Thursday, September 27, 2007

Working for the Weekend

Horray! It's Friday and this weekend is FiberFest North. I'm looking forward to a weekend of fun and fiber with no kids, dog, cleaning or chores. Jim is coming along which is really nice. The location is Wiarton which is 3.5 hours from London. The fall color is just beginning to show so I expect a really beautiful drive, in excellent company.

No weekend post then, but I expect that I'll have something interesting to show for it next week. Toot-a-loo!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Story of a Swap

Set right down there with your cup o' joe and kick back for a spell, I've a mite of a story to share.

I was hangin' out on Ravelry the other day ('cuse me for dropin' names) an' a friend of mine mentioned that she knew of a gal who was lookin' for a skein of Noro Silk Garden. Now my friend knew I've been pickin' up odd balls and sods of Noro here and there, so she brought this to my attention, hopin' I could help.

It seems that a nice knitterly lady named Elizabeth had knit herself a sweater but she couldn't finish the dang thing on account of how she ran out of yarn. Alls she needed was one more ball to finish. Now I know you can sympathize with her predicament as could I. So's I wrote Elizabeth about things such as color numbers and dye lots and such like and it turns out that I had exactly the skein she needed.

Well of course I said I'd send it to her, and she wanted to know what I'd like in return. "Send me sock yarn." says I. So she did.

Now ain't that just the prettiest danged sock yarn you ever did see? I've never heard of this yarn. It's called MadelineTosh Highland Sock, in the color Ocean. Oh yes, and Elizabeth received her skein of Noro Silk Garden today too. I just loves me a happy ending!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Busy Weekend

All my weekends are busy these days. Dexter must still be walked, even though I'd rather sleep in. Alternate Saturdays mornings Jim and I have a counseling appointment, and Saturday afternoons are for dog obedience training. Sunday mornings we do a big family breakfast. Then there's groceries, laundry, housecleaning, and whatever else we can squeeze in.

For example, this weekend I cut Alex's hair for the first time.

There are some definite problems with this cut, but it was my first time with the clippers. He's such a handsome kid, I don't think anyone will notice much and I know that the next cut will be even better.

I also had to make an extra trip to Walmart to do a return and to pick up a few things. The line ups were crazy, considering how beautiful the weather is. I was about to be bummed out by the huge line when I remembered I had my knitting with me.

I'm never too busy for a little knitting.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Couldn't Resist

Ravelry has put up T-shirts for sale. It's for members only and the beta T-shirts are going to be exclusive. As a kid, I never had the latest fashions or coolest toys. But now I'm a grown up, I can get what I want. I ordered a shirt and three buttons too.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Manufacturing a Time Crunch

I've got a talent for putting a time crunch on what should be a laid-back hobby. Jim and I will be going to FiberFest North at the end of September, and I've decided I should have the pieces of the Halcyon Aran done by then. While I think I'm pretty good at finishing my garments, I'm sure there's lots more I can learn, and I think this will be just the group to help me out.

So I've got one more repeat to go on the back and then it's cast off and start the front. But suddenly I feel a whine coming on. The wool is rough, the cables hurt my hands. Wah! I want soft wool, with pretty colors. So I said, "Poor baby, of course you do." and I cast on a hat. Pbbbblllt! It's my hobby and I'll knit what I want to. But I predict that the hat will quickly be abandoned when I'm feeling more rested.

There was a promise of another shawl.

This was mostly knit last summer as my vacation project, and I've managed to finish it up somehow. Here's the blocking shot:

Yarn: Knit Picks Shimmer, in color Morning Mist 1.7 skiens
Needles: 3mm
Pattern: Super Spiral Shawl from Gathering of Lace

It's a light and pretty scarf on me, though it might be a shawl on a smaller woman. I really like the way the variegated yarn swirls around. It gives the piece a lot of energy. I think this was a good marriage of yarn and pattern. But honestly, it was a lot of effort for very little end product.

Maybe it wants to be a Christmas present.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Catch Up

I had a really busy week, and I missed my mid-week post. After all the posting at the end of the Frost Flowers and Leaves project, I just didn't have the urge. I even fell behind in my reading, but I'm caught up now.

I'm really glad I knit the Frost Flowers and Leaves shawl. I'm really glad you all liked it and I thank you for the kind comments. Now that September is here I'm feeling the call of practical knitting. It's time to knuckle down to sweaters, hats and mittens for the cold weather that's coming.

I've gotten off to a good start with the Halcyon Aran. Thanks to starting with the sleeves, my enthusiasm for this project is high. Higher than the stamina in my hands though. I find the cables tiring to knit for long periods.

Once the first repeat of the pattern is established, I read my knitting to find out what I need to do next. I find this speeds things up and helps me catch mistakes as I go. This pattern is pretty easy to read and I've made few mistakes. It's no Starmore Jo!

Now here's some other tid-bits for you.

Last summer's vacation knitting is a little whirlpool shawl that is half-way cast off now. Don't be surprised if I have another shawl to show you soon!

Did you read the Knitty article about Stitch & Pitch? If you scroll down to the bottom you'll see my two friends, Kat and Lynn! What a thrill!

If you missed the Mystery Stole mania, there's a new mystery project in town, Maia's Mystery Socks. I really wanted to make these. The pattern looks very intriguing. I tried it twice. The first was too small, the second was too large, and I don't have the yarn in the stash that is just right. It's too bad. They're looking very pretty.

Dexter is over his cold and is healthy and happy. I wanted to show you how great he looks. I'm very proud of him.

He who has the ball, has the power.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Pretentious Modesty

Finishing a big project like this is very exciting, and yet I'm over come with feelings of modesty.

This is the second time I have knit this pattern. The first I did in a pale green wool blend that did not block out properly. I knit it one winter, when I was depressed, and I stopped two repeats short of the entire thing. I wear that shawl, I'm complimented on it and I enjoy it, but I also regret it. I needed to re-knit it with gusto. So I chose vivid red, and I knit it big!

This work was accomplished one stitch at a time. There's nothing special about it. It's just an accumulation of my time. Hours spent watching television with my husband, or sitting on the patio in the shade while occasionally throwing the ball for the dog.

Yet, with out me, this would not be. There was 580 grams of beautiful red Shetland wool. There was a lovely and well designed pattern. But I was the catalyst that brought these two together. I am a creator.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

That'll Do

I'm not a perfectionist. I just don't have the stamina to deal with the stress that comes from striving for perfection. If you are, I admire you and respect the results you can achieve. But for myself, I stick with the good enough standard.

For example, when it came to grafting both ends of the Frost Flowers and Leaves Shawl together, I started to fuss and futz with trying to get the yarn to follow the template I'd lain down for myself. What you do, is knit a bit of the lace pattern, I did it in blue cotton, then knit the row you will be trying to graft in an other contrasting color, in my case, some white acrylic. So when I went to graft, it should have been a simple matter of following the path of the white acrylic through the both the blue cotton and the actual shawl yarn.

It sounds so simple, but I found it to be confusing and frustrating. I decided that good enough was good enough for me. With a project this big, no one but a master knitter would be looking for the graft line to see if was done perfectly. So based on what I already knew about kitchener stitch, and with the help of my white life line of acrylic, I just fudged the grafting.

I think that'll do.

Of course you came for the blocking shots. I don't blame you, but I hope you won't be disappointed. I'm not very good at blocking lace. I'm satisfied, but I don't think I did nearly as nice a job as I've seen some people do. To make excuses, I'm not using the best tools. I threaded the whole shawl around with blue cotton before giving it a good soak in Euculan.

Then I pinned it out on the bed. It completely covers the top of my Queen sized bed. My kids and husband were totally impressed.

I think that'll do.
Yes, that'll do just fine.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Dish Rag Tag - IT!

It's Dish Rag Tag time and I'm it! Jo sent me the cracker box from Montreal containing thoughtful goodies.

It's doggie stickers and doggie note pads! The cloth she sent is a beautiful lace one in lavender. Jo must read my blog!

Of the cotton yarn she sent I was drawn to the striping yarn. I wanted to make the most of the color changes, so I knit starting at the corners and grafted my triangles in the middle to make this stylishly striped square.

I hope Shelly likes it, because TAG YOU'RE IT!

The box is going to the post office first thing in the morning, and I am going to bed. Good night!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Lavendar's Blue, Dilly-dilly

Feeling blue? This color is such a rich, warm blue, it's far from sad! Thanks Jo, for reminding me about my little carry bag. I've only used it once so far, but it's perfect for my current sock on the go. The colors even match up! I've probably knit too much on this simple Trekking XXL sock (color 110), but I'm fascinated by the color changes. I keep thinking, "Just a little bit more, I want to see what's next."

In the background of this picture is some lavender I harvested from our garden. I was far to late to gather the flowers, but these seed heads are still very potent. I put the sachets in my yarn cupboard.

Thanks for all the advice and concern over Dexter. He hasn't coughed since that one bout, so we're keeping him from too much exercise, checking to see if he's hot, and making sure the water dish is always full of fresh, clean water. I did a stupid thing and gave him grapes on Saturday, so that probably didn't help anything! Poor pooch, the worst problem he has is an ignorant owner. Anyway, he's certainly not listless.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Slow but Steady

I was hoping to finish up the Frost Flowers and Leaves Shawl this long weekend, but I don't stand a chance. I've added one more edge, and now I'm almost half-way done. Now we can begin to see the size of the thing.

Rather than drive myself nuts by going steady with just one knit, I let my knitting fingers wander onto other projects. I cast on a plain sock, since we must always have at least one on the needles. And I cast on my second sleeve for the Halcyon Aran. One ball of yarn took me all the way to 18 inches on the first sleeve and that's enough for now. I'll adjust the length to the proportion of the body, once I've knit that. I'm still excited to start the main part of this project.

In other news, Dexter seems to have a cold. Since he's my first dog, I have no experience with this. But he's got a runny nose, he sneezes, and yesterday, after a particularly vigorous play session he had a cough. Man, dog coughs are nasty sounding! The cough went a way after he rested.

I looked things up on the net, and I'm pretty sure it's kennel cough. He was vaccinated against Bordetella shortly after we got him, so this illness is a little puzzling. He's still eating like a horse and wants to play, so I'm not going to take him to the vet yet. We're watching him though.

The rest of this weekend will be filled with housecleaning, and shopping as the kids prepare to go back to school. I think they're really ready to go! Summer got boring for them. Can you remember those days?