Saturday, March 29, 2008

In Focus (finally)

It was my birthday on Friday, Christian got me this gorgeous camera, which I will share with you by showing the amazing pictures that this camera takes. In a serendipitous occurrence, I received a shipment of Sundara yarn the same day, so without further ado, here are some lovely, lovely, lovely pictures....

These three skeins are Blue-Grey over Shell, destined to be some kind of shawl, when I get some more WIPs out of the way.

Next is Orchard Pear, which I think looks a lot like Mossy from the Autumn Season's Club. I don't mind in the least. I specifically chose the Blue-Grey over Shell, but I also asked Sundara to throw in a skein of her favorite color from this batch, and this is what she chose.

And finally, here is my last shipment from the Season's Club--this is probably my favorite color right now. I'd love to do a little scarf out of this one as well.

I can see many, many more pictures finally showing up in my Ravelry stash.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

To Do/Have Done

To Do:

1. Finish Early Spring socks. I've nearly finished one, just need to fix the bind off (it's TOO big, if you can imagine that!). I have my doubts on how practical making socks out of a yarn made out of half silk, half merino is, but I just couldn't resist it when I had so much left over from my Stork's Nest Scarf. They will probably fuzz up after 5 minutes of wearing.

2. Finish Christian's socks (still!). I finished two pairs of socks while in Florida, but avoided these, probably because I'm nervous about finding my place in the pattern after so long.

3. In place of not working on Christian's socks, I started the Lace Ribbon Scarf from Knitty. I bought two skeins of Silken Straw from Yarns 2 Ewe several months ago, and this is just the project to use them. It's a quick knit and I hope to have it done by my Grandma's 90th birthday at the end of April.

4. Another thing that I need to have finished by then is this big orange mass. It's hard to tell, but this is the ubiquitous Print O' the Wave, almost finished except for of the knitted border. It's really less of a shawl and more of a small blanket now, which is fine for my grandma (it's destined to be her present). This has been 'Hibernating', to use Ravelry terminology, since February 2007.

(eek, I can't find it! Picture coming soon!)

5. Resist the urge cast on for the April Sockdown challenge on April 1. (yeah, right)

6. Figure out why my loaves of bread ended up looking like this. (hey, I'm a bread baker now!)

Have Done:

1. Dipped my toes in the Atlantic Ocean. I don't get to do this again until June.

2. Finished Marina Piccola. I'm not very happy with these, and am glad to finish them. I got so sick of knitted twisted stitches on size 0 needles. Plus, since I was actually purling on half of the second sock, and not at all correctly on the first, even though they are exactly the same, the gauge is off, and one if a half inch longer than the other. You can't possibly think that I would even consider reknitting one, just to make them match!

3. Finished Undulating Ribs. I love the yarn base, I love the pattern, and yes, I do love the fact that they are fraternal twins. They were promptly stolen by my sister. (I secretly love it when non-knitters covet my knitting)

4. Baked bread. I can actually cook with yeast, and things (mostly) turn out! I also made hot cross buns for Easter, but I don't have a picture.

5. Helped Charlie eat his Easter candy. Even though I made an effort to buy only a minimal amount of candy, we still ended up with way too much.

6. Attended the Houston Rodeo. Lesson from the rodeo: if something could have rhinestones and/or studs on it, it SHOULD have rhinestones and/or studs on it. A LOT of them. (it was totally awesome!)

Time to publish this and knit a few more rows before I was Mr. Ickle up from him nap. Cheers!

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Day in the Life of Charlie, Part III

We're heading out to pick up Christian from work, and on our way to the car have the following conversation:

Me: We parked our car downstairs to we need to use the........ (elevator)

Charlie: Elevator!

Me: Yep. We have to use the elevator to go down to the........ (car)

Charlie: Car!

Me: That's right! We're going to the car to pick up .......... (Daddy)

Charlie: DOUGHNUTS!!!


Sunday, March 09, 2008

So very very proud to be #2 at something.

Observe here.

Stork's Nest Lace

Knitting is usually a pretty easy hobby--physically. The Yarn Harlot (do I even need to link, honestly?) refers to knitting as a sport. I think that she refers to the competitive nature of the hobby, but really---what other wonderful, magical sport allows you to watch a movie, have a conversation, drink a beer, and allow a cat to sleep on your lap, all while participating? (10 points for those who found my obtuse reference to the Simpsons embedded in the last sentence)

There are, however, some times when the sport does get a little physical. Reflexes need to be lightening quick when trying to acquire your first choice when this yarn dyer updates her website. The same thing happens here and here. It's best to purchase often so as to keep your mouse-clicking abilities in shape.

Another opportunity for knitters to display their physical prowess is one that I participated in last weekend. I blocked lace.

Lace is one of my favorite things to knit, but really must be stretched and tugged and pinned into submission with a good blocking in order to for it to really look amazing.

After soaking my Stork's Nest Lace scarf I began to pin:

And pin:

And pin:

I'm an agressive blocker, to put it mildly.

Until I had used literally every pin in the house and tips of my fingers were so sore than I was using the edge of a book to push the pins into the blocking board. (note to self: buy thimble)

My lower back was sore afterwards from the repetitive motion. (note to self: stretch out beforehand next time)

I assumed that I could quickly pin this out during Charlie's nap. An hour and a half later, Charlie was getting up and I had just finished. (note to self: you're an idiot)

Was all of the blood, sweat, and (almost) tears worth it?

Can you see the mistake?

I wholeheartedly say--absolutely. Here are the specifics:

Pattern: Stork's Nest Scarf, from Piecework, Jan/Feb 2008

Yarn: Fingering Silky Merino from Sundara Yarn, in Robin's Nest (from the Seasons Yarn Club, Spring colorway)

Needles: size 6

Mods: none, knitted as written

Did I learn anything?: HELL YES! Apparently I didn't know how to purl before this. For the last 7 years I have inadvertently purled into the back loop (ptbl) instead of a regular purl. It doesn't show on socks but it looks wonky when knitting back and forth. I pulled out my trusty guide and made a conscious effort to purl the correct way this time.

I can't wait to wear this. AND, I've got about half a skein leftover:

Hopefully I can squeeze a pair of anklets out of the remainder.

I've also been flying through my second pair of Undulating Ribs:

love, love, LOVE the striping

It appears that socks practically knit themselves when they aren't made out of a million cables or lace. (of course, I've jinxed myself now)

Now I just need to figure out how many knitting projects I will need for a week in Florida. I've got one that I am know that I am taking, but how many backups do I need? 2 or 3? Or 4 or 5?

I suppose that we can just buy clothes when we get there if I use all of the suitcase space!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Liar Liar Link-o-rama

So now I have THREE unfinished socks on the needles, due to no fault of my own (hah!).

The first:

Father and Son socks, Interweave, Fall 2006

They are beautiful, easy and by my favorite sock designer of all time.
The yarn is perfect. They are also for my number one sock recipient, who is always very appreciative. Problem? My thoughts kept straying to this pair:

Sweetheart Socks, Interweave Knits, Holiday 2007

the back detail

After I received my January installment of the Seasons Club I knew that I had the perfect yarn. I promised myself that I would go right back to Christian's socks! That I would even work on them concurrently (another hah!).

I finished these, so let's move on.

Right back to the first socks, right? No way! While I was finishing the Sweetheart socks, I received another sock club shipment in the mail, full of awesomeness. The lure of Sockdown: Ravelry! was too much to ignore. I cast on, again telling myself that as soon as I was finished I would (again) go right back and finish up the first socks in a jiffy.

Marina Piccola, by Kate Gilbert

This pattern is beautiful, but tedious. My mind started to wander...

Can you guess what happened next?

I received another package of yarn in the mail, this time from Meg of Twisted Fiber Arts. Her work with self-striping yarn is truly amazing! Sockdown: Ravelry! rolled around again, and (again) I had the perfect pattern. The challenge this month is to knit a sock from designer Ann Budd.

I would just cast on.

No, I'll cast on and knit just the cuff.

The gauge isn't right, so I need to frog and knit on smaller needles--I should go past the cuff just to make sure that they'll fit.

Two and a half pattern repeats later:

Ann Budd rocks my world.

I am smitten once again.

I promise that I'll finish Christian's socks next! Maybe I'll even make a schedule--one repeat of one sock, one of another, and one of the last, until I'm done. Anyone who knows me knows that I don't work well with schedules. This plan has failure written all over it.

And I did just get another sock club installment in the mail....