Friday, September 28, 2007

To Nat, with love

I showed my husband my progress on Tulip today. It looks like this now:

Upon review of the sweater, he said: "It would look better if you'd done those color changes right." I said: "You read my blog?!" This is a momentarialy exciting revelation, until he responds: "No. I don't read it that often - you don't mention me enough." I told him that was because I didn't want to put him out there for public consumption against his wishes. After all, there is a decent chance that three or four people might read my blog, and of those maybe one would know Nat and of those, none would care (ZEN can't read yet, so we're not counting her). He reminded me that he's already in the public domain to a certain extent. He's a journalist who covers high school sports for our newspaper, and his stories are published online. In an effort to get him to quit whining, this blog entry is dedicated to him.

Here is the start of his Christmas sweater:

It doesn't look like much, I know. But by December 25, it will be a cabled sweater for him to hopefully enjoy. I really hope to finish it by Christmas, because I don't want to hear him complaining about how I never finish his knitted gifts on time. I have already finished 1 1/2 of his Christmas socks, which I will gag him with if he chooses to whine.

Here's a picture of him and ZEN:

Aren't they cute?

OK, enough of him. Back to the fun yarn stuff. Look what came in the mail today!

Yarn from artsygal. Yummy, don't you think? Especially in the colorway "strawberry milkshake". 100% Superwash Merino Sock yarn. Sorry the picture stinks.

I'm off to try to crank out at least one Hat for Alex tonight. Because it's Friday night, and baby, that's how I roll.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Peer into my purse

...if you dare!

Blogstalking, assignment two:

I almost sat this round out, because I'm so embarrassed of the mess that is in my purse. Here are two other views, but that's all your getting, because anything closer would further humiliate me!

I suppose I should tell you what all that junk is. First, there is the small purse in the big purse. No excuse for this, except sheer laziness. I switched from the small to the large, and didn't bother to shift the contents (yes, I am well aware that I could have just dumped everything in; it was easier this way, somehow). As to the actual contents, here's an edited list (why, you might ask, is this list edited? Because there's just too much crap in there to bother noting all of it - it is not edited to protect my reputation in anyway, so no worries there!)

1. The knitterly stuff
a. Back issues of Interweave Knits (Spring of 2004, Summer of 2003)
b. WIP - baby jaywalker sock in Panda Cotton (from the dyeing arts, but the link has gone bad, though there is a promise it will return at some point)
c. Mass Ave Knit Shop Discount key chain
d. Secret of the Stole info. sheet
e. Knitty Patterns (Mr. Greenjeans and Muir)
f. Size 9 Crochet hook (for beading)
g. stitch markers (ring style)
2. The money-savers
a. coupons for groceries
b. coupons for Borders
c. coupons for department stores
d. expired coupon for the garden store
3. The reminders that I'm overweight
a. Weight Watchers membership book/bookmark
b. Gum (gotta have something to do with my mouth since I shouldn't be eating!)
c. Jimmy John's menu (there are a few things on there that can be Weight
Watchers friendly)
4. Proof that I'm a mom
a. Toy remote control
b. Pink baby velour pants
5. Proof that I'm a mom, knitter and a woman
a. Bills!
b. Many tubes of lipstick
6. Other junk
a. Saline Solution
b. Coin purse with debit/credit cards and some cash/change
c. Change settled at the bottom of the purse
d. Bookmark (but no book)
e. Non-winning powerball ticket from when the jackpot was huge awhile back.
Yes, this should have been thrown out weeks ago.

OK, I'm sufficiently mortified, but probably not mortified to the point of actually cleaning out the purse. Alas...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Tiptoe through the tulip(s)...

I couldn't resist casting on for the Dream in Color Tulip sweater. I have had the kit for a couple months now, and I've been itching to do it. The pattern that I have is written for a six month size, and ZEN is now nine months, so I did my best to upsize it to fit her this winter. We'll see. The thing knits up so fast! Here's my progress:

I have mucked it up to a certain degree, and in retrospect I should have frogged it, especially given how fast it goes together. But, at this point I'm just going to push forward. What I messed up was the seed stitching in the color changes at the top.

As you can see, I changed colors with just stockinette stitch at the first three color changes. It looks so much better with the added texture at the color changes. This is what you get when you don't carefully read patterns. I expect the knitting gods are really getting a kick out of this, given that the pattern specifically stated that you should read through the pattern in its entirety before casting on.

I added the peach and the bottom row of green. I figure that ZEN and her dad can go out together in their sort of matching sweaters. He's getting a cabled sweater knit from the bottom green stripe color. I have to finish the bottom band, complete the border and finish the sleeves. I cast on yesterday afternoon, so I should be able to finish it by Wednesday night - yeah! This leaves me plenty of September knitting time to work on Hats for Alex and the Lace Style sweater for me, before October comes and Christmas knitting must begin in full force.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Time to knit

I finished my mother-in-law's scarf. Her birthday is Monday, so it will not get to her in time, but it is done! It's blocking, but I'll post pix when it's ready. I also finished my father's socks with plenty of time to send them out. However, my own ineptitude at the post office might result in him never receiving the socks, or any part of his birthday package for that matter. Fingers crossed that the postal gods are smiling on me this week!

That means I have a week and a half to knit whatever I want! I am going to try to knit at least one Hat for Alex, and I think I've also settled on starting a sweater from LaceStyle. It's the cover sweater.

I took a photo of the MS3 draped on a hanger.

My friend said that she loved it, and it fit her well. I was a little worried, because I had shortened it. However, it sounds like it all worked out well.

I am busy trying to update my Ravelry profile. It's a bit overwhelming. I am excited to do it, though. What a terrific resource!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Who Am I?

I have joined a new webring - Knittyhead Blogstalker 2. You can link to others in the sidebar of my blog.

This week's question for us blogstalkers is "Who Am I?"

I don't know exactly how to define who I am - should it be in terms of other people/animals? If so, I am a mother (of the lovely ZEN), and a wife (to ZEN's sweet father); I am kitty-mama to three furries - Sunny, Daisy and Jo the Tailless Wonder; I am a daughter and a sister. If I define myself in terms of me, then I am a knitting attorney who has trouble sleeping because she stays up wondering how she'll ever knit through all her yarn, and how she'll be able to afford to send her child to college. I am holly over on ravelry, so come say hi and make me your friend!

I am also averse to having my photo taken, but I'll put one in of me and ZEN, just to stick with the theme.

I also have a small unhealthy addiction to some trashy television programs, which shall remain unnamed.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Swan Lake's Swan Song

It's done! It's really, really done! I thought I might never finish, especially as I saw everyone turning out their beautiful stoles. But that wing finally reached its conclusion. The pictures obviously show it blocking. I really suck at lace blocking. I did my best to follow the Harlot's instructions, but I apparently didn't quite get it - I had trouble getting tension on the straight lines, and I know my wing shouldn't dip down below the straight edge. However, I'm so happy it's done, that I really can't complain. It's a gift for a dear friend, so I hope she likes it and ignores my mistakes. The largest errors are pointed out by the friendly sheep, below. But I bet you didn't need their help to see them!

I don't know if I will have a chance to post a picture of it draped; I hope to see my friend in it someday, and I will take a picture of her then.

Now that the MS3 is done, I can focus on my mother in law's scarf and my dad's socks. Both need to be done by Wednesday so they can ship for their birthdays, which are early the following week. I have to tear out the toe and rip back on one of my dad's socks. I was so worried about making sure they'd be wide enough for his feet that I ended up shorting him. It shouldn't take too long to correct, though. I have decided that I will delve back into my mom's and husband's Christmas sweaters come October 1. So that means I will have 11 days of knitting whatever I want to! I can be good, and finish up a couple pairs of socks for ZEN that are on the needles, or I could finish the Colinette throw that's been on the needles forever. Or I could start ZEN's tulip sweater or perhaps a sweater for me. I'm leaning toward the latter, but I probably would be bummed when 10 days later I have nothing to show for my effort but ANOTHER WIP. Decisions, decisions.

I took some pictures of my stash today.

This should shame me into knitting it up, shouldn't it? After all, it looks like it could eat Sunny in any minute! Sadly, that's not all.
There's also this...

...and this...

See something you like? Let me know and we can make a deal!

There is more, which is sort of embarrassing to admit. But perhaps that's reason enough to start a new project when I finish the birthday presents?

One of the malls here hosted the 2007 Knit Out. I stopped by, but I didn't really feel comfortable enough to stay. I did pick up the charity knitting information, but I want to focus on kntiting some Hats for Alex. Truth be told - that's how I should spend those last days of September! And maybe you should, too!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Stolen from the knittibell

Annie said anyone who read this on her blog was tagged, so I guess I'm it. I'm probably the only one taking her to heart on it, though!

1. Three films you rented recently
This is a hard one for me, because I've been mostly pulling TV shows with Netflix, but a review of my returns there tells me I've recently rented the following:

The Illusionist - This was a strange movie, and I wasn't sure I would like it. It ended up being pretty good, though. Edward Norton is pretty great in just about everything he does, though. I just can't jump on the Jessica Biel bandwagon. She seems to definitely be more about style than substance. Of course there's a decent chance I'm just really jealous!

Thank You For Smoking - Very enjoyable. I'm not sure what all the fuss was about Katie Holmes' bedroom scene, though. Not such a big deal at all. I like Aaron Eckhart a lot - he was great in Erin Brockovich - and he didn't disappoint here.

Junebug - I really liked this sweet movie. So did EW, which I implicitly trust! Rent this and enjoy, and Go Amy Adams!

2. Are you into any other crafts other than knitting?
Not really, given that I don't want to share the time I have for knitting with anything else. I have done some quilting in the past. I have probably completed four or five quilts, none full-size. Quilting is nice, but it's not portable like knitting. Quilters do create beautiful things, though, like this - ZEN's crib quilt, lovingly handcrafted by her very generous and very talented grandmother.

3.Any new stash or notions acquisitions?
But of course! I bought some Trekking XXL while in Cincinnati at Lambikin's Hideaway. I also got some sea silk in ebony, which I'm currently still drooling over. That came from a LYS and is likely to be made into a creation from Victorian Lace Today. That book is a recent addition. My husband had it stashed away for Christmas, but when Borders had a coupon recently, he feared I was going to go buy it for myself, so Christmas came early!

4. What are you listening to?
Mostly podcasts (Stash and Burn, Sticks and String, Cast-On, Lime N Violet, We're Almost There). Aimee Mann, Neil Diamond (yep, I'm not afraid to admit that I love this man, who had made it big before I was born), Daughtry (I also have to admit I'm a huge American Idol fan, but I don't usually follow the music the contestants create. However, I loved me some Chris Daughtry). I also get my daily dose of NPR on the way to and from work.

5. Name Five Things on Your Knitting Wishlist
Only five!?!?!

1. The Barbara Walker Treasury books
2. Sea Wool yarn
3. No Sheep For You
4. Knit Picks Options Harmony needles (they sure look cool!)
5. Lace Blocking Wires

I'll say the same thing Annie did - if you're reading this, you're tagged, so go answer the questions on your blog!

Monday, September 10, 2007

The beginning of the end

I wonder if the MS3 will ever be complete! I have 30 rows left. I really want to finish by the end of the week. I am tempted just to bind the thing off without finishing the wing. It is a gift for my dearest of friends, though, and I want it to be complete (even if it is riddled with mistakes).

But, here's some happy, non-knitting stuff:

Goofy ZEN

Sleepy Daisy

Sweet Tailless Jo

Odd(stoned?) Sunny

Friday, September 7, 2007

Secret of the Stole and other updates

It looks like lots of people are signing up for Secret of the Stole I had a lot of fun with Mystery Stole 3 (OK, I admit it, I'm still having fun, but the thing will be finished in a week or two, I swear! I'm on row 131 of the wing!). I have joined the Secret of the Stole KAL. I think I'm going to use Fearless Fibers laceweight yarn (pictured).

In other news, are you all listening to the Stash and Burn podcast They had a one skein challenge a couple weeks back. I sort of figured that I wouldn't participate, because I have too many other things on the needles, and I'm really trying to focus! Well, I finished a project that I think qualifies (it took 1 1/2 skeins, but it will count in my heart, if nothing else). And of course, there's a story that goes along with its creation...

My non-knitter sister came to visit for Labor Day. She arrived on a Friday, and planned to stay through Monday. On Saturday evening, she mentioned that she was going to a wedding the next weekend, and she needed a wrap for her dress. Where, she asked, could we go buy one? Well, I was working on MS3 at the time, and I put the needles down and said, I suspect you could have asked your knitting sister to make one for you. She sort of turned her nose up and said "I don't want a knitted wrap. I want something pretty." Hello, is that a challenge?!?

My husband was sitting across the room from us, and upon hearing her remark, put down the newspaper he was reading so he could fully take in my response (them's fightin' words in my house!). I kept my furor in check, and instead pulled a few books off the shelves, Victorian Lace Today, Lace Style, and the Vogue Accessorize book. I made her thumb through them, and tell me about all of the pretty things she saw. Well, of course, she saw bunches. The problem was that she was leaving in 36 hours, and I needed to use stash yarn. I ended up using a pattern stitch from 200 ripple stitches, and knitting it with Fiesta La Boheme and size 15 needles. The picture shows it blocking. If I had more time, I would have made it a little longer, and possibly added width. She'll be wearing it tomorrow, and I hope she'll get a picture. I told her if she meets a guy at the wedding, and they get married, she has to let me knit her a wedding stole. She agreed.
I am editing this to add that my sister just called to tell me she was at Nordstrom, and saw a shawl (I was prepared for her to say that she decided to buy one and not wear mine!). Anyway, she was all excited, because it looked similar to the one I had made her, and it was $72, so she felt like she got quite the deal with my little gift!

I have a little more than 1/2 a skein of the La Boheme left. I think I am going to combine it with another skein of La Boheme in a cranberry color, and experiment with the Chevron scarf everyone raves about. I'm hoping my library has the book. We shall see...

Oops! I nearly forgot the obligatory ZEN photo... She's thinking about eating her ruby slippers. Admit it - if you had ruby slippers, you'd eat them, too!

Yarn Soup

I realized last week that indie dyers are worth every penny we pay them for their gorgeous creations. This realization (OK, not really so much of a realization, I always understood that a lot of effort, thought, patience and time went into dyeing, and I think that should be reflected in the price of goods that are sold) came as I tried my hand at overdyeing some Blue Sky Cotton.

The original yarn

My husband wandered into the kitchen and thought I had lost my mind and decided to feed my yarn habit, literally - "You're making yarn soup?!"

"Yarn Soup"

The top picture shows the Blue Sky Cotton I purchased with an eye toward knitting Tomato. I'm not sure what I was thinking. Let's just say that I would look absolutely awful in this color! I think it would look spectacular on someone with a deep olive skin tone, or an African American. But it would do nothing for my pasty face!
I figured that a good solution would be to overdye it. Everyone always talks about this mythical overdyeing process, so I figured it couldn't be too hard, right? I ordered some Cushing Direct dye from Earth Guild, with a hope that I could turn the above yarn into a pretty chocolate brown. The directions state that you need to the yarn to simmer on the stovetop in a glass, enamel or stainless steel vessel. I didn't have any of those, and I couldn't find one at the Goodwill, so I decided to improvise and use my crockpot. I needed to dye 7 skeins of yarn, and using the crockpot limited me to dyeing two skeins at a time. I knew it would take a little longer, but I was careful to write down exactly what I did, so that I could replicate it each time.

Drying in the sun

The final result

The results are not horrible, but it is not the gorgeous chocolate brown I had lovingly dreamed of. I have ordered additional dye, so I may see if I can borrow a larger appropriate vessel, and dye all seven skeins again.
Overall, I enjoyed the exercise, but ultimately decided that I will leave the dyeing to the experts. After all, they make the beautiful yarn in the final picture. That's far better than anything I could ever create. And this way I can focus more on knitting.

Ooohhhh! Yarn dyed by people with a knack for such things.