Archive for March, 2011

let’s try this again

Monday, March 28th, 2011

i just couldn’t leave home without a lemon meringue pie success.
i know—i’m unexpectedly obsessive, almost rigidly so, in regard to this pie.

for most people this would not exactly be top ‘o the list for urgent things they MUST take care of before leaving home for 21 days

but loose ends are loose ends and sometimes i just get a bee in my bonnet to tie them all up. plus, i had lemons in the house, a crust in the freezer, and my knitting class was coming over today—i know they love their afternoon treats.

mmmmm.
many thanks to my friend nathalie (check out her new leaving) for supplying a good, working recipe. this is one i’ll go back to again; i love the way it’s constructed. i did add more lemon juice and zest after tasting the work in progress (reduce the water to compensate), which was met with sound approval by my knitting class.

which brings me to class projects

maureen and anne showed up with brand new sweaters, the freezing weather this week affording them one last round of sweater love for the year.

and though kris knits in the wednesday night class, i have a picture of her newest FO as well—a lovely vintage sweater for helena from a rowan book several years back. the persnickety finishing work in this piece nearly drove her over the edge, but she persevered and conquered it. just look at how lovely it is.

i’m going to miss my weekly classes when i’m gone!

speaking of going . . .

i got everything packed yesterday and WOW, what a difference that makes—today has been a breeze compared to my usual pre-travel day. i’ve actually been quite productive, having gone to an appointment, made a pie, got about halfway through a new pattern, held a class, and now blogging.
i even showered, haha.

the pattern i’m working on is for the eliza neckwarmer and scarf. i started the neckwarmer the other night and plan to take it along as travel knitting; it will make a nice totable project.

and here’s a little up-close view of the elephants on parade bag that i bought from michele last week; isn’t it adorable? i love the lining . . . more elephants.

the other night i moved the wasp and rose to a longer needle and since my phone was sitting right there, i took some craptastic phone pictures of it while it was spread out a bit between the two needles.

while i am getting a lot done on it this week, i know now why i rarely get anything accomplished with it while traveling; i have to concentrate see the stitches and read the charts in the best of light, and hotels hardly ever offer bright enough light for that. so it sits in my bag, unattended.

that said, you can guess that it won’t be coming along on this trip (pout). much as i’d like to say that i’ll work on it, i probably won’t. but i will promise to work on the pattern so that when i return, i’ll be in good shape to finish it up.

i’m going to miss david while i’m gone, but i have to say, i won’t miss this

that used to be our bedroom ceiling; now it’s a pile of refuse in the back yard, waiting to be put into a dumpster. just look at that black and blue stripe wallpaper—that used to be on our ceiling (and when we moved in, on all the walls as well).
can you spell D-E-P-R-E-S-S-I-N-G?

and i won’t miss this either

this is our main bathroom, being prepared for demolition. this bath connects to our bedroom and is awfully handy (but not in this condition, of course, though the toilet is still working).

it is the next job on his list and he would have started it immediately after finishing the bedroom, but he’s been doing some urgent work for knitspot. and since i was home for just a bit, it made sense to hold off til i’m gone again (at least, it makes sense to me; i hate messes, except the ones i make).

once i fly off, he can tear into it to his heart’s content.

speaking of which, i’ve got to get up at o’golly o’clock in the morning so i’m going to end now. we’ve got lots of nice things planned for you while i’m traveling, not the least of which will be travel blogs. but also a couple new patterns and a couple surprises. i’m leaving home, but you can’t get rid of me that easily; see you on the other side.

here today, gone tomorrow . . .

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

in no time, it seems, i am once more making lists, tying up loose ends, and frantically gathering stuff into piles to prepare for another long trip. tomorrow is my packing day, because i’ll be too busy on monday to do it. tuesday is travel day, on a flight so early that i’ll be in the furthest reaches of the pacific northwest in time for morning coffee (shudder).

i’m heading off to camp, where i’ll be involved in all sorts of shenanigans for almost a week. then i’m dashing to dallas, where i’ll teach at the shabby sheep and the DFW fiber fest and—yes there’s more—david is meeting me on the last day and we’re driving together to austin to visit the texas hansons, then teach at hill country weavers (who have filled classes like nobody’s business; we added more and still, just a few spots left!)

but even before that, i’m meeting up with our very good friend karolyn and the dynamic duo, janel and cookie to knock about seattle for a couple days. i’m sure sushi will be involved, even if cookie and i have to sneak out in the middle of the night to eat it.

i just know that we’re going to get a bunch of emails asking about these adorable and very well made projects bags by michele at 3 bags full. click here to find more like them, but maybe not exactly like them. you can also put in a request and michele will do her best to make your wish come true.

this one is the new larger sweater project bag which is roomy enough for a bunch of yarn and sweater pieces too. i love it and since i’ve got several sweaters on the needles at the moment, it comes in very handy for transporting at least one of them.

and there is knitting today too—WHAT? yes, it’s true; i have swatched almost all i’m going to before i leave (well, there might be one more if a certain skein of yarn arrives in time) and have moved on to the production stage with several projects.

remember those adorable whitfield shorties i knit for our nephews for christmas? it turned out that chris’s wonderful superwash worsted was not going to work out, but never fear, good yarn and great yarnies are always at the rescue.

we juggled the lineup a bit and our dear friend kim from the woolen rabbit stepped in to provide an bundle of her new superwash worsted, frolic for the project in colorway jungle book, a mix of cheerful green, turquoise, and gold.

and we’re using one of chris’s great yarns, fourth of july, for the pullover version of david’s cable and rib christmas sweater (which we were originally going to knit in kim’s yarn).

she dyed up this gorgeous deep brown colorway, which barb took home the other night to knit the sample, as a special help to me. we will bring you updates on her work as we can. you know barb though; she’ll probably have it all done before we can take progress photos, haha.

the pattern will have a cardigan option included and since i started some sleeves for the pullover a while back in the original yarn yarn, i decided to move ahead with that this week as a cardigan. so i’m now happily knitting away in a gorgeous batch of woolen rabbit grace, colorway scottish heather.

that way, i’ll have one of each. the nice thing about these yarns is that gauge wise, they are fairly interchangeable; there are lots of options for substituting in this pattern. and did i mention it will be sized for both men and women, too? yeah, we like flexibility.

and, i’m happy to report also, that i have been getting reacquainted with wasp and rose and am enjoying every minute of it

we’ve had several nice, long evenings of good work together at the end of this week; i couldn’t be more at peace with it. i still need to finalize the hem and work up one last chart, but it’s moving along again, for sure.

the rows though, are getting mighty long; i need to dig up a longer needle in that size (which is tiny). i think i have one, i just have to locate it. and if i don’t, i need to add it to the list of stuff to pick up while i’m visiting yarn shops next week.

another reason it looks like i’m just now settling into some good, steady knitting for the week, is that i have a secret project on the go that i’ve been putting a lot of time into.

of course i can’t show you much of the piece, but i want to share the yarn, which is another wonderful fiber blend from kollage. here we have 1/2 N 1/2, a fingering weight wool/milk blend in colorway burlywood. i’m absolutely smitten with it as an option for summer knits; it’s light and pleasant to knit with and makes a beautiful next-to-the-skin fabric.

to end, how about an update on david’s knitted wrap project?

i find his work ethic so impressive—he picks it up every night while we watch TV and knits for at least a half hour, if not longer. and boy, does consistency ever pay off—you should see it up close. from hem to needle, it’s the map of a journey that just gets better and better, for sure. i will be SO very honored to wear it (i’m wearing the scarf he made me right now; it’s cold here again).

right now, i would say that the piece is about 40 inches long (ish). he’s probably more than halfway there . . .

ok, it’s a beautiful day here and i think i’ll head out for a walk. i might take a nap first; i could use it. whatever . . . i’ll try to be back one more time on monday before i take off and for sure i’ll be back with plugs from the road. maybe we’ll try for very short daily posts this next few weeks . . . if i can keep my chatter trimmed down, i dunno.

a quick thursday treat

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

some of you may recognize these—i’ve been checking every day to see if they were up, but until today, no show. then, on this cold, colorless morning i looked out the kitchen window and saw rows of 5-inch sprouts, where there was nothing yesterday; how does that happen?? and look—every single one came up and is the same size

yes, those are snowflakes dusting the ground around them—the temperature is hovering around 28 degrees right now and the forecast says it’s going to stay there for several days, with more snow showers on the agenda as well.

i think though, it makes me appreciate every miracle of spring even more, as well as the friends who provide these special experiences—many thanks to michele for sending me garlic to plant in the fall; i have SO enjoyed the anticipation of waiting for it to appear in my own plot and look forward to the pleasure of further sharing our extended garlic family with you throughout the season.

i love it

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

i woke up early today and used the extra hour i had to soak the crooked walking shawl so i could block it—it’s been so long since i blocked something big and i was really looking forward to it.

i was NOT going to blow the opportunity by rushing things. i plugged in my audiobook, set up my blocking area on the living room floor, and settled in for a nice, relaxing blocking session.

i love how the stitch pattern for the hem shows that beautiful shading that looks like alternating stripes of velvet and satin from certain angles.

the yarn—great northern fibers mink/milk/merino blend—continues to impress me with its superior performance. this beautifully engineered 4-ply blend has an extremely consistent hand, which you can feel while you’re knitting it, but the proof truly comes out in the wash—you wouldn’t believe the body it has when it’s soaking wet.

the pattern is very simple to knit, but has a striking effect, especially over contrasting fabric. and the shape is going to be lovely; you can’t tell here, but the piece completely encircles the shoulders with a tiny collar at the top (to fit three sizes), where you could add a pin if you wanted. plus, you can combine any size yoke with any length of hem for a wide variety of options.

would you like to see the whole thing?
ok, here goes . . .

the test knitters are busily working away; i’m not sure exactly when it’ll be released, but probably very soon. i’m very happy with it.
i cana’t wait to unpin it and take some pictures on the form and with a live model.

actually, i’m psyched about the amount of work i’ve gotten done this week. a shawl pattern, two sweater patterns ready for tech editing, another sweater drafted, and some swatching. not to mention all the usual stuff i have to take care of on a weekly basis. i still have to finish my gray scarf and a shawl i’ve had on the needles seemingly forever (wasp and rose), but i’m working on a sample sweaters to go with those patterns.

one is david’s cable and rib pullover and the other is the whitfield shorty. finally moving forward with those projects, yay.

and i’m all done with my class prep for sock camp too

just a peek as we don’t want to spoil the fun . . . but wow, am i glad to have that done; i hate being behind on class prep.

speaking of which, it’s almost time for the spinners to arrive—more later . .