technodrama

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boy, has a lot of bad computer mojo come down on my house! first the monitor is acting up, and we STILL can’t figure out the problem. then my webhost had some big RAID card drama and my site was down for 24 hours. a lot of data was restored, but the posts from the last few days were messed up. so, i’ve been fixing all that today. i’ll do a normal post later on, but for now, i’ve had enough of the machines, and i want to get to my knitting!

i did figure out finally how to have a user-friendly comments area without it being completely open to all. sorry, but i was getting spammed by having it open, so i’m going to try it this way and hopefully it will prove to be a nice balance. you’ll have to fill in an easy form, and it will remember you each time after that. thanks for your patience with my (very steep) learning curve.

just to leave a few tantalizing hints, i finished the moss shawl, and it took some pictures of my stash (though it may not be the bare-all moment debbie is looking for). i’ve been talking shop about socks with Persnickety Knitter and getting all into newsgator thanks to her tips on feedlines. plus, i was at the shop yesterday to teach a class and saw we had gotten some trekking XXL in; i don’t think i need to say more.

talk to you later.

cable cobbler

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this morning i opened my eyes to a familiarly funny kind of light in the room. and that sound . . .

the sky was a dense color. the sound was wet. when i looked out the back porch window, i saw

see the tulips coming up?

ok, time for a cable moment! i rebooted the sweater yesterday (twice) and now i think i am sailing clear on it. i still wish i was further along so you could see the cable in a good length, but them’s the breaks. i knitted on it last night while listening to chub creek; it’s the perfect cable for that show! it makes no sense, but it’s fun anyway.

here are today’s clues: i did not begin on row one of the pattern. the clue about the obscure stitch books yesterday? that was just to throw you off (i swear, everything else i told you is true!) (really. it is). i do own a lot of obscure knitting and stitch books, but that has nothing to do with this cable. the book it comes from is still in print. and, though it is not symmetrical, it is a “swing” type cable. that is when the motif reflects and turns asymetrically on itself. the cable looks exactly like its name.

now for the odd part: even though this cable is not at all symmetrical, i started to be able to intuit what comes next without looking at the chart, and i hadn’t worked through a whole repeat yet! (and i was listening to chub creek) this morning i picked it up and did maybe 6 rounds before i even realized that i did not need the chart. when i checked, it was right. i don’t know about you, but that feels kinda creepy. what is going on with my brain?? suddenly, i’m talkin’ weird cableSpeak and i dunno how that happened.

now, i have swatched this cable a lot in the past, but i did not swatch it just before i started the sweater because i had so much information recorded about it in similar yarns. (i KNOW! i sound so organized, but really, this is the first time. and since that is a whole other topic, i’ll save it for another day). i just did a gauge swatch in the stockinette for the sweater, and added to the stitch count for the center cable panels.

anyway, to me it just goes to show how powerful the brain is for picking up patterns in things. this happens all the time to me, especially in knitting. i can “know” a new stitch pattern in no time, as if it’s been crouching in my brain, wholly memorized, and just waiting to be used. of course, it could be an inner knitter from a past life making themselves known in the present, but i’m laying the big money on a more scientific explanation. not that i have a problem with being inhabited by a soul from a past life.
wait, did i just say that? i have such issues about political correctness and stepping on toes . . .

ok, nevermind, let’s move on. i mentioned that stripey hat the other day, which i finished and i LOVE it! here it is with the scarf to match. isn’t it adorable! i’m back in love with noro kureyon (i had got tired of it for a while).

and, i’m really not supposed to be working on this next piece; it’s not actually on my priority list.

ok, actually, there is no priority list. you probably noticed that before i did, huh? i intend to work on certain things to get them finished (can anyone say “moss shawl”?), but i really just mainly knit on whatever i want, whenever i can. so after i had my fill of chub creek for the evening (i’m working randomly through the old episodes i missed and, much as i love the show, i DO usually get to the “full” point), i wandered in to watch TV with david.

who, by the way, took a hiatus from patching socks for about two days after that post i did, but now, it looks like he’s back at it. this is the chair near his end of the sofa:

sigh. and yeah, those ARE pink socks, and i did make them for him, so what?
he’s a hottie—he can get away with anything.

and this is the chair near my end:

see, i’m not igoring the sock-which-has-no-mate. i’m just taking a break from the hateful yarn
(i made). it’s on the docket, it’s in the queue. and while i train for it, sock1 watches me knit. and during the day, it keeps company with this fine lady.

this is the japanese feather stole i started (also right after the olympics, in a rash of project starts), but have worked on only lazily until a couple of days ago. it’s in a schaeffer yarn called anne which i received as a gift. i love using it for this shawl; it’s smooth and soft and has a nice sheen from the 25% mohair in it. i know some people have used it for socks, but i don’t know if i would like it for that. it doesn’t have enough “tooth” for socks in my opinion. however, it has the exact same fiber content and gauge as mountain colors bearfoot, and i suspect it is the same base yarn. yet bearfoot is a bit fuzzier, which i like. i’m wondering if, once this stole is done and washed, and maybe steamed, the anne will “bloom” to become more like the mountain colors. i am anxious to find out and i’ll keep you updated.

tonight, debbie and maybe beth too, are coming over to spin. i am SO looking forward to it!

rip and reboot

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y’know, some days we are just better off not getting up. i shoulda played hooky today. instead, first thing, before coffee, i took this picture of my cable in order to start my post with the mystery cable story.

it’s not that much further than the other day, but it’s a little bit (and don’tcha just want to squeeze that yarn’s lil’ cheeks! oooh!). so i go to download the pictures from the camera, and the monitor won’t wake up. this has been happening on and off lately (no pun intended), but david thought he had it fixed. something something reset pram something /NVram blah-blah. and then today, nada. i mean, the monitor is fine, but something is a-blink in the system or in the video card or whatever. c’mon, baby, gimme a break!

now, i know how it feels, but i don’t sympathize. i have work to do, and i hadn’t had my coffee yet. crikey. i mean really, i do my job on the computer. all day. i could hear email coming in and i sorta panicked, but it was only 7 am, so i hit restart, turned around, and went back out to work on my cable a little more.
i know, i’m a real problem-solver, i am. but, i hadn’t had my coffee yet, so my brain wasn’t exactly functional.

so i get back to the cable and look down and there, there it was. at the raglan increases. those 3-st ribs that run down the raglans. they were . . . hmm, no . . .mmm, yup, they were . . . getting wider. crap.
and did i mention i hadn’t had my coffee yet? are you getting the drift that “my coffee” is a pretty important component to the start of my day?

sigh. i really don’t mind ripping out. i’ll do it in a heartbeat; ask any of my students. but i was SSOOoo into this mystery cable game! i wanted to have a nice piece to show ya later on. i guess you players will have to wait another day to see a better view. i can give you a clue: it’s 24 sts and 34 rows. i had to translate it to the international charted symbol system to make my life easier. also, i own a LOT of obscure knitting books; i’ve been collecting them since way back when you could get them for 25¢, if not for free from the trash. yeah, i know; i told you i’ve been knitting a long time.
. . . and don’t you even say that O word

i thought it would be fun to give a prize (and please pass it along that i’m upping the ante on this): whoever guesses the cable first, gets some handspun yarn, enough for a scarf and mitts or a hat or something. and i’ll throw in a pattern. now hopefully, this will be the yarn that i couldn’t use in the sweater (see this post, midway down, but it could be some other yummy handspun. and my intention is to keep you updated daily, barring any more disasters.

so after all, out it came again:

once i got it back on the needles i went back to my desk (with my coffee, YAY! . . . i know you’re glad), and gingerly touched the return key. voila! i had video. nope, yup, nope, yup. blink. this is SO weird; every time i touch the mouse, the monitor goes black, and every time i let it go, the monitor comes on again. and then once in a while, for fun, it does a little shimmey dance; oh joy.

so, in other words, i can LOOK at baby huey, but i can’t touch it. finally after a couple of hard reboots, he settled down to his usually sweet self. as long as i keep working and don’t let it go to sleep, i’m golden.

i really got hardly anything done yesterday or today so far on my knitting. i finished the striped hat and it’s so cute! and i worked on the japanese feather lace stole, and on the moss shawl, but did i take pictures? NO-ooo!

i worked here and taught classes. i washed and dried sock yarn:

which looks MUCH prettier in real life; this pic does not do the blue any justice. it’s really just here to tease debbie j! which is SO mean because she gave me this:

YAK! this is so soft and downy, it’s finer than dryer lint. i think i’m just gonna meditate on what to do with it for a few days. hmmm just what i needed to soothe my spirit; i’m afraid i’m too selfish to make it the prize in the contest, sorry.
thanks debbie, you sweetie, you!

moss don’t grow

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i haven’t talked about the moss green shawl in a while, but i have been working on finishing it. got some done sunday when kris came over to knit. it’s really, truly almost done, but it’s at the slow stage, where a few rows takes an hour and makes little difference in the size. maybe i’ll finish that today. the trouble is (here comes the waffling), i want to keep it small so it is not unweildy for the friend i am sending it to, but i am afraid to end it and have it be too small. and i have lots more yarn, so i am always tempted to do another repeat of the pattern. today was not a good day for taking pictures in the house (it’s gloomy here), and this is the best i could do:

i love it. truthfully, i am starting to want to make it bigger. i know this yarn (patons Kroy) is superwash and will stretch a lot, so i am not sure HOW much bigger it needs to be. it’s pretty close to the size i intended now; it could be a little bigger, no? well, we’ll see. BTW, though this yarn was inexpensive and i thought at first it was not good enough for the project, it has proved to be very soft and springy knitted up. i have come to like it quite a bit! it’s not a luxury yarn, but it’s a good choice if you have to make something delicate that must be washable.

on mondays i am at the LYS all day and evening (i know, lucky me!). i offer four classes on monday and usually at least three of them are booked. you know, i always leave with the impression that i don’t get any knitting done while i’m teaching (and some days i don’t, truthfully). but yesterday i actually got a LOT done, even though i also snuck out with stephanie to eat lunch at bombay sitar.

i got a good bit done on a striped hat to match the noro scarf (here, bottom of post) . i really, REALLY like this hat!!

it’s just a dumb, rib-knit hat without a turnup brim or anything. i like doing really simple things with Noro that show off the rustic texture of the yarn. using a bigger needle than you would think, helps to get that effect as well.

i also worked on a sweater i started right after the olympics, but only worked on for about a day. it’s a top-down raglan with a very interesting cable at the center front and back, and down the sleeve. i’ve had my eye on a certain obscure and little-used (ok, i’ve never seen it used anywhere) cable pattern for several years. i’ve swatched it numerous times, but it’s hard to find a yarn for which it is just right. it is a very heavy cable and a lot of yarns don’t work well with it because there is such a big difference between the density of the cabled and the non-cabled fabric. this yarn, which is handspun from a mix of coopworth and cotton, worked very well i thought, probably because of it’s uneven texture and weight. i am very excited because i love the yarn and i finally get to use this cable in something! i have been waiting quite a while for just the right marriage of materials to do this sweater. the cable is so quirky and the yarn is so rustic that i think they play off each other very well; i am very pleased at the combination. plus, this yarn is very lofty and light, so the sweater won’t weigh a ton.

you can see that the cable chart is complex (more info later). that’s why i got such a slow start on it; i haven’t had time to sit and knit with good focus for a while, and i do need to focus on this in the beginning. it has four total cables which begin at the neck, so i have to keep all the cabling straight while establishing the increases and shaping the neck at the same time. and to top that off, the sleeves begin in the center of the cable so there is not a complete repeat of the pattern right away. it’s a lot to keep track of at first. now this cable, which i will not reveal the name of yet, is not symmetrical at all. it does not mirror itself from side to side or from top to bottom. for that reason, i did not flip the cable on the sleeves. since it is interesting from both sides, i wanted to be able to see both sides from the front view of the sweater. i may decide later that this effect is not desirable, but rather than change it, i would probably just not use it again on another sweater.

anyway, when i picked it back up monday morning, it appeared that i had gotten through the start, and down to the area where the sweater is joined at the front neck. i needed to establish the cable at the center front and continue, but i needed to start a new ball of yarn at a back seam area.

you can also see that even though i said i had got a lot done yesterday, it appears that i am delusional. actually, i had about 3 or 4 inches more done on the yoke and ripped it out. why? as i said, the yarn is handspun. i had two smaller skeins that i spun on a different day than the rest, and they had more cotton, and so, looked busier. i thought i might be able to get away with using them, but i realized after a few inches that it did not look right. the busier yarn definitely did not match, and also distracted from the cable so as to hide it. back into the “for hat” bags those balls went . . . i don’t mind working a tough cable, but i DO want to see it when i’m done!! and as to the mystery cable, let’s see if anyone can guess in comments which one it is! a hint: i have only ever seen it in one stitch book. i’ll display it’s progress and give another hint each day, and let you know when somebody has guessed correctly.

i have been working away at socks as promised; one for david:

and one for me:

ok, i know this is lame; i can’t even say i’m inching along on it because i’ve only done about a half-inch since i showed it last! but i am doing it while files upload and i wait for stuff to happen at my desk. and the stitches are small, so the progress is less evident.

and as for david’s sock, i really hate the yarn. but i’ll make another sock. maybe not today though. and yes, the proportions DO look very strange, but YES, it fits. this is why david gets handmade socks; he needs them!

i did a lot of spinning over the weekend too. i had a bunch of that blue mix fiber spun up, so i plied it with itself, and then a couple of different browns, just for fun:

the browns are louise’s romney and that wensleydale. i also spun some browns together, and got started on the plum/brown mix from hollie:

which i love! it’s much softer than some of her other stuff but still it’s hairy. i hope i will like knitting with it, cuz i really like the colors . . .

time to go write my essay. tell you about that later. ooh-ooh, and vogue knitting just came in the mail! definitely gotta go!