Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Shoot. I can never remember my catchy titles.

I'll be driving in the car, thinking about writing a post, come up with a super-witty title and by the time I'm ready to type, it's way gone.

I finished the mittens for my cousin. The thumbs are kind of wonky, but they're done. I think I need to give them a bath before sending them across the pond. I might try to make her a hat with the rest of the yarn, too. Not sure though.

So....what did I do after finishing thumb two? I cast on for some fuzzy feet! Using Knitty's pattern and some purple Lamb's Pride worsted. I dont' think I had quite the right size needles, but I think it'll be OK. I've got my mojo back. Hooray.

Here's proof: I had this dream about knitting last night - I dreamt that I needed to knit something for a baby and I kept going through my stash and couldn't find anything and couldn't find anything. I settled on something that was orange and spongy and I had already been using for another project. I was planning to make a baby hat, I think. SO...this morning I wake up and realize that I have time to make a square seed-stitch hat for the baby shower on Feb 25 out of some blue Cotton-Ease that's in my stash! [see, I'm going to this baby shower on the 25th for my former-neighbor, and I have a blanket in progress for them, but no the heck way is it going to be done in time...so what could I make that was small.....I had pretty much written it off, but no! An epiphany! Maybe I can make some little tube socks with a seed-stitch cuff to go with it too. My mother tells stories from the middle too. Get used to it.]

Sunday we went to Michael's. Back in the day, I thought they had the most fantabulous yarn. (Hey. I live in Florida. Not so many LYS here.) I did not see anything I needed there. OK. It helps that I have such a stash issue that it makes me a little naseaus to buy yarn without a project. Sock yarn doesn't count. Neither do "classics" like Lamb's pride and Cascade 220 - this is "wardrobe classics" like blue jeans or that antique purse that I use for all of my formal occasions. Or something interesting in a grab bag (although this has a twinge of guilt). But stuff that I can get at Michael's, Joann's, and Wal-Mart do.

While we were there, they had a "Fastest Knitter" and "Fastest Crocheter" contest. I sucked eggs. But it was interesting to me to see how other people do it. I need to figure out when I can go to knit in public thing. Turns out there are knitting clubs here. Who knew? I don't know if I'm ready to find out that I'm doing more stuff wrong, but these other ladies had much fancier ways to cast on. If I can survive learning that I knit wrong, maybe I can learn the right way to cast on too.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Getting Back on That Horse

Last week, I wound up some Lorna's Laces in Pewter (it could have been named "storm cloud" and been just as descriptive) for socks for me, looked around the internets (thanks Mr. Gore) and found out the recommended needle size and approximate gauge, poked around some more and found a pattern, or rather, didn't found a pattern, but went back to the books and found a pattern I had printed out earlier and my Ann Budd book and even dug out my tape measure and measured my foot and how high I though a sock should go. Settled on #2 needles, went to look for some and lo and behold, no number twos. Crazy. I swear I have a gazillion needles- my own stash plus my heirloom stash. No number twos. Harumph. So, I ordered some. And, while I was there, some 0's, 1's, 4's and 6's. And some more sock yarn. And some Arucania Nature Wool Chunky in color 120 (my three year old and I decided it was the best) - to make the Shoulder Cozy from Wrap Style. The yarn was like $27 for the project, and it seems like something I can use on my Alaska trip - we're going on an Alaska Cruise this summer. Even in June, the temperatures there will be like winter here.

Oh, and Friday I bought new shoes that seem like they'll have room for self-made socks. Between knitting the right way and Grumperina's advice about negative ease, I think I'm ready for that adventure. They're "Mudd" and they seem to run a little big, but are very cute. I can't find anything like them on the web - I got them at DSW (my new favorite shoe store), and they must be from last year or something.

Today, I picked up the mittens again, ready to plow through them, and I am. When I started them this morning, they were just after the wrist-ribbing. Now I only have 1 1/2 thumbs left to finish. Woo Hoo! A FO photo soon. Actually, I owe a bunch probably - my scarf, DH's scarf and soon pretty mittens.

Oh, and Starz Above - I took your advice and reserved a book on CD from the library. Now if only I can get there while they still have it. They only keep them behind the desk for 7 days! (Ok, I realize that anything more than that would hold up the other patrons, and that I have missed the boat before, but I never knew the exact amount of time I had.)

OK - I'm going to go check the card catalog for the book I didn't get cause I didn't get there on time and see if they have it on CD, then go finish the mittens. I hope to have them on the way to my cousin by this weekend. She's in Paris, and which sounds like winter there should last a while, since it's on the same lattitude as Montreal (I Think? A fact I learned in high school French, so the accuracy may be garbled by now).

Next on the needles? Fuzzy feet for me to wear at work. One of my work friends wears slippers all the time, and I have to say that I'm jealous. I have some Purple Lamb's pride that would be perfect, maybe with a turqouise roll on the top.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Scarf Country

Well, one good thing about the parallelogram scarf is that it's going quickly. Not being able to see the stitches well is making it challenging, but I'm taking DH's advice and just going on. I'm almost through the first ball of yarn, and it's almost an arm's length. I might need to buy a third ball of yarn.

The scarf for dad, I'm not so sure about either. It's mistake rib. The edges are curling - I think if I used a different stitch count, it would have been better. I think I want to switch to bigger needles. I really like the yarn. Sadly, it's calling out to be made into that leaf scarf pattern from scarf-style. (Backyard leaves?) However, that is just not my dad. The stitches show up beautifully. It's kind of an out-there color for him, so I'm looking for something that's not flamboyant, but shows off the stitch definition. I might turn this into a parallelogram scarf for him too. I just don't know.

I've also been thinking about the yarn I have for a wrap. I have 600-700 yards of aran weight ombre yarn. I guess since now I understand about knitting through the back loop, I can make Clapotis. (I keep wanting to call it clay-pots.) My other contender is the Lady Eleanor entrelac. The color changes are pretty short, so I'm not sure how the squares would lwork. The other thing is that I have about half as much yarn as the pattern calls for, in fact, I don't have any yarn in that kind of quantity. I'm over my shrug obsession. I don't think it would be flattering. I saw a really pretty Kiri on Mason Dixon recently, but I think that the fancy knitting would get lost in the color changes. It needs something simple, as far as knittin pattern goes. The striped and varigated Clapotis were all so pretty. It looks like that's the way this yarn is going.

I'm still a little perturbed about that mitten, so she's still in time out.

Anyway, I've kind of got some knitting blues. I think I need to cast on something for me, that I want to knit. My choices are: (small)a pair of socks (I've got about 4 different sock yarns to choose from for me) (medium) a hat that goes with my beautiful purple wool/silk scarf, maybe some purple mittens that go too - I've got some purple brown sheep wool that I could use for mittens or (large)embarking on a stole or wrap of some sort.

Expect to hear about a new cast-on on Sunday.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

A Finished Object! Hooray!

I finished DH's scarf last night. I should really wash it - it turned the needles red. I'm thinking that's a bad sign for colorfastness.

After that, I ripped out and restarted the navy blue scarf for my cousin several times. I settled on a Parallellogram pattern - here. It's really hard to see the stitches while you're working on it, to see what row you're on. And I don't like the plastic needles I'm using. I think I might have to switch to some metal straights. The plastic are so not slippery and the yarn is so not slippery that getting the stitches to move from place to place is like pulling teeth. It's a darn good thing the yarn is bulky and that the parallelogram pattern takes up about 15 rows.

Not one to keep from casting on, I also started the scarf for my dad. I decided to go with mistake rib for him. It's on 10 1/2's - I am using straights for his and it turns out that I really like the needles. They're not heavy on the ends like so many of them tend to be. They're Susan Bates' with the little plastic doohickeys on the end. The pattern itself goes pretty fast because every backside row is purl across. It's nice to just whiz through that. I like the yarn too. It's from Grandma's stash - green mystery yarn. I thought it was acrylic, but it's not squeaky, but soft-ish, so it might be wool. Who knows. I guess I could try felting a swatch, just to be able to give some good care advice.

We went to B&N tonight too and I got a nifty book of stitches. It has nice big, well lit pictures of the stitch patterns. I can't speak to the directions, but so far it looks like fun. I've been pondering a pattern for a scarf for my mom. I might try something a little lacey.

I also got this one: Stupid Sock Creatures by John Murphy - it's intriguing. I don't know if my tasts run quite the same way, but it looks like it has interesting information on sock-creature-construction. I'm fascinated by all of the "softies" out there on various blogs - it amazes me how people just whip them up when it's such a chore for me to cut out fabric and drag out the sewing machine.

I'm really jonesing to start a sock, though. I have this yarn - Catania Color 100% cotton in a discontinued color, purples and greens, and it's paging me. I'm spending spare time daydreaming - just a simple stockinette sock with a ribbed top, or jaywalkers, or, or....who knows!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

not much progress to report

I really need to figure out knitting while reading. I borrowed Sara Paretsky's Fire Sale from the library and I really want to read it. I also have the second Janet Evanovich (don't remember the title, but it has Two in it.) on reserve at the library. Everyone just got through a round of colds at home.

DH's scarf is almost done. The ball of yarn left is about the size of a raquetball, which I know that due to clown car math is secretly about 1km of yarn left on the skein of Cascade 220.

The mittens have me a little perturbed still. I'm holding a grudge that the size 7 needles were so not the right size. Or my knitting was too loose. Whatever. It was like a catcher's mitt, which was so not the look I was going for. So we're using #5's, and rotating the ladder. Instead of a ladder we'll have a spiral staircase, with my luck. On a good note, though, I did figure out how to knit the "right way" through the front loop and I'm kind of getting used to it. I might start doing that with all of my new projects. I know, that's pretty radical. Now I can work on Clapotis. That's one of the key instructions I didn't understand. I have learned a lot with these mittens. Thanks grandma.

I have a new work washcloth going. It's in a Jaywalker-esque pattern (also similar to a zig-zag scarf in Scarf Style). It's in a bright green, yellow, and white colorway called Lemon-Lime. I'm pleased that I got it worked out. Stitches increased = stitches decreased seems to be the magic. Just like solving both sides of the equation.

I really want to get back to the laptop bag and work on all of the scarves I have in the queue before winter is over (for me, that's about President's day).

Sunday, January 15, 2006

B is for Beads

LaLa went through a phase just after she turned one where she was very well accessorized. The red fuzzy thing is a stuffed snake that she would wear as a boa. We have an assortment of Mardi Gras beads around the house from DH's days at Tulane. She would also wear a brown belt over her shoulder, gunslinger style, with a green lightsaber holstered to it.

B was going to be for Bearcat or Blankie. As ubiquitous as they are around here, they seem to be like Charlie Brown's Little Red-Haired Girl, always elusive. This is the only photograph I could find of BearCat and Blankie in the three years that they've been in use. BearCat is the pink. He is something like this, only with a face that could either be a bear or a cat, hence the name. Blankie is modeled after a Tag Blanket like this one. The company that owns the rights to it seems to have draconinan enforcement of it's intellectual property rights, so I won't share any how-to's other than it was easy to make, and I made mine out of polar fleece and ribbons by the yard from Hancock - a mix of satin and grograin. Working out the "right sides together" was the trickiest part, and it wasn't that tricky. It's a great concept and La love's the tags. The amazing thing to me is that we haven't lost these yet. We have a number of fake-BearCat's waiting in the wings like Fake Shemp's in case BearCat or Blankie become unable to fulfill their duties.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I decided to join the ABC along

Just in time for A. In my house, A is for Amelia (secret code name: LaLa). A is "her letter" - one of the 4 or so that she recognizes and claims every time she sees it. This photo was taken on Christmas day or close to it. She got a bunch of Mr. Potatoheads for Christmas (This is Mr. Potatohead, his brother Mr Potatohead and his other brother, Mr Potatohead), and this is her with a potatohead smile in her mouth. We all thought it was so funny that we got pictures of all four of us, each with a different spud-smile.

Photo Updates!

I took a whole bunch of WIP and FO pictures, long overdue. Let's see what we got.

1. These are the Grandma M. mittens for my cousin. My husband deftly pointed out that the difference between my knitting and Grandma's is that my chevrons are upside down. Hmm. I might be knitting wrong. There was kind of an inspirational post on Frog It! and I think I might be of the same school of wrong knitting (my socks twist too. In fact most of my in the round stuff has a slant to it). These are going to be "fraternal twin" mittens. Hopefully they don't turn into big brother-little brother mittens.

2. This is my purple seed stitch scarf and my fat dog Tiger. I still have to weave in the ends, of course, but it's otherwise done. I really like the Esther Williams hat out there, but don't think I have enough yarn to make one. I think I'll end up finding something at Headhuggers to go with it.

3. This is the start of a pinwheel baby blanket for my nephew to be. I think I'd also like to make him a hat and some washcloths of the same motif. It's currently on hold, waiting for more needles to get here from Patternworks.

4. This is the start of my bell sleeve shrug. The top picture is more indicitave of the color. See that tropical weather situation right at the elbow???

5. And lastly, a mitered square washcloth. Sugar N Cream cotton in the Faded Glory color, 1 1/2 balls, two dyelots. It turned out to be pretty freakin huge. 50 stitches on a side is too many. I guess now I have a datapoint.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Tomatoes with Salt And Pepper

There is not much better than that. It's what makes any sandwich great. The tomatoes don't even have to be perfect-summer-ripe, they can be whitish winter tomatoes, and it's still delicious. Although there's not much better than a sandwich with nice cheese, slices of tomato, salt, pepper, and basil. I went to Albertson's (the grocery store) for lunch today and got a sub - roast beef with mayo and mustard, lettuce and tomato, salt and pepper. On wheat. with munster. Delicious.

And now for something completely different.

I decided to frog the bell sleeve shrug back to where I split it from being in the round to back and forth. I see the merits of the super long sleeve. And, sadly, after seeing the striping change of switching to back-and-forth, I can see the merits of doing the whole thing in back and forth stockinette. However, life is too short for that kind of nonsense. So, my advice if you're considering this kind of pattern variation? Go with a solid, or at the most a heathered, tweed or handpainted monochrome, not a (what's the technical term?) ombre/varigated/colorway. I think it'll still be neat to wear over t-shirts at work.

DH's scarf is coming along. It's now longer than my wing span. The game plan is to knit til I run out of yarn. He has a method of wearing the scarf that he wants to do, that calls for a super-long scarf. It's where you fold it in half, wrap it around your neck, then pull the two ends through the loop. I don't know what that is called, and living in Florida, only saw it on TV recently. He is not from "up north" (Vietnam is not up north.) and I moved to Florida when I was 5, and my parents swore off snow when I was 6.

I started a pinwheel blanket for my nephew to be. I decided that the bright yellow and orange wouldn't suit my sister, even if I thought it was great for a baby. And. I wasn't sure how to work it into the pinwheel idea without it looking like a bullseye. So I bought some beautiful pale silvery-blue Caron Simply Soft and am using #10 needles. It's very hard to resist the temptation to turn what I have into a hat. I had to order some more #10 circs, so that's on hold for the moment. I did the math to figure out the circumfrence of a 30 or 36" diameter pinwheel would be, and I started to seize up, thinking about the super long rounds. I think I'm going to have to put in a stitch marker before every pie-slice where the increase goes so I don't have to count so much. Otherwise this won't be TV knitting but too boring to do on it's own.

Something happened and a half done mitten fell out of my works pile. It was a mitten in progress that I had gotten from my aunt when she went through my grandmother's stash and WIP. At the time I had never made a mitten, so I just threw it in a big ziplock and stuck it in my to do pile. But now I'm a mitten "veteran" (chuckle). So, I took it to the Boy Scout meeting and worked on it. Now it just needs a thumb - and I even made a note of where I started the decreases! It looks like it was cast on using a crochet chain and then you pick up the little loops on the side that doesn't look like a braid. I made some attempts at it last night, but I think I'm going to have to do some research and figure that out. Grandma's knitting is so tidy and nice. Here's the other part that made it call to me - my cousin is studying abroad in Paris. Her brother and mom went to join her for Christmas and looking through the slide show of pictures, she only had a nice jacket - no winter woolens, no scarf, no mittens. I really want to make her a "ruffles" scarf (from Scarf Style) (the Potato Chip scarf from KnitPicks is similar looking). Or a pretty eyelet lace one. But these mittens looked like a good color for her (she has my grandmother's coloring, or close to it) and these would be from her grandma too. They're just junky acrylic, but I think after they get washed they'll be softer, and they should hold up to regular care pretty well, and they're from Grandma! So figuring out the cast on is my next project.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

An update just because I can

It doesn't seem like I have anything substantial to report, but I feel drawn to the blog nonetheless.

The Bell Sleeve Shrug weather map pooling (it really looked like a hurricane was coming) seems to have cleared up. We're back to something close to a spiral-stripe. I finished the sleeve, although I may have "finished" it too soon. I figure I can always seam it up a little.

DH's scarf is coming along. It's almost as long as my own personal wingspan. It seems like it needs about 2 more feet in order for him to wear it the way he wants to. I'm finally getting into a groove on it. Not sure why it took 4 feet to get to that point.

I finished a washcloth at work. Mitred square. Sugar N Cream cotton in a red-white-and-blue variety.

Haven't really been knitting much else.

At home we've gone from 0 to 60 in a couple days - from the feeling a little ill from all of the slothyness back to the exhaustion of our regular schedules. DH had two meetings last night relating to Scouts, the monkey had one too. DH is in Miami today, drove down at 5 this morning to go to a site visit for work. He should be home by bedtime. I'm trying to get through the opening week of Medicare Part D. The pharmacy wasn't able to give us refills on two of MIL's meds. One was the anti-psychotic. The other was her statin. I'm more concerned about the anti-psychotic, frankly. According to the wizard on the insurance company's web site, all of her drugs were covered, most at "tier 2", which should be a $3 deductable. The insurance company is not answering their phone if you follow the menu selections for people trying to get information on their benefits. I'm thinking of calling the pharmacist and asking if he can run the script again to see if it fixed itself.

Not pertinent to anything, our weather has been beautiful. Crisp, clear days. Highs in the mid-70's (although it's supposed to get cold out for the weekend). The drive in this morning was absoultely gorgeous, especially as I crossed over the Lake Jesup bridge. I saw bald eagles perched on top of the light posts on the bridge. Very neat.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

You ever see that pooling...

that makes the knitted object look like a weather map? Like this one from weather.com? Well, sadly, that's how my bell sleeved shrug is looking. It had such nice rings at the beginning, and is starting to look more ringed, but there's a big section of weather map pooling right in the middle. Not so much fun. Sort of like a train wreck, where even though I'm not particularly fond of how it's knitting up, I can't help but wonder what's going to happen next.

Here's more bad news. Although LaLa did fine for New Year's Eve, tonight she had a disco nap from about 4:45 to 6:00 and we're approaching 2 hours in trying to get her to go to sleep tonight. Although she is a delight, she's just not winding down to go to sleep. I'd really like for her to be working towards getting back to her routine so that school is not so much of a shock to her system on Tuesday. DH just emerged triumphant from her room. Hooray!

DH and our BIL got my MIL moved in to the new ALF today. We'll see how it goes. Wish us luck. Oh, and I'm going to get refills of MIL's prescriptions. Wish us luck with Medicare Part D, as well.

Happy New Year to all!