Friday, December 28, 2007

Ready to cruise into the new year!

I am really quite, quite ready for 2008. Despite the many things left unfinished in 2007.

One thing is finished:

Carson's holiday T, really more of a 3/4 sleeve sweatshirt (if there is such a thing). It's hard to capture the colors — so lovely and rainbow-y. I tried slightly different camera settings here but I don't think either conveys it.

I totally forgot that I was going to do the sleeves in reverse stockinette — I'm a little disappointed about that, enough that I might actually find a place still selling this color of Katia Irina and make another top for her in it when she's a little older. The reverse is really pretty. But I'm pleased with the top, and I hope it fits.

I don't have much else to share. I've been baking, but nothing so gorgeous as last year's cookies, and I made mazapán, and we've been socializing and running a million errands and generally trying to get caught up on our life. Not there yet :-) but what's new? I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, whichever one (or none) catches your fancy, and that each and every one of you has a superfantastic 2008. Because it's time.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Measure once, knit twice...

And I do know better. But, gosh darn it. Here's what happened. First I thought I was going to make another baby T-shirt out of the white Irina yarn. But then I realized I had quite a bit of that yarn — enough to make a 3/4-sleeve tee for Carson, who is a good size 3T now. And it seemed a shame not to use all of it. So I decided to do that instead. Except I'd sketched out the baby tee on my pad, and when I actually worked the math of how many stitches to cast on, I accidentally looked down at my pad, and worked it for 18.5".

Argh. It was perfect, too — and I didn't realize I'd screwed up until I was this far. Foolishly, I kept thinking, "Hunh, this really looks small, but hey, I know it's Carson's size because I'm on gauge and I did the math!"

Did the math, yeah. WRONG MATH. Durrrrr.

Now I know I said this yarn won't rip, but I took a chance, since it was plain stockinette and over a skein's worth and I really have my heart set on the shirt for Carson now. I was very very careful. I think it's okay, but we'll know for sure when I knit it, because I was a wuss and started with a fresh ball.

Still, this time I like the trim (seed stitch instead of moss stitch) better than last time anyway. Incidentally I prefer this color of the Katia Irina to the previous one. I'm using US size 4 circs, by the way. And this yarn is machine wash, which is awesome. And I'm planning to do reverse stockinette sleeves, which I think will look beautiful on a raglan with a stockinette body.

(Okay, I know in the last post I said I'd knit it top down, but hey, I lied. This is easier to calculate.)

Thanks for the kind and helpful comments on the previous tee, btw. I guess I'll save it for some baby! Maybe if it marinates in the FOs for a while I'll stop seeing its flaws.

Apropos of nothing, my garden is really confused about what season it is:

(Admittedly, this plumeria is a little brown, but come on — plumeria in November? Nuts! Even in San Diego that is insane.)

I've been sick and useless this weekend (except for knitting, which had to be ripped), but tonight I got to take a photo of The Coolest Spider. I am pretty sure he's a trap door spider. He was on the march (apparently it's the males who go a-roamin'), plowing along with palps out stiffly in front of him, on our driveway — Rob found her and yelled for me. He caught him temporarily so I could take another photo. Is he gorgeous or what?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Not all I'd hoped

At first glance, it looks cute, but there are some problems.

For one thing, I miscalculated about where the top of the shoulder should hit on the side with the button-on shoulder, so the sleeve is sort of shifted compared to the other sleeve.

For another thing, it just doesn't look even in several ways. If you eye the single-crocheted collar, you'll see the line of knitting underneath looks significantly different on the left and right sides, though I did try to do matching decreases.

And finally, what you can't see: the seams are a bit bulky for a baby (this is a problem with virtually all handknits for babies, though) plus the cloth didn't come out as soft as advertised. It is drapey, though — would make a great adult woman's top. But for a baby, next to the skin, it's OK, but not as fab as I'd hoped. That would be okay but this is a T-shirt, not a sweater, so those seams might itch.

So this is going to marinate in the FO bag for a while, and I'll think about what to do with it. This yarn is really not reusable after you rip it, so hopefully it'll be wearable.

Meanwhile, I have enough Katia Irina left for a second baby's top. I think this time I'll do a henley-buttoned, top-down raglan; that'll take care of the seam problem, and make it more actually wearable.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Of buttons and sleeve caps I sing, o

Well, ya know. So you're designing your own baby T-shirt, basing it on this sweater pattern, and you're humming along, but somehow you miscount something or maybe it just doesn't work in this yarn or row gauge or — heck, I don't know what I did. But this was just not right.

The widest part of the sleeve was still smaller than the sleeve opening (which was probably too big), so the sleeve, when stitched in, ended up looking like a funnel. Or a pig's nose. I wish I'd thought to take a photo before I picked out the seam.

Now, most baby patterns don't come with sleeve caps. They just knit 'em straight out. But I thought, what could a sleeve cap hurt? And there was this handy-dandy sleeve cap computation tutorial in the latest Interweave Knits. And you know how I loves me some math.

Check it out now!

And check out my bumpin' "hemmed" edges. I love that. Though it was a pain to do. They look even better now that I've stitched up the little gap. I'll show you a finished T-shirt in a day or so, just weaving in a few more ends!

And I finished sleeve #2 of Khaki Cables. On to the right front!

On top of that, the Geordie Stripe is now really and completely done, ready to mail to its recipient.

I am a firm believer that the right button makes the sweater.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Much knitting is happening.

I must be avoiding work of some sort!

I started on another of a large number of baby things to be made for several friends who either have little ones already or are due this coming spring. Baby things are satisfying because they're quick, and I think the only people who are getting knitted gifts from me this year for Christmas/Hanukah are under the age of 4. This stripey pullover was going well —

— until I realized that I really should have knit the front first, because I didn't have row gauge, and the instructions for the back were by length while the front were by rows, and I ended up with a front that is about six rows longer than the back. I should either pull out the front part down to the neck and redo it, starting earlier (probably the right idea because then the measurements will be right), or I should make the back longer (easier). Grumpy about doing either one, despite the allure of the fabulous cotton merino yarn, I started another baby item:

This is a 'hemmed' baby T-shirt of my own design (well, so simple as to not really count) in Katia Irina, a festive and machine-washable rayon/cotton blend (with a little polyacrylic in there for the shimmer). I started it last night; it's going so fast I'll probably finish it today or tomorrow.
Then, there is the secret yarnination. There are limited times in which I can work on this, owing to the "secret" part, so it's proceeding slowly...

And it's not like I've forgotten Miss Khaki Cables. I've been working on the second sleeve in various meetings this week and a bunch last night. I forgot to put in the lifeline, but I think I'm going to count back and run it through, because I really don't know if these sleeves are right. Sleeves are my Waterloo. Oh, hell, why did I say that — now I've got the ABBA song stuck in my head. And now you do too. Ha ha.

As partial apology, here is a link where you can find that great "Will Knit for Tattoos" bag I'm using. In case that's your bag, baby.

Monday, November 12, 2007


I know I should be working on Khaki Cables. But I just had to cast on. Twice.

The blue-and-green bit is a Jo Jo Striped Cardigan from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms, for one of my friends' upcoming kids (there are three babies expected next spring amongst our friends!) — the wine bit is, well, Secret Yarnination ;-)

Jo Jo is being done in Gedifra Cotton Merino, which knits into some of the loveliest, cushiest fabric I've encountered. It's a little splitty, but it's worth struggling through that. I want to take a nap on this little sweater.

The Secret Yarnination is in Elsebeth Lavold Chunky AL, also a yummy yarn. Both of these make my fingers very happy. And both are/were on sale at Webs... I think there's still some left in the Yarn Closeouts section.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I loves me some mattress stitch, but...

Okay, you all know that I am a sick puppy that loves seaming. It's just so satisfying to watch the two pieces merge so evenly and smoothly, and I like working the math to set in a sleeve or a collar ("So we have 56 stitches to fit to 39 stitches, let's see..."). But even I will admit this is a darn lot of ends to weave in:

That aside, I'm very pleased with the finished cardigan, a planned Christmas gift for my friend Matt's son Austin. The colors don't show well here but this is the vague idea, unblocked and unbuttoned. Geordie Stripe Yoke Jacket from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms, made a little longer than called for to accommodate cotton's shrinky behavior and adding a little stripe on the shoulder (chiefly because I was that short on orange yarn). There is very little yarn left from the 4 orange, 2 yellow balls of Debbie Bliss Cotton DK that I bought from Webs.

I'll go button-shopping later. Got to pick out some cuties for this guy!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Hallowe'en distractions

Things are slowly getting back to normal around here, though I've yet to refile all the 'urgent' paperwork I took out of the file cabinet to evacuate and reclaim my dirty-clothes-basket (that it's living in), and we had small Hallowe'en party last night so there is a lot of furniture rearranged and all that mess. But I've had a number of pleasant distractions this week that I wanted to share.

First there was pumpkin carving at a friend's house. Here is our end result — mine is a bit hard to see, as it happens; it's the one with the little house and tree and moon. The stars and leaves were just a bit on the small side. I refrigerated the pumpkin between the carving and the 31st, and between the 31st and the weekend, and by the end of it, the flesh had shrunk enough that it was much better silhouetted.

Then there was the fun of trick-or-treaters. "Only" about 60-70 this year, and a few double-dippers (well, I do give out three mini chocolate bars per person, so I told them I knew they were double-visiting but I was going to let them get away with it because I could relate to the desire for extra candy).

Next, there was the office Hallowe'en potluck — well, just our end of the office really. We seem to have a lot of fun-loving souls in the bunch and there was some hilarious holiday-themed food. I was particularly proud of how incredibly disgusting my contribution, the delicious roasted beet risotto came out.

I've never made risotto before and it was a lot of work, but it was really yummy. Which is a good thing, because I made a double recipe (from, btw), which meant we ate it for lunch and dinner for a week. Heh.

I went to Los Angeles for a couple of days to attend a memorial at UCLA for my cousin Gene Frumkin and hang out with my cousin Suanne.

Finally we had a little Hallowe'en party, and I made Bloody Mary aspic in a brain jello mold. This was tasty and went well with the spread of fancy cheeses, but no one could take too much of it. So there is a lot left over. Hrm. Doesn't it look like it belongs in the Gallery of Regrettable Food?

Knitting! Oh yeah, there's been knitting too. I made some progress on the Geordie Stripe Cardigan from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms:

And I went to the doctor Thursday morning, before I left for L.A., to find out why my throat has felt like it's got strings hanging down it for a month, now. They didn't know, but put me on antibiotics in case it was a lurking infection. I don't know that it's helping particularly but now I'm completely exhausted from the antibiotics :-P I really could use a bit more energy to get through a schedule like the one mentioned above... ;-)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I'm *such* a five.

U.S. size 5 (3.75mm), that is. It seems to be my favorite needle size, closely followed by U.S. size 4 (3.5 mm). This is how I discovered I have too many WIPs -->

I don't know if you can see (click to make big), but there is a distinct gap in the size 5s, and a sizeable one in the 4s. No needles to start the new project with — a baby cardi for my friend Matt's son Austin, for Christmas. Now that was unacceptable.

Twitching to get my hands on the Debbie Bliss Cotton DK I'd bought for the project, I was forced to finish a WIP instead.

Cheryl, my Other Secret Pal in 2006, had gifted me with three skeins of Linen Isle (cotton/linen/rayon) yarn in a greeny-beigy-grey color (hard to describe). I had hoped to knit a dish towel of it, but there wasn't enough, so I ended up with a big washcloth. This is what it looked like before its bath, after I finished it this morning. (I stayed up late last night trying to finish, but I didn't quite make it.)

After its bath and a run through the dryer — which I'm told is recommended for linen, despite the "no dryer" note on the yarn tag — it's a bit smaller, cushy and thick, and incredibly drapey and soft. In another color, I'd definitely make a summer top from this stuff. It knits like twine, but it will probably wear like iron and stay soft. I don't know exactly what I'll use this for, but for now, I just squeeze it a lot. Mm, squeezy.

And then I had a size 5 to make this swatch:

The swatch will become a Geordie Stripe Cardigan from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms. I could not get gauge even in a size 5, and you have to use a smaller size for the edge. I know that even in a size 3 I will not get gauge; changing needles seems to help me very little gaugewise, I must adjust my tension somehow. I usually have a gauge for a particular yarn and I can't fight it. So I'm accepting the 4.5 spi on this (instead of 5). That means the 12-month size, with 18-month lengths, should fit; the baby will be 11 months at Christmas, but his dad is 6'3", so I'm guessing he's a big boy, and I want the sweater to fit until late spring (they are in the Bay Area, cooler than here, and it's cotton).

After a day and a half of enthusiastic garage-cleaning (there's a path now, at least!), I baked some awesome ginger-pecan pumpkin-spiced beer bread this afternoon. Today I go off to carve pumpkins with Colleen and Elinoire, too.

It's a relief to get back to some normalcy, but two of our friends have lost their homes (that we know of) in the fires. So for some people, there will be no normal. Not for a long time. And even then, it will be a different normal. :-/

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

We decided to evacuate.

We weren't called, just decided it was too close to get any sleep. We are at Elinoire's cottage in an urban area closer to the center city. Cat and bird are fine, exploring their new surrounds. More tomorrow.

UPDATE: The fire has turned northwards in our vicinity, so we were easily able to go home and are probably in no danger. We will still sleep at Elinoire's (cat and bird are there) tonight for maximum sleep and minimum smoke. The fire is 0% contained and they don't expect containment for a week, so we're not out of the woods yet. Still, it felt good to go home for a while. We're in a colo facility right now trying to fix my email (vpolichar at gmail dot com is still the best bet for now). Thanks for the good thoughts.

I'm knitting! I guess the stress finally lowered to the point where I could. Khaki cables sleeve #2 is making progress at last.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Alive and waiting (fires).

MANY people we know have been evacuated.
The fires are mostly not at all contained.
We may have to evacuate in next 12 hours, but we are safe, alive, and ready to go.
My email is broken -- use if you need me.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


I am still working on Khaki Cables. I finished one arm — won't know if I'm REALLY finished with it until I baste things together and try it on, because I still don't know about the length — and started the next. When I finish that, it's just one front, collar/button band and assembly.

But today, I fixed our sofa. There's no before and after shot, but what I did (with Rob's help) was to turn the sofa over, pull the staples out, take off the lining and check the springs; Rob helped me tighten one of them which was loose. Then I took the foam out of the seat cushions, went to an industrial foam source and got new foam and batting, went home, wrapped the new foam in batting, and stuck it in the cushion covers. It feels like a brand new sofa. My bottom is VERY HAPPY. This is the sofa that I basically live on (I'm on it now), and it had gotten so bad that I got a bruise when I sat down a bit too hard a couple weeks ago and landed on the edge board. So, happy happy happy!

If you've never replaced your own cushions (this is the third time I've done it in my life, with various sofas), know that foam is not cheap. It cost me $115 to refoam a 6-ft run of cushions. That's a lot less than a new sofa, of course! Also (I learned this long ago) do not ask for extra-firm foam. You'll feel like you're sitting on rock. Take the old cushion and try to get its firmness matched, or go up or down just one level.

Anyway: in knitting news, I've been trying to learn to fair-isle. Check it out! Okay, it's ugly, but at least I'm trying.

I'm trying it two ways, in fact: with the background yarn in my right hand and the foreground yarn in my left, and with both yarns in my left. I'm about as (un)proficient each way. As you can see, my tension is very uneven and the end result is lumpy, but I figure if I just keep at it I'll eventually get a 'feel' for it and it'll smooth out.

Many of you have asked about the little gardenia twig. A little love is a marvellous thing:

All your kind wishes must be helping. You have to understand that these leaves are smaller than your smallest fingernail, but I'm all for progress, however small.

Further on the learning front, I start the mediation credentialing program on Weds. night! I'm excited, though a little worried about all my commitments :-) .

Can't help posting one more picture of the pineapple lily. It's so radiant.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Knitting, not so much

I think I've knit another 4" or so on that same sleeve, but there's nothing to show yet. I'm putting in a lifeline, because (1) the last six sleeves I've knit have been the wrong size for my short arms, and (2) I'm actually putting it in for the third time because I've had to rip back to it twice already owing to falling asleep while reading the directions, or something like that ;-) Also I shampooed the carpet today and got a bunch of blisters on my hand from the badly-designed handle on the carpet shampooer, so now I'm mostly typing with my left hand while icing my right. There may be no further knitting this weekend.

I will distract you with gardening, as usual! This is a magnificent pineapple lily. Too bad about all the junk in the background, but you didn't think I was a tidy person, did you?

Okay, so I haven't been doing much knitting. Here's how I've been filling my free time for the last few weeks, though:

* Joined a couple of research labs at UCSD, and am starting a cell phone use study with Louise Barkhuus. I've been tracking down subjects and screening intake forms for that, plus reading a lot of journal articles and attending lab meetings.
* Sent out two article queries, one short story, and one article to various magazines. Wrote a few articles for, one of which has been purchased by Geosign.
* Finished adding a new section to my talk on technical management, and made arrangements to present the talk as part of a "Lunch and Learn" at Qualcomm (probably in December).
* Looked into the steps needed to teach a class at UCSD Extension, and have begun developing a proposal for a four-hour workshop on technical management. I'm also thinking about teaching an online class.
* Applied for and was accepted into the mediation credentialing program I mentioned a while ago. I start the night of Oct. 24, though I'll be on an intentionally slow schedule in order to not lose my mind while doing all these things at once in my free time!, so I probably won't finish the credential for 12 months.

So, lots of fun stuff. And of course I'm working as well. Hopefully I'll pick up a bit on the knitting, too. And I need to decide what to do about Christmas. I'm trying to scale it down a little this year, but it doesn't mean I don't want to give people anything at all. I don't know if I'll have time to make gifts or not — they won't be knitted, but even handmade takes time. I have a tendency to be self-absorbed, but I don't want to be so selfish as to spend all my spare time on myself and my goals! Still, if I plan to make gifts, I need to start thinking about it fast. What are you all doing about gifting this year?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Okay, so I'm easily amused.

Just found this:

Download the Internet here.


In knitting news, Khaki Cables is taking too long. I want this lovely sweater to be done already. It's an easy knit; maybe too easy, maybe that's the problem. My brain's on endless repeat. That said, I have nearly finished one sleeve, so there's just another sleeve and another front to go (plus seaming and edging, but that'll be a change of pace, so it'll be fun).

I'm usually a process knitter. I think the problem here is that I actually need a cardigan this color, to replace a long-loved and worn-out cotton one. I have another cotton one in a color fairly close to this (and, er, actually, now that I look, I have two worn-out ones), but it's a more yellowy tan and it clashes with some of my slacks. Plus it's long (hits at mid-hip) and I want a short one...

Oh, let's face it, I'm a cardi ho.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Darling little swatchlet.

This is just too cute to be just a swatch. I don't know if you can tell how small this is, but I'm getting over 9 spi. NINE. You all might not know this, but I have a terrible problem with gauge -- I knit fairly evenly, but loose. I'm just way too relaxed. So I generally have to go down two needle sizes and this is on 00s! ZERO ZERO, dudes and dudettes. This is like knitting on unbent paper clips, and I do not mean those big honking ones you use to hold all your receipts for the entire year.

But it feels right for the yarn. This is Kraftie's fabulous handspun, and I know I should probably make it into a lace shawl, but I just really, really, really want socks out of this yarn. I am pretty certain (because of the long color runs) that the two socks will not match. I'm sure I'll have to knit them toe-up so I don't run out of yarn. I'm sure I'll be sad about the 00s before I am done. But. I want these socks.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

No real knitting to show, so..

I've been working on a sleeve of Khaki Cables, but I took a number of days off knitting because of hand problems, and the progress just isn't exciting. So I will distract you with garden and house plant photos. Many of these plants were gifts from my friend Nancy, who is very generous with cuttings. September is just the start of the harvest in San Diego, despite the slight autumnal turn in temperature.

Little green tomatoes:

These are mini and regular sized African violets:

And finally — this last little cutting doesn't look like much, but it represents hope to me.

Back in 1965, when I was born and my maternal grandparents moved into their home high in the Hollywood Hills, my paternal grandparents gave my maternal grandparents the gift of some plants for their new home — cuttings from their own garden. They gave them a stephanotis, a champagne grape, a gardenia. They also had a loquat — we're not sure if this was a gift or a suggestion.

My last grandparent died in February, and this summer, the house was sold. We took cuttings from the plants, and tried hard to get them going, but it was a challenge. My parents' and aunt's attempts all failed. Mine were looking pretty grim, and just before the house went out of escrow, I grabbed a last few. Many of those died too. I was left with just one success — a grapevine cutting that took — and a couple of cuttings in water that haven't yet completely given out. The cuttings in soil mostly died, and I was puzzled by this one remaining gardenia twig, which I'd planted back in April and which was, oddly, still green despite having no leaves. Until last week:
It's blurry, I know, but you can see tiny baby leaves peeking out from the top of the cutting where the dead leaves are. That was a few days ago and now they are starting to unfurl a little. Cross your fingers and make a wish for me!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Things come back.

The holidays are over. I got some incredible compliments from the instructors I had for my mediation course, which got passed on to me by the woman who runs the credentialing program today. I had my last session my dental work for now. And look what came in the mail:

I can't get the colors right — man this is lovely plying work — and it's merino/tencel, so it glows like nobody's business.

If you haven't seen Kraftie's blog, she's been doing some amazing spinning lately. I've been watching her progress with a sense of the magic of it, watching her turn beautiful roving into breathtaking yarn. And now she has gifted me with some.

No words adequately express the gift of handspun. I've been lucky enough to receive several treasured skeins from spinners around the net, and I always have a great reverence for the yarn. I have to find just the right project. Melinda's made a lovely shawl; Alyson's is being saved for mittens, once I get colorwork down; etc.

This is enough yarn for socks or a tiny shawl, and trim on another project (mittens?). I'll have to think about it. This yarn ROCKS. Thank you, Kraftie! And thanks so much for cheering my day. Yay.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Slowing down for September

September bites my butt, every year. The Jewish holidays happen, I tend to get sick or injured (after the eye thing, I've messed up my back — re-irritating an old tailbone injury which has mysteriously caused pain in my shoulder and left arm. It's improving thanks to good therapy), and work always has some nonsense up its sleeve for me too. Maybe there's a little sadness at the ending of summer? So anyway, my posts have slowed as I, too, slow down and stumble a little. It's all right, though.

This is the nearly-completed (I've since finished and started on a sleeve) back of the lovely Khaki Cables. I cabled without a cable needle on this whole section, and learned something interesting and hard to fathom: my gauge changes when I cable without a cable needle. Just a little bit width-wise — but I was predicting that, and it's not enough to matter (it'll add up to maybe 1" wider around, which is perfectly fine). The weird thing is it's longer — early an inch longer than the front I already knit. I should be able to handle this in the blocking, so it's not worrying me at all, but it's very strange.

Why so strange?

Because it's longer in the seed stitch section as well.

So it can't be because I'm cabling w/o a cable needle, can it? Maybe I just loosened my gauge in general. Except the gauge width-wise is spot on in the seed stitch section.

Oh, I don't know. I don't know that I really care, either, since it's manageable. It's just piqued my curiosity. :-)

What's this?

Looks pretty weird, huh. It's the beginning of my attempt to teach myself Huichol beadwork. I textured this old Jelly Belly container with the sander on my Dremel, then coated it with beeswax, and now I'm having fun with seed beeds. Letcha know when it's done... I have no idea if it'll really work or not. But, ya know, I needed another hobby...

Monday, September 03, 2007

Eyeless at 103 degrees

Well, I haven't lost my eyes, and the 103 degrees is the temperature outside — not mine :-) — but I had to do without the computer for a few days. I'm back! I got some sort of odd viral infection or inflammation (docs weren't too sure) that affected the nerves under my eyeballs. The pain was pretty unpleasant, and I was told to rest in a dimly lit room and stay away from the computer. It healed fast, though; I'm pretty decent now as long as I am taking ibuprofen and acetomenophen, and I expect I'll be 100% in another couple of days.

I did manage to knit, because I don't need to look closely at my knitting with this pattern. It really is SO easy to memorize. Though I admit I had to drop it back and fix a few booboos from time to time, chiefly because the yarn is slippery and it's easy to accidentally knit two stitches together and not notice for a few rows.

I like this pattern, but you can't sleep when you're reading it. On the front, you're told to execute the armhole and shoulder shaping "as for the back." But you have to be watchful; "BO 8 stitches at the beginning of every row 6 times" is really "BO 8 stitches at the beginning of every right-side row 3 times" when you're only doing one half. Fortunately I had done all this fancy shaping before I got the eye problem; the back is the part I did while semi-eyeless.

Another interesting thing about the pattern is measuring length. Notice the way the back looks a bit scalloped at the bottom? That's because, unblocked, the Y-shape column is significantly longer than the seed stitch sections. The cable columns are roughly in between. I measured all three for each step (when to start decreasing for the neck, when to start binding off for the armhole, etc) and then took the average. Hopefully this will turn out okay. You might think I should take the Y-shape measurement, but I don't know precisely how this will block out. I don't know if I can actually block the seed stitch to grow that much, and I may want to try to press the Ys closer together. So I'm crossing my fingers. I really want to wear this puppy. (Though that's hard to imagine right now, when our bedroom is 84 degrees at night. Alpaca and tencel. Goodness.)

The eye thang made the three-day weekend a little useless; I spent Friday and Saturday on the sofa with the shades drawn, listening to podcasts with a cold-pack on my eyes and knitting occasionally. Sunday we made it out to a party for a few hours. Today, I finally felt well enough to try to catch up, and managed to do a bunch of work on my finances, prepare some of Grasslimb labels for shipping (it comes back from the printer this week), and launch an assault on the Argentine ants that have taken over the house (ugh).

Rob wasn't idle either; he worked on putting up our gargoyle doorbell (after 7 years of hanging upside-down from a hole by its wires) — pictures tomorrow when the glue is all dry — fixed our solar power system, which had gone bust sometime last month (not noticed, alas, until the electric bill came and showed twice the usual usage), and vacuumed out the coils under the fridge. They were really nasty. Want to see something gross?

<-- Before


Just so you don't get too yucked out, we'll end with something good to come of the persistent over-100-degree temperatures:

Thursday, August 30, 2007

With gratitude

I have many people I could thank, pretty much every darn day of my life, and just typing this sentence makes me think of a dozen immediately. This is not a general gratefulness posting, but in the past 16 hours or so I have had reason to be grateful for:

1) Grumperina's great tutorial on cabling without a cable needle. I'd tried tutorials on this before with no luck (dropped stitches mostly), and tried to figure it out on my own and got a headache. Duh. Her easy approach made it possible for me to cable while walking, which was my main reason for wanting to try it (I love to knit while walking, especially between meetings). But there was a huge bonus: cabling without a cable needle is much faster. I didn't expect this at all!

As you may have suspected, I cast on for Khaki Cables (shockingly, in just about the same color indicated in the pattern, though that's coincidental) on Tuesday. Here's where I am after last night's bout of cable-needle-free zoomin':

I love this pattern. The best thing about it is that it's really easy to memorize the chart, believe it or not. So I haven't had to carry that around with me (well, actually I lost my photocopy sometime yesterday morning, and haven't made another yet) while knitting. Another thing that makes walking while knitting possible!

2) Elinoire's mother, Nancy, who gave me some of her tomato seedlings a few weeks ago. Nancy has a thumb so green it glows in the dark, and nearly every cutting she's ever given me has been a winner. Now, I am THIS close to fresh cherry and pear tomatoes, all grown in pots (because despite having over 1/3 acre of land, I have nothing arable to grow on yet):