Monday, September 26, 2005

Rain at last

It's finally raining. After something like 2 months without measurable rain, it's a welcome sight. It's nice and cool too. Perfect knitting weather. I finished the first sleeve on my sweater and am past the ribbing on the second.

I started a poncho this weekend. However, the acryl-yuck yarn leaves much to be desired, so I frogged it. The yarn was originally purchased to make an afghan on my knitting machine and I really feel that should remain it's destiny.

I received my KnitPicks order (placed before the catalog came, so no MaryJane cardigan). Some lovely Sock Landscape in Redwood Forest (yeah I know, there will be absolutely no more purchasing of sock yarn until I finish sock #1!) and this to die for Andean Treasure in Embers. I've already got the Andean Treasure on the needles for a Christmas gift. It is delightful to knit with. Soft as butter and the color is gorgeous! I will most definitely be ordering more of this stuff.

Finally, good news about my grandfather. Just received an email from mom that he has been moved out of ICU to a regular room. She said he's doing much better and they hope to move him to rehab before long. It's terrific news. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Catalogs galore

Again, it's been awhile since I posted so I'll catch you up. My grandfather's condition worsened so mom & dad flew to Texas. He remains in the hospital after undergoing triple bi-pass surgery. He's still not out of the woods and we continue to pray for his comfort and speedy recovery. Thankfully they aren't in a part of Texas that is supposed to be hard hit by Rita. Although my uncle & aunt from Houston have evacuated because their home could be hit. Again, we watch and wait and pray for everyone's safety.

Work has been insane. We are short staffed due to the other computer operator being on her honeymoon (in Jamaica no less, I'm so jealous!) and my mother (who also happens to be the office manager where I work) being away too. Normally I cover for either of them when they are out and it's not bad. Both out together gets a little more difficult. However, the benefit to working in a small office is that everyone helps each other out when times get tough. The other girls in the office with me have been such a support. Still, I've been too tired at night to blog.

I've knit a little, but not much. The heat continues. Although it seems to be cooling a bit this evening. Maybe the cold front is actually coming through (please, please let it rain!). I'm 3/4 done with the first sleeve for the Malabrigo sweater and my calculations seem to have worked to produce a decent looking sleeve. I should have plenty of time to knit this weekend so should easily finish this sleeve and get under way on the other one. The sock...well let's just say it's going to take a while and leave it at that.

The mailman left all sorts of temptation in the box today. There's the new Halcyon Yarn catalog, the new Knit Picks catalog (this link will get you free shipping, but I don't know for how long), and the new Wool Connection catalog. I'm in love with the Sweet Mary Jane Cardigan on the Knit Picks cover. But it's done in lace weight yarn. I'm pushing my patience with the fingering weight sock yarn. I can't imagine a whole sweater in lace weight. Still...it's really tempting. Wouldn't hurt to buy the pattern...maybe even the yarn...just in case...you never know...

Darned my slow reading, I still haven't finished Angels & Demons. I'm only about 20 pages from the end. Fell asleep in the book trying to finish it last night. Will definitely finish tonight. Then, Yarn Harlot here I come. I laughed out loud reading her last book. Hope this one is as good. How am I kidding, of course it will be. Wish I could have made it to Stitches this weekend. Stephanie is going to be signing books. Well, that and all the yarn. Maybe next year.

Bye for now.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Too hot, again!

When, oh when will fall arrive? It's the middle of September, school has started, the leaves are starting to turn and fall...yet still it's 90 degrees today. I'm so into finishing the Dark Earth Malibrigo sweater. See how helpless it looks without arms?
Since it was too hot to knit anyway, I spent the better part of this evening working out the sleeve. Thus, the sun is going down as we speak, so further thus, bad light for the POC camera. You get the idea though.

I tried to cheer the poor neglected sweater up with this...
It's the yarn harlot's new bookbookbook2! The sweater was very impressed and happy. I, on the other hand, am monogomas when it comes to books. So I must finish Angels & Demons before I start on this one. I'm tiding myself over by reading her daily blog posts (that doesn't count as cheating on the book, does it?)



Here's the progress on my sock. I can actually stand to knit on this a little, even in the heat. The colors are just gorgeous. The cotton feels just a little stiff. But cotton always does to me and I'm knitting at a pretty tight gauge. Everyone seems to suggest knitting at a tighter gauge for longer wear. The swatch felt softer after being washed so I'm sure these will feel fine.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Catching up

It's been a while since my last post. Turns out my life may be less blog worthy than I had originally hoped! But for those who are interested, here's what's been going on...

I've finally passed the ribbing on my sock and am about an inch into the leg. I'm just doing a plain jane stockinette stitch for the body of the sock. The Sockotta yarn is patterning really nicely. Thanks MG for the heel advice. I'm still undecided which I will use. The short row heel sounds so complicated in the directions. But often knitting makes more sense in the doing than in the directions.

I started up the Malabrigo sweater again. Finished the front last night and have bound off the shoulders. I try to always do a 3 needle bind off for shoulders. It looks nice and it eliminates the need to seam. I love the way this sweater is turning out. It puts me in mind of the softest sweatshirt. I can see myself living in this thing all winter. I'm thinking of adjusting the sleeves a bit. It's a drop shoulder design, much like the MA sweater. The sleeves on that one are a bit deep. I'm thinking of making them just a little less wide. Since it's a drop shoulder sweater, I don't need to worry about fitting an armhole on the body of the sweater. Should be easy enough.

The weekend was busy. Our local library held their annual Book & Bake sale. My mom is on the library board so our whole family ends up helping out. We help man the bake sale and also help pack up leftover books at the end of the day. It's usually a fun day for a good cause and we always end up with lots of books to bring home (paperbacks are only $.25 and most hardbacks range from $1 - $3). I'm currently reading the copy of Dan Brown's Angels & Demons I picked up. I was quite disappointed when it started out as almost a carbon copy of DaVinci Code plot wise. But it's gone it's own direction now and is a pretty good read.

We didn't spend much time at the sale this year because the memorial service for my grandmother was held on Saturday as well. The service was low-key, a simple graveside service presided over by the chaplin from the home where she lived the last few months of her life at. It was a beautiful sunny day. Everyone joined in singing In The Garden (this family is blessed with many great voices and it was such a comforting, uplifting experience). My uncle spoke about how his dad (my grandfather who died some 14 years ago) always loved hawks & eagles so much and that there was a red tail hawk flying over us that very morning. His spirit was there to greet my grandma and accompany her to heaven. I still get teary eyed thinking of it. Most everyone went back to my parents house for lunch afterwards. It was so wonderful seeing family I haven't seen in years. Everyone stayed and visited most of the day.

Lastly, my papa (sounds like pap-paw) is very seriously ill. This is my mother's father. He is in the hospital after suffering 2 heart attacks. Thoughts and prayers for him and the family are appreciated.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Slow go socks

Not much to blog about. I ripped the sock out shortly after my last post. It looked awfully small, so I slipped it over my foot on the needles. It was really tight. I took the needles out, just to make sure they weren't the problem, and sure enough, too small. So I frogged the whole thing and started over, using stitches to match the actual diameter of my foot (rather than 1" less as suggested in the Knitty pattern). Since I have finished reading Simple Socks, I now have two options for turning the heel. Her method of short-row heels, or the method in the Knitty pattern using a heel flap thingy. I've never done either one so I have no clue which is better (please comment if you have an opinion). Guess we'll see what kind of mood I'm in when I reach the heel. At this rate, that should be somewhere around Thanksgiving. The Angel of Slow Knitting rests upon my hands. At this small gauge (9 stitches per inch!) I seem to be going even slower. Part of the problem is I'm ribbing now, so I have to look at what I'm doing more and the constant moving the yarn front and back. Maybe the stockinette part will go faster.

Monday, September 05, 2005

More finished objects

Yeah! I finished the Mad Aunts of Elingham!! Vivian from The Knutty Knitter was kind enough to send me the extra ball I needed. Here are some pictures of the finished sweater.











I love the way the cables grow out of the ribbing and continue onto the neck. It is so soft and cuddly. But, it's surprisingly heavy. The weight really stretches the neck out (the picture on the pattern shows the neck standing up more.) The machine sewn seams are a bit bulky. Now that I have plenty of yarn, I may redo the seams at some point. I'll have to see how it wears. I think, because of the weight, the machine seams may provide better support than hand sewn seams.


I also finished the Manos Del Uruguay mittens. They just barely fit me, so I felted them ever so slightly to fit my sister-in-law's smaller hands. They should be nice and toasty this winter.



I cast on the Sockotta socks and have about an inch of ribbing done. I'm using the instructions from Knitty's Sock 101. I'm reading through Simple Socks and will probably try her techniques on my next pair.

I've been in a mood to get stuff finished lately. I've only got 4 projects going at the moment (hard to believe, I know.) The socks, the shawl, the Malabrigo sweater and an afghan. The sweater and afghan have been packed away since winter. I'll probably get the sweater out later this week. Finishing MA has me inspired to finish that one too. It's got to get ALOT cooler before the afghan comes out. Whatever possessed me to knit an afghan is beyond me. I can see that project dragging on for years since I only want to work on it when it's really cold and it's a TON of knitting.

Now I'm off to do laundry and enjoy the last few hours of this long weekend before having to go back to work tomorrow.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Mini-Weasley!

I finished the little mini Weasley sweater. As promised, good pictures!








I took the picture with the sweater on some alysum to show the scale. The H is a little wonky on the bottom right side. I tried stranding the yarn back & forth rather than using two strands and it's pulled a little too tight at the bottom. Otherwise, it looks super. I've learned a few things I'll do different next time...use separate strands of yarn for the opposite sides of the letter (or maybe try duplicate stitch), leave the neck stitches live rather than binding off.

Here's a picture where it is going to reside...
The Harry Potter corner of my bookshelf. I'm working on collecting the "special" editions of all 6 books. All but POA and GOF have American (Scholastic) collectors editions. I have Chamber of Secrets, Order of the Phoenix and Half Blood Prince. I purchased the British special edition Prisoner of Azkaban, but I don't like it as much as the American editions. I was disappointed that there were no illustrations. I just ordered a first edition, hardback of Goblet of Fire (non-collectors). I'm still working on the special edition Sorcerer's Stone, but it's got to come down in price a bit.

Well, it's an absolutely gorgeous day out and it's a crime to be sitting inside at the computer. Think I'll head outside and try to get some serious mitten knitting in.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

O.R.

The other day, I was chatting with dad. We were talking about a particularly grumpy person we know. Dad says "“Maybe he's suffering from Ocular Rectalitis."
"“What'’s that?" I ask, knowing full well it's GOT to be a good one.
"“Shitty outlook on life."
Yep. That'’s a good one. I lost it. I laughed for a good minute. Told him I'’d remember that one and told mom that one was getting blogged (dad doesn'’t “do” computers...yet...but mom understands the blog thing).
Today, I'm the one with Ocular Rectalitis. So I decided it was as good a time as any to blog it. Here'’s to you dad. Thanks for giving me something to laugh at, especially on the bad days.

Here are other things that are working to brighten my spirits...

The mini-Weasley is soaring along. I stayed up late the other night to finish the H. I'’m so very pleased with it. Picking up the neck stitches was harder than I thought it would be. Hopefully the little sleeves will be easier. I promise better pictures once it'’s finished.








This whole sock thing is getting the better of me. I just bought this...











And this...










Still working my way through The Principles of Knitting. I would have to agree with the masses. It is a fantastic knitting guide. June Hemmons-Hiatt explains everything in great detail and offers advice on which method is best for which situation. She'’s conversational in her writing, not quite as much so as Elizabeth Zimmermann (knitting goddess), but it still feels like a friend walking you through each technique step by step. The illustrations are some of the best I'’ve seen. If/when they re-release POK, I would definitely add it to my library. I would not, however, pay $200 or whatever ridiculous price people are trying to get for it now. It's good, not that good.


For anyone who'’s wondering, the icky gray background on many of my pictures in my sewing/craft table. It'’s the only place in my house with enough light for the POC camera to get a half decent picture.