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):


Monday, August 27, 2007

A bout of finishitis -- if that's what it is.

ETA: Karen pointed out to me that "-itis" means inflammation, not pain. So I've fixed this. But I was wrong originally. It's hard to think early in the morning, is all I can say in my defense. I still like -phily better!

I still think the terms "startitis" and "finishitis" are misused. I mean, "-itis" means that you have an inflammation in the prefix. Er, whatever the prefix is, that is. So "startitis" would mean that starting projects causes you inflammation (and, presumably, pain)... but it's used, by knitters, to mean you can't resist the urge to start new projects, and "finishitis" is used to mean you can't resist the urge to finish.

I call it "finishophily."

As many predicted, I finished up the stripey socks for me quickly. You can wear them uncuffed:

or cuffed:

And on my mother's birthday socks (note her birthday was 4th of July!):

These toes are ready to Kitchener just as soon as my mother assures me that the socks fit — because I've had to lengthen previous versions twice. Those aren't my feet making the unsightly bulges on the side — the socks are just too long for me. I wear a 8.5 or 9, she wears a 9.5.

Note the little "granny square" lace insets on the side, to save these from being too boring.

You'd think after finishing all these things recently, that I'd be up for finishing one of my many WIPs. And.. I am, up to a point. I'm working on a linen dishcloth, and I'll share more of my WIP distresses soon. But I am Very Distracted by this

(from Knitter's magazine — a rare win from them, I generally don't like their style). I'm swatching up the yarn I got from April as a gift (well, she gave me the Elann gift cert... I got the Peruvian Quechua yarn). It's really DK yarn, though, and the pattern calls for light worsted.

I can't get the called-for 5 spi, though maybe I could go up a needle size; but I hate to do that, because I like the fabric at the specified 5.5 spi (the larger half of the swatch above). If the rows per inch are not too outrageous (and note that I have Very Short Arms), I may go for making one size up, which should come out about right if I stay on gauge. I'm thinking I'll try one front, and if that looks good, go on with the sweater; if not, frog and pick another yarn.

But you can see from the pattern photo why this isn't a small undertaking.

You might notice what looks like a row of lace between sections of my swatch. This is a trick I've been using when I change stitches or needles on a gauge swatch, to keep the new gauge from stretching or shrinking the previous section; I just do (yo, ktog) across and then (p) back. The resulting mesh flexes better and keeps section integrity, yet I don't have to bind off and cast on again.

P.S. thanks for all the sympathies on the dental work (some of you are dealing with much worse than I am — ow) and kind comments on the sock and pillow :-)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Not much, but some.

Work has been really crazy, and I've come home very tired. This is partly because I'm still learning about my job, partly because I am now supervising very different staff with very different needs, and partly because there's just a lot to do. So I haven't managed to knit much, but I have done a little.

Saturday evening I finally finished the Jo Sharp sofa cushion. Though this picture has slightly odd colors, in real life the pillow matches the sofa well:

The Jo Sharp Aran Tweed is lovely soft stuff, but it tears really easily. You know, like if you look at it sideways, or sneeze. Also I didn't realize, when I knit this, that the pattern for the pillow called for just the Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran, not the tweed; the plain yarn would have shown the pattern better, but, oh well. I still like the pillow. It's good for hugging.

Also, I am NEARLY done with my 2nd sock of this pair:

Sooooo close. But I haven't knit on it in a couple of days.

I had to have three cavities filled last night -- one in upper right (only a temporary, alas, which will need at least two more visits/more novocaine) and two in the lower left. Today my mouth is just one big ow. It feels like I got punched in the jaw a lot. I am nursing my misery with a huge bowl of Ralston at the moment. I feel transported back to childhood.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A good day.

Mediation training was great. GREAT. Well, it's only day one, so I guess I should wait to evaluate it until the last day. Possibly it was just great to be around no one that I know for a little while ;-) But, I had a great day and then I came home to this:

Ahh. And yeah, Jae, the gardenias smell absolutely heavenly.

Then I logged on to my work e-mail and worked for a couple of hours, including dealing with some less than pleasant issues there. Hrm. I don't think I'm going to frog that sock tonight, do you?

Naw. Just going to sit and sniff this gardenia.

Monday, August 13, 2007

So it LOOKS good, but...

Yeah. Looks great, right? Just about to do the heel?

I counted, because, ya know, gotta put half the stitches on a holder. Yep. Too few stitches. I don't see any dropped ones, so I think this happened at... the toe. Gotta rip the whole durned sock back.

I drowned my sorrows in distraction.

Now this may look like an arty photo, but what it really is... a gardening trowel whose cushy, ergonomic handle has oxidized in the sun, becoming sticky in the way that pine pitch is sticky, so that only Ajax or nail polish remover can get the residue off your hands. Oh, and it eats through the plastic wrap I tried wrapping around it, too. Neat.

Here are my shiny new gardening tools (the three leftmost).

It was time. I needed to pot up some tomato seedlings,

and dig a little fertilizer into my gardenia, which is very flowery this year for once — yay! Usually I only get one bloom at a time.

Finally, I applied a few clear coats of polyacrylic to these gorgeous solid copper plant trays, which I'll be taking into the new office. They are more concerned about appearances there, so I'm going to take the old clear plastic ones home and use these ones at work.

I'll just round out this post with some gratuitous pictures of Laila...

She's enjoying her summer.

Friday, August 10, 2007

One down!

I have finished sock #1 and started on #2!

How long did it end up? This long:

Looks like it fits, doesn't it? Ah, the magic of posing. This is why you should never wholly trust posed magazine photos, especially when the model looks like she's going to get a cramp if she stays in that position.

There are two feet of (unstretched) Fixation left. The other ball better have the same amount of yarn, or I'm in trouble. :-) (Actually, I haven't woven the end in yet precisely for the reason that I may have to back out of a round or two.)

Here's the reason I'm unhappy with the fit. You can see the bunching at the front of the ankle, and it's fairly obvious in this picture that I have a 'deep' heel and that the heel, as knitted, is 'shallow.' Again, I could do a 60% heel (make it over 36 stitches instead of 30), and I could go down to an even lower central stitch count (I've already increased this one over Wendy's instructions), but I think my heel is so deep and narrow that a flap heel is just going to fit it better.

Still, this sock is SUPER comfy and I'm going to wear it, at least on the weekends. I can't wait to finish the other one!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Endless sock

I feel like I've been knitting on this sock forever, and it isn't done yet. I'm getting close to running out of yarn and it's not all that tall, but Fixation isn't all that generous, so I guess that's not too surprising. I still love the colors, though.

Anyone doing anything exciting this weekend? I'm looking forward to seeing Rob a bit more than I have since Verna left — he worked all weekend and every week night for the last 10 days or so, trying to make up the time for going to "Fusion Summer School", which work wouldn't pay for. We're heading up to Santa Ana for a wedding on Saturday night, so if nothing else I'll enjoy chatting to him on the drive there and back. And I'm sure I'll be knitting too!

Monday, August 06, 2007

I didn't actually knit much this weekend.

I spent most of this weekend working on Grasslimb, my literary journal, which is a month late and half again as long as usual. This is better than a day late and a dollar short, but it's also 50% more costly and I produce it at a loss.. still, I'm happy. It is starting to look good, and it's almost ready for the printer.

But also.. I've been playing around in SecondLife. I know, I know. I'm late to the party as usual, and people are already kind of bored with it. But if you happen to be on there, add me ("Bleu Spark" — because "Blue" was taken, and I like that X song) as a friend. I'm still getting used to the 3-D navigation, so if you interact with me there, you'll see I'm even clumsier in VR than in real life! Well, if that were possible...

I did get a lot of knitting done last week, though, and a hair more in the evenings of the weekend. Making little shells is kind of addicting.

They are so cute. I keep being a little dubious about the colors I'm choosing. I don't have Jen's skill with color, and second-guessing the Noro seems a little scary. On the other hand, the more of these I link together the less worried I am. And it is VERY fun. When the pattern says "you won't want to stop," they are right.

And this? This is a toe-up sock!

I decided to try Wendy's generic toe-up pattern. It's well written and easy to follow, but I have to say that so far it doesn't fit me very well. I have a triangular sort of foot, with a C width forefoot and an A or AA heel, but it's also a deep heel. The traditional flap heel hugs it well and the socks don't fall down. This heel is shallower and I think the socks are going to bunch in front, where the ankle meets the foot. However, I'm going to finish them up as written (I did add a broad rib on the top of the foot and I'll make the legs 2x2 rib, because I like that, but it's 'generic' for just that reason — so you can customize as desired) for the experience.

Articles on short-row heels suggest you can get a better fit by knitting the heel over 60% of the total stitches (instead of the standard 50%), and this might help, but I suspect I'll still want a flap heel for my ultimate comfort. Wendy has a toe-up with flap heel pattern, too, and I'll likely try that. The toe-up design is hard to beat when you want to make your yarn go as far as possible, and in this case I love the yarn and want the legs as tall as I can get 'em, just so I can look at that lovely lavender-and-herb combo. Ahhh.

(Well, but I know April is out there spitting and fuming because it's FIXATION AGAIN...) ;-)