Archive for August, 2006

race narrows

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

don’t forget:
1) if you haven’t done so yet, go to my post from sunday and vote for la tricoteuse lanterne rouge (the last remaining knitter), and get into the moth race prize pool again! we’re taking bets til midnight friday, september 1st, so get over there now!

2) don’t forget that 10% of all knitspot pattern sales—not just moth shawl patterns—made on or before August 31, 2006 will be donated to knitters without borders. see catalog in the sidebar for information about what’s available and how to order.
(of course you can donate to this wonderful cause any time at the yarn harlot’s site!)

julia is OUT! go take a look at her shawl off the needles—it’s gorgeous; looks like cognac in candlelight to me!

beth and erin are neck and neck to be the next finishers as far as i can tell, but you never know! daphne is looking strong, but curiously has received very few bets—how should we interpret that? can’t really make predictions on carole or cheryl since they haven’t posted about their knitting (for very good reasons), so they could surprise us all. liz is just not talking about hers, so she could faking us out in grand style too.

at home, i finally decided the shawl MUST be dry after being stretched out on the floor for four whole days, but honestly, i can’t tell any more. i couldn’t stand waiting around to take pictures any longer (i’ve been checking the fabric osessively for two days—i was in danger of wearing a hole in it from petting the fabric).

it was hard to decide what kind of photo everyone might want to see, so i went for pure, up-close, unadulterated, knit porn:

the kind that make you want to dive right into the screen and roll around on the garment

it’s been horribly gray and rainy all week, but i love these pictures! it was even chillly enough today to wear the thing for a bit—just cuz! it has beautiful drape and a silky feel. the color is gorgeous—an ephemeral gray-blue—more blue in some light, and more gray in other light. i love that chameleon quality in it.

i still haven’t tackled anything complex yet this week—sorry!! i am trying to get into the swing of a new and challenging work project, while juggling the wonderful traffic that is coming to me through the blog (all good stuff and everything i have worked hard for—yay!). so that has meant long days at the computer instead of knitting and listening to books.
oh, there may be a bit of sock knitting late, late at night just before bed, but not much

this one is ready for toe shaping after languishing for what seemed like months (that just means i will start the second one and let THAT languish for months! hahaha!). after the first couple of inches, the colors in this sock decided to stubbornly take sides and pool up either on the right or the left.
now, i have really loved lorna’s laces yarn so far, but that worries me. it’s not a big problem on this pair so much (the blotchy patterning works ok in camouflage), but i don’t want that on socks where i expect stripes. it will be interesting to see how another colorway behaves over a different number of stitches (these are 72 sts, mine will be 60 or so).

today i had a doctor’s appointment, and for once i actually had to WAIT on him, so i got some sock knitting done there, too (it’s been a good week for these socks between a couple of phone meetings for work and this appointment . .).

ohio is not like NYC where you sometimes wait for the doctor for hours. usually they take you when you walk in and are very efficient with your time. i always bring a sock in case i have to wait, but i hardly ever get to actually knit on it. today though, i added on about 2 or 3 inches to the brownTreXX—it felt like a big bonus!

and i took the mermaid sox to classes yesterday and knitted a few inches on the them as well, so all three pairs got updated within the 24 hours since you saw them last.
(okay, i got nothin else . . . what’s a blogger to do?)

they really do appear to have a shimmery iridescence. this would be great yarn for pomotomous or whatever the heck that sock is called.

everyone who is anxious for the red skirt pattern can go look in on monica and see the progress of her test knit (melissa is also working hard but is sadly blogless—maybe she can send me a few pictures as she goes so i can keep you updated).

and that is about all i have today!! i took an unintentionally huge nap after work, instead of a short one, so at 11pm i still haven’t started knitting. i am, however, fresh, so i may go ahead and stay up til dawn, working on the spade pattern shawl. i’m seriously leaning toward calling it casino; the spades, the endless night color, the late-night knitting—yeah, i’m thinking casino . . .

i know you’ve missed the socks

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

but before we go there:
1) if you haven’t done so yet, go to my post from sunday and vote for la tricoteuse lanterne rouge (the last remaining knitter), and get into the moth race prize pool again! we’re taking bets til friday, september 1st, so get over there now!

2) don’t forget that 10% of all knitspot pattern sales—not just moth shawl patterns—made on or before August 31, 2006 will be donated to knitters without borders. see catalog in the sidebar for information about what’s available and how to order.
(of course you can donate to this wonderful cause any time at the yarn harlot’s site!)

you thought i was kidding, when i said we’d be back to sox and tomatoes any day now, didn’t you? the nice thing about finishing a big project, is how productive i am for a few days following. just having a chance to move around more makes me want to clear some items off my list!
hmm. which should we look at first? everywhere i turn i see more sock progress! when do i DO that? i’m not very aware of my sock knitting. i do know that last night i sat and worked on a sock just for the peace and quiet of it

no riotous design thoughts running through my head, instigated by the excitement of knitting lace, no jumping up and down 9 or so times to go look for another stitch book (gotta find JUST the right patttern), no tuning out from the TV show because of the trance i get into when i watch the fancy fabrics come off the needles. none of that, just the steady, rhythmic work around the spiral of the sock. it was nice. and yesterday, i got quite a bit done on the mermaid sox too

i just hope carole isn’t sorry she gave this yarn away!

this morning i woke up and decided i HAD to face the mountain of tiny tomatoes that were piling up in bowls all over the kitchen. this was one of the things i’d been ignoring during the final transformation of yarn-into-moth. i can only tell myself they need to be good and ripe for so long before they become good and overripe. julia gave me a great idea for a different way of using them—drying. this appeals to me because i have been looking for a way to use some tomatoes to make paste, without all the cooking and processsing of paste. so while the coffee perked, i starting cutting and laying them flat

but wait! there’s more!

there’s actually even MORE, but i won’t get all silly on you. anyway, that big panful was turned fairly quickly and easily into this

which then fit nicely into an 8-ounce plastic continer. nifty, eh?? and you should taste them. i mean, they were scrumptious before, but now—yowza. they are like organic, veggie smartees—they get you right there in the corners of your mouth. mmm. and just think how they will enhance chili or curry.

no time to watch yarn dry, however entertaining you and i might find that . . . not that it IS drying—the air here is spontaneously spritzing me as i walk through the rooms—it’s that humid.

i worked about 10 hours today on a new project for the job that promises to be . . . er, challenging. let’s just say that by 7 pm, my head hurt and my eyes felt permanently crossed, not to mention the knot between my shoulder blades. this next few months should be interesting.

i took only one break, really, to get pictures! beth is right—we really DO have to start thinking about the time and when we can get good light for snaps!

the japanese feather stole that i am knitting for a shop sample is advancing nicely.

i am using the very same french alpaca that i used for the moth shawl’s contrasting edge bands. the last time i made it i used schaefer anne. this is quite different and i like it! and i’m really glad to be using stash yarn . . .

the rest of the day i plugged away at a test document and wished i could knit. the brownTrexx kept me company, but it was chaste—not once did i touch, stroke, or fondle it (only because i know better, though)

after work i ran out to the very wet garden (it’s been raining here too, finally) to grab a few things for dinner, and was hit with another Big Truth: rain makes vegetables grow. a LOT.

back in the house i ran for baskets and colanders. the pepper plants were bent over almost to the ground under the weight of the peppers. tomatoes were bursting open on the vine all over the place. and i just picked stuff sunday night! i mean, usually, every two days is perfect timing.

this is just some of the haul—what could fit in the camera at one time. i had planned on starting dinner and retiring to knit. hahahaha! HAHAHAHA!
actually, i did mostly just start dinner, but everything had to be washed and put away too.

i thought a nice, torrid vindaloo would be perfect for such a dreary day . . .

oh! and i almost forgot, but the whole time i was washing produce and getting dinner ready, a big MOTH was beating a rhythem agains the window over the sink. and guess what? it was light brown with dark brown stripes at the end of its wings—hahahaha!

lace is magic

Monday, August 28th, 2006

two things before i get started:
1) if you haven’t done so yet, go to my post from sunday and vote for la tricoteuse lanterne rouge (the last remaining knitter), and get into the moth race prize pool again!

here’s a taste of just one of the lovely things you can win; a hank of laceweight mohair fresh from the dye pot. well—ok, i’ll dry it before i send it to the winner.

2) don’t forget that 10% of all knitspot pattern sale—not just moth shawl patterns—made on or before August 31, 2006 will be donated to knitters without borders. see catalog in the sidebar for information about what’s available and how to order.
(of course you can donate to this wonderful cause any time at the yarn harlot’s site!)

ok, enough shilly-shallying! let’s talk about me and my knitting!

normally, by the time 24 hours has passed after completing a shawl, said article is dressed, dry, and posing for the papparazzi. but noooo . . . not this time.

right now, the humidity here is in the 85% range. the sky has been weeping a gray, greasy drizzle all afternoon (that started juuusst after i set out on my bike for home from classes—yay.). yucko.

so all i have is blocking shots, cuz baby ain’t dry. but you can still see how pretty the alpaca knitted up. it felt heavy when i was knitting it, but now that it is stretched a bit and flattened, the fabric is light and drapey. and the stripes at the edge are fast becoming my favorite part!

i did not stretch it to its maximum by any means. in fact, i left some of the bumpiness of the texture in the fabric, because this is definitely a winter shawl to keep warm in. it still has great stitch definition though.

and actually, i hardly used any pins—just a few along the top edge, and then a few near the “tail” which has a lot of extra increasing, and needs a little help. the rest, i just pushed flat with my fingers and eyeballed the evenness everywhere. i like that—that i know it is not perfectly measured-out and pinned exactly so. it still maintains the imprint of “the hand that made it” in its slightly imperfect waviness. like old glass, or hand carving, or handspun yarn.

i had to take pause as i was preparing the photos for today. it seems like i have done this post a lot this year, and sure enough, when i totted it up, this is my eighth shawl/stole since i started the blog in february (not counting the four-seasons one, which i completed last summer and only blocked this year).
interestingly enough, i still get the most response from readers for these lace posts, though one would think they’d get to be a bore after a while. but i’m sure somebody would let me know if that were true.
lace is magic, no?

i’m out

Sunday, August 27th, 2006

i don’t know if you would call this a technical failure, or maybe an equipment failure, or more accurately, a complete failure of judgement, but all in all, it ranks pretty high on my dumb-ass error list. (hmm, which do you think it will be . . .).

as you may remeber, i chose a beautiful alpaca fingering-weight yarn for my moth shawl, which i purchased in paris five years go at la droguerie, where yarn does not have labels, but is hung in heavy hanks, according to fiber and color, along the walls and purchased by the kilo.

this yarn is lovely and is knitting up a treat—just what i had envisioned, and so soft!
well, back to saturday night, there i am knitting away on my fifth repeat of twin lace pattern, enjoying the merry rhythm i am keeping up as i near the last part of the shawl, happy as all get-out, when suddenly i notice this

do you see it? i’m talking about that collapsed corpse of what WAS a huge ball of yarn only hours earlier. i gasped—where had it all gone?? i finished two-thirds of the shawl with the first (and smaller ball). i was certain i had enough to finish with the second ball.

ahem. i hadn’t really counted my yardage beforehand, but i was sure—no, well, not exactly—i was pretty sure i’d had enough.
so i refigured things as i tore out a repeat of twin leaf lace and tried again.

sigh. drat! those tricky shawls, they always start eating up yarn just after you realize you might not have enough. so what did i do?
that’s right! i stayed in denial til the last possible moment, and then had to tear out two repeats of twin leaf again (rows of approx 375 to 425 sts each), in order to refigure the ending part.

i ended up abbreviating the twin leaf to 4 total repeats, then when i tried to make all the way through the corona edging, i ran out again, and had to tear back to end at row 11. PLUS, i had to add a few rows in another color.

this sort of striping at the edge IS, at least, in the shetland tradition. i always wanted to do it on a shawl, but never had a good reason to possibly ruin the look of something

(the stripes can appear to be sort of garish, but they definitely ARE a tradition. (hmm. tradition my foot. we all know where traditions get their starts!)

it’s been soaking for a while now, so i am going to go off and block it. but have i learnt my lesson?? ha! that, indeed is the question.