Friday, September 29, 2006

Hey, progress!

Picovoli is progressing!

And, check out the area near the join (where the bit of orange yarn is hanging out at the bottom) — not so much like ass! I knew it'd get better as I knit more rows and the tension evened out across the area. Yay.

Tomorrow I take the train to Los Angeles to see my grandmother. Not only do I get to show off my latest FOs (though my remaining grandmother isn't a knitter, she's an appreciative audience), but I get three hours of knitting time on the train. Yay. I'm coming home with my parents, at night, in a car, so I probably won't get much done then, but that's okay. A girl needs SOME rest. (Unless she's wicked. Hmm.)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Stumbling onto a good cause...

I recently found the Noolie Knits page on a walk for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Julie is walking THIS Saturday in support of a friend with multiple myeloma.

Well, I know someone with multiple myeloma too; as well, my grandfather, and my boss's sister, both died of lymphoma. So this is a cause I most emphatically support!

If you donate (even $5), Julie will enter you in a drawing to win a prize.

I know not everyone can afford to donate right now, and I know everyone has to pick their charities and can't donate to everything. But if you can, and wish to, you can donate here. Don't forget to tell Noolie you donated.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Of course, I cast on again...

You knew I couldn't resist casting on for Picovoli, after that fab swatch last week. And I did. Since my gauge on the Scheepjes is a little off, I cast on for size 40, which should come out around 43-44". I don't really want much negative ease because I'm plump, so this will hopefully be fine. I used size 5 needles for the start, which I did with the Crystal Palace Mikado, and then switched to 4s and the Scheepjes after about six rows.

There are two kinds of booboos that I make on raglans. (I say this with great authority, based on making exactly one raglan ever before.) The first is to increase on only one side of a marker. So far, I haven't done that. The other is to increase next to the back-center marker. Which is not a raglan. And therefore does not merit increases.

Of course, I did this.
Of course, I did it while I was still on the Mikado.
Of course, I didn't notice it until I was about 7 rows into the Scheepjes.

Will I rip? No freakin' way! I dropped the two stitches back until they were one, then knit them back up.

Does it look like ass? Oh yes. It looks like ass.

I am absolutely convinced that I will find some way to work this out in the blocking.

A "lazy" weekend

After spending about 50% of the weekend with family/Rosh Hashanah commitments, I was ready to do some serious lying around. I think I may have done two loads of laundry in there, and an errand, but not much else.

Instead, I watched Deadwood and Green Wing (thanks Roz!) on DVD, ate Scary Mexican food with Carl and Elinor and Rob, and knit a square for Grandmother Purl:

The square is in the new Patons SWS Wool/Soy. The yarn is roughly heavy worsted weight. It hasn't got a strong twist, and it's very hairy, which makes it challenging to knit with — I kept splitting strands. It was okay for stockinette, but I did a textured slip-stitch diamond pattern over part of the square and it doesn't show up well; the hairyness obscures it. I will probably use the rest of this in some kind of future felting project. It's soft, but I didn't enjoy knitting it.

I actually made more progress on Mariner, too, but you still can't tell:Can't really tell you what I did on Sock Wars yet... but Sock Wars were also waged! More news when I'm dead. That is, Sock-wars-dead — not really dead. I don't think I'll be a frequent blogger after real death.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

First blocking!

I think it needs another blocking. I've never blocked lace before, and the first thing I did wrong was to roll too much water out of it, so it was too dry. I tried to block it on some plastic over a quilt on the guest-room mattress, forgot the egg-crate foam was under the sheeets. I should have put the plastic directly on the mattress. The pins didn't want to stay in (and now I know why people use T-pins and not standard sewing pins). It's still a little bumpy on the back, but it's incredibly soft, and it's blocked out to 19" middle, 24" ends, and 60" length. I think I can get the whole thing evenly out to 25" wide with a proper blocking location.

But.. later. It's incredibly soft, it's gorgeous, and also I need to go work on Sock Wars.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

All ready for some blockin' madness!

Le fir cone, prior to blocking:

There are a couple ends woven in and a couple to go. I bound off in yarnover bind-off (found in The Knitting Answer Book by Margaret Radcliffe), which I've never used before and which made me nervous, but it actually looks about the same at the cast-on end as the cast-off end (I cast on using larger needles and Twisted German cast-on). So that's good. Yarnover bind-off turns out to be basically a crocheted bind-off so I could probably do it faster with a crochet hook, next time.

Dimensions before blocking: 14.5" across the middle, 19" across the ends, 48" long. I have 12 gm of yarn left, which means I could have squeezed in one more pattern repeat, but I didn't really want more — I made the 21.5 the pattern called for and I think that's long enough. It wouldn't, however, have been enough to make the borders as wide as the pattern originally specified. All in all I am pleased, and will keep the spare yarn for repairs of the inevitable snags.

Melinda's handspun rocks! I know I've said that several times now.

Stay tuned for the blocking tomorrow. I've got to run. Sock Wars, dontcha know!

Friday, September 22, 2006

I'm boring people.

I had two unsubscribes to my blog in the past two days... but I think it's actually because people who were following the blog for Summer of Socks (er, what?) and Trek Along with Me (cough. I tried to use my cell phone to document this, and forgot to hit save, so I never managed to post) have now unsubscribed. Fair 'nuff!

Go check out Earin's new crafting podcast. She showcases some nice music, too. (You can subscribe to it from iTunes with the URL .) Makes me think about podcasting my music. Of course I need to do some actual recording first...

Roz sent me the link to this hilariously obsessive page charting Tom Baker's Scarves (as Doctor Who). It's disturbing what some people do with their time. Of course my own obsessions are completely normal.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Well, color me blown away.

My friend April just got back from Canada, where her mother passed away and her brother caused her some serious headache. What did I do? I asked her to send me some maple candy. :-/

What did she do? Sent me this amazing package of goodies, which I found last night as I went grumpily home after failing to park at the LYS (which is, inconveniently, right next to the Hard Rock Cafe):

This is sock yarn (green!), some exceedingly cool postcards (look at that darling mouse, and there's a cool art card that has a touch of the Magritte about it), maple tea (which will be delicious with a splash of rice milk, I think, maple candy (MMMMMM) and Maple Cream Cookies (MMM!!!!!!!!!). Which I already ate a lot of.

April also sent this succinct and accurate pin, which should probably be tattooed on my forehead:

Sigh. Calorically bad, but extremely good for my mood. April is the Grrl.

Finally, I am really excited about this little gauge swatch. As you can see, it's obvious I need to use a larger needle with the multicolored part to make the gauge match. So why so excited?
Well, because look at the color match there. It's amazing. Remember how I was a little worried I didn't have quite enough Scheepjes to make Picovoli? Well, I do if I make the neckline, hemline and sleeves from the lovely multicolored yarn above — it's Crystal Palace Mikado that I got off deStash, a small rayon-cotton tape yarn. I had no idea what I was going to do with it. And I had no idea the Scheepjes matched. Yahoo!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Yeaaarch! Avast, ye mateys! It's crochet.

(Sorry. It's Talk Like a Pirate day, so I have no choice. Check out Stephanie's post on knitting like a pirate.)

I haven't picked up the hook except to fix knit stitches in ages, but my mother wanted me to finish her head covering for the synagogue. I made her a new one last year and got half-way through a lace edging, and decided it wasn't going to look good if I finished it, so I left it half done, with little picots all around. She said the picots were flipping up and annoying her, and asked me to finish it.

I couldn't even remember what hook size I'd used, so that took some fiddling, but eventually I found one that worked. I tried finishing the edging pattern I'd started, but this one had 4 picots for every pre-existing one, and it was even worse. So I tried a few things at random (most of the cap was just made up as I went along anyway) and finally settled on an edge that pulled in just a bit, in order to keep a more rounded shape that would sit nicely on her head.

There's no way to photograph this on a flat surface, and I was late, so I didn't futz with my camera for long, but you can get the basic idea.

EDITED TO ADD: this is done in cotton w/metallic bits crochet thread on a size 1.90 crochet hook.

(This post was written hours ago but it's taken dozens of retries, over hours, for me to get the photos to load. Blogger. sigh.)

Monday, September 18, 2006

A walky weekend

Our friend Roz, a close friend of Rob's who went to grad school with him in Australia, was visiting for a couple of days so we went to the Wild Animal Park. It's usually darned hot out there, but it was just nicely warm, breezy, azure-skied and gorgeous on Saturday.

Saturday night the Santa Ana moved in. We went for a little hike on Sunday morning with a few friends, one of whom was Christy, who has just moved to San Diego from northern Virginia.

When she got to our house, Rob let her in; when I came downstairs I saw she was sniffling. "Ah, I see the allergies have got you," I said. "It's this thing called a Santa Ana wind. It comes in off the desert and brings all the desert bloom pollen with it, plus it's really dry, and everyone who has a tendency for allergies gets terribly congested."

Christy listened politely. "Yeah, I thought I had a cold," she said. "Rob just told me all about the Santa Anas..." I laughed, and we went for our walk.

We met my brother Aaron and our friend Greg for the walk, who welcomed Christy to San Diego and then said, "There's this thing going on right now called a Santa Ana..." "I'm getting that idea," Christy said.

After our hike, Greg's wife Pat came in and said, "Hi Christy! You got here just in time for the Santa Ana."

Heh. We have such subtle weather changes in San Diego that I guess we have to talk about it all the time!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Very bouncy!

Why? Not because of how far I've gotten on my Fir Cone, though I am pleased. But because I've tied on the second (smaller) ball of yarn having just finished my 15th pattern repeat. There are 68 grams of yarn left. I'm using only about 9 grams per repeat, so this means I have enough — more than enough — to finish. Probably didn't even need to cut down on the borders — but that's okay. I can always make it a repeat longer if I want.

On the right: yarn barf. Not a pretty sight.

— but it's very soft yarn barf. 100% alpaca is yummy. Now I just have to figure out which of these size 6/0 beads (from Fire Mountain Gems, a great source) looks best on this yarn, so I can make Seaside, from the new MagKnits, for a friend of mine in a cold climate.

I'm going to finish Fir Cone before I start, though. Honest.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

There is no knitting to show...

Fir Cone is over 50% done, but it still looks the same. Just longer. It's still sooooo beautiful. I'm hoping to manage to finish and block it this weekend, but that may be optimistic.

Since I don't have any good needle stuff to show, here's my cat Laila.

She's hard to get a photo of because mostly she likes to follow me around, so often the best I can do is pictures like this:

I also have a lot of photos where she rushed the camera and all you can really see is a lot of dark chocolate-colored fur, and maybe a blurry whisker....

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A few little bits of things...

• You can sign up for three months of Sundara's Petals Club if you missed out the first time 'round, but act fast.
• I'm about 1/2 done with Fir Cone and have just gotten to the placket split on the front of Mariner. Why am I not working on Hedera? Because my hands just can't take the small needles this week. So long, summer of socks. I guess I'll have to try again next year!
April and Lolly could use some love right about now. Please send some good thoughts their way.

Since I don't have any good knitting pictures, here's the latest goofy shots of my niece Carson:

When you have nothing else to say...

...there's always yarnporn:

This is some Silky DK yarn from Sundara. It'll get paired with some white or cream yarn to make a round-yoked cardigan for me. Mmmm.

I got a great package in the mail from Earin yesterday — I traded her some of my jam and some of Jen's lovely stitch markers. In return I got:

Homemade sweet pickle relish...

some cute stitch markers and personalized bookmarks!...

and MMMM golden plum wine. Which Rob and I drank about 1/3 of last night. Aaaaahhhhhh.

Thanks, Earin! Swaps are cool :-)

Friday, September 08, 2006

The beauty of it.

I am floored. It's not even blocked yet and I'm in love. To recap, Wendy's Fir Cone (easy newbie lace) pattern with Melinda's (no-longer-Secret-Pal) handspun. I'm about 1/3 done, and I absolutely don't care what size this ends up. It's breathtaking.

I'm not a person who's terrifically fond of winding yarn, even with my swift and ball winder. This is perhaps mostly because I have dingy hands/wrists and it hurts, but I'm also VERY LAZY. However, when I run out of Ball One of Melinda's yarn, I'll need Ball Two. So I wound it, and while I was at it I also wound the other handspun she sent — the one that is likely to become a little vest for Carson.

I also wound this amazing gift from April:

My first Socks that Rock. April is an April that Rocks, that is for sure! Y'all know how I love green, too.

Ahh, cake.

Through it all I was watched by my fuzzy chocolate darling Laila, who's been rolling in the dirt and is very very dusty.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Slow but steady

I've been taking my knitting fairly slowly lately, so that my thumb has time to recover (it's improving). So while I've made microscopic gains on the Hedera gusset, it's not worth showing. The lace is moving faster — here's where I am on Fir Cone:

This is about 1/6 done. I'm loving it. I know it's hard to photograph so that you can really see, since it needs to be finished and blocked for full effect, but it's fun, easy and the yarn is heavenly. Plus you can really read your stitches as you go, reducing mistakes immensely (I lifeline anyway! learned my lesson!)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Hurry! Knitters' Tea Swap

The Knitters' Tea Swap has opened for signups and they think they will hit their limit VERY soon. Sign up now if you want to play!

Note that Secret Pal 9 is open for signups too. I had a GREAT time this last round, but I am probably going to sit out this round; I met four great people during my two secret pal swaps this time, and I want to spend a little more energy getting to know them now. So count on me for Secret Pal 10 :)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Melinda's handspun finds a haven.

So I figured I'd do a little swatching as a break from frogging the Leaves, endlessly stockinetting the Mariner, and gussetizing (it's a word now) the Hedera.

I swatched the Scheepjes Delfi I got in Vandouver, because it looked like it might, just maybe, be okay for Grumperina's Picovoli. I still have to wash and measure, but if it blooms slightly like I think it will, I should be right on gauge and have just enough yarn. That's always a little dicey, but I might just try. Not that I ever wear sleeveless tops. But. It would be a fun knit. Alternatively, I could knit it a little smaller for someone else. We'll see.

While swatching I was just idly surfing blogs, and it hit me sideways that Wendy's new Fir Cone wrap pattern just might work for Melinda's gorgeous handspun.

I swatched and it seemed good, but a little on the heavy side. I also noted I have 7/8 of the quantity that Fir Cone calls for. So I figured I'd cut the pattern down very slightly; I took out two of the ten-stitch repeats from each row, made the edge 5 garter stitches instead of 8, started it with 12 rows of garter instead of 18. Minor problem: it's still coming out at 18" wide, which is supposed to be the unblocked measurement of the original pattern. So it may end up a repeat or five shorter than I really want, but I'm sure I'll find a way to use it anyway. And man. It's beautiful. Melinda rocks. Click it for a closer view.

Lifelines and life lessons...

My recent post about the lifeline drew a lot of questions. What is it? Why do you need one? And isn't it a darn nuisance?

To the last: yes. So I figured I'd only put a lifeline in after each pattern repeat. Each 54-row pattern repeat.

Not so swift.

This is me, having realized that I had a multi-stitch error 11 rows back, bravely attempting to fix it by dropping stitches and reknitting them. This is #$*(#$*#( hard to do in lace, and given that this is my first non-sock lace pattern, I failed. I tried for about 30 minutes first, though.

I think you should respect me for trying.

This is me frogging back ALL the 31 rows to the lifeline.

I did realize I should put in a lifeline more frequently. Like every 20-30 rows at least. So that's fine, except you do need to check that you're doing things correctly as you go along. Before you put in the lifeline. Otherwise you end up in this position,

where you're humming along and realize abruptly that you have an error a row or two before the lifeline row.

I'll be frogging, then tinking. Later. I needed a rest. More about that in an upcoming post.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Is this an olive? and Saturday sky, late

Dorky gardening question for y'all: Is this an olive?

I hope it is, because if it is... I've got curing to do! It's growing in our canyon like a weed, and this year it had fruit all over it. Sure LOOKS like an olive to me. If it's not olive, I'm curious what it is.

I was able to do a little gardening today — repotted the brugmansia, did a little watering.

Went to one party and now I'm off to another one. W00t!

And this...

This was Saturday's sky.

I know, it's Sunday. I'm slow.

I wish I had actually caught the full sunset — it underlit the clouds with a startling red — but this bit was still pretty darned good.

Ahhhhh, yeah. I knew I liked living here.
Uhhh. Knitting content. I have a long pitiful story to tell you (enh, tomorrow) but for now, here's a picture of the ongoing work on Mariner. The thing is, it's awfully hard to see progress here. So I am doing what I can to make the picture entertaining.

Friday, September 01, 2006

It's all about the thumb

So, like many people, I have arthritis in two joints in my right thumb. It doesn't act up all the time, but it was starting to twitch when I was racing to finish the Secret Yarnination. Of course I ignored it and knit my bu—, thumb off over the past few weeks. So now I have a bum thum for a little while.

So last night I thought I'd better take it easy. I figured it was time to figure out poor Hedera's booboo and that was mostly frogging and counting, right?


Frog. Reknit a row. Wait, that's not right. Something's off with the count. Frog back further. Reknit. No, not it yet. Hrmm. Frog yet further. Wait, now I'm just at the pick-up stitches point. That's too depressing. I need to knit some on it so I don't feel like I'm leaving it further back than before.

Heh. Taking a break, yah. But at least the booboos are gone!

But I was good after that — all I did to my darling Leaves was to insert a lifeline (all the progress is from Weds. night, honest).

My first lifeline! I'm so excited. (Edited to add a link to a good Web page on lifelines, VERY useful in lace.)