out to Mt. Si because although I've hiked it several times, he has not. It's 8 miles roundtrip, with 3200 feet of elevation gain. We made it up in 1:25 and down in 1:22. This is a new record for me (by 5 minutes) and I think I could've gone faster without Dave holding me back :) There aren't any photos because, well, they all turned out pretty badly, but trust that it was a nice day and there were abundant good vistas.
2) The conclusion of the Olympic knitting on 8.24.08 - Even though I abandoned all hope of finishing Bayu during the Olympics with over a week to go, I still ended up rushing to finish my other projects because the Ravelympics deadline was 9:00am PST on Sunday, about 15 hours earlier than I expected. Thankfully Anne-Marie had alerted me to this fact on Saturday, so I had time to "finish" Anais once and hopefully for all. The secret gift project was actually finished on Thursday, with plenty of time to spare (pat on back). As for Anais, well, let's just say I don't think it'll be getting that much wear. Anais, lace detailThe color is off here - it's actually bright blue (better photo here) but in this one you can see the lace detail better. I haven't taken any photos wearing it yet, but it's not much better now than it was when I modeled it here (although the lace panel is much better now that it's sewn in properly). I did knit the little sleeves, and I tried to attach them, but they looked ridiculous so I took them off and I'm leaving it sleeveless (although my mother has pointed out that I could knit different sleeves, which may not be a bad idea). More about why I don't know about this garment when I have modeled photos so I can really show you what I'm talking about when I mention the problems (mainly that I look like a stubby linebacker).
3) I met Kristen's baby Alex, who is quite cute and does an adorable forehead furrow. He peed all over me, which I have to assume is a sign of affection. I believe she has photos of this (the meeting, not the peeing) but I don't have any to post. Her and Chad are both doing great and seem to be adjusting to life with a little one quite well!
4) Later that same day (8.24.08), fresh off my Olympic victories, I started a new project, the Estes Vest from the newest Interweave Knits. Estes Vest, back to armholesSo far I'm just past the armhole shaping on the back and it's moving along rapidly. Funny thing about bulky yarn and size 10.5 needles!
5) Last Sunday Anne-Marie, Deidre, and I took the ferry to Churchmouse Yarns and Teas over on Bainbridge Island. I was the only Churchmouse virgin, and I was not disappointed. It's a very nice shop, and I got some lovely Misti Alpaca Handpainted laceweight:Misty Alpaca Lace
I'm already turning this into a wide stockinette stole. I also got a Habu kit for the Kusha Kusha scarf, which is merino and stainless steel yarn (yes, stainless steel). I'd been looking for this kit for ages so I was really happy to find it. I also got some PG Tips, which is only slightly less exciting as I love nothing more than sitting around on weekend mornings with my giant London mug of PG Tips with two Splendas and milk. The milk and pseudo-sugar are key - this is some strong tea.
I guess that's really it. Since the vest is moving along quickly, hopefully I'll continue to blog about it. That's been part of the problem with the blogging this summer. I've been knitting a fair bit but there have been a lot of gifts and the things I was knitting for myself were either slow or not progressing at all. So I haven't really had that much to talk about, knitting-wise, and this being a knitting blog I figure that's what I should focus on.