shrug off

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it’s done! just in time for this gift to be on time, too—the birthdays are on sunday!

this one is for my goddaughter who is turning nine years old. i am also sending her the doll shawl because she collects american girl dolls.

she’ll love it.

i get so excited about sending off these birthday boxes! the one going to my niece will include her black shrug, the swim wrap, and the swimsuit i managed to find. it also contains a gift for my sister-in-law

a felted chain bag, big enough to hold a laptop, some files, and whatever else she needs to carry. and a vine flower dress for her little sister

it feels so good to pack off several projects to their recipients! a few less things piling up around the place here!

and do you know what today is? it’s my feast day! though not a practicing catholic anymore, i still enjoy the idea that some cultures celebrate name days. it was a big deal in our family growing up—right up there with our birthday, only no presents. we got to select the dessert of our choice which our mom would make to have at supper, and everyone would sing! it’s just a little thing but it was a nice way to recognize each family member separately for one day.

st. anne, according to the patron saints’ index is the patroness of

Adjuntas, Puerto Rico; against poverty; Brittany; broommakers; cabinetmakers; Canada; carpenters; childless people; archdiocese of Detroit, Michigan; equestrians; France; grandmothers; grandparents; homemakers; horse men; horse women; housewives; lace makers; lace workers; lost articles; Micmaqs; miners; mothers; diocese of Norwich, Connecticut; old-clothes dealers; poverty; pregnancy; pregnant women; Quebec; Santa Ana Indian Pueblo; riders; seamstresses; stablemen; sterility; Taos, New Mexico; turners; women in labour

did you notice that??? the patron saint of lacemakers! that one i hadn’t heard before! and seamstresses, too—another career i had! hmmm.

happy st. anne’s day to all of us lace addicts!

and now, i must get to work—i have so much to do before i leave for classes today.

macro world

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i’m feeling fabulously free of responsibility today, not having any work waiting when i awoke, though i have a feeling i’ll be under the gun later for this.

so i celebrated an empy “in” basket this morning by reading blogs and knitting on my mermaid sock while the coffee perked.
we finally made peace and agreed on a stitch pattern we both like (“we” being me and the sock), after spending over an hour last night bickering and restarting one idea after another.

it’s “pythagorean pattern” from BW’s second treasury. i had been trying to find a scaly-type pattern, but did not like any of them in the sock. i decided this pattern fulfills the job of catching the yarn’s iridescence, while offering a kind of abstract scaliness—know what i mean? i’ll run it right down over the top of the foot i think.
so this morning, after a cup of coffee and a fresh start, i had a couple of inches and a full repeat of the pattern knit, ans i took it outside for photographs.

the fans were swooning. who would have thought those show-offy lilies would have this much reverence for knitting?

for some time i have been trying to figure out the secrets of photographing knitting close up with a digital camera. need i point out AGAIN that i am not so savvy in the tech dept? the digital camera kinda mystifies me as to how it relates to a traditional camera’s settings.

anyway, i found i can get to a certain closeness, but then i get blurry results if i try to go closer, as in when i want to photograph stitches. i know i have a macro setting on the camera, but every time i tried to use it, the results were, well, garbage to be frank. blurry, orangey, ugly light, etc.

so i just thought it didn’t work. i could see that it uses a much more open lens setting, and a slow shutter speed. what i was having trouble with is how badly it handled the light. i just didn’t know how to make it work right, and have been too embarrassed to ask anyone, except david. he told me to use a tripod. that solved the blurry thing but not the light thing.

so today in the yard, i had the brilliant idea to try it one more time. turns out, it just wants REALLY bright natural light, and it works fine (i think . . . so far anyway).

that was with the macro lens and this one is without—similar distance, but less crisp i think.

so, forgive me ahead of time if, over the next few posts, i subject you to macro overload. not specific plans or anything but, it could happen . . . just a warning . . .

you see, i was wrestling with working on the sock last night in order to take a break from the shrug, which i worked on for several hours, getting almost all the way to the hem without further incident.

even though this classic silk is the softest cotten-blend yarn, it is still somewhat inflexible, and i find i need a break from working on it after a while. if i had known what a hard time the sock was going to give me, i would have just continued and finished it off. i guess that will get done tonight! i just need to knit another inch or so of this ribbing and bind off. then do the rib on each sleave edge and crochet the front and neck edges. i think i am actually going to squeak by, having used only two balls of yarn!

that means that the other two can go back for exchange on another bunch. i’ve decided i DO want a summer cardigan out of this yarn. i probably won’t have it done to wear this year, but, it will be good to have a new sweater for next summer. there is an apple green and a light purple (maybe heliotrope?) i have my eye on—i can’t decide which i like better.

for the next moment though, i am planning to start my new skirt in an allover lacy pattern with that watermelon color (the same one i used on the last baby dress).

am i crazy or what? i have knit with this yarn all summer and all i want to do is plan more projects in it. somebody hit me over the head.

and with that cashmere i showed you? mmmm. just wait and SEE what i have planned. i’ve had my eye on a stitch that i’ve been saving for something very special and i think this must be it. i can’t WAIT to cast on.

both of those projects will go on the needles in the next couple of days!! oh man, see what happens when i have a lil’ time off and some rest??

now i really HAVE done everything

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i was hell-bent and dertermined, in the interest of full disclosure, to make sure to photograph the results of the sweat test for those among you who remain skeptical about the viability of the handknit skirt.
so determined in fact, that i did not stop, even once, to think about how it would look to the neighbors (in my case, a doctor’s office), for me to be standing in my backyard snapping pictures of my own butt.

no! so focused was i in fact, that my (pea)brain completely bypassed that particular mental image in favor of bringing you, dear readers, the most accurate and up-to-the-minute images of what a handknit cotton skirt looks like after being ridden 10 miles by bicycle to and from class on a hot summer day.

and so, (drum roll) i bring you the results:

those post-college-age boys with the loud cars, who live on the third floor of the place next door, must have just busted a gut ROTFL. i’ll leave them to your imagination.
moral of the story: if at first, you can’t be humiliated by a saggy skirt, you are sure to find another way.

other than being the merest bit flattened where the fabric sat between me and the saddle, i think it fared well, don’t you? i even took it off and laid it on the floor flat to see if there was bubbling

i don’t see any . . . and so it is with great triumph and greater embarrassment (oh, the highs and the lows . . .) that i put this matter to bed for all time, to hear no more about the futility of knitting skirts. and if this process encourages even one knitter to take up circular needles and make one for his or her own, so much the better. my job here is done.
(note to self: buy big awning for yard . . .)

in other news . . .

i am ZOOMING along, for a change, on the new shrug, even though i had to do some pretty intense surgery last night as i watched the last stage of leTour. here’s what happened.
i noticed after five inches of knitting the shoulders from the top, that the one front did not match the other. (i don’t have pictures of this—wish i did, but it was after 1am). those three vertical columns of faggotting in the fabric were off by 2 sts on the one side.

after soundly swearing for a few minutes (i had ripped it out twice before on earlier occasions for similar problems—and hey, didn’t i do that on the black one too??), david, without moving anything but his eyeballs, looked over, as if to say “what’s up??”. (far be it from me to get a stronger reaction). “nuthin”, i glared silently back, ” just this stupid shrug!”

i definitely did not want to rip out a whole evening’s work—again. so i sat and picked out the parts that were wrong down about 12 or 14 rows, and reworked those areas without ripping back. as i reworked, i moved the the pattern over 2 sts to place the faggoting back in the correct positions. and, for once, it worked! (and i SO wish now i had pictures—darn!)

of course this took an hour, and i had STILL not gone forward, being smack dab in the same place i was in the last posted photo. so, since i was wide awake, i stayed up, knitting away, and got to the underarms by about 5 am. ooops. i had to be up early to go teach today!

to class i took my briar rose autumn spiral socks, which i need to finish because i’m sure we are all really sick and tired of looking at them! (of course, not you chris)

but, i have a feeling they will go fast from here out—they are at the point at which i have renewed interest in getting them done. two more classes and a session in front of the TV should do it, i think!

oh. and then there are those socks i brought down to my desk. just look at the progress
i’ve made

yeah, heh. we sorta had a little “regrouping”. i had this greeaaat idea to start them over in a stitch that showed off the iridescent quality of this yarn to better advantage—something textured that would catch the light in different directions, like mermaid skin. (the colors say “mermaid” pretty clearly to me.)
yah. that didn’t go so well. still searching for a good restart. will keep you posted.

and on to other things

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boy oh boy, is my inner clock messed up today. i mean look what time it is—after midnight and i am just now posting something that i meant to do earlier. i’ve been working all day—first on some work for the office, then later on patterns and updating the catalog (see sidebar).

then i took a nap. now, usually i sleep very little, and a one-hour nap of an afternoon really helps boost my energy. during the work week, on a couple of days, i sneak off and take one on my lunch break. on weekends, i am able to take them at my leisure, and i revel in it!
but today i went too far—i set the alarm for my usual hour nap, and woke up three and a half hours later. i had slept so hard, i didn’t even know where is was for a few minutes.
and now, of course, here i am. wide awake and happy, happy, happy! i probably won’t get to sleep again till the birds are singing.

so anyway, about knitting. wow, i have finished so many things in the last few days, i actually have some leeway now to start new projects, and i feel a little at loose ends.

the beach wrap is done (thank heavens). and much as i hate doing the shawl-displayed-on-the-floor photo, here you go anyway—it’s NOT glam

the thing is, that i tried, i really did, to do my usual shawl photo shoot with this thing, but it did that thing that little kids do when they won’t cooperate—you know, the floppy act thing. there was no way i could pose it! and i could not bring myself to model it. ugh. sorry, it is just SO not me!

if only jo were here. sigh.
but then, the shawl might never make it to its intended destination. i’d probably end up wrestling her to get it back!
(seriously, she has a thing for this thing—but to her credit, she’s not the only one.)

i made some wonderful discoveries this weekend in the blogs of some knitspot commentors. sooo many people have great stuff they are posting and writing about. i am particularly fond of bloggers who talk about their environment and share little bits of history and culture with their knitting. this is something i am keenly interested in about knitting knitting—that it becomes so interwoven with one’s life, surroundings, and personality. it leads us to new adventures and discoveries, and it expresses our essential selves in the same way cookery or style of dress or home decor might do.

i began the last of my gift obligations on friday evening—a shrug for my goddaughter who turns nine-years-old next week. i know, i’m cutting it close, but the yarn arrived only extremely similar to the black shrug i made for my niece, but i am experimenting with a few changes

the biggest change is that i am trying a diffeent lace pattern in the sleeve, just to see if something different would make th pattern writing easier (it won’t). but i like the new one too! i might keep it. here is the original for reference

and i am going to try the sleeve a bit longer and tighter—maybe even elbow-length.

and finally—and trust me, i realize that this is NOT heart-stopping news (although dave may have an interest)—i am switching out my brownTreXX as desk socks, for these

i want to get these done a little faster than i will if i leave them to compete with my other projects in the TV room. not exactly a deadline, but i want to move them along. okay, i a can HEAR your puzzlement. don’t the desk sox seem to go the slowest of all the socks i make??
well, yes. they do seem to, but lately, they have power surges that i’d like to take advantage of, so, i’m trying this.

and what’s coming down the pike, you ask? well, two things i want to start this week. and they involve this

and this

more later!