Friday, June 29, 2007

Rock On!

I love this blogging thing! Honestly, I don't know how we (at least, I) survived before the internet. I have vague memories of trolling the mall for just the right clothes, traipsing all over town trying to find Christmas gifts and that one hard to find toy that my son had to have, and especially thinking that I was weird just because the limited circle of people I was geographically connected with didn't get it when I thought something was just the coolest. (Come on... there's got to be at least a few of you who still know the Time Warp.)

Over the last (almost) year, I have met some of the most interesting people around the world (and I must say I am much better at getting to know somebody when I don't have to struggle through the awkward small talk thing). Fascinating, intelligent, creative women who have become a part of my daily life... and even better, most of them make me feel less weird and more normal! This may not sound like such a good thing but it is... really.

Anyway, because I just love this blogging community, I was thrilled, and totally surprised, to be named a "Rockin' Blogger" by Ruth at 5elementknitr!

Very cool!

I now get to pass on the nod to 5 more blogs, but I have no idea how to limit it to 5. Here's a few that come to mind.

Knit Together... Lynda is one of the first bloggers I "met", virtually and in person. She makes me laugh.

Forward Motion - because I think Becca and I could do some intense damage yarn shopping together!

Miknits - Michelle is an amazing sock designer and knitter. I want her sock speed!

Knit & Tonic - Of course! Witty, creative and talented... we all know she rocks!

Knit Wiz - Angelika is talented and encouraging. Plus she's a military wife thereby deserving of much admiration!

Quiet Life - because Donna is my morning encouragement every day!

and one more...

Good Yarns - Julie is my only local friend who knits and blogs along with me... thereby making her my only local friend who doesn't think I've got a screw loose. (Whether or not I do is another subject entirely.)

Oops... more than 5. Well, I would've liked to include a lot more so I don't think I did too bad.

Rock on blogging sistahs!
Oh, and don't forget to pass the Rockin' love on.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

No Sweat

Wow! It's only Wednesday and I've finished 2 pairs of socks this week! (Recollecting when they were actually started would be a waste of time because I refuse to let anything diminish my sense of accomplishment.)

These are the completed No Sweat Socks from No Sheep for You. They knit up quickly with SWTC Wick on size 2 Knit Picks circulars... and while I liked knitting with the Wick, I think I would prefer it even more on bigger needles as it felt tight and tended to snag a bit on my pointy size 2s.

I do like the look, but I'm not sure about how they'll feel to wear yet. They seem comfortable enough but a bit stiff and thick to the touch. In my mind thick equals hot but since these are, after all, "No Sweat" socks, I'm optimistic. I have a feeling that a good wash and wear will make all the difference (especially since I'll be wearing them on my feet not my hands). They could end up being a great summer-time (and, of course, non-wool) alternative to the common colorful options. I'll have to report back. And did I mention they were quick?!

Since I seem to be on a sock roll... and still unable to decide what else to work on... I cast on for the Interweave Waving Lace Socks from Favorite Socks. I love this book!! If you knit socks, and don't have it, you really should get it... today!

I'm using Seacoast Handpainted Yarns Merino/Tencel in the Fresh Air colorway via magic loop on a Knit Picks size 0 circular. I love the delicate colors and the tencel gives it a nice sheen. The pattern is interesting but easy to memorize... just like I like 'em.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Collections of sorts...

A few pals and I are getting ready to dye some Knit Picks Bare we picked up a while back so I have begun to collect Kool-Aid.

I've managed to put together a pretty decent collection but noticeably absent are Blue Raspberry and Lemon Lime. As far as I'm concerned, the notion of dying yarn without blue or green is hardly worth considering! Fortunately I have a "connection" for these... and check out the yellow and pink lemonade Michelle! There's a great Knitty article with instructions as well as a Kool-Aid color chart to give us a hint of what each color will ultimately produce.

In the meanwhile... I've secretly been adding to another related "collection" (because calling it anything other than that at this point would be sadly misleading). I say secretly because, well, I let some time pass before showing you due to my shame and embarrassment.

Fortunately, I'm pretty much over those now.

Now I will gush over all of these yarns. I found the Gypsy Knits "Melon Patch" on Etsy and it is gorgeous (as are all her colors... I had a tough time choosing). I'm crazy about the color combination, the twist, and the price!

The Zen String Serendipity Sport in "Summertime Rolls" is absolutely saturated with vibrant color... love those blues and greens!
This last one is Smooshy Sock Yarn by Dream in Color and it is! Smooshy that is... very. The color is Petal Shower. The Zen String and Smooshy are both from The Loopey Ewe which has become one of my favorite new suppliers... er, I mean stores.

So yarn overfloweths and I can't even decide what to start next so I sit here knitting a floral shaped washcloth that's kicking my butt thereby totally nixing it's purpose of being a quick, satisfying little knit. Being as I have no future plans for said washcloth aside from quickly forgetting about it, I'm spending a ridiculous amount of time frogging and recounting.

After about an hour of washcloth agony yesterday, I finally opted for knitting the second of my No Sweat Socks from No Sheep for You. They're okay (for not being wool) but the Wick is a bit tough on the hands to knit at that gauge...

but at least I don't have to count and they'll be done soon!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Stuck... Moving Forward

VBS is behind us, summer lays before us, and it's a bright sunny morning. I'm going to forget for the moment that I have 2 weeks of laundry to do and a couple of bedrooms which I'm ready to tape off with yellow hazard tape, and just soak in the freedom from any must-be-dones. VBS was a great success and I loved my job! (I think it was the whistle... which I'm keeping as I can see it being a great tool to have around this house.) We do have some summer school (mainly math and reading) ahead of us... but not this week. No, this week is freeeeee!

Very little knitting has passed through my hands over the last few weeks so I'm anxious to start producing again! However, having been removed from the, well, habit for a few weeks, I'm a little overwhelmed and really don't know where to start. After knitting a row of this and a couple of that, I did manage to force myself to finish a pair of socks.

Openwork Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks
Cherry Tree Hill in Spring Frost
Size 1 Clover Bamboo DPNs

I love the yarn. The pattern is great to look at... but got a bit tedious to knit.

I really want to cast-on for another pair of socks (aside from toe-up socks in the yarn I found boring to look at), but I have all these other WIPs and I guess my weeks without knitting have twisted me into thinking that this seems odd.

So I cast on for a washcloth. I'm not sure what this means.

I did see a completed Clementine Shawl at a yarn store I happened to pass in the valley yesterday. It was knit with the recommended Blue Sky Alpaca Silk and was lovely. I had pretty much lost interest in mine, but I picked it up again last night while watching Pirates of the Caribbean 2 (for about the 20th time) with my movie boy.

BTW - Watching Pirates 2 again after seeing the 3rd one definitely filled in a lot of gaps. And for my reading friends, I was most surprised to hear one of the pirates yell, "Oh, Mother Carey's chickens! What was that?"

Speaking of reading, I am also trying to finish the Brothers Karamazov as Julie is way (way!) ahead of me. She almost went so far as to accuse me of taking her book when she couldn't find it. (Wish I'd thought of that!) Where are you Donna?

So here I am... with too much to do, yet nothing that needs to be done... a very unproductive place for me to be.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Almost Friday!

My years as a parent have left me with a couple of theories about children. While my first theory is a bit hard for me to prove, my second theory is confirmed every year at VBS. My theory is this... that children are able to increase their own energy by absorbing and depleting the energy of adults that share their space.

We have one more day left of, what has turned out to be, a great week of VBS. However, as usual, each day the kids get a little more excitable and energetic while the adults slowly wind down into fatigued masses.

Here's one of my boys and a few of our teen helpers (who are too young to start experiencing energy drainage)...

And the recipient of this firing line...

My oldest son... who turned 15 yesterday!

He also started Freshman football practice this week which gave me the opportunity to attend a football orientation meeting (while DH coached a baseball game) where I received a packet of information they put together entitled Freshman Football Parents Survival Guide. (Have I ever mentioned that I hate meetings? I mean really loathe meetings?) Anyway, I'm not sure how carrying around this folder is supposed to help me survive the hefty "donation"/fee, the additional "transportation fee", the 4 snack shack duties (a fate worse than death in my mind... and something I've managed to avoid through over 10 years of youth sports), the fundraiser, the field clean-up day (fun for the whole family) and whatever else I've blocked out of my tired mind.

But I can tell you one thing... I've finally found a place where I would never knit! A high school football booster meeting! It would be the only place I've been in recent years where I felt sure that pulling out a sock on dpns would cast me into total social oblivion. Not that I would mind, but the repercussions to my son's social standing and reputation may be irreparable.

I've knit about another inch on my sea silk scarf and spent the rest of my time stepping over the clutter and laundry that's accumulating around my house at an unseemly rate. I'm too tired to deal with either so I'm trying to work towards clean underwear and occasional meals.

Oh, and my first theory... I am quite certain that a wee one in the womb absorbs his initial foundation of brains cells directly from his mother thereby depleting a small percentage of her total brain function. While I have seen much evidence of this, it is most noticeable in mothers of many whose life begins to revolve around counting to, in my case, 5. Walking through Target... 1...2....3...4... wait, where' who? Oh yeah the middle guy... where'd he go. When the constant need to calculate how many more kids we can fit in our car, how many tacos I need from Taco Bell, and if I have enough towels to go swimming become great challenges it's a sure sign of brain cell depletion. But the greatest evidence would have to be, in spite of all the counting, the ability of said mom to leave her youngest behind. (Not that I've done that of course... just heard tale of it... really.)

Monday, June 18, 2007

And So It Begins

Today was our first day of VBS (Vacation Bible School). I'm not quite certain who the "vacation" part refers to... but we did cover Bible so I guess we're doing okay. I've coordinated women's events before, but not for a long time, and I've never overseen a week long event for 180 children so this has definitely been learning experience. I'm fortunate to be working with an amazing group of wonderful parents and teens who effortlessly go with the flow once the day starts.

As for me, I've done less knitting in the last 2 weeks than I've done in any 2 day period in the last year. But I have been working on something else. I have a friend who tells me I wear my emotions on my sleeve... she teases me because I am apparently incapable of keeping my thoughts and/or feelings concealed. So I've been practicing...

Here is my best blank look... I am learning to use it when my real attitude might be less than loving or gracious. (Yes, I'm working on that inner attitude too... but at least I'm trying.) This look has come in handy on several occasions... like with the gentleman who arrived 25 minutes early this morning (before all the workers were even in place) and expressed his frustration with heaving sighs until he finally said (with great frustration), "I don't have time to wait... I have to be at work in 10 minutes." It was also useful with the gal who totally dropped the ball on her (rather large) commitment thereby inflicting last minute chaos on several others and then whined to me about how hurt she was that people seemed to think she didn't do her job. Hmmm...

Anyway, learning to control my words and actions are a never-ending battle...

I think son #2 has quite a bit of potential.

Did you know (that at least in my experience) boys cannot roll their eyes until at least the age of 11.

BTW - the above represents the extent of my weekend knitting. It's the Sea Silk scarf from Interweave. It will be beautiful...


Friday, June 15, 2007

Where's the Knitting?

What a week! This little VBS thing has turned out to be quite a job... but fortunately one that I enjoy. Although I have to say, I could've never done this job back in the stone age before e-mail. No phone calls please! I still remember when the owner of the real estate company I worked at held a meeting introducing us to the newly installed computer network. It was waaaay back, before I had a home computer and when the Internet was something I'd only heard of but never used. When he started explaining e-mail, I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I'd ever heard of. I mean really, why would you need to type somebody a message when you can just call and ask? Yep... this was when I first started learning that I was going to be wrong sometimes.

Anyway, I've spent the week ignoring my kids (although I did get them a new 1000 piece puzzle and a few books), staring at the computer (even more than usual), and watching House (which I'm convinced is the best show ever!!) to lighten up at the end of the day. Oh, and of course we had a baseball game (my son's first All-Star game - ever - and they won!) and we even went to DH's softball game (yeah, he plays too). My head is spinning and I'm fairly certain I'm going blind. Yes, I have glasses, but no, I don't wear them... don't like them... make me dizzy and nauseous but I think I'm doomed to adjust... but the ones I got last year don't work anymore so I need to make an appt. I wish I could e-mail for an appt., then it might get done.

So last night, I decided that I really needed a bit of a creative break. I didn't want to knit on just anything. I needed something new but simple. So... I started a pair of toe-up socks from Ann Budd's pattern in the new Interweave. Maybe I'm just uncoordinated, maybe it's the yarn, or maybe the needles... I'm sure it's not the pattern because everybody is raving about it... but I'm just not feeling the love yet. Time has become merely a vague essence to me at this point, but I can tell you that it took Wheel of Fortune, some dumb Pirates show, and 2 episodes of House (on DVD) to knit this much. Actually to be honest, half of that time was spent simply trying to cast 6 stinkin' stitches on each needle using the Eastern (or Turkish) Cast-On. Blah!

While my inclination at this point would be to say that this whole toe-up thing is stupid... I still remember how wrong I was about e-mail so I'll give a little more time.

P.S. Gotta love Sponge Bob!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Eight Things About Me

This is my first time ever being tagged! What fun... thanks Laura.

First, the rules: For this meme, each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

1. I go to Starbucks for a Venti Iced Mocha every morning. I think I need the brief escape from the house each morning as much as I need the caffeine.

2. I taught my husband to beat the first Super Mario Brothers game when we were dating (I'm still pretty sure that's why he married me), I have the fastest time in our family on Tetris, and I am the only member of my family to have beaten Super Mario 64.

3. I am easily addicted to video/computer games.

4. I'm an introvert and homebody. Unless knitting is involved, I'd rather stay home and read a good book than attend any kind of social event.

5. I lived in 7 states by the time I was 11. (Dad was in Marines)

6. I still like chocolate sprinkles on my ice cream.

7. My husband asked me out on our first date at a red light after seeing each other in a music store.

8. Ummm... I'm 1/8 Gypsy... but I'm not sure if that's good or bad... but surely interesting. Maybe?

Now... who should I tag? Julie, Charity, Marie Grace, Becca, Michelle, Amanda, Knitnerd, and Wendy.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Secret Pals?

Real quick here... I keep seeing people involved in fun swaps where they exchange yarn and such with secret pals. Even though I'm sure my interest may be partially triggered by the frenzy of activity and caffeine pumping through me, I would get to buy yarn without guilt because it would be for somebody else. Any suggestions for one I can get involved in?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Going Bug-Eyed

You guys are so kind and encouraging... but I don't think you understand.. I really did nothing last week. Really! Nothing!

And it's most certainly not post-baseball season blues, because my oldest made All-Stars for his first time ever (I may have mentioned it before but it's worth repeating especially since his arch enemy, aka my middle son, has made it twice in his four years of play). Anyway, it's too soon for the blues because he will be playing many games over the next 10 days with my husband as one of his coaches. And not even I can justify missing his only All-Star games in 15 years.

But it does turn out I really was sick last week (as opposed to falling into a hopeless trance of laziness) since 2 of my boys came down with the same symptoms yesterday and have laid around the house since. Meanwhile I've become buried in piles of paperwork and e-mails as I finalize preparations for our church's Vacation Bible School next week. I guess I'm what they call the "director" but I like to think of it as the administrator or, better yet, the person who does nothing but gets to make all the decisions and tell other people what to do. But that's clearly an awkward title so I'll go with what they gave me.

Due to my inability to control all people and circumstances as much as I might like (don't worry, I'm working on it), I ended up with all the final registration forms much later than I'd hoped. So after 4 hours at church (dealing with VBS stuff in addition to the service) I came home and spent a solid 8 hours going bug-eyed on the computer entering and sorting the names of 200+ kids and volunteers. Around 6:00, DH peeked under the piles and asked me something about dinner... I mumbled something about doing whatever he wanted... which he misunderstood to mean, "Why don't you go on a bike ride honey and leave the hungry kids to me." So delirious was my data entry that at 7:00 I actually handed my credit card to my 14 yo and told him to order food... pizza, of course.

DH returned and felt bad because he truly hadn't heard me (although I think it was really because the cheese pizza was gone). But with a pencil in my mouth and the furious typing it was quite possible that I wasn't coherent in my request so I do believe him. (That and the fact that he reads this so I have to be nice... love you honey!) At some point during the fight over the last pieces of pizza, my carefully balanced plate was attacked by a hungry teen with a knife who ignored my requests to take my plate to the kitchen before cutting the last slice in half. (I really don't think anyone around here listens to me so your comments are always most truly appreciated.) Next thing I know I have a knife covered in pizza sauce sticking out of a hank of Blue Sky Cotton. I wish it had been the red still, then nobody would ever notice. Ugh!

I put down my laptop at 9:00 and popped in the first season of House. Now I don't know if it was simply mental meltdown on my part or if it was really just that good, but I was cracking up. (DH asked me if I'd been drinking so it's quite possible that it was just me.) He is so horribly abrasive, obnoxious and insensitive... and I think he's just about the greatest character ever! And come on now... be honest... aren't there times when you would just love to say some of the things he says? The scenes when he actually interacts with the patients at the clinic are the best... although I certainly wouldn't want to be the patient. I'm looking forward to watching these over the next few weeks.

Oh, and the knitting thing... since today involved plenty more paperwork, I've managed a new personal low with only 1" of a sock being knit since Saturday. Hardly worthy of a photo shoot. I'll knit for you tonight though... really. It's the least I can do since you are so kind to be here even without pictures of yarn!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Art of Accomplishing Nothing

Of the many skills that a woman of my age has had the opportunity to acquire, accomplishing nothing seems to be the one that comes most naturally to me. Now I'm not talking about sitting around knitting or reading for hours, because in my mind inches knit or pages turned are a tangible accomplishment. Nor am I talking about the time spent playing Candyland or reading with children because I've learned to recognized the long term value of these less tangible accomplishments.

No, I'm talking about whole days in which I'm quite certain nothing has happened. The nights when I lay in bed, considering my day and all I can come up with is checked bloglines, sent an e-mail, and did a load of laundry. Where did the day go? I am clearly a master time-waster. The worst part is... I hate wasting time.

Given a whole day to knit or read, it's inevitable that I'll get nothing done. I know that a lot of people are more productive when the pressure's on... whether it be laundry blocking entrance to the bathroom, a stack of bills to pay before you can even find you desk, or a list of to-dos so long that can only be tackled with a hope and a prayer. On these days, not only do I get it all done, I usually manage to play a few games, knit a few inches, and read a chapter or two. It's the other days that kill me.

I especially excel at wasting time on the Internet, but am equally capable of investing hours of my time in other useless, futile tasks as well... although I'm not exactly sure what they are.

So here I sit... The Brothers Karamazov await, look how nicely it lays open for me, and knitting abounds. And me... what am I doing? Looking at cyber sock yarn. Useless.

This whole week has been like that, day after day. Now admittedly, I have been under the weather so I imagine that taking my temperature has taken up a unacceptable amount of my time. Giving up on my temp, I finally moved on to the symptom checker at Web MD. After clicking on all the little body parts and identifying all of my varied symptoms (and believe me, you would be surprised at how many symptoms you have if you actually look at all the options). It presented me with my list of possible diagnoses. First on the list was Sinusitis (not a surprise). Second on the list... perimenopause. Hmph... and I didn't even click on "uncontrollable verbal outbursts" since I figured that was a topic for another day.

So what has all this taught me? Not only do I waste time... I'm getting old.
Yeah... can't say it's been a great week. Glad tomorrow begins a new one.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

On Illness and X-rays

I thought it was only appropriate to snap a picture today of a WIP at Urgent Care since almost all of my knits get to visit the doctor's or dentist's office at some point during their time on the needles. This trip was sponsored by a suspected rib injury in teen #2. Ahhh... the ongoing saga of boys, their bikes, and the things they think they can jump. Supposedly the rib is okay, but (if you've been around here enough, you'll know) I rarely believe doctors.... especially when it comes to x-rays. I've refused to get fillings in cavities that I could not see on the x-ray and I've carried x-rays of supposedly healthy bones around to other docs (well, at least to our chiropractor) because I'm sure I see something the doctor has missed. Yes, I realize that doctors have received special training in reading x-rays and it's not a skill easily mastered by a curious mom. I'm just telling it like it is.

However, while I was there, still feeling pretty cruddy myself, I recognized a perfect opportunity to get an accurate temperature reading. (You may not understand my obsession with temperature, but don't feel bad, few people would. But somehow an actual fever validates any symptoms I may be feeling and formally excuses me from household duties. It's like a note from the doctor... without it I don't feel excused.) Much to my son's chagrin, I was quick to slip one of their little band-aid sized thermometers in my mouth when the nurse exited. Much to my chagrin, the usual half-hour wait for the doctor was cut short by about 28 minutes.

Oh well, it didn't seem to work either. And I didn't get a second chance because apparently once it's been elevated to a certain temperature (like by left in a hot car), it does not return to normal and shaking doesn't help. (Boy I miss mercury.) My friend, Julie, suggested that I get those little digital ones but I was quick to inform her that these didn't work either. It was in this moment... this brief, but alarming moment... while Julie was carefully phrasing her response, that it painfully pierced my conscience that the problem just may lay more with the obsessive temperature taker than the thermometers themselves.

Ugh! I hate these moments.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Up Next...

The enthusiasm over my most recent successes has led me to cast on not one, but two summer cardigans.

The off-white will be Maris from the Summer/Spring 2007 issue of Rowan. It's being knit with Rowan Calmer in a wonderfully simple and repetitive K3P1 pattern. I'm not usually much for simple and repetitive as I am (almost unacceptably) easily bored, but this pattern knit in Calmer (which is like buttah) is like therapy for the hands. Very soothing, very soft, and no thinking required for at least a dozen or so inches.

While I was perfectly content with Maris, the color of the Blue Sky Cotton alone enticed me to cast on for the Eyelet Cardigan as well. Well, that and the promise of some stitch variety in the not too distant future on this one. I plan on modifying the pattern to increase the length, thereby decreasing my chances of success with this one, but I'm still on my optimistic high so what the heck.

I've been trying to read a bit today but aside from the constant struggle to get the little paperback to remain open, I've been endlessly amused with re-dressing and personalizing my little avatar on the sidebar. (Notice that my big wardrobe change involved donning a pair of jeans and changing my t-shirt color... even my cyber-self is boring. I wanted to change the background but, really, anything beyond the messy living room just stretches my imagination too much. Well, we're sure to spend some time at the pool this summer, and we may even hate, I mean hit, the beach (I always hate the beach) this summer... but don't be expecting me to show up in a bikini!)

So where was I? Oh yeah, trying to read... yes, I am holding that book open with one of those ear thermometers. It seems to perform this task just about as well as it actually takes temperatures. Anyway, a couple of us are feeling under the weather, and we all have this obsessive need to do temp checks periodically when we get sick. This is only made more ridiculous by the fact that we use an incompetent instrument that gives us meaningless information to do so. (Does anybody have an ear thermometer that actually works?) We have now actually taken to checking our temperatures when we're healthy so we have a base temperature to go from. Mine is reading normal today... but it normally reads very low... so I'm thinking it's possible that I have a temp. Whatever happened to those good ole fashioned toxic mercury ones? Do you have any idea how long a boy person can hold onto a glass tube of mercury before it breaks? Blink. Yeah, that long.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Must've Been the Blue Moon

I'm attributing the fact that I have another finished knit to show you to the blue moon we had last week because I really can't think of any other logical explanation. I actually don't even know when I knit this one up. (Oh, and btw Angelika, I knit in the round and read... I haven't even considered a beautiful fair isle like the one your knitting right now!)

It went so fast in the round on size 8 needles (actually I realized at the end I had used size 7 needles... not sure how that happened but I'm feeling rather lucky it fits).

I'm not super crazy about the high neckline, but I wasn't surprised or disappointed as it was evident from the picture and I do like that it's a bit unique. Also, the creative use of short-rows made the shaping quick. I used the recommended yarn, Classic Elite Sundance, which is 50% cotton, 50% microfiber so it has a bit of a stretch.

Overall, I'm pleased with the fit, the yarn choice, and especially love the lacy shoulders. It's comfortable, casual, and summery... my favorite things. (Actually, I might prefer it a bit looser, although it's not quite as tight as it looks in this picture. I think once I wash it, I may try to give it a little stretch to try to loosen it up a bit.)

A close-up of the lace shoulders...

Pattern: Lutea Lace-Shoulder Shell (Interweave Knits, Summer 2007)
Yarn: Classic Elite Sundance - 7 balls of Celery
Needles: Knit Picks Options - Size 7 (Pattern called for size 8... I just grabbed the wrong size.)
Modifications: None

Be sure to check out lace corrections at IK site.

Monday, June 04, 2007

A Little Lutea

Interweave's Lutea Lace-Shoulder Shell turned out to be a super fast knit. Most of it was knit while reading "The Brothers" or while watching intense baseball games (I knit extra fast when the score is close). I just need to weave in ends now.

But here's the real reason for my post... I, for quite obvious reasons, absolutely cannot buy any more sock yarn for some time. But apparently some twisted form of self-torture compels me to continue browsing through the latest additions at my favorite cyber-shops. So this is what I need you to do... I want to you to check out the incredible selection of Lorna's Laces and Claudia's Handpainted Yarns that have turned up at The Loopy Ewe. Please buy it... buy it all... most specifically the Claudia's Turquoise Jeans and Pistachio, and LL's Envy. (The temptation is killing me slowly and painfully.) Then let me know and show me wonderful pictures so I can live vicariously through you! Come on... you know I've done it for you! (And just for the record, I have no relationship with the Loopy Ewe beyond lusting over their amazing collection of sock yarns.)

Well, I must admit that it feels good to be checking some WIPs off my list. But I wouldn't want the pile to get too small. So now I have to figure out... what's next?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Muy Bonita!

Although it has still not been formally blocked, the grimace has waned from my face enough to attempt a photo shoot. So here it is, in all it's glory,

As I said before, I am in love with this top. It is very light-weight and cool so perfect for our climate. I was quite impressed by the I-Cord Bind Off around the neck and sleeves. And I'm really glad I took the time to do the folded hem because it really gives it a nice weight around the bottom as well as a finished look. Provided I don't accidentally toss it in the dryer and ruin it, this will probably become my most frequently worn knit. Additionally, I will no longer be afraid to tops knit with sportweight yarn on size 3-4 needles if the results will be this worth it.

Just the facts...

Pattern: Bonita, Interweave Knits - Summer 2006
Yarn: Garnstudio Safran, 5 balls #18 Ecru (size 37")
Needles: Knit Picks Options size 4 & 2
Modifications: None

Additional comments...

The sleeves and the hem both required Crochet Chain Provisional Cast-Ons. After using the Crochet Chain method on the hem, I decided to use the simpler Long-Tail Provisional Cast-On for the sleeves. While the Long-Tail method is by far quicker, it doesn't "unzip" like the Crochet Chain one does so more time is spent releasing the live stitches. Both methods end up taking a little extra time so it probably comes down to a matter of preference. I did like the ease with which the hem unzipped... but it can also be a bit scary to unzip 222 live stitches so easily.

I wish I could've gotten some better pictures to post, but I'm working with amateurs here who, oddly enough, don't enjoy patiently taking picture after picture of their mother until they get it "just right". Go figure.

BTW, I do realize that the sleeves appear to be a bit uneven, but I am entirely comfortable ignoring that minor detail as it is really only noticeable when I stand very still (which I almost never do).

Friday, June 01, 2007

Simply No Title

I haven't had much time to knit this week but I did finish Bonita... and it is wonderful! The fit, the I-Cord edging, the remarkable 6 hour hem. It needs to be washed and blocked, or steamed or something... but I don't dare attempt such a thing on such a treasured knit right now. No, not this week. Images of a shrunken, twisted Bonita haunt my mind. And a modeled pic was out of the question because surely the frazzled, stressed out, pinched up look on my face would be unavoidable. To be honest, at this point I am simply relieved to have survived this week without stabbing anybody with my knitting needles.

While I'm a fairly easy going person for the most part, I tend to have a bit of a character flaw when it comes to dealing with certain types of people... most notably would be those with the tendency to be condescending and/or simply irrational.

Apparently, the good Lord wants to see me grow in my tolerance for such people because He has allowed many of them to interfere with my life over the last week. As much as I desire to be a gentle, tolerant person, apparently 3 is the total number of irrational people & situations that I can be exposed to before I freak out, go ballistic, or lose it entirely (all sadly appropriate terms). I do not confess this with pride, but with shame and a determination to accept the challenge of growth and learn to more effectively manage my knee-jerk reactions.

But to give you just a hint as to the kind of thing I'm talking about. An assortment of rotten banana peels, newspapers and peanut shells scattered about our back yard led us to the discovery of this "compost pile" our (quite possibly unstable) neighbor has started on our property in between our fences (yes, we finally put the wooden fence up to limit the interaction). Let it be known that we have completely "abated" the barking/howling dog situation. Completely. And it has been for some time. However, (now stop and think about this) what do dogs do if they can smell food on the other side of a fence? Although I'm sure you know, I'll tell you. They do three things... 1) Freak out 2)Bark and 3) Dig. Does this surprise anybody? You know what they told my husband? They said that our dogs (who don't bother them with howling anymore) were digging there (on our property) so they decided to fill it in with compost. They complain, we fix the problem (to the unanimous approval of all of our neighbors... who actually didn't really have a problem to begin with), and they start a new one. Does this strike anyone at all as normal behavior? Anyone? Because maybe I'm just missing something. My opinion however... the man is INSANE... and a school teacher. Nice combination.

Anyway, I want to knit. I need to knit. But truthfully, I'm almost afraid to knit. I was going to get to work on the IK Lutea Lace-Shoulder Shell but rumor has it there's a problem with the lace pattern and I certainly am in no mood to face that. I want to start the Rowan Maris cardigan but I'm in no mood to swatch.

With great enthusiasm I decided to indulge myself and cast on for the IK Montego Bay Scarf in this Handmaiden Sea Silk. It is so gorgeous, with all my favorite colors. It's a soft as can be and yet kinda crunches when you squeeze it. Ahhhh... a simple scarf knit with luxury. The deal breaker... the pattern calls for me to cut off a couple hundred 12" long strands to set aside for fringe. My week, scissors, and silk... uhhhh... I think not.

I could finish a sock. Better yet I could cast on for a new sock. Or maybe the Blue Sky Eyelet Cardigan. I already know the gauge for the Blue Sky Cotton, and how bad could I mess up 2x2 ribbing? Never mind, don't even answer. Hmmmm... Maybe I'll just read.