Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Garter-stitch bottom edge?
Flips up.
i-cord inner band?
Curls in (you can't even see it in this picture, it's so curled. It's on the right edge here).

Advice? I know there's a couple of ways to knit applied i-cord. I used the way where the stitch you grab from the knitted garment is actually knit together with the last i-cord stitch. I know you can also pick up a loop of working yarn with that stitch and then do the k2tog, which might change the way it lies. You can also do it from the back (but I think that looks sloppy, and it flips to the front). There might be other hints...

Baargh. This is SO close.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Madeleine is getting close!

I'm pretty excited about this. I did go a little longer than your typical matinee coat, because I loved the look and feel I was getting:

That's still on the needles, so you see a bit of a 'bloomer' affect on the bottom that won't be in the completed coat. Unfortunately, when I bound off, the bottom set of garter stitch flipped up. I tried knitting one of the garter stitch rows with a smaller needle and binding off with that needle, but it still flipped up, so I ripped all 6 rows and am redoing them in a smaller needle. Crossing my fingers it won't flip this time!

After this comes attached i-cord on the front opening/neck, and then something exciting with buttons. And blocking. I'm excited about all of it.

My sinus infection is not so exciting. I'm on triple antibiotics now and still have a dratted sinus headache. CT scans next week. I'm taking everything at about half speed.

Monday, September 15, 2008

You win some — I win some!

Thanks for all the great button comments. I am still not sure which one I'll choose for this green cardi, I'll be making a blue baby cardi as well (same yarn) and will likely use whichever buttons are left on that!

I used the Internet Random Number Generator to figure out who won the contest for a copy of Yarn Forward, and it is Jae! Jae, if you'll drop me a note with your address via e-mail to valerie [at] grasslimb [dot] com, I'll pop it in the mail to you. Congrats on winning my first blog drawing!

And I won something too — I won one of the prizes in the recent Mainely Rat Rescue fundraising contest. It's a set of rat hammocks. I don't own a rat, but perhaps you do and would like these hammocks? Please e-mail me at the address just noted if you do! I'd like them to have a good home and they sound like great fun for some ratties.

The baby for whom I'm knitting Madeleine (note: the baby, to my knowledge, is not named Madeleine) was born a few hours ago, so I'm knitting like mad. Nothing to show yet, so here's a wildflower from this summer's trip, from Grand Teton National Park.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Decisions, a drawing, and ethnobotany

So, I dunno. I'm leaning towards the wood-grain ones (I think they may actually be plastic, since I only buy washable buttons for baby things) rather than the gold ones, but what do you think?

I'll do a drawing from everyone who expresses an opinion about these buttons by Monday afternoon 6:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time; the winner gets a copy of the first issue of Yarn Forward, a British knitting magazine. It has a lovely design in it by Ysolda Teague, among other things (remember, I recently knit a beret of her design) — but nothing that I personally plan to knit.

(I'll be passing on a few other magazines and books over the next few weeks. I'm paring down a bit to make room for the books and magazines I do use.)

One of my blogreaders asked what ethnobotany is, presumably because I list it as one of my interests. Ethnobotany is the study of food, medicinal, clothing and other plant uses by various cultures. I am in particular interested in the use of desert plants by various Native American cultures of the southwestern U.S., but I'm always on the lookout for ethnobotanical information when I'm travelling, as I find it fascinating.

For example, take the U.S.desert plant commonly known as creosote bush (Larrea tridentata). This very slow-growing plant that reproduces by cloning is responsible for the characteristic "wet pavement" smell of the desert after it rains. Over 40 chemical components have been extracted from this plant, some of which may have verifiable medical properties; it was used by the native tribes of the area for everything from glue and firewood to an analgesic, anti-cancer, antiinflammatory and antibiotic/antiviral medication. Other desert plants, like the flowers of the chuparosa and ocotillo plants, were used to make "soft drinks" and were part of the extremely varied diet (over 300 documented items) of the Cahuilla Indians.

Er... anyway, you get the idea. :-)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Setting in sleeves is the greatest...

No, it's not. It's a big pain. But it's a great way to start feeling like you're actually knitting a garment, rather than a pile of scraps with a million bits of string hanging off 'em:

That's looking at the back, of course; the front won't get edging until the skirt is finished, so it looks like, well, a pile of scraps with a million bits of string hanging off 'em at the moment.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Where does Napoleon keep his armies? *

So I did it — I reknit the sleeve a fourth time. Actually, to be fair, after two reknits, I knit a second sleeve, compared it with the first sleeve, and decided to reknit that first sleeve for a third time. But somewhere in there, there are four sleeves.

Here's why:

I decided that the sleeve would look more balanced with just a bit more of the darker color/lace section and less of the lighter color. For reference, the lighter one is Sundara superwash sport merino (sadly no longer available) in Cantaloupe; the darker one is YoYo superwash merino in La Nouba.

I'm really pleased with the sleeves now and I think I'll seam them in before I knit the "skirt" of the coat. Then it's on to the neck/"buttonband" edging — which will be applied I-cord.

Meanwhile, Trellis is done except for buttons and labels!

It's incredibly soft and cushy.

* — in his sleevies!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Me and my mathematics

I love knitting math. I realize that's geeky, but I really get a buzz off trying to figure out how many stitches, rows, increases or decreases I need to make to get the result I want. I think it's good mental exercise, and it's very satisfying.

Only problem is, math doesn't love me so much. I make a lot of mistakes! Fortunately I'm not so miserable about the frogging, otherwise I'd be sad. In my case I think "measure 85 times, then ask someone else to check your measurements, then cut, then redo it because even after all that you messed up" should replace "measure twice, cut once."

Here's some of my notebook for Madeleine, the little matinee coat I'm making for a certain baby about to be born in Cornwall. You can see the original design sketch (I'm no artist, sorry!) at the center bottom, and lots of figuring on the other sheets. With lots and lots and lots of erasures where I had to re-figure. And some cross-outs.

Even after redoing my math a few times, I found a number of things went wrong when I tried to make the sleeve:

1) I simply screwed up, and used the desired # of rows for the wrist-to-armpit length as the desired rows to the shoulder. Whoops.
2) I forgot to account for the fact that the paired increases I use tend to shorten the fabric in that location (underarm, in this case).
3) It turned out that, knitting in the round, my stitch count per inch was only a teensy bit smaller than when knitting flat — but my row count was way different.
4) Also, I may have accidentally used the measurement of the hypotenuse of a triangle for the measurement of the opposite side.

So this was my first sleeve. Whoops. A fine short sleeve (and yay, I did a pretty darn good job shaping the sleeve cap) but.. not really the long sleeve I was after. Tee hee.

I knit a couple alternate sleeves to the armpit, one (the upper) in the same US #4s/3.75mm I'm using for the (flat-knit) body and one (the lower) in US #5s/4.0mm. The gauge difference is subtle, but present. And I like the fabric on the #5s better, so I'm sticking with that for the arms. (Also, these ones are the right length.) Just have to knit a sleeve cap and redo the other arm now...

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Finishitis, Startitis

I'm simultaneously eager to start new knitting projects and eager to finish off old ones. So I'm trying to alternate. Today I made the final push and finished off this little Trellis cardi, for a friend's baby daughter. Doesn't look much like the 6-month size pre-blocking, does it?

But never fear — blocking works miracles and this ultra-soft merino sweater is pinned down in my study right now, getting ready for autumn weather. I'll show you a post-blocking picture in a couple of days, when it's dry.

Yet another upcoming new baby prompted a little design work. I'll show more when I get a bit further, but here's a taste to whet your appetite:

To make it even more wonderful, this will be knit from both Sundara and Terrible YoYo yarn. Both those gals are awesome dyewomen with great senses of color, and the yarn just glows in my hands. It is a serious pleasure to knit with.

I'm still ill — a couple of errands were enough to do me in, today. So I'm just sitting on the sofa and knitting. I figure at least I'm being productive.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Lousy immune system...

I'm sick again with a sinus infection (yeah, the sort I wasn't supposed to get anymore after my surgery three months ago). So I'm a bit mopey and feverish. It's cooling down now (it's evening) and I'm feeling a little less hot and horrible, so I thought I'd write a quick blog entry.

I haven't been knitting much, but in an evening and the following morning this weekend, I knit a chemo cap for a friend. The cap needs to be blocked — well, first it will be carefully cleaned, AFTER I am well, to remove germs — but here it is in its crumpled state, modelled by Elmo:

Specs: Chemo Hat from Knit Picks, knit with just under 1.5 skeins of Shine Sport using US #3 needles. It's amazingly soft.