Archive for January, 2008

gust

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

second in the little nothings scarf series, this weightless rectangle of alpaca and silk wards off a sudden chill or tames the hair on a windy drive or walk.
later, it magically folds away into a pocket or bag for another time.

shown here in ball and skein arequipa laceweight alpaca/silk, colorway atlantic. kit available at ball and skein

olive jade stick pin by designs by romi

to purchase pattern only, or view complete pattern information, please click here to visit the scarf page in our pattern shop.

kudos to jocelyn and carrie who test knit the pattern with relish, and to our dear rachel for proofreading (she’s SO good at it) and making it perfect.
what would we do without them??

rrr-r-r-RAWR

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

tiger rules.
sorry about the whining yesterday . . i’m much happier today being back on tiger for the time being. thank you to everyone who sent suggestions for dealing with leopard; we will continue to sus out solutions for the problems we have with it and i feel confident that someday, i’ll try it again.

but for now it feels good to be home, so to speak.

i didn’t get a whole lot of knitting done yesterday for all the juggling, but i do have progress pictures of the snow shawl, which is growing steadily.

it’s still blobby-looking and about half of the finished rows are folding underneath, but here you can see the beginnings of a wonderful snowflake-go-round. here’s a shot of it with some light coming through

i am at the halfway point in terms of the number of rows, which means that i have about one-third of the knitting done (the rows get geometrically longer as we go; in fact, i am probably not even one-third through the knitting but i am opting for denial here).

i now have a nice progression from larger to smaller motifs in place from the center outward and am about to start a band of allover tiny snowflakes which i like to think of as the blizzard section.

i need to do some charting work today in order to continue, and i’m hoping to make good progress on that before i need to leave for classes this afternoon.

next time i photograph it i will probably be changing to the longer needle—the stitches are starting to get quite crowded on the 24-inch one. at that point i should be able to get some nice shots of the opened-up piece to show you.

i also started the gale stole in anne’s cormo/angora artisan yarn (see my link?? my working link?? i can copy and paste today and all is well.).

mmmm.

this is gonna be pretty. it’s so soft, and the gauge i chose to work in will make it quite sheer. thanks for all the feedback on the swatches, BTW—i had already made my decision and started work using the smaller motif on the larger needles, but it’s always nice to hear what you think.
i know lots of you like the tighter swatch, but i promise it will be pretty.

we got some decent photos (as opposed to the indecent ones i know you love) the other day of the gale scarf in judy’s delicious arequipa silk/alpaca. here’s a little taste

judy will be offering kits on her site in a variety of color choices; as soon as she has that ready we will release the pattern along with a whole bunch of other photos.

what? you want to know about that gorgeous stick pin, which happens to be the perfect thing for this scarf?
it’s by rosemary, of course—one of the selections in her sticks n stones collection. (oh dear. i just went over there and saw another one i like too. that aventurine teardrop. good thing it’s out of stock or i’d be abandoning you to buy it)

what else is new? since the lady cardigan socks are done, done, done, i pulled out the last of the languishing socks to finish it up.

can you believe i haven’t finished this? it has been right at this very point since before christmas. but then, christmas knitting ensued and it kinda got lost in the shuffle. i blush to say it, but it even became sort-of a background note in my “knitting still life” (that would be the pile of half-finished ideas and WIPs that graces the side table at my end of the sofa in the TV room).

suddenly the other day it registered with me that this half-finished sock had been sitting there for ages and i was horrified to realize i hadn’t given it a thought. at all. in months.

that’s all gonna change now; i’m taking it to class tonight and if i don’t finish it up completely in those six hours, i will during monday’s classes.

ok, now time to get to those charts before is have no time left.

the spotted cat can take a flying leap

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

ok, before i give you my technology sob story of the week, you might want to go to interweave knits and take a look at the spring preview. scroll down to the bottom and there just might be something there you’ll enjoy . . . .
i’d give you a link but i can’t. you’ll have to read about that after you’ve been.

i think i mentioned last week that i got a new computer.
which we love.

the new OS though—leopard—well that’s a a different story. it is not playing nice with the computer OR with a lot of essential software. heh. like the printer driver. and mail.

ok, now i know i have had my own issues with the printer, but really, i do depend on it a lot and most of the time we get along fine. but leopard?? no way.
leopard is NOT going to get along with it. or with photoshop, acrobat, or even my document folders. sigh.

for instance, right now, i cannot copy and paste, which means that for this post i cannot make links (sorry dudes, i’ll try to put them in later if i can). that’s sort-of important, wouldn’t you say? i also can’t drag icons anywhere or open files a lot of the time.

poor david has spent an inordinate amount of time assessing, diagnosing, and tinkering with things to get it all up and running smoothly.
and i (not being worth a hoot in this department) helpfully stand there saying periodically, “can’t we just reinstall tiger?”

all that to say that i don’t have many photos for today; i managed to edit a few last night and load them to the server, but then today i can’t seem to export from photoshop (even though i could yesterday??).

so, ok, let’s talk about knitting . . . it’s so much more fun.

i spent some time on sunday swatching for gale which is the stole spawn of the newest little nothing scarf, gust.

the cormo/angora laceweight that anne sent is a lot different form the silk/alpaca blend that judy furnished for the scarf. it’s a bouncy, higher-twist laceweight that wants to knit up more like a fingering weight, even though it is the diameter of most laceweights.

i had already decided that the motif for the stole should be enlarged from the one i used in the scarf, to improve the impact of the overall fabric.
then, i tried the yarn on several different needles sizes to get just the right amount of sheerness, which i would like to maintain, even with the yarn being a bit denser.

this is the first swatch of the enlarged motif on size 8 needles. the fabric is sheer and weightless, which i like, but the motif seems gigantic. so i tried the same motif on size 7 needles to see how much that would reduce the size, and what effect it would have on the density of the fabric

the size was more to my liking and the fabric, though more compact, is still sheer, though not as sheer. interestingly, the increased consistency of the tighter fabric is also suddenly jumping out as a factor in my decision, which i hadn’t expected.

the devil on one shoulder adores the wavering stitches in the looser fabric, while the angel on the other shoulder feels most smitten with the sharply defined curves in the tighter fabric.

(i don’t know what possessed me to think that i’d have two inner voices that agree.)

knowing that the looser swatch was not an option in that large of a motif, i did a third swatch with size 8 needles, this time reducing the motif size a bit.

i like this one very much . . the motif is not too huge, the fabric is very sheer, and the combination results in an overall delicacy that calls to me.
it will require rewriting the instructions which michelle is already testing for me, but that’s ok; michelle can keep going on hers.

i have to say though, that the definition of the tighter swatch keeps catching my eye. here you can see the size 7 and the new size 8 one side by side.

which one will it be?
i decided to throw it on the table in class last evening to see what the concensus might be.
HAHAHA! consensus. WHAT was i thinking??

actually, while last night i was very undecided, as i look at the swatches again for the first time today, along with the photos, i know my answer.

thank you for all the lovely compliments on my new sweater. for those that asked, i swear, i am working toward patterns for the sweaters.

it’s a funny thing . . . i was telling katinka today in email that when i first started thinking about “coming out” as a designer, it was mostly my arsenal of sweater patterns that i planned on marketing, with a little dabble here and there in lace designs. then i fell into the lace deisgn niche so quickly, and the demand has been so overwhelmingly positive, that lace design has come to dominate my workload. for now, at least.

but sweaters are the backbone of the functional knitting i do for myself and our families; it is a rare year that goes by without several sweaters getting completed. and it’s been that way since the year one i was in college.

so really, really i am trying to balance everything, get a system down, and get the ball rolling on that. thanks for being patient and encouraging my sweater design in all ways.

since the tangled ropes crew is done now, i decided to pull another sweateer out that has been patiently awaiting my attention for too long. this is a lighter-weight sweater that will be great in spring and fall.

it’s knit with a discontinued rowan fingering weight yarn, and i have a sweater like it that i used to wear constantly, til it got shrunk in the wash by mistake.

once i pulled it out i could immediately see why this keeps getting put on the back burner, and i don’t know why this didn’t occur to me earlier.
it’s too dark and fuzzy.
normally i work on my personal knitting very late at night, in the TV room. and i just plain can’t see what i’m doing on this piece in there. every row takes forever.

so i’m going to try shifting things around a bit in my workload to see if i can manage some daytime hours for the sweater, while keeping the snow shawl a priority.
because i really like the way the sweater is turning out. it has this crazy-interesting texture stitch and cables, both of which i like a lot.

i did finish my lady cardigan socks, and am thrilled to have them done.

i have one last sock that’s been in limbo for a while, and then i can start a new pair.
in fact, i can start looking at stitch pattern now i think . . . .

mmmm, weekend cooking

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

january is drawing to a close already . . . for a while, it seemed to be dragging and now suddenly it is only a few days to february.
wow. i never even made any resolutions or goals for the coming year.

yesterday . . where did that go? i totally lost any semblance of knitting time, and that’s rare for me. but we had a dinner date with friends for whom i promised to make eggplant parmagiano

and that takes a few hours so i made enough that we could have a pan or two for later (this would look even better if it was bubbling hot, but it’s been in the fridge overnight).

then i taught a class at the library and when i came home we headed to our friends’ home for a wonderfully relaxing evening with them.

i realized by friday that i needed to get some cooking done this weekend as we were getting low on meals to pull from the freezer. so this morning i fired up the stove again and put a pot of black bean stew on to bubble

and i think i’ll try to make one of those easy spinach pies this evening—i made enough crust last time to put one in the freezer and i can just roll that out, fill, and bake. that should get us through the week and put some portions in the freezer for future meals.

readers often ask how i have time to get so much knitting done, and this is one of the ways . . . i don’t waste time on repetitive domestic tasks. if i am setting out to cook, i rarely cook just enough for one meal—that’s almost impossible if one is cooking for just two, anyway (at least for me . . i grew up in a large family, i’ve cooked in restaurants and catering, and small meals just aren’t in my vocabulary). so when i cook, i tend to make two or three big batches of food, portion them out, and freeze some. this makes weeknight dinners a breeze, and ensures that we always eat well.

as with all months i got done more and less than i’d hoped . . . like those socks above. yes i’m almost done, but i’ve been almost done for ages it seems. i think though, that tomorrow during classes i can finish. then i’ll have just one sock languishing on the needles and i’ll try to get that one done during february (hopefully, during the first week of february or so . . .).

otherwise, it has been a pretty productive month, and i’m happy. i’m wearing a new sweater, which i never expected to finish so fast.

i love it, and it’s toasty warm; i’ve hardly taken off during the last few days. the handspun yarn made a lightweight, cozy fabric with plenty of air to trap that real good warm

it’s a simple sweater really, but the cable makes a wonderful, boldly organic statement

placed on all four sides, it invites a close inspection (and even a squeeze or two) without making the wearer feel self-conscious (just ask beckie!)

it has enough shaping to be flattering but enough ease to be truly comfortable. there is one thing i would tweak—i went back into the yoke after ripping the sleeve for a second time and increased the top some more. this was good for the width but added underarm length that i don’t truly need. if i had known ahead, or been willing to rip back a large quanttity of the yoke (i wasn’t), i could have put more increases in a shorter space to solve the issue. here, it’s not enough to be disappointed over, but i would tweak that next time.

it’s a winner for me and my needs; i’m happy to have it off the needles and doing its job. and i am SO going to start another handspun sweater soon.
(oh boy did i need a haircut the day . . but since then i’ve been to renée, and she hooked me up)

and now, i think i have some swatches and a snow shawl calling my name . . . and some shoveling.