Sunday, February 26, 2006

Olympic Bronze ???

Here's the "proof"...

It's a sweater. It's not what I would call finished, but it can, in fact, be worn.
It's even warm... And it fits.

I remembered when I started putting the sleeves together that one of the reasons I was so scared to actually sew the pieces together was that I had no idea if it would fit and was too scared to find out I'd done all that knitting for something that I wouldn't be able to wear.

So, as of this moment, I nominate myself for a bronze. This project has been languishing in my stash for far too long and I'm over the hump, it will be finished.

There is a possibility, however slight, that I will get both the seaming and the crochet edging finished by the end of the closing ceremonies. If that does occur, I will change my nomination to gold!
Peacock says that I entered two events, the seaming event and the crochetted edging event and that if I can get my seaming finished I should nominate myself for a silver. Anyone else got an opinion on this one?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Leaf Lace Shawl - Blocking

In a fit of productivity this evening, we decided to block my leaf lace shawl at the same time as my Noro Cardigan.

It was all ready, ends woven in and everything quite some time ago, I just hadn't made time to get it blocked... and besides, I was getting a kick out of wearing it as a very textural scarf.
The darn thing's huge! (to make note of the scale, you can see the Noro Cardigan blocking in the background) Unblocked, it was just under two yards along the top edge. Now it's close to eighty inches.

Here's a close up showing the transition the multi color portion at the top and the first of the two predominantly blue bands:

In contrast to the unblocked close up:

I would have loved to be able to draw a comparison between the actual sizes of the two pictures, but I was not thinking that far ahead when the pictures were taken, so I have no clue what the real dimensions of the images are, making direct comparisons impossible. I am planning on making at least one more of these shawls with the same yarn and needles, so I should be able to directly compare this one blocked to the next one before blocking. That will be a fun comparison.

Knitting Olympics - VII

And here are updates on all of the Olympics competitions entered by residents of the Bedside Manor (otherwise known as my housemates).

First up, the cuteness competition:

The puppy is constantly working on his cuteness scores. On the evening in question, he set a new record. He'd been carrying the pink fish around all day and settled between the boyfriend's legs for a nap. His head's pressed firmly against the blanket box and, well it's obvious he's been practicing. He just keeps getting cuter and cuter every day.
... or maybe I'm just smitten.

Next up, the Peacock:
The Martian lake cow Leaf Lace shawl is cast off, ends woven in and awaiting its turn at blocking. Pictures tomorrow as the shawl participates in the blocking competition.

Third, the UFOlympics:

I am getting a very late start on this event. The pieces went with me to Tucson over the weekend and quite a bit of progress was made. I sewed in all the ends and stitched the tops of the shoulders together. When I started trying to set in the sleeves I realized why the resources I referenced suggested insisted that blocking the pieces first was a Very Good Idea(TM). So I brought the pieces home and am currently blocking them.
Near as I can tell, it is still theoretically possible that I can get this cardigan finished before the closing ceremonies on Sunday

And last, but not least, the Knitting Olympics:
I am entered on the official Knitting Olympics list of participants thus: "bethieee - socks"
Look, a picture:

Two socks that did not exist 14 days ago. I have triumphed!

Now for the question I've been asking throughout the games: What's wrong with this picture?
That's right, two left feet!

Not quite true as the socks are not actually shaped, but they are socks from two distinctly different pairs (note the two partially used balls of yarn lurking near the edges of the picture) so they might as well both be the left ones. This is my punishment for not swatching enough. I did swatch, really I did. I swatched on 1.5's and 1's and decided that my gauge on the 1's (the suggested needle size) was close enough and that I would proceed with the suggested needles. I had not, in fact, made gauge. I had merely come close and not actually close enough. The first sock, the larger one towards the bottom of the picture, is loose on me. The dimensions I get when I measure my feet are larger than those provided by my sock pal. When I realized the significance of this problem, I swatched some more. Turns out I needed to use size 0 needles to actually achieve the pattern gauge. So the second sock was done with needles smaller than those called for in the pattern and the sock is too small for me in all the right places.

The third and fourth socks will be knit after the Olympics are over and my wrists decide to start being civil again. They are of the opinion that I've been doing far too much knitting with tiny needles of late. They are right. I am now, officially on a sock sabbatical having reached my olympic goal. As a side effect of my Olympic knitting, I have fallen madly in love with Nancy Bush's sock patterns. There will be many more of them in my future. Here's hoping I have learned my lesson and will proceed at a more leisurely pace.

... yeah, right...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Presents !!!

Somebody loves me...
Actually, a couple somebodies love me. I know this because I got presents!

The First Present: SNOW !!!

(Yes, I know the picture's broken... a gremlin prevented it from being loaded to the server, it should be fixed within the week. Gremlin, give my picture back!)
This is our front yard. I know it's not much, but it's snow and it actually stuck (well, at least until dawn, it was gone by the time I got up the next morning). I like snow, it's lots of fun to play in, just as long as I don't have to drive anywhere.

Second Present: A package from Cheerio my spoiler from SP6 !!!

Cheerio was a great spoiler, she said this package was going out before Christmas, and decided to wait until after New Years when I told her we were travelling for Christmas. Then, when she placed a KnitPick's order, she decided to order something for me. All this adds up to a wonderful suprise on my doorstep last week. In the package I found: a single skein of Caron Bliss, a whole bunch of strawberry flavored Hershey's Kisses, some gum, a lovely fuzzy crochetted scarf, and two skeins of Andean Silk in a pretty slightly yellowed green. I'm really looking forward to trying the Andean Silk, it's a lovely feeling yarn and I've been pleased with the other yarn I've tried from that company (that yarn was also an SP giftieee).

Third Present: A package from my current SP.

She's so thoughtful, a Valentine's day package that's just perfect for me. Dark chocolate truffle balls, a fabulous card (who'd'a thunk they actually made Secret Pal greeting cards... fascinating... ), Valentine's day magnetic poetry, a cute little clippy photo holder (the package said one photo and it meant it, when we tried to stand the card up with it, it wilted). Lastly, and most spectacularly, two skeins of gorgeous red Araucania Nature Wool Chunky.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Knitting Olympics - VI

The Current Score:
First sock: completed.
Second cuff: completed.
Second leg: completed.
Second heel: completed... barely.

It's 1:26 in the morning and instead of going to bed, I'm going to go knit on my socks!

I have yet to start on the seaming for the UFOlympics, perhaps I'll finish it, perhaps I won't... It's gotten me thinking about that project again and if I get it done, awesome, if not, what's another couple months on top of a few years?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Baby Blanket

As a result of some misguided project selection many years ago (yes, I did actually think I was going to crochet the sampler afghan from this book), I have a huge stash of Plymouth Encore in blue, green, red (all approximately the same value) and a pale varegaited mostly white-ish grey

While I do not generally enjoy working with this yarn, I do believe it has its uses. It is, for example machine washable and fairly warm. This makes it wonderful for knitting hats for charity, and baby blankets.

About 3 weeks ago I got a bee in my bonnet to start a baby blanket with no clear idea who it would be for. Many of my friends are procreating this year, so I had lots of choices. However today I discovered precisely who the recipient would be. The pregnancy was started right about the time I decided to start the blanket. I've been told this makes it my fault!

At any rate, here's the blanket:

Pattern: Big Bad Baby Blanket
Source: Debbie Stoller's Stitch 'N Bitch
Yarn: Plymouth Encore

I'm not sure how well it shows in the picture, but about 10 rows back, roughly where the needle is pointing (the needle that's pointing up, that is), I got a row of the border reversed. I'll be pulling the border back to see if I can fix it without needing to pull the entire width of the blanket. Here's hoping it goes well since I really don't want to have to rip that much of the blanket.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Knitting Olympics - V

I finished the toe of sock number 1 before I went to bed last night.

And then I realized I had a homework assignment that was due this afternoon. I was up until 4:30 this morning finishing that darn assignment. It probably won't get a very good grade as I was feeling slightly punchy and obstinant... Oh, well.

I started sock number 2 this afternoon and worked on it at the fire department while awaiting my turn to demonstrate my ability to evaluate and correctly treat a cardiac patient. A couple of the firefighters commented on the yarn, a couple others ribbed me about having a different project every time they saw me. Given that I take a different project with me almost every time I go out, I suppose I can't complain.

The Current Score:
First sock: completed.
Second cuff: completed.
Second leg: 1/2 of 1 repeat knit.

Knitting Olympics - IV

Current Score:
Cuff: completed.
Leg: completed.
Heel: completed.
Foot: completed.
Toe: 1/2 finished.

I could concievably be finished with this sock by the time I go to bed tonight.
Then again, maybe I'll just go to sleep. It is, after all 2:15 in the morning...
My decision will be posted here as part of tomorrow's update.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Here in slightly snowy Seattle, my household had Valentine's day early so that we could attend Knit'n'Knuth on Tuesday night as per the usual. It was lovely. The boyfriend brought roses and we all went out for a steak dinner.

I got a huge box packed to the gills with a balloon, lots of yarn, some gorgeous stitch markers (which were proptly gifted back to Peacock because their iridized hearts looked perfectly like peacock feathers and, well, I love them, but she loves them so much more!), some candy, some tins, 4 bundles of quilting fabric, a mug, a hand-knit washcloth, a heart shaped hole-punch, and a pencil sharpener along with some other interesting paper products.

One of the tins had candy in it, it's missed getting its picture taken because I was busy nibbling on its contents when the staging was done. The other one had a bunch of little things, a bunch of metal buttons with nice fine designs on the front (5 of them plus the piggy's shield makes six and should be enough for the front of a cardigan), an assortment of cute little magnets, and a fimo charm made by Peacock which will be added to my collection of Faire favors.

6 skeins of Mountain Goat from Mountain Colors, 3 each in Red Tail Hawk and Granite Peak. I am so spoiled! No idea what I'll be knitting, but until I decide, I'll enjoy looking at the yarn just as it is.
I think the piggy wants me to make it a hat... too bad piggy, the yarn's all mine!

The other yarn was two different green Manos yarns. Peacock says she was thinking they'd work well together for color work. I'm not sold on that idea, but then her color sense is often much better than mine. My ideas almost always work, but they're rarely edgy. She has a much higher failure rate, but ooh, the wonderful combinations she comes up with.

These are the bundles of quilting fabric, I'm thinking to make little pockets out of them like Peacock did for the Ornamental exchange.

Monday night was spent making cookies to take to the knitting group. I hadn't realized that a pectin jelly candy could be baked into a cookie and come out of the oven relatively unscathed. For comparison, there's an uncooked candy sitting next to the platefull of cooked ones.

It being now officially Valentine's Day and therefore the 14th of February, I have officially failed to qualify for the drawing affiliated with the Jaywalker KAL. This is a sadness, but I'm displeased enough with how my socks fit that I'm not particularly worried about it either. Maybe I'll knit the second one with the edits I proposed earlier and maybe I'll reclaim the yarn for a sock that will get along better with my feet. Either way, I've learned that I like how Grumperina writes patterns in addition to admiring her designs. Odessa is definitely on the short list of patterns I'd like to knit in the near future.

Happy Valentine's Day, may you all be as wonderfully spoiled as I have been!

Knitting Olympics - III

No picture tonight because I have an interview tomorrow and need to go to sleep.

However a fair bit of knitting was completed as we watched the rather terrible day had at the Olympics. It appears that the woman's downhill skiing hill was out to get people. 3 skiers were carried off after spectacular crashes. Add to that a luger getting knocked unconscious and 2 falls during men's speed skating and I wasn't sure I wanted to watch the pairs long program. We're not all the way done watching it, but so far we've not observed any casualties. I'd very much like to keep it that way.

The knitting score:
Cuff: completed.
Leg: completed.
Heel: completed.
Foot: 1/3 knitted.

I am quite enjoying this pattern, the stitch is interesting enough to keep me engaged and still very easy to keep track of while doing something else... like watching the Olympics! I'm seriously considering knitting a second pair in this pattern for myself right after I finish this pair, while it's still fresh in my mind...
More likely my wandering eye will stray to another project. I will, however, remember to look kindly upon Nancy Bush's patterns in the future as this one has been a joy to knit and I've heard nothing but good things about them from other knitters. PurlyWhites' Master Study comes to mind as a particularly good example of one knitter's devotion.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Knitting Olympics - II

You met my socks last night early this morning. What you don't know it that they have a secret identity.

They're being knit for someone else...

That's right, I'm knitting my Sockapaloooza socks for the Knitting Olympics.
My tardiness with the Stitch Ya Neck Out exchange was something I would very much like not to repeat, so I am doing everything in my power to ensure that this project is completed well in advance of the deadline.
Look at it this way, even if I don't earn a gold medal button, I'll have a significant head-start on my socks.

Either way I win.

That said, I'm really hoping the darn socks start to behave a little better. Having to cast on 3 times is not really my idea of an auspicious beginning.

What's wrong with this picture??

That's right, six needles instead of the standard 5, one of them broken. No, I don't know how it happened. Thankfully Peacock had an extra set in the very same size so I've traded out the wounded teammember and continued knitting.

Here's the current score:
Cuff: completed.
Leg: completed (6 repeats instead of the 7 called for in the pattern).
Heel Flap and Turn: completed (15 slip sts along selvage instead of 17 in pattern).
Gusset: barely begun, but going smoothly.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Knitting Olympics - I

Yesterday, Friday, I got home from work at almost 10:00 pm and decided to sit down with a re-air of the opening ceremonies and cast on my socks. The TV schedule apparently lied and we got stuck watching a news-type show about the lead up to Torino. My socks must have been watching the TV with me because they just would not cooperate. I got about an inch into the knitting twice before giving up and going to bed.

What's wrong with this picture??

That's right, no knitting needles! Both attempts had to be ripped all the way back out as that was easier than trying to drop back and find the error.

This morning, when I went out to Hilltop East to find Peacock a needle for her Leaf Lace Shawl, I found that, contrary to my belief, they do stock Mountain Colors' sock yarn Bearfoot. I bought two skeins of Wildflower because I was worried about running short with the color I'd been using Friday (I only had one skein, 350 yards, and the pattern called for 430 yards, a significant enough difference that even knowing that I can get 2 socks out of a standard 100gr ball didn't placate my concerns). I'm still going to try to get both socks out of one skein, but now I have two skeins just in case.

This evening, I sat down with the Tivo's re-air, cast on and everything went smoothly. I have three plausible explanations for this.
1. The yarn didn't believe the games had actually started.
2. The first color wants to be used for something else at some later date.
3. Third time's the charm.

At any rate, things are going much more smoothly now.

Knitting Olympics Day 2:
Cuff: completed.
Leg: 1.5 repeats done so far.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Leaf Lace Shawl

You all know that I got myself quite a bit of Koigu for Christmas this year. I picked 2 different spreads of color designed to work well in lace shawls that go from color to color (like Charlotte's Web, though I have no intentions of making that particular pattern).

What you don't know is that I just finished the knitting on a shawl of with this same general idea. The silly part, I used 3 colors that I had in my stash. I picked 3 different blues and the leaf lace shawl pattern from FiberTrends. The pattern was a joy to knit, I wound up using almost half a ball extra of the third color so I wouldn't need to pull it back at all, but since I had the yarn in stash, I didn't have a problem using the second ball. With the half a ball still remaining, I'm making wristwarmers, one's finished the other one's almost halfway there.

Here it is, not yet blocked. I finished the knitting at a friend's birthday party a couple weeks ago and wore it over my shoulders for the rest of the evening. I got lots of compliments on it and am looking forward to showing it off at knitting group once I've blocked it.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

(Chinese) New Year's Postcard Swap

Apparently today is swap update day, this is the third swap related post I've written.

I took part in MyLittleMochi's New Years Post Card Swap. My post cards all went out before Chinese New Years (as per the rules). And here's the obligatory representative sample:

Each one looked pretty much like this one, but in different colors, no two alike. The fabrics were all hand dyed by either Peacock or me while we were in school at UW. The puppy is an inkjet print coated with acrylic medium, for water resistance. He's our pup, a picture taken in the back yard sometime in 2005. The backing is cardstock. They were held together with fusible glue, I don't remember the brand. I was incredulous that you could use iron-on glue with paper, but it seemed to work quite well... r-e-c-i-p-i-e-n-t-s, did they get there in one piece?

As for the postcards I was sent, I have received eight of the ten I was expecting Hopefully the remaining two are coming from somewhere far away and will arrive soon. I was trying to wait until all had arrived, but I've decided it's time to post the ones I have, the others will be added when they get here. The cards are posted in (roughly) the order in which they arrived. I love the ingenuity each and every cardmaker showed in their designs.

The first one arrived from big_girlfeet and contained a wonderfully cute felt coin purse of the same design as the puppy on the card

This very stylized puppy, from Renee, came in almost a week later (the USPS works in mysterious ways).

The watercolored puppy with the spindly legs came from Jennie.

Skapande sent cards made with wallpaper.

Sarah sent out little felt terriers on a blue ground.

The scotty dog with the deco borders was sent by Moki.

Robayre sent a purple and yellow card with a row of gathered fabric roundells running up one side. The bottom one was run through the post office's cancelling machine and has wavy stripes of black ink on it. It took me awhile to realize what'd happened, but when I did, I laughed.

Karyn sent out a dachsund on a maple leaf background with a ribbon as a simulated stamp.

And that's about it, with 3 minutes 'till I have to go back and change the first line about what day it is, I suppose I'll sign off... It's been quite a lot of fun.

Secret Pal 7 - Package 1

I got a package last week. Unfortunately my photographer injured her leg over the weekend and so I'm late posting about it due to lack of pictures!

From the left, I have a lovely skein of Cascade 220 in a gorgeous color, a bath bomb from lush in a lovely mild scent, the cutest card with marble pictures on the front, and two skeins of a fuzzy variegated mohair.

The Cascade made me particularly happy, it's the exact same blue with teal flecks that I bought to make a complicated aran sweater a few years back. I've abandoned the sweater during midterms the same quarter I started it (tension irregularities, kind-of like with Forbes Forest). I've been tempted to get into the yarn for half a dozen small projects since, but didn't want to break up the set of enough yarn to do a full sweater... now I don't have to!

Thanks SP, it's a fabulous package!

SYNO - Forbes Forest Finished, Sent, Arrived

Well, it was 3 months late, but the scarf is finished, and has been received by MellowTrouble who has been very understanding. Here's the final product being modeled by the puppy:

And a pair of close up to demonstrate that blocking is a wonderful thing. I must admit I was incredulous, I even wrote a note to my recipient after knitting most of a ball of the yarn to ask her if I should rip it out and start over. She reassured me that all my problems would be resolved with a quick soak in warm water and being pinned out to dry.

Before blocking:

and After:

I suppose I should have believed all the people who were telling me that blocking was a wonderful tool to have in a knitter's bag of tricks. I'm a little slow, but I believe them now.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

My Olympics start Friday...

...and so, actually do everyone else's, but that's beside the point.

For the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics, I'll be knitting a pair of Fancy Silk Socks from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. I'm still not sure what yarn I'm going to be using, but I guess I'll figure that out by Friday, won't I.
If I get processed through the sign-up, I'll be knitting for TeamUSA Sock Knitters.

For the UFOlympics, I'm going to be doing the finishing on a sweater I knit shortly after I bought the yarn. I think that was 2001 or 2002... The sweater in question is Debbie Bliss's Scoop Neck Cardigan from the Noro Collection.

The knitting went quickly, I bought it just before finals as a Christmas present for myself and was done with the knitting by the end of break. The pieces, however have languished in my stash for the last 4 or 5 years waiting for seaming and finishing!

Monday, February 06, 2006


1/2 tank of gas: 20.00

Lift tickets and ski rentals for two: 150.00

Getting to laugh at your roomate when she falls over at the bottom of the hill ...Priceless.

Having to drive her home after she actually injures herself in her last run of the day ...could'a done without that one, but at least we both had fun.
We were on the hill for about 3 hours. This did not seem like much return for the money until I realized that if we'd been there on a normal day, you know one where people have to wait in line for the lifts, the 6 runs we both did would have involved at least 3 hours of wait time at the bottom of the hill. Add to that the 2 runs I did after she went in to Ski Patrol with an annoyed knee, and you have 8 runs which one could reasonably expect would take the better part of 8 hours if there had been more skiiers on the hill...

No wonder I'm more sore than I expected for 3 hours of skiing. I packed a full day's worth into just 3 hours.

In related news, I ski better than I thought I would. It's amazing how little you forget even over a lapse of many years. It's been at least 6 since I was on skiis. I guess it's kind-of like falling off riding a bicycle, once you figure out how to do it, you never forget

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Happy Superbowl Sunday !!

Um, Go Seahawks??
Hope you all enjoy the game...

Me, I'm going skiing while the slopes are empty!

Friday, February 03, 2006

KAL Updates II

So, in KAL news, I'm overbooking myself again. (I'm not as bad about this as some people I know, go look at Kat's schedule this quarter if you want to know what real overbooking is all about!)

Knitting finished, need to weave in the ends and sew the bottom ends together. I used Cascade Fixation in a varegated blue. Signing up for this one is a little unfair. The knitting's was finished before the KAL started.

Knitting Olympics:
I still don't know what I'm going to knit for this. I could do the knitting for the NWRSA fiber exchange, or the Sockapaloooza knitting, or, for something completely different, I could make my first Baby Suprise Sweater a la Elizabeth Zimmerman. Probably the most challenging option, I could do the finishing on the oldest unfinished object in my stash. But that deserves a post of its own.

Still stalled, need to cast on second sock. It is not looking good for finishing the pair by the deadline.

Handknit Holidays:
Thinking about what to knit from this book next. I have a set of yarn for the floral fair-isle bag, but there are so many neat projects in that book that I'm not sure which to do.

Warm Hands:
Remember the green wristwarmer from December's KAL Update? It has resumed life as a ball of yarn. I decided the hand section was just too big and ripped it out. However, I have finished one wristwarmer just like Peacock's and the other one is on the needles.

Matches have been made!!! I know who my sock partner is. I'm plotting her socks at this very moment, though I currently have no actual decisions made about color, style, yarn or anything.

Postcard Swap:
The postcard swap is in full swing. My cards went out a week ago just before Chinese New Year. Each of them featured 3 different hand-dyed fabrics and a picture of my puppy. I've been enjoying receiving postcards too, look forward to seeing them in their very own post.

I got it finished and sent shortly after the hosts asked for the final round-up. It's 3 months overdue, but I've been in contact with MellowTrouble since before the deadline passed in November. She's been very understanding and is excited to see it when it arrives.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Martian Mountain Cow

When Peacock mentioned her Martian Lake Cow fiber, she told you all to ask me about the Martian Mountain Cow fiber I received for the same project.

Sorry it took so long for me to get an image, the Mountain Cow would not hold still. This picture looks a bit odd, because the Martian landscape interferes with terrestrial photographic equipment.

As you can see in the picture, the Mountain Cow is not a happy creature. It is rather grumpy and capricious, perfectly happy to eat almost anything in its path. Notice that it was trying to eat the camera as I took its picture. It does not drink much, meeting its need for liquids with the solid food it consumes; this is due to the inherently grumpy nature of the Lake Cow which defends its territory quite fiercely. Neither beast is one I'd like to associate with ever again.

Fascinatingly, the Mountain Cow's fur is also capricious. The first time I spun it, I itched for a week thereafter. I've since spun most of the rest of the fiber and not had this problem recur. I think the fur decided it liked me. I have no other explanation.

The Mountain Cow is a nomad, a trait it passes along to its fur. I received the fur in early June 2005. Shortly thereafter, I spun some samples of it and spent time thinking about how I would spin it and what I would knit from it. Then the fur wandered off! I could not find it for months. When it finally reappeared, I sat down to spin it all in short succession so the wandering problem would not reoccur. The fur behaved wonderfully during the spinning, however being yarn has not helped calm its nomadic spirit. If anything, its current incarnation as yarn is even more mobile than before. One ball is on the coffee table, one in the bedroom, and one with the remains of the unspun fur in the Zen room. Hopefully it will be more docile for its recipient to whom it must return in May.

(In all honesty, the Mountain Cow is a gesture drawing of my puppy done in sharpie on index card. Does everyone now understand why my art degree involved avoiding as many drawing classes as possible?)