More to the gift:
My SP also gave me a book called The Joy of Knitting Companion, which turns out to be one of the best kinds of gifts. Probably not something I would have bought for myself, however, it has just the approach I had been craving in a book. (There might be some irony there.) It has a delightfully formulaic approach to many basic things (hats, mittens, socks, etc), including stock guideline measurements, and also places for your notes and graphing pages. Very neat. In looking for the publishing info, I found another neat feature - inside the flap (as if having flaps on a paper back book wasn't cool enough), there's a needle converter (US, English, and Metric) with the holes cut out for testing. I was just looking for a conversion from metric to US sizes too! I'll have pictures of the giftage in full effect soon. Thank you very much, my dear SP.
The Science Fair Project:
This is the project that I'd like to make my mother, either for Christmas or her birthday (both in December). It's the laptop case from the fall Interweave Knits. She doesn't have a laptop, but it looks like a good library tote.
These are the yarns I was testing to felt. The colors are Red, Blue, Red, Green, Tan. All but one were of unknown origin, and even the known one was only a suspected felter (100% wool, handwashing directions). The felters turned out to be Red #1 (the big skein!), and the green. The tan did turn out to be a nice yarn once it was washed. It and the second red held up to the hot wash pretty well, I guess that's also good to know. The blue got fuzzy and nearly felted, but not really significantly felted. Just enough to be messy and annoying.
These are some leftover wool yarns that are known felters. The pink was in in a French Market Bag, as was the red. The orange were the soles of some "felted" ballerina slippers for La-la. Sadly, the tops of the slippers didn't really felt. The reds are Cascade 220, the pink and orange are lamb's pride.
So, the Knitpicks order! I ordered new sock yarn for socks for DH in Grass. Yarn for the laptop case in: Wool of the Andes - Pumpkin and Spruce. Wool of the Andes in Coal and Mist for the canteen bag from Fall's Interweave Knits, and a whole slew of Shine to experiment with colors for a blankey for the neighbor's new bundle of joy (Butter, Apricot, Cherry, Green Apple, and Candy). The blankey concept I'm considering with the shine is two strands held together, garter stitch dishcloth pattern. There are a lot of combinations I'm considering - green & yellow, orange & red, yellow & orange, and Candy would work with most of the others, and now that I'm thinking about it, wouldn't orange and red look nice. I earned the nickname "Colorful Cathy" when I was little.
The Completed Blankey:
Project details: Cascade 220 superwash (green is color 850, special ordered from Little Knits, and the cream is color 817, also from Little Knits), two strands held together, a basic garter stitch dishcloth pattern, only scaled up to a 32" squarish baby blanket. It took 3 1/2 skeins of each color. Used size 11 (US) needles (32" circs) (I think. They're not labeled, and I just used the one that seemed right). The blanket is very soft and cuddly. I am a little concerned that it'll be too warm for Florida.
The formula for figuring out when to begin descending:
1. Get stitches per inch.
2. MaxStitchesInRow = StitchesPerInch x DesiredSideLengthInInches x sqrt(2); The half-square triangle is a 1-1-radical 2 base triangle.
Knitting Progress? I've got about 3 more inches before beginning the toe on my 1st sock. It's supsiciously wide, but I think they can always be house socks. I did some more work on the blue garter stitch dishcloth blanket at the all-hands meeting at work. The dads at the Boy Scout meetings seem to follow along with my knitting adventures - checking to see how much progress I've made or what I'm working on today. Same with my geek pals at work at the all hands meetings. I figure if the knitting keeps me from fidgeting and looking bored at an all-hands, how bad can it be?
I leave you with a gratuitious monkey shot: