Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mmmmm, needles

Just look what the postman brought me! My KnitPicks Harmony needles in size 11. Aren't they pretty? So smooth, shiny, pointy, and drool worthy. I like that the shine isn't blinding, but glowing. I cast on for the Cinnabar Pullover yesterday and it's about an inch along now.

Since the front and back are knit likewise up to the armhole shaping, I've taken this opportunity to knit both at the same time. The sleeves will probably get the same treatement.

I'm pretty excited about another area of my life right now. Hubby and I have begun the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover program. (I did buy the book, but you can also check it out of the library.) For anyone not knowing what this is all about: we are taking control of our finances, attacking and deleting our debt, and preparing for our financial future. It will be grand to be the ones using our money, instead of being used by it and being owned by debt.

Friday, January 25, 2008

This time, with feeling

Okay, Wings of a Dream is turning into Wings of a Nightmare, through no fault of the pattern or the yarn. The yarn can't help being what it is, superfine laceweight, I have to learn how to knit with it. The pattern is fine, I've already successfully knitted it's parent pattern, Swan Lake. So what is it? It's the picker, not the banjo. Yep folks, I've narrowed the defective item down to moi.

This third (or will it be the fourth?) time will be the charm, I just know it. I have tried something different this go around: bamboo straights instead of circs. Maybe this will be the talisman to success. Maybe I'll get beyond row 9. May the Force be with me.

On another note, I saw on Ravelry yesterday the method Yarn Harlot uses to knit is called Irish Cottage Knitting. I downloaded the video of her knitting and wow -- she really is like lightening. She and I differ in that I learned to knit at my host mother's knee in Hamburg, Germany, and hold the yarn Continental style, while YH holds it English. But other than that, and the fact that she's amazing and I'm not, I'd never noticed that I hold my needles like she does: at almost right angles to each other. When it comes to the knit stitch, I'm pretty darned fast. I feed my lefthand stitches towards the right while scooping up the yarn through the stitch without stopping. My purl isn't anywhere as fast as hers, but, meh. All in all, it was fascinating getting to see her in action, albeit electronically. One day, I'll get to go to a book tour of hers. That would be grand!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Nope, not for me

No laser correction for me. My eye mapping showed red flags, an abnormal cornea, and although the doctor said he'd have an expert look at the results, the ranges returned were uninspiring.

Waiting for the post

The postman, that is. Last night's swatching was just a tad off, a stitch too much in the left to right gauge and two stitches less than needed in row height. But, employing my best knitterly denial, I forged ahead with my 10.5 bamboo straights, and by the end of the evening, had talked myself into thinking it was going to be okay. (come on, you all know you've done it too -- we knitters are very good at fooling ourselves!)

Yeah, well, I looked at it this morning and decided to be real. Using the 10.5's isn't matching the swatch gauge, which the pattern says is VERY important for the linen stitch part. Fast forward to the successful culmination of a trip to KnitPicks, and a set of harmony wood needles in size 11 is on the way.

I also decided that since the front and back are knitted identically up to the armhole shapings, both sides would be knitted at the same time on a 47" cable. Should be interesting.

**orb mapping in less than an hour**

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

O Happy Yarn Day!

It arrived! My Saltillo yarn from Fearless Fibers (check out Deb's blog in the link to the left) swooped in on little USPS wings today for my Cinnabar Pullover. The yarn is gorgeous. I've been swatching the linen stitch, and it looks like I'll need to use a larger needle than called for; the pattern said that might be the case. Saltillo is a mixture of all my favorite colors: amber, gold, umber, honey, bronze, copper ... Look how the linen stitch brings out its beauty:

Still not happy with the way the black laceweight alpaca is knitting up. It's not looking good for the lace's future as this stole. But yes, I'll still give it a shot for the first chart before chucking it out on its ear.

I am, however, feeling pleased with how the honey Claudia Silk is knitting up in the Twinings Stole.

The second cable sock is started, I knit on it here and there. Now that the Cinnabar pullover is started, the sock will probably take a back burner.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Orb mapping

Ever since the third grade I've worn glasses. I've also worn hard contacts, gas perms, and soft contacts. Now I'm back to glasses. Like most glasses wearers, it's always been a dream for some magic cure to come about and fix me. Then came lasik, PRK, RK, and all the other Ks. I went in five years ago to be tested, sure that I was going to be free of nearsightedness/astigmatism.

Crushing news that I wasn't a candidate came my way. Apparently, my corneas were too thin for surgery. Fast forward to now, and I decide to see what new techniques are out there. The doctor looks at my eyes, says he thinks I have a problem that would keep me from having any kind of corrective surgery: Keratoconus.

Keratoconus (from Greek: kerato- horn, cornea; and konos cone), is a degenerative non-inflammatory disorder of the eye in which structural changes within the cornea cause it to thin and change to a more conical shape than its normal gradual curve.

I'm going in this Wednesday to have my eyes mapped, kinda like a topographical terrain map; the final answer as to whether anything at all can be done for me called Orb Mapping. I'm not holding out a great deal of hope, and neither is the doctor, but he said to have it done, to know for sure.

Yes, I can correct my vision with glasses (big thick honking things), or contacts (which after so many many years of wearing them cause pain now), but I'd always dreamed of being able to do without them. Who hasn't, who needs help seeing? Those who have good uncorrected vision just don't understand the longing we have to not be dependant on glasses/contacts. A dream indeed, maybe one that will never come true.

Gotta give it a chance

I'm really not liking this superfine laceweight. Having only completed 9 rows of the Wings of a Dream, and having many many more rows to go, the enjoyment is not there nor is the visual satisfaction of seeing the pattern develope.

I've decided to give myself to the end of the first chart, 50 rows worth, before putting it on waste yarn, pinning it out and seeing what I think. If I still am not happy with it, or don't have that "I can't wait to pick it up and knit on it" feeling, then I will seriously rethink this yarn.

What it boils down to is, I miss knitting with Fearless Fiber's laceweight merino.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A little knit, a little frog

So, ended up that I had to frog the work done on Wings of a Dream. As I was only seven rows into it, the wailing and gnashing of teeth was kept to a minimum. I'm finding this misti alpaca to be ever so soft, but ever so difficult to see what stitch is what. Tried knitting with thread? This feels like it.

Progress has begun on the second sock that I'm knitting with short row heels. While I don't need a pattern anymore for a basic sock incarnation, I did (and do) have to refer to the short row instructions because I haven't worked those enough to be confident. I also decided to throw a trio of cables onto the top of the sock down to the toe for grins and giggles, no pattern involved.

On the Twinings Stole front, about five rows have been completed. This yarn is 100% silk, and it's like knitting with thread, too. Hopefully it will become more second nature as I get into it, but right now, I'm sure wishing for the laceweight merino the Swan Lake was knitted in.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

We hunted, we gathered

The Girl and I went shopping today for the perfect pair of shoes to wear with her dress (already purchased) for the school dance. We were successful, and they were even on sale.

Vince Camuto "Mabel"

Then we went hunting in search of the perfect bra. Found it! Now all that is left to do is to take the ensemble to the seamstress and have her relocate the straps on the back of the dress inward, toward the spine a tad, and to have the back taken in very slightly.

She'll look so beautiful on the arm of her young man (who is quite the handsome lad himself), and I can't wait to get pictures.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Jaws of Destruction strike again

About two years ago we adopted a loveable softhearted soppy creature in the shape of a female black lab. Her name is Jet, and she's a sweetie. A sweetie with one character flaw (well, there's another one that's out of her control: she's highly "aromatic" at the back end). Her flaw? She seems to have an aversion to the printed word.

Hubby gets home from work today, calls me and asks if there were any patterns that I really wanted to use in the knitting magazine I had been looking at. Yes, I answer, there were quite a few, why? ~knowing in my heart of hearts what it was but employing knitterly denial and hope~ Because, he says, Jet ate it.

Yep, this is what's left of the Interweave Knits Fall 2007 issue:

"I'm really sorry, Mom."

"Really, I am."

It's not like we don't have toys galore for her littering the house. Oh no. Those aren't nearly as attractive, because they're what she's supposed to be munching on, oh no, she'd rather shred the jukebox manual Hubby left on the couch a month ago, or the family package of toilet rolls left on the stairs, or my KNITTING MAGAZINE!!! Grrr.


Spooky is not amused by the fuss, nor the mess. I'm sure she'll swat Jet at some time or other as Jet walks by, just to put her in her place.

Now for a knitty inspired pic. It's the first short row heel I've ever done, and I'm not pleased with this side of the sock, although the other side is a thing of beauty.

Why do the stitches look like that? The other side is smooth, and the stitches blend in nicely. I've decided not to frog it back and redo, since I'll have another chance to get it right on Sock Numero Dos.

Tonight I will cast on for the Wings of a Dream, the Swan Lake - Mystery Stole 3 double winged version. I finally got black beads to go with the black baby alpaca laceweight.

Sparkly, no? :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Skin of the Sea - finished

It's finished, and I think, Bee-e-a-utiful! I'll wear it to work tomorrow. *happy sigh*

After numerous pinnings, I decided that the best looking one, for me, was at the actual neckline. The picture in the pattern shows it pinned at slightly below the bust line, but the model is smaller than I am. ;) I'd also like to find a mini chopstick type of fastening -- so it's off to Etsy for shopping!

(Sorry I take such crapilisious pictures, but despite how I look, I'm terrifically happy with it. Please don't judge the beautifulness of Skin of the Sea on my modelling. If I had smiled like I wanted to, you'd all have run screaming from my bared teeth and maniacal looking eyes. I try to tone it down for sanity's sake.)

Order away!

Yippee, my queue groweth longer. Just finished nailing down an order from Kris at Sonny and Shear; she's ordering me my Dream in Color Classy yarn I'm lusting after. It's one of their new 400 series yarns in Midnight Derby (scroll all the way down to the color button, click it, and then drown yourself in the dark blues..... ah....) This yarn will be born as Jared Flood's Cobblestone Pullover for my college-aged son.

On other fronts, I knit my very first short row heel the other day. It's a bit rough, but I think I know what needs to be done to make sock #2's heel better.

The Skin of the Sea is seamed, and I'm almost done with the border around the front and neck. Might even get to wear it to work tomorrow. How cool is that!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Initial blocking complete

While right now she's blocked out in all her glory, at this time tomorrow night you'll find her being seamed at the shoulders, and getting ready to have her final boarder around the front and back neckline knitted up.

I'm using stiff floral wire for blocking. Size is approximately 42" wide x 25" long.

Neat, huh?

I think the Indian Cross Stitch will drape beautifully once she's dry and finished. (why is it that the same yarn can photograph with such wildly different colors, when captured on the same camera at the same settings? So curious! This post's color is more realistic than the previous post's. Oh well.)

Friday, January 11, 2008

I did it!

The Skin of the Sea lace vest requires short row shaping at the shoulders. This is a brand new technique for me, although I have heard of it before. After reading the instructions in the pattern, and repeatedly watching a video I googled from Knitting at Knoon Designs, I successfully completed my very first Short Row Shaping. Oh yes, happiness is mine.

This is whole shebang laid out, pre-blocked or seamed. Along the lower left bottom I'm picking up the stitches to create the border.

Short rows -- to the right!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Yarn, it's what's for dinner

Well, not really, but it sounded nifty, I thought. Finally took some pics of the 3 Little Scarflets, completed. The Son is very happy with them, and knows the girls will be, too. Go Mom!

Made from Fearless Fibers 100% Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn, in Butterscotch, Sky and Clouds, and Prosperity (l-r) colorways.

A close-up for those of you drooling to see more.... click it!


I have a cold. I rarely get sick, and because of that, I forget what it's like in between times. Yesterday was even a sick day from work for me, because sleep was what was needed, not work. I slept almost all day and then through the night. I didn't even feel like knitting, but I did finish the third Scarflet, put them all in a nice bath, and blocked them out to dry. Then fell back into bed.

Today my throat is not as raw, but my head feels like it belongs to someone else. Airborne and Tylenol Flu are my friends. I'd love to go home and crawl under the covers. Two people today have said I look pale and peaked. Great.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Stripes galore

My Sassy Stripes Socks knit from Cascade yarn are done, and I am more than pleased. See the stripes, love the stripes, BE the stripes.

** On another note, my very first pair of socks knit about a year ago finally produced a hole in the heel. I've worn them a lot, so it wasn't really disappointing. Out came the darning needle, the leftover yarn, and a sad sock was made glad again. **

Here are the pics of the 3 Scarflets in Progress. I'm using leftover sock yarn from Fearless Fibers. Since they haven't been blocked yet, they're kinda limp and lifeless. For now. The stitch is very simple, three rows garter/one row YO K2T, and with size 10 needles, it's a pretty fast knit. Almost half done with #2, and #3 will be in a blue colorway.

Friday, January 4, 2008

I've created a monster! LOL

This Christmas I gave away knitted gifts, and it was great fun to create and give. One of the items was a Smidge for my son's girlfriend. She's a real sweetie and I had lots of fun with her Smidge. I'm happy to say she loved the color and the design. (This was a gift from me to her, my Son bought her a lovely necklace from James Avery. Such a smart young man.)

The first picture is the correct color, a Golden Olive.

He gives her the gift, and the other girls in their group really like it. That's good, it brings warm fuzzies to my heart. So now I'm knitting them each their own scarflet, not in this pattern though. Hers will remain unique, and they will each have the same design in three different colors. One down, 1/2 on the other, and one to go. Must. Knit. Faster. :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year 2008!

May this year be a great one for all of us and for the world. I think the world deserves a little break.