Archive for March, 2007

we each have something new

Friday, March 30th, 2007

well the lights got hung without a snare yesterday—nobody fell or hurt themselves in any way. in fact, the whole thing was over within an hour. ok, the hour seemed like an eternity, but it was a mere 45 to 60 minutes only.

beth gave the fixture(s) a name i love—the “anti-fixture”. it pretty much describes the way we are handling the whole renovation. we are turning the house into an “anti-colonial”—it looks like an historic colonial, but it isn’t. you’ll see.

today, one of david’s longtime dreams has been fulfilled. today, he is the proud owner of a cabinet table saw. it was delivered to the front curb just a few minutes ago, just at the bottom of the stoop. it was so helpful of them to deliver it there, seeing as it really can’t stay outside like that. it is big and heavy. and needs to be moved to the basement. but first it needs to be moved around the block to the back door.

there he goes.
i wonder how he’s going to get it down the basement steps?
(i wonder how it will up the basment steps if we move some day?? it’s beginning to dawn on me that we may never live in the sleek, low-slung, glass-enclosed midcentury home of my dreams.)

it’s always something with this renovation stuff.

anyway, wanna see my knitting??

in a true turnabout from yesterday’s frenzy of projects, i really only have one thing to talk about today and that is my new shawl. in february i received a beautiful batch of merino/alpaca/silk DK-weight yarn from chris at Briar Rose Fibers. this is Wistful; it’s luscious.

i made a second casino shawl with another of her yarns last fall, which she showed at her booth in rhinebeck. it was so well-received that we decided to collaborate on another one for this year, that she could show on her summer tour of fiber fairs, along with the pattern.

as soon as i saw it, i thought of the “morning glory” stitch from BW2. i love the morning glory pattern—i have knit a couple of scarves from it, but have always wanted to do a shawl. this DK yarn will show off that unusual pattern really well.

i had to fiddle a bit with the accompanying edgings and so forth, but i finally came up with a combination that i like for another rectangle shawl.

it’s something like this, though i have tweaked the bottom part again (and the color in the swatch photo is WAY off—try not to look and judge . . .). it is inspired by this rickety old trellis we have in our yard. i hate that thing, and we do not grow morning glories on it, but we can’t seem to get rid of it either (i think that’s becasue secretly, david likes it). and since it’s there, i look at it, and its image creeps into my knitting.

last night i was finally able to cast on. this should be a fairly quick knit compared to some of the lace pieces i make, due to the heavier yarn, and the fact that it is oh-so-touchable; i can hardly keep my hands off it.

the color is more true in the second photo—the swatch was sitting in bright sunlight which is usually bad for getting nice tones in yarn pictures.

the yarn so gorgeous that i ordered a set of jenkins needles to knit it with (not pictured here). actually, to be truthful, i need a set of size 9s that have better tips than most of the ones i’ve tried, and ed’s needles are perfect for the job. the points are beautifully tapered and can take on any p3togtbl you throw their way. well, you’ll see. they should be here tomorrow or so . . .

oh, and lastly, i have to tell you about a Really Good customer service experience i had at my favorite online bookseller yesterday. i order a lot of books from Overstock.com. sure they charge for shipping, but hell, it’s 2.95 for as many books as you want, and usually, i still get out of there for less than i’d spend at that amazonian online bookseller. you know, the ones that take three weeks or more to deliver their books free?

overstock, is FAST. i mean, really fast. at least, that has been my experience.

so anway, a YEAR ago, i made a little mistake when i ordered a gift and forgot to have it sent to the giftee. so i had to cancel that order and reorder. but the first order came to my house anyway, and i was billed for two of them. overstock gladly took my item back and even sent me a mailing label for it, and they said it was their error.

well, when i was getting ready for taxes this year, i discovered that lo and behold, i had never been reimbursed for the item—my credit card statement showed two cahrges, but no returns.

oh groan, i thought, this is gonna be a real hassle. so, i put it off for a bit. ok, i put it off for over a month.

when i finally called, of course, the nice lady karyl, patiently explained up front hat i would need to supply several pieces of evidence in original form, not photocopy. then she looked at the original order and my account and squealed, “oh wow! this item is still in the system—OMG, i’m actually gonna be able to take care of this right now!”

which she proceeded to do, and with much graciousness. so i told her that i tell my friends about companies that treat me right (like hers). and then she told me she’s been working there SEVEN years, and i was even more impressed. as a person who has been sacrificed many times through the wonders of corporate mergers, i value company-employee loyalty quite highly. so that was the cherry on the sundae for me.

and, they have a great selection of knitting books at good prices. you can’t go wrong.

just another manic thursday

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

ever since i blocked that shawl i’ve been a scattered mess, as far as my fiber affairs are concerned. without a Seriously Big Project to ground me, i have drifted from one meaningless flirtation to another.

debbieKnitter contributed to my debauchery by giving me a beautiful skein of sock yarn

does this remind anyone besides me of the colors in an old celestial map? you know—the ones with the sun-that-has-a-face? i love those.
this yarn is from Mystical Creation Yarns, colorway mother earth; i am unfamiliar with their product, but am going to try it soon—like maybe when i finish this post. it’s really soft and very very beautiful. i can’t figure out how many yards are on this skein or how much it weighs; the tag must’ve gotten lost along the way. from the information on the website, it looks like possibly it is a 4-ounce skein that has 875 yards—wow. so, i could get a really big scarfy shawly thang out of it, OR his ‘n’ hers socks.
hmm.

d’ya think we are the his ‘n’ hers sock types?
(i mean, other than we don’t really care much what goes on our feet and that it could match or not for all we know? i don’t ask him what he has on his feet most days . . .)

and then, there is THIS which does nothing for my security right now

this is our stair hall. what you see is the upper regions. that ladder? the bottom of it is sitting on a weeny little step about halfway up. it is erected so that it slants across thin air 20 or more feet from the bottom floor and rests against a joist for the third floor. that dark blob at the tippety top of the ladder? that’s my beloved husband. right now, he’s not standing on one foot at the edge of the ladder and reaching four feet across to drill something, but he does do that. a LOT.

add the fact that he is up there fooling around with electricity, and i think what you’d have is a recipe for a wife-ulcer. this behavior makes me excessively nervous and unable to concentrate. i keep moseying through hall to peek, and then running away asking myself WHY i did that. (shudder). i can hardly stand this.

he’s hanging very simple light fixtures with very beatiful bulbs in lieu of chandelier. which i appreciate.
he has a knack for doing just the right simple thing that makes our home unique.
i just don’t want one of our home’s “unique” features to be a big splat mark on the hall floor.

i’m sure you understand.

so my knitting projects this week have been wide-ranging and varied, since i can only focus on any one thing for a short amount of time.

luckily, yesterday i had classes and escaped the house for a while. in fact, it was a good sunny day with a strong north wind, and my ride over was brisk enough to shake off most of that anxiety.

i finished one blue sock and started another

and made plans to go the the Yarn Harlot event in cleveland on saturday with some yarn shop buddies (we might eat sushi too!). i have my hat ready to bring and picked up one from susan, who can’t make it, but brought hers to class.

hers is the cute green one and mine is the one that looks like a popover. it’s cute too, when it’s on.
i am SO looking forward to attending this event. i’m bringing the tree scum socks to knit on during the talk (just look at them glow),

and the blue ones as well, in case i have trouble concentrating on the “bark” patten while listening
(the fact that i have issues with narrowing down my travel knitting even for day trips does not bother me in the least . . .).

i knit a bit on the pink ragg sox during a phone meeting yesterday

(see? all this knitting and it’s just bits and pieces—nothing really getting done)

i struggled some more with the software i bought, which in don’t have a picture of, thankfully. it was not going very well. then i had a brilliant idea.
i read the manual.
and you know what? there’s a LOT of good information in there. it cleared up several questions i had. unfortunately, it also sparked about 147 more questions, but i have enough now to work with, and actually made some headway.

the fact that this software upgrade is causing me all sorts of struggles and delays is duly noted and entered in my personal book of grievances. but in public, i’m sucking it up—waddaya gonna do?

with no new shawl to work on (yet), i turned to an old WIP for comfort

it’s a sweater i started, i dunno, last year, and it really deserves more attention. especially because it is a nice lightweight one, that i can wear in spring and fall. we’ll see how long this lasts . . . after all, i am officially done swatching for the Briar Rose shawl (after many, many swatching-and-ripping sessions) and will be able to get that on the needles tonight. yay! (i’ll show you the final swatch tomorrow).

i have several joint shawl projects lined up for the coming months. once the briar rose one is on the needles, i’ll start planning the one that i’m going to do with deb’s new merino laceweight yarn. i have the rubicum colorway and i’m lookig forward to knitting with it.

i haven’t decided on the stitches yet; but i have a few ideas floating around in my head.
(ok, i’ll come clean here. when i took this yarn out to photograph it, i treated myself to a little squeeze. let’s just say . . . there’s no such thing as a “little squeeze” of this stuff . . . )

i’m also going to work with anne on a design to go with her hand-dyed yarn, for a kit which she will be selling in her online shop. i have a very specific design that i’m trying to find the right color for, and anne is working on dyeing it for me (how special do I feel??).

today i received the samples from her first pass

aren’t they pretty? can you guess which ones i liked best? i’ll tell you more about that tomorrow, too.

for now, there’s this . . .

spring is popping out all over.

morning glory blue

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

some secret spinning i worked on last month. i got a whole lotta yardage from a 10-ounce batch of this superwash merino roving sent to me last summer from deb, with a note saying she was sure she ruined it and not going to attempt THAT sort of dyeing for a long while . . .

just to prove that she she should trust her talents with roving more, i spun it up. and spun. and spun some more. there is plenty here for a shawl in fingering weight and i sent deb a big hank for socks that was spun just a little tighter.

she’s talking about knitting one of my sock pattens from it . . . how cool is that?

and not only that, but i have a similar amount of a deep, luscious cherry red that i’m planning on spinning next . . . with a strand of silk. mmmm.

an now for the stuff that isn’t starlight . . .

Monday, March 26th, 2007

oooh—i’m pretty excited. some new books came today.

i’ve been hoping that one on the right would arrive in enough time to bring it to the book signing this weekend. i love overstock.com—they are fast and efficient. the book launch was thursday and i have my book today. i had hoped to go to the NYC launch, but last week we’d just gotten back from new york and i had a mountain of stuff here still to get through. but stephanie’s coming out our way this weekend and i am SO gonna go. yay!

i’m also very pleased to have here the sequel to sensational socks by charlene schurch. another good sock reference book. these two went right up to the end of the sofa, where they wait for me to flop later on for a read-through. i also have a vogue knitting magazine that came while i was gone which i still have not gotten a chance to crack open.

there was a time when that would have been an impossibility, when i wouldn’t have been able to get my coat off before needing to flip through vogue, having waited for months just to get the next one in my mailbox. well, it WAS my only magazine for years, til interweave got started. i guess i’ve just gotten spoiled by the plethora of print material available now . . . but i’m not cutting back any time soon. i can do without buying yarn, but not without some good knitting books.

speaking of not buying yarn, i’m doing extremely well on knitting from my stash. i haven’t even thought about getting yarn. fiber, i’m not so good at resisting apparently (see last month’s crown mountain farms acquisitions, and the booty from my trip to SPA . . .).

however, i am in need of some black mission falls 1824 wool. my nephew wants a hat specifically in that yarn, in black. my LYS is out of black. i was thinking that if any of you had some you would like to trade, that would make sense. i need a little more than one ball, so one whole one and one partial one, or two whole ones would work. heck, i’d settle for just one. let me know.

oh, and hey everyone, my friend laura, is having a little drawing to give away an adorable baby sweater. go to her blog, Fiber Dreams, and check it out! laura is also the mastermind behind the Red Sweater KAL—it only exists because of her hard work!

debbieKnitter is also having a contest and she’s giving away cashmere, so get thee to her blog.

so sunday evening i worked on a swatch for a new shawl using some briar rose DK yarn that is luscious. it’s a merino/alpaca/silk blend. can you say i’mayarnwhoreforagoodreason?
anyway, i settled on an old favorite stitch, one that i have used in a couple of things for myself, but never in a published pattern. and i think this yarn deserves a really beautiful stitch.

it would be a gorgeous rectangle shawl, but i’m gonna still see if i can easily work out the triangular shaping; i just have a feeling i’d love it as a triangle, but this pattern is a doozy—it has no center and that spells trouble for triangle designs . . .

late at night i worked on these

ah, glow of the algae.
now, i know that there is a large contigent out there which is lobbying for renaming the socks something besides “tree scum”. however, i noticed that the i’m-for-tree-scum crowd gained momentum later in the day. and i’m thinking that this is a chance to elevate tree scum, you know?? erase the stigma.

yes, dear, i really DO spend time thinking up these arguments.