Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Little Change

Having reassured you all yesterday that I do still knit, I'm changing directions on you again. I've gotten a request for Marbleous Ornaments. All right, the woman thought my daughter made them (this despite the fact that she was in England at the time, but there it is) and wanted to know if she would make some this year. These are fun, not particularly difficult, a little time consuming but always different. I agreed.

I usually make a 10 or 12 of these. Taking the answer for granted but wanting to give at least the semblance of courtesy and cooperation, I asked, "How many?"

Three dozen.

Well, it will give me something to do while I try to figure out a few small knitting projects to keep you all entertained while I work in the background on the big stuff.

After all, I'm sure you want to hear from me sooner and more frequently than you would if I held off until I had actually finished the shawl and sweater. Right?

I said, "Right?"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

There Was Even Some Knitting

I can hear you in my mind's ear. "Well, so. You've been busy. That's all well and good. But this is a knitting blog. We come here for the knitting. Surely you have something to show us?"

Yes and no. That elusive object, that will-o'-the-wisp, that ignis fatuus, a finished piece of knitting still escapes me. Yes, it's kind of getting on my nerves, too. That's the "no."

There has, however, been progress on two fronts.

Behold, a bit less than 3 skeins worth of red cabled shawl. Only 12 more to go. Which sounds dire, except there's only about 87 yards per skein.

I've settled down with the Classic Elite Ariosa in Lipstick Red. (I'm having the dickens of a time getting the color and the stitch detail in the same photograph. Check WEBS to get a better idea of the color). The yarn splits if I cross my eyes, but it is soft. I'm running the pattern along the length of the shawl, so the cables will be on the top and bottom. The large cables are the mirror imaged angular figure-eight knots from Elsebeth Lavold's Viking Patterns For Knitting. I've centered them between two two-stitch cables twisted to the right on every right side row.

Behold some more. Almost two skeins of Marco Blue sweater. That's the gull stitch pattern from Barbara Walker's First Treasury of Knitting Patterns (the blue book).

Those are the "yes."

Perhaps it's time to add some smaller projects to the mix.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Once Is Enough

Where to begin?

Well, there are the bookcases that went to Texas (twice, I think).

There was the Science Fair Experiment (7 jars of plants, six pollutants, 3 soil tests to be run for each jar every other day, each test requiring mixing and a 5 minute reaction time, 7 soil extractions run on days when we weren't actually testing the soil).

There were parent teacher conferences. Twice.

There were days off. A lot.

Then the bookcases (there are three of them) made it here from Texas. So there was bookcase assembly followed by the reading of the note in the manufacturer's instructions informing me that natural cherry bookcases will darken over time and not to put anything on or in them for two weeks unless I wanted to permanently mark the wood. The two weeks will be up next Wednesday.

There was the plumber. Twice. I have not quite gotten hot water to run full blast in my kitchen, but it's better than the mingy little trickle I've been coping with.

Oh yes, I made three trips to the hardware store in order to complete the reclaiming of the dining room. Necessitated by the generally inconvenient location of electrical outlets in my charming but antiquated condominium, the three prong plug on one of the audio components, the lack of compatible extension cords and outlets and my refusal to run cords across the doorway between the kitchen and the dining room.

Somewhere in all that we went to the Symphony (Lang Lang and friends) and a high school open house (when did my youngest get to be in eighth grade?).

The best, though, is the one thing that only happened once. We had a Confirmation (part of having one's youngest reach eighth grade). Admittedly the one event involves a deal of concomitant running around (it may have had something to do with the Great Dining Room Reconfiguration).

A Confirmation requires one sister (his) home from college for one celebration. Don't they clean up nice?

Which in turn required (and be prepared to reclaim your eyeballs after they pop out at this picture)

One fabulous cake. I want one for my birthday.

There you have it. Or most of it. At least, what of it I can remember. I should almost have time to catch my breath before Thanksgiving.

Tune In Later

I had intended to spend some time today bringing you up to speed. Any and all of my attempts have left me staring blankly at what I wrote, wondering why it's not coherent. Sleep deprivation will do that to me, and we have just come off two very late nights finishing up John's science fair project. In fairness, let me note that my contribution was pretty much limited to hole punching. Oh, and I got to format the text for his safety sheet. I just couldn't bring myself to abandon a 14 year old to the wee hours.

Since unlike Inigo in Princess Bride, I find it's too much to even sum up right now, let me just note that I am still among the living by providing a little yarn pr0n. It seems I've lost track of my 7 Deadly S(p)ins, so I was surprised to get a shipment today.

It doesn't specify, but I think the sin is Avarice.

Tune in next week to see if I have managed to reacquaint my brain with the written word.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

We Interrupt this Knitting Blog

"The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected. . . ." (Article II, Section I, Paragraph I of the Constitution of the United States).

Vote today.

Monday, November 03, 2008

It's Called Experimenting

I've been being sensible in spite of myself. After three failed tries at finding pattern and yarn compatible with my vision for a red shawl, I've admitted that all I've been doing is swatching.

The original yarn had a lovely weight and feel, and made the cables the size I wanted, but the alpaca content meant they (the cables) were rather flat. Further, this is the yarn that, when knit up, looked like something had spilled on it.

Paging through the holiday Knit Simple (the same one where I found out about the Special Olympics scarves), I stumbled across a bit about this yarn. There's a pattern for a cashmere sweater and the editors sensibly decided to include some suggestions for alternates.

This is a merino and cashmere blend, with so little cashmere it doesn't actually cost the earth, just a good size landmass.

This is how it looks knitted up on US size 9/ 5.5 mm needles.

The cables look nice, but the reverse stockinette feels really . . . firm. I'm also not sure I like how the pattern is playing out.

It was when I decided to frog this that I ran into trouble. This yarn is not plied. It is, in fact, barely twisted. I'm knitting with roving here, and roving (at least, this roving), doesn't take well to frogging, because roving (at least, this roving), splits when I'm not looking and tangles around itself. I end up with little bits fraying, pulling off and attaching themselves to other, random sections of the yarn. It behooves me to tread a little more cautiously here. Rather than rip this any further (I may still decide to use this combination of yarn, needles and pattern), I'm swatching for real.

Knit on US 10.75/6.5 mm (below the pin) and US 10/6 mm (above). I think I'm happy with the fabric on the size 10's, but I want to play a little more with the pattern before I commit.

And all the while, for some reason, "The Fair Maid of Amsterdam" is stuck in my head. "Oh I'll go no more a-roving with you fair maid, A-roving, a-roving, I'll go no more a-roving, Since roving's been my ruin."