Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Disaster surrounds me. Exhibits A and B:

Image hosting by Photobucket Image hosting by Photobucket

A: My beloved white cashmere lace scarf, a gift three winters ago, worn almost daily since. No similar object has been spotted for sale since its receipt, and I really don't feel like knitting a replacement that will only be snagged and ruined also. I will sew up the tear, do something with the hanging thread, and probably cry a little. I do not feel that this is a small tragedy.

B: One of my dresser drawers, not at all beloved but it is sort of important to me that I keep using the dresser for another couple of years, until I can afford to buy myself a real bedroom suite. I have acquired wood glue, hoping that it will help, but it isn't looking good. Why did the metal fastener let go? Why?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Phew. Crazy week is over. I am surrounded by nothing but piles of dishes and laundry, clear tables and floors but dusty rugs, and absolute silence. I indulged in some serious retail therapy to keep my Happy Place in view, but it's all wonderful stuff on incredible discounts. Now, I have to figure out how to live again: what to eat and when, when to work, when to exercise, when to knit. All of this was completely irrelevant for six days.

Picked up the clapotis again. I am now on the final hank of yarn, doing the last two repeats before I start decreasing. Sounds like I will finish it just in time for the start of the Knitting Olympics... or maybe early enough to get in a few repeats on the Embossed Leaves socks.

Laundry. I have to do laundry. All of my jammies are there.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Today I was away from home for ten hours in a row. I know this would not be news for most people, but it is for me. I am really beat. Really, really beat. Work has kicked up a notch for the next few days, so I will not be knitting much and not blogging much.

So much time away from home does afford some opportunities to knit one's "travel" project though, and I have completed the toe and done half of the chart for the Embossed Leaves socks. Lace knit on every row makes me kind of giddy. The pattern is simple. It almost makes me think that I might *like* to knit lace... anyway... I consider it to be "training" for the Knitting Olympics (US Lace Team) and a candidate for my Sockapalooza socks.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The clapotis marches on. I am halfway through the second skein. Surely--surely the blogosphere already has its fill of clapotis-in-progress pictures, but I am adding mine to the batch anyway:

Image hosting by Photobucket

I omitted one repeat of increase rows, for fear of running out of yarn. It looks like I am going to end up with a plenty long shawl, though. So, yay. The Artyarns Handpaint Stripes is beautiful, but knitting with it a little has taught me some things about it. Mostly, it is incredibly tightly spun, so knitting with it is kind of like knitting with twine, and the resulting fabric is knobbly and not smooth. The yarn itself is quite buttery, it just doesn't mesh into a luscious smooth surface the way other merino yarns I've knit with do. This yarn is a great choice for clapotis, but I am not sure I would want, for instance, a sweater made out of it.

In other news, the clapotis is too big to take places, so I let myself start a sock. Yay. It will be the Embossed Leaves socks from the most recent IK, but stubbornly done *my* way, toe-up, with Turkish cast-on and short row heels. By the way... there is something you should know about JaWoll...

Image hosting by Photobucket

The skeins all have buns in the oven. Spools, actually. Of matching reinforcement yarn. I had heard this rumor somewhere, so when I couldn't pull the end out of the center, I had to go excavating to extract it. I was *so* glad my office door was closed--I feel so obscene when I do things like that.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

After being crazy about pink and green and brown all Summer/Fall and into the Winter, I am now going crazy over robins-egg-blue and brown. Isn't it sooo pretty? Isn't it sooo fresh? I am wearing such a blue tshirt under such a brown lace and cables sweater, today. I even took a picture of myself but... alas... no amount of editing could get rid of the saddlebags, so it was sent to the recycle bin. I have, however, ordered yarn to match my new obsession: three skeins of Speed Demon Sock Yarn from Sweet Georgia Yarns in the colorway "River," which I have seen knit up on her blog and on others and it's just toooo fabulous. So there.

I am one skein into my poor clapotis, have dropped three lines of stitches, and need to wind the next hank to continue. Somehow, I cannot get myself into a winding state of mind. Instead of winding, I took myself out for a little shopping trip and bought the glass beads to go on the hat pattern that Grumperina is promising to release soon. Go look at the one she knit. Isn't it great? Love it. Almost makes me want to get rid of my own ever-present bun, so that I could wear hats.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Knitting Olympics are on, and I am in. I will use up the twee pink-and-green Supermerino pictured below, in dramatic dappled sunlight, to knit the largest Flower Basket shawl it allows. The challenge? I will have other obligations that eat up significant amounts of time on some of the days, and also, I have serious ADD problems with lace charts. But I feel pumped up! I am ready!

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Maybe I should have joined the Knitting Special Olympics?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

When scandalized by the amount of trouble they cause as adults, we often look back longingly on how sweet they were as children... thus is my state of mind regarding Lara. She was a very sweet baby, indeed.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Less than three balls of CashSoft DK on size 6 needles, "Ribbed Jacket" from Special Knits by Debbie Bliss. Note that the pattern is written for Aran gauge, so I followed the instructions for the largest size and ended up with a sweater that is approximately the dimensions of a medium size, somewhere between six months and one year, which is precisely what I wanted. Ted models the sweater like a good sport, though it's very much too big for him and the collar has to be folded over like a shawl.

And we have moved on to brighter things: clapotis!

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Monday, January 16, 2006

Life is very good today. It is so warm that I have windows open! Fresh air! Aaahhhh!

This morning at the grocery, I finally gave in to my age-old urge to buy lots of the pickled/marinated/brined vegetables in bottles, and brought home artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, kalamata olive tapenade, and pesto--and also roasted turkey breast and fontina cheese, and Greek pita. With these ingredients I plan to make a neverending variety of paninis. I have tried already, and the experiment is good. Tasty and easy and surprisingly filling. When my mother and my aunt and I were in Venice, we found a little bakery where I insisted on buying some panforte, then we grabbed paninis and lemon soda at a little kiosk close to our hotel, and we took it all the deliciously air-conditioned hotel room. It was just wonderful, and I've always wanted to try making panforte since then... and find a place to buy Italian lemon soda (honestly, I'm sure I haven't found them because I don't really look)... and figure out how to make similarly good paninis. I did try a couple of recherche experiments, by filling the bread with a mixture of cubed fontina, chopped olives, and roasted garlic. It was not right at all. But this--just taking the straightforward approach and mixing and matching--has so far proved extremely satisfactory. I toast the panini in my big skillet, with my small skillet sitting on top to provide the weight. I do not need a fancy panini press.

And, the really good part of today: it is a national holiday, right? There is no mail delivery, right? Ahhhh, but for private carriers. The squirrels actually alerted me to the package. I sat down at my desk here, in my work room, which is at the front of the house, and there was a big commotion outside. I stood up to try to see exactly what kind of animals were making those startling sounds, and when I turned my head to look towards my front porch, voila! Two big fluffy squirrel tails attached to two cheeky squirrels who were actually sniffing at *my* package.
Inside is the ArtYarns Handpaint Stripes and, oh! How happy it has made me!

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The red colorway is just the most gorgeous yarn I have ever seen in my life. Really. The color is deep and rich and glowing and sexy and the yarn is *so* soft. I have not ever seen Axelle's handpainted cashmere in real life, but this yarn--*this* yarn is a 10 out of 10 in my book, I cannot imagine better, I no longer need Axelle. It is soft and lustrous and dyed very richly. Oh, bliss. I threw a scarf around my neck and ran outside, to go to my LYS to buy some really *nice* size 8 needles and cast on for my clapotis. Then I remembered that the LYS (perennially unhelpful) is closed on Mondays. I swore and went back inside to write this entry.
The sunny and not-biting-cold weather has also inspired me to begin thinking about what I am going to knit this summer. After being confused by the stash in my work room, which did not contain rather a lot of summer yarn that I *knew* I had, I remembered--some months later--that my coffee table has storage and that once upon a time, I put some yarn there. Aha. There we have it. The second attempt at my One Skein Wonder Shrug, which is actually going to take five skeins, as well as cotton yarn.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Image hosted by Photobucket.com Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Top left: Three balls of Sockotta sock yarn. Yes, the same kind of stuff I just knit the Out Of Season Socks from. But isn't it exciting? Isn't it great?

Top right: Teeny tiny little yarn for the "wash bag" from Sarah Dallas's Knitting. It will match my bathroom, which has blue-and-white porcelain things sitting around.

Lower left: Yarn bought to knit the hot water bottle cover, also from Knitting. Inspired when Jane knit one, I think. Rather late to be knitting a hot water bottle cover even now. Rather late to be using hot water bottles, actually, on the scale of decades, since electric heating pads are so well established...

Lower right: My favorite. Rowan Handknit Cotton to make the Vintage Camisole designed by Artisokka. It's going to be *lovely* on me after I lose those twenty pounds... tee hee.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

I went on a trip, and I took knitting with me. The particular knitting was the Fishtail Lace sock, still the first one. The idea was that with nothing more interesting to work on, I was bound to make progress there. Wrong. I did one pattern repeat and that was all. Why am I having so much trouble with these socks? Hm? I absolutely love the yarn--it's one of the loveliest shades of koigu I have ever seen. I think it is the pattern that is the problem. I am knitting a lace row every other row, for a total pattern repeat of six rows (three lace, three plain). This is too scrunched together. It needs to have two plain rows between every lace row. As it is, the socks look sort of like... ankylosaurus skin. They look reptilian. They are also going to be pretty baggy. In short, they will not be entirely successful.

And speaking of Not Entirely Successful, I got Lara seamed up enough to try her on, and the TROLLOPE is too small! The sleeves are the right length and the hem, if it had the curl pressed out, might be an acceptable length, but I cannot close the thing across my chest at all. I could let it hang open, but that isn't the POINT. I bought three pins to wear with that sweater, and they've been mouldering in my limoges box all these months it's taken me to get the little tart knitted up, and now she won't close across my chest. Wailing. Gnashing of teeth. Steely, determined anger as I order a lot of yarn that we hope will knit up at the *proper* gauge--no more of this DK nonsense, no sir!--and prepare ourselves to knit her AGAIN, this time in the largest size and at proper gauge.

Aaauuuuggghhh. Hate it. I haven't yet managed to knit a garment that I would wear out of the house. And I don't have any pictures to show you, either, because I haven't made any progress (I am a bad, bad knitblogger, and I don't deserve the four subscribers I have). I'm sorry. I don't even have yarn porn for you, because out of that wooooonderful order I made nearly two weeks ago, all that has arrived is my least favorite of the sock yarns--yes, just ONE ball of sock yarn, and ZERO hanks of the Artyarns. The new Lara yarn from Elann, on the other hand, is here in its entirety.

I'm going to go sulk over Baby Lara, now. I do hope *that* pattern works out.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Does this look like a fishtail lace sock to you?

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

No, it doesn't look like one to me, either. It looks a lot more like the baby version of Lara, by Debbie Bliss, from her book Special Knits... and oh yes, being knit at DK gauge instead of Aran. I really have to face that problem of mine head-on, some day.

The yarn is Rowan Cashsoft Baby (DK weight) in a lovely sage green, being knit on size 6 needles. I am following the directions for the largest size, which is coming out to the measurements of the 6-9 mos. size. Lovely. And fast! And it looks like I might have a ball of yarn left over, even. Three cheers!

By the way, Koigu is on sale for $8.80 here:

Monday, January 09, 2006

I have a new FO for you, today: my mother's socks, dubbed the Out Of Season Socks. They are knit of Lana Grossa Meilenweit Cotton Fantasy, which is a distinctly summery yarn, in colorway #801, which is distinctly beachy-peachy. In January? In the Midwest? It felt extremely odd to be knitting them, let me just say that, and I am hungry to get back to proper, stretchy, springy, soft and lovely wool. I am back on the Koigu fishtail lace socks, now.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Poor Lara has not undergone much seaming since we last checked in with her. I sewed up one sleeve and when I got to the body seam, was stumped. All I have to do is look it up in Vogue Knitting, but somehow, I've had more interesting things to do. The truth is that I have Fear Of Finishing: first, I hate seaming knit garments and can't do but four inches at a time and even that gives me a pounding headache. Second, I feel so sure that she will be too small for me, all measurement aside.

Amelia Raitte (http://autoscopia.com/amelia/) has won an award for having a lovely blog, which she does. And she knits the most lovely things, too. When I grow up I want to be Amelia.
Do Not Buy Cherry Tree Hill Sock Yarn

Jane is having a lot of trouble both with the yarn and with customer service, there. Read a post that encapsulates the whole sad saga here:


I am itching to whip up a blogworldwide campaign to punish CTH for their trespasses, but I don't quite know how to start. Making a button for people to post on their blogs? Just say NO? It's the sort of thing that has to be taken up by a lot of people relatively quickly. I *did* get one comment on my last post (someone's reading! someone's reading!), but somehow a minority of two doesn't seem like it'll quite do, either.

Anyway. I'm not buying any more of their yarn.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

I have nabbed the pictures of all the yarn I have on order, to post them here so they can be admired by all. I do hope the places I nabbed them from don't mind.

First, my order of Trekking XXL sock yarn, from theknitter.com:

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Image hosted by Photobucket.com Image hosted by Photobucket.com

And second, my order of ArtYarns Handpaint Stripes from yarn.com:

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Friday, January 06, 2006

The twelfth day of Christmas ends tonight--so saith Pepys.

And Lara is all knitted up. Here she is, spread-eagled, waiting to be seamed:

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

One wonders if she will fit. One really wonders. She looks quite suspicious, right now, but there's nothing to do but sew her up and try her on. If she doesn't fit, she'll just be given to a smaller person, and that's all there is to it. No sense crying over spilt alpaca.

Very nearly to the heel of the second sock for my mother. I have lost the yarn tag, but it is German yarn, and one of those cotton/wool/nylon blends. I'll photograph the socks when they're finished of course.

I also bought sock yarn, today, continuing an extremely naughty trend of ignoring all my New Year's Resolutions. I was pointed to http://www.claudiasblog.net/ , which has just posted the most delicious sock confections I've seen in a long time--neapolitan-striped socks. I must have. The same stripey pattern also came in pink-green-brown-white, which I had to have, and then there are the famous slow single-ply gradations that Trekking XXL is known for, so I had to have a ball of that too--in pink and green. So, pfffffft. At least the-knitter.com doesn't charge shipping, hip hip hooray. I think I will make Jaywalker socks with at least one of them.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Well, my de-stashing resolution has been shot to heck. I just ordered three skeins each of two colorways in ArtYarns "handpaint stripes" yarn, which is new for Spring 2006! This yarn is too cool--their usual worsted-weight merino, but it knits up in stripes of a solid color, and of a handpainted melange. It is just tooooooo beautiful; do go have a gander:


Isn't it just luscious? And it is the right weight to knit proper clapotis... which I shall definitely do with at least one of the two. Phew. I can finally unravel the start I made with Koigu (all wrong--allllllll wrong) and do something proper with *that* yarn. I am so happy. I could pop.

I am also going batty about the pile of little handpainted baby sweaters at Two'>http://two_pointy_sticks.blogspot.com/">Two Pointy Sticks. That's what got me looking at ArtYarns. I am nuts to knit baby sweaters; but for a June baby? And unwashable wool on a baby in general? Eeennhhh... well maybe not. Poop. I could knit such a pile of sweaters just as an artistic object. How about that?

I am almost finished with the knitting on Lara, t'ol' trooper t'ol' doll. Just a cuff to finish. Then I get to SEAM. Aaiiiiiiiieee!!!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Here I present to you the Safe Asset scarf, knit with four skeins of Noro Kureyon color 138 on size 8 needles; 44 stitches across in K4P4 ribbing.

Does anyone get the joke in the name? "Safe asset" is used a pronounciation guide for "Kaffe Fassett." And the colors in the scarf are exactly the colors he uses. So there.

I am now very bored with knitting scarves, for a while. I have too many of them, they are neither interesting nor mindless knitting (the ribbing irritates me, and the back-and-forth), and I have too many other things on the needles and waiting in the wings: that pair of cotton socks for my mother, Lara, the Trinket scarf, and Koigu fishtail socks... and *then*. Then we start Knitting Vintage Socks.