Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tagged again! Thanks, BalletMommy! I answered the Seven Random Things meme the week before last, but it was sort of buried under the HSKS trivia in the same post, right here.

So, I didn't actually drag out the sewing machine over the weekend like I had planned. The girlie and I did make a trip to the fabric store and came home with all kinds of things for summer skirts and dresses for her, plus more fabric for bags and a few fat quarters with no specific plans yet. I also set to work with all that newly-frogged Nature Cotton, and completed Mina's half of the project on Saturday. Oh, it's cute! I have to stop at the LYS tonight and get a size 11 24" circ for my half, and then I'll show both of them when I finish. I got a lot of cleaning done over the weekend (the house desperately needed it!), started weeding one of the front flowerbeds, and found some quiet time during Mina's nap on Monday afternoon to sit in the sun on my front porch and do a few rows on Kiri. She is growing slowly. This is definitely a long-term WIP for me, unlike Saturday's almost instant FO. (If you really want to know before I officially reveal it, you could find out by checking my stash spreadsheet. Teehee!) Oh, I also cast on my second Hedera last night. I think that makes five or six active WIP's, plus four or five inactive ones. Sheesh.

Friday, May 25, 2007

I finally got up the courage to do it, to say goodbye, to just let it go.

This was the Sunkist sweater, a free pattern by Through the Loops. The yarn was special; it was birthday yarn, purchased myself, at the LYS, for full price (I never do that, not in sweater quantities). I loved the feel of the Araucania Nature Cotton, and loved how quickly it knit up. So quickly, that the sweater got this big before I noticed that it was too big. This was supposed to be my first sweater larger than baby size, and yes, it was larger! Sunkist is designed with negative ease, and the pattern is written for size 36" only. I have a 32" bust, which meant I was sort of winging it, and supposedly sizing this thing down by quite a lot. Ha. Guess not. Besides that, I realized as I was almost done with that sleeve, that there is no sleeve shaping, and it was a huge baggy tube flopping around under my arm when I tried it on. I still think the pattern is so cute. My attempt didn't cut it, though.

That's ok. I have now reclaimed all five balls of this deliciously soft and cool yarn, and I have much better plans for it. Much! I'm hoping to start tonight - I'm craving a quick knit. I don't have anything going on larger than size 3 needles right now. Oh wait. Except for the cable and lace scarf/shawl/wrap that right now is just half a scarf. But it's almost summer! Bring on the cotton.

It's going to be a colorful, cottony weekend.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sweater Inspiration

I came across this collection by Kim Hargreaves the other day, and I am in love! But oh how sad that the patterns are only sold as kits through this site! Could I ever justify spending $95 to knit this?

This one might be better. I can buy the pattern by itself and substitute yarn.

(While I've got you over on the Jimmy Beans site anyway, check out these socks. Another pattern for my Summer of Socks plan - I want knee socks for fall!)

I've been perusing a lot of sweater patterns lately. Yes, I know that I am working on two shawls, two scarves, one sock, and have half a sweater sitting over there to my left. (Not to mention the almost complete sweater that is most likely going to be frogged any day now.) I've never completed a sweater for myself. And, I've literally begun itching to knit myself a replacement for my favorite store-bought cardigan. I wear this thing almost every day. It goes with absolutely everything, and serves its purpose of keeping my arms warm while just sort of blending in as my topmost of several layers so you don't really notice I am wearing the same damn sweater all the time, since everything else changes. (At least I am going to keep telling myself that is the case.) It's a basic black cardi, v-neck, ribbed, close-fitting, and made of something synthetic that has withstood EIGHT YEARS of constant wear and machine washing without fading, snagging, or stretching out of shape. Not even a loose button. But...and this makes me sad, because I love this sweater so...I think I've finally washed all of its softness away. The poor thing is shiny in spots, the elbows are starting to show their venerable age, and my skin is starting to notice a mild scratching. And so. I am on a hunt for the perfect replacement cardigan. I would love to knit one. I'm going to stay realistic here though. To replicate the one I have would be madness - it's 4x4 rib in an impossibly fine gauge. That's the thing - a perfect layering cardi has to be fine gauge. But, I am willing to make an attempt. Several of them, really. I may not knit myself my perfect dream cardigan, but I could end up with several nice options in the process. The Karabella pattern above will be one. In worsted weight wool, though, it will be a winter-only sweater. I have enough Yorkshire Tweed 4 ply to knit Joy from Rowan's Vintage Knits (there's a photo here).

What else should I try?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

HSKS Quidditch Trivia

1. Who is the Fat Lady's friend?
- Violet

2. When the Fat Lady was attacked by Sirius Black and fled her portrait, who took over for her as guard of Gryffindor Tower?
Sir Cadogan

3. Usually when Harry is in Dumbledore's office, what are the portraits of previous headmasters doing?
- Snoozing

4. Which one of the Triwizard champions did not go to the World Cup?
- Fleur Delacour

5. Who did Harry give his Triwizard winnings to?
- Fred and George Weasley

The next two are anagrams. Rearrange the letters to get the correct words.
6. Live gong cram la man (two words)
Minerva McGonagall

7. Owl or video
Oliver Wood

8. What author's name appears on the book "Quidditch Through the Ages"?
- Kennilworthy Whisp

9. What does the Keeper do in a game of Quidditch?
- Guards the goal

10. In the Goblet of Fire why did the Mad Eye Moody imposter put Harry's name in the goblet?
- He wanted Harry to win the tournament

Picture Scavenger Hunt (Linked)

Dobby holding his sock from Harry
Cho Chang and Harry's first kiss
Viktor Krum and Hermione at the dance
Mad Eye Moody

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I don't have any knitting progress to show from the last week. None at all. I have started and subsequently ripped at least five socks using three different yarns. Last night I knit the cuff edging of the Waving Lace Sock from the cover of Favorite Socks. It seems a tad big, but I think it's close enough so I'll keep going. And for a mindless sock, since I feel like I always need to have one, I'll just do my second Hedera, since that needs to be done anyway.

I've finally discovered my problem in all this ripping. I knit so incredibly loosely with fine gauge yarns that I have to go down to insane needle sizes to get gauge most of the time. I made a surprise trip into the walking distance LYS last week - the girlie and I went out for a stroll after work and found that it was "Ladies Night" in the business district of my neighborhood, and there were pink bras spray painted all over the sidewalks. The newsstand gave me a coupon for chocolate (they import some amazing stuff!) when I went in to get my magazines, and then I saw the pink balloons flying in front of the yarn shop. A beacon! They weren't having a Ladies Night sale, but I found this anyway:

It's Schaefer Anne, in lovely springtime colors. I wound it almost immediately after getting home and cast on for Roza's Socks from the Spring IK. And almost immediately realized my problem. Gauge. Too. Loose. I would have to go down to at least 00 needles to knit socks with Schaefer Anne. Maybe even 000, if I wanted the soles to be soft and durable. So, this skein may be headed for yet another scarf. I haven't fully decided - I really want socks made with this yarn! I have another skein of Anne in the stash, in more autumnal greens and burgundies. I don't know what to do. They're both so lovely.

There has been other stash enhancement, but I will wait to divulge until I have photos to go along with. Let's just say - whole store 20% off, and Colinette Jitterbug (mis)priced ridiculously low. Hmmm.

HSKS Weekly Trivia

Trivia #1
What's the name of this potion?
This potion has the colour of molten gold, and while exposed to the air, large drops will leap like goldfish above the surface without spilling.
Felix Felicis, in Half-Blood Prince

Trivia #2
Which book is this line from?
"Harry and Cho were now too embarrassed to look at each other, let alone talk to each other; what if Ron and Hermione started going out together, then split up? Could their friendship survive it? Harry remembered the few weeks when they had not been talking to each other in third year; he had not enjoyed trying to bridge the distance between them. And then, what if they didn't split up? What if they became like Bill and Fleur, and it became excrutiatingly embarrassing to be in their presence, so that he was shut out for good?"
Half-Blood Prince

Trivia #3
Who utters these words?
"Oh I am glad I'm not on duty. I wouldn't fancy having to go and tell the Irish they've got to stop celebrating."
Arthur Weasly, in The Goblet of Fire

Also, I've been tagged by Channon! It's one of those "seven random things about me" tags. I'm not going to pass it along - if you are reading this, consider yourself tagged and leave me a comment to let me know you've put it on your blog. I love comments (thank you to those who leave them)! Ok then.

1. I am the eldest of four sisters. No brothers.

2. I've been a vegetarian for 13 years.

3. My favorite color changes every few years. Until just this spring I would have said it was magenta, but now it is aqua/teal/turquoise. (And I think I am even going to buy a turquoise sofa!)

4. Before I collected and hoarded yarn, I used to collect and hoard art supplies. And before that it was cosmetics. I think the yarn thing is here to stay though. I still do have the art supplies, and I keep buying new sketchbooks even though I rarely use them. Old habits die hard.

5. I avoid TV most of the time, with the guilty-pleasure exception of CSI. I love CSI!

6. I am an excellent researcher and starter of projects, but very poor on the whole follow through thing. Take my abandoned master's degree program as example #1, and all the WIP's (in all media) as examples 2 through 94,374,323.

7. I wish I was a librarian. Really! (Need to master item 6 first....)

Ok - you're it!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Wyvern socks are finished (I'll get help with a FO shot soon), the scarves have lost their charm, the weather is getting nicer, and I have shawls on the brain. Those three balls of variegated softness? Destined for Kiri.

Here was my progress as of yesterday. One shawl half from center increases to edge is almost exactly one handspan along what will be the top edge, which for me is 6.25 inches. (See my new larimar ring? A little present to myself!) I'm using size US4 KA Bamboo needles, my very favorite brand so far. The tips are wonderfully pointy for bamboo without being sharp, and they are great for lace. Even so, this shawl is slow-going. I can only work on it after the girlie goes to bed in the evenings, and preferably on my husband's work nights (Tuesday through Saturday) so that I have no interruptions. I don't have a lifeline, as you can see, but so far I've only had to tink partial rows to fix little mistakes. (Knock on wood!) Fortunately it's fairly easy to see if you are off in the pattern before you get to the end of the row. I was confused about the instructions for beginning the shawl, where you knit this little strip of garter stitch three stitches wide, then pick up a stitch from each ridge. I've only knit one other shawl (which happens to be my most favorite and most worn handknit) and it was constructed differently, so this instruction didn't make sense to me until I gave up worrying and just started doing what the pattern told me to do. It turns out that little strip is the center of the long edge, or the part that will be at the back of the neck, and beginning this way makes it blend in with the three stitch garter border along the top edge. I had assumed that since this was a triangle shawl and I was starting with a small number to cast on, that I would be knitting from the point up. Not so! (I have so much to learn!)

I find it fascinating and unexpected that a shawl will shape itself this way. I don't quite understand; logically, I guess I do understand, but I just don't quite have a mental picture of why it works this way. Which becomes apparent when I show you this:

I couldn't find a pattern I liked for the J.O.Y. Aziza I showed off recently, so I decided I'd have to figure it out myself. I just wanted a simple mesh triangle. Not garter stitch. Not stockinette. With bigger holes! I chose a stitch pattern from the Vogue Stitchionary. I wanted a triangle with paired center increases, but knew each half would have to increase by two stitches each row in order to maintain the stitch pattern, so I needed an increase at each edge too. It took about six tries before I got the set up rows figured out and stopped making mistakes with the stitch pattern, but I finally got what I was aiming for and was knitting along happily when the girlie walked up, grabbed a needle, and pulled it out before I knew what had happened. The tencel is so slippery it all came apart, and with all the yo's and k2tog's everywhere it was too hard to fix it. So, I call it a swatch. I pulled the other needle out to get an idea of the shape, and look at that. My three cast on stitches are at the center of the neck edge! And I thought I was knitting from the point up again. You can see where there is a gap in the garter stitch border along the top edge. That's what the confusing set up of Kiri takes care of. I haven't decided if I'm going to modify my set up rows and begin in a similar way or just leave it like that. I don't mind it terribly, and I do have limited yardage to work with, so probably not. Now, if I was a math whiz, I could measure this little swatch, then rip it out and measure the length of the yarn, and then estimate the size of the finished shawl based on the amount of yarn I have to work with. But I really have no idea how to figure that out. It hurts my brain. I am a little afraid that one 525 yarn skein of lace/fingering weight is not enough for a shawl of this shape. I was working on size 5 needles. I think I'll go up to a 6 to stretch the yardage a tiny bit more, but I am still afraid I might get a puny triangle. We'll see.

My sock mojo is still on vacation apparently, and I don't have a single sock on the needles. It makes me a little antsy, like I'm in sock withdrawal! I've also done something terrible to my right wrist, probably involving keyboard and/or mouse, and I can't knit tonight. So, it's a reading night. There are far too few of those nowadays.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I missed Quidditch! Sorry Ravenclaw House! I've learned that Google Reader doesn't always show when an old post gets updated. I'm marking my calendar for the next round though.

I wanted to take some progress photos for two projects last night, but grocery shopping, grilling veggies, and running around the yard with the girlie took priority and suddenly there was no more daylight. I also have a lot of old FO's I'd like to show off somewhere. I'm not sure how to make a gallery for this blog, so I'm anxiously awaiting the opening of Ravelry. I've put my name on the list, but who knows how long it will be. I did that with Vox before it officially opened too, when I was trying to decide where I wanted my blog hosted, and they let me in much more quickly than I expected. Let's hope this works the same!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Meet the sock yarn that does not wish me to make it into a sock! It's the STR lightweight in Carbon Dating that I showed off a couple of posts ago. I had tried starting top down on both US 0 and US 1 dpns, and it pooled like crazy. I decided to go toe up and chose the Anastasia socks from Pepperknit.

I was sent to a training in Seattle today, along with a van full of my co-workers. They picked me up at the ungodly time of 6:40 a.m. and as soon as I had ingested enough coffee to see straight I spent the drive working on my new sock. With about 20 minutes of commute time left, I found I'd made a mistake - my eyelets were suddenly one stitch off and I and needed to rip back four rounds. I waited until lunch break, fixed it, then continued to knit under the table to keep myself awake through the afternoon session, including tinking a round to fix another mistake. During the late afternoon break, I slipped my shoe off under the desk and tried it on. Uh oh.

I. Got. Gauge. I swear it! I'm knitting at exactly 8st/inch in stockinette on size 0's, and the requisite 60 stitches are on the needles. That should be 7.5 inches. This sock is supposed to fit a medium woman's foot with negative ease. My feet are narrow - 7.75 inches around the widest part, but that isn't so freakishly thin that I can fit two of them in a standard sock. This thing is huge! I don't understand. Maybe Ansley's statistical anomaly sock is contagious!

Things I learned today: gauge lies. Raindrops, when you are 25 floors above the ground, really are round, not drop shaped, and the wind can blow them around totally haphazardly. Sometimes they go up. And, when really tired and bored, I can be giddily amused by Department of Education training materials when they use names from Pride and Prejudice for their example student and institution names. (It just really bugs me that whoever wrote that used Wickham as a place name, even though the connotation is a bit comical. "Lydia transferred to Wickham College...") And, finally - always pack two knitting projects. At least I had my chevron scarf for the ride home!