Sunday, August 27, 2006

Close but no cigar

I didn't quite meet my goal to finish my Main Line sweater this weekend. But I did pretty damn good. The machine knitting took about 7 hours total. You knit the shoulder seams together by machine and the sleeves are knit right onto the body, so right there you eliminate 4 seams that would normally be done by hand. But there's still a good bit of hand work to be done. I've knit the ribbing for the cuffs and am working on the bottom ribbing now.The pattern suggests using garter stitch for all the edges, but I thought ribbing would look better. I'm also knitting the bottom rib continuously so I won't have to seam it later. I still need to do the collar and seam up the sides and arms. The hand work will probably take me as long to do as knitting the whole sweater. But still, 14 hours for a whole sweater, for me, is awesome. Oh, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this yarn. It is super soft from the high cotton content, but the wool makes it not so stiff and string-like like most cotton. The weight is fabulous, not too heavy. I used the recommended 4.5 st/inch and it's perfect. I washed my swatches before I started and it looks like this yarn washes up beautifully too. I'll definetly be buying more of this yarn.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Painting...during & after

Such was our zeal to start our painting project (yeah right), I forgot to get any before pictures. Here is the carnage as of Saturday afternoon...

Looking from the washer towards the entrance to the kitchen...
View from the entrance towards the washer and dryer...
Not much room to work in there. The washer and dryer got shimmied around like square dancers all weekend whilst we painted around them.

Painting goods galore on the kitchen counter...
And the same views now that everything is dry and back where it should be.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Magic cabinet

I am so happy. Anyone guess what this is?

I suppose all the thread on the wall gives it away.
My totally sweet new sewing cabinet. Stayed up until midnight last Friday putting it together. I've been wanting one forever. Ever since I bought my own machine some 15 years ago and traded in the hand-me-down Kenmore in it's cabinet, I've had to sew with my machine on a table. This one is fully adjustable. You can completely lower the machine into the cabinet for storage, raise it full up for free arm sewing, and my favorite, flush with the table for unrestricted, straight on sewing (also awesome for free motion quilting!)
Like I said...sweet!

Unfortunately, I haven't yet had a chance to sew at it. With painting last weekend, I was too tired to sew. Then getting caught up on the laundry I couldn't do while the walls were drying behind the washer. And now this...

I'm machine knitting the Basic Beauty Pullover from Kangamoo Knits in KnitPicks Main Line (Red Velvet Cake) on my Bond ISM. The first pic was taken at 6:42 after I finished the first ball of yarn. Here's what I had at 7:30 and 5 balls of yarn...

Can you believe it? An ENTIRE back of a sweater, knit in a little over one hour! I've still got a lot of learning to do with the knitting machine (had to stop about 5 times to fix dropped stitches) but I'm getting there. And you just can't beat the speed. With any luck, I'll have the whole sweater done by Sunday night.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The fumes are clearing

Whew, what a weekend! We finally got around to starting our much needed painting this weekend. I had agonized over color selection for ages back in, like, June. Finally got the paint (Pittsburgh Paint Stone Harbor if anyone cares) and then it was too damn hot to paint. Bizarre as it may seem, now that it's August, we are having gorgeous weather. So before the mood completely passed, we figured we better get to it. Just tackled the laundry room this weekend. It probably took about 20 hrs total. Looks so much better with a fresh, clean coat of paint. The color isn't quite what I had hoped for, but it's growing on me. I had planned to have pictures to post for you, but I was too tired to fuss with pictures. Next weekend. Promise.

Now my every waking (and spare) minute is being consumed by this game and listening to this awesome new radio that customizes your playlist based on the artists you tell it you like. I caught a video from Panic! at The Disco on Friday morning (one of the RARE occasions that MTV was actually showing MUSIC) and have been jonesing on it all weekend. Have also discovered the dangerous (to my wallet) but sweet joys of MusicMatch. Serious music stash enhancement going on here. Anyway, enough chatter. Back to my card game!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Esprit Allsorts

The weather was GORGEOUS these last few days. Upper 70's, low 80's, no humidity. Such a change from just a week ago. Unfortunately, I spent the weekend laid out with a killer headache and got almost nothing done. My head feels better now though, so I guess that's all that matters.

I did manage to finish the Licorice Allsorts socks.
I'm still coveting them. But I'm going to be good and send them off to the lucky recipient. They're too short for me anyway. Hope she likes them. Hope they fit! I've never made socks for anyone else before and this being a surprise, I couldn't ask for measurements. Had to ask mom to measure her foot since I think she wears the same size. Now I feel guilty and need to make mom a pair too! But these are a pleasure to knit and I've got lots of yarn left to play with so knitting more won't be an issue.

The cool weather suckered me in last night and I pulled out the long lost Cottage Creations Tunic to knit on. The wool felt foreign after, what, 3 months or so of knitting only cotton! I've still got plenty of cotton knitting to finish...the kitchen rugs (still on rug #1 and no discernible progress to report), more dishrags (currently working on the pattern from the new Creative Knitting magazine), and a machine knit sweater (although that may fall through. The jury is still out on that one. I HATED the first attempt at machine knitting Peaches n Creme. More trial and error is necessary before a verdict is made).

No more garden pictures or lovely vegetable harvest pictures like last year. The dry, hot weather left us with a very poor harvest. The onions were the only thing to do really well. The zucchini and cucumbers did alright for a short while. The peppers are all small. The tomatoes are taking forever to ripen, what few tomatoes we have. Mom and dad and my mother in law had decent luck with their gardens, so we've still been able to enjoy some nice veggies this summer. For now, we are planning next year's garden and researching ways to ensure better results.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

As I mentioned last time, the heat has been considerable (the weatherman was also wrong, it didn't really break until Saturday). On Wednesday, our downstairs air conditioner decided it wasn't going to take it any more. It didn't completely die, but it was getting up towards 90 with it running so what's the point? We had some difficulty locating an air conditioner to purchase (apparently we weren't the only ones who didn't enjoy sitting in a pool of sweat all the time). But we lucked out on Friday and ahhhhhh....Sweet relief. A very nice, energy efficient, temperature controlled, albeit very flippin' heavy air conditioner. The lady at the store made a comment about how heavy the old air conditioners used to be. Obviously, she never tried to lift a new one. Believe me, way heavier than the old one! But it does cool things off quite nicely which is the important thing.

Finished the fixation socks.
Despite the gauge trouble, they look and fit very well. I love 'em. Next pair is on the needles. These are for a gift, though I'm coveting them already.
They are Esprit Licorice Allsorts from Elann with grey slate heel and toes. The heels on the Fixation socks seem like they are going to wear out fast, so I decided to work a garter stitch heel and toss in some wooly nylon for strength. It's the first time I've worked with wooly nylon so we'll see how it works out.

The last bit of big news...
Finished shower! Dad did an amazing job finding a wall panel to match the existing Formica. The style is slightly different, but the colors match perfectly.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Who turned up the heat?

Ay-curumba! It's toasty outside. The Weather Bug says our local temp made it up to 99 today, with heat indexes of 110. Whatever, it's hot. This is the little clock/thermometer thing in our spare room...
Yeah, it says 97.3. It sucks. We've still got the a/c running downstairs and its a much more livable 83. Our friendly local weatherman predicts the heat should break on Friday, boy do I hope he's right. Us northern girls can't take the heat!

So to avoid said hot temps, I've been staying at the office over lunch. Watching my absolute new obsession, QNN, and knitting on the Fixation Footies. Does anyone see something amiss here?
How about now?I'd say I'm having a bit of a gauge incident. My gauge has tightened up considerably on sock #2. Could be sock one is a little stretched from trying it on. It is cotton after all and sometimes needs a dunk in water to bring it back in line. But still. It's looking a good bit bigger than it's infant partner. Good news is, Fixation has a good dose of elastic in it and sock #2, although it appears to be smaller, fits and looks fine on my foot. I am eternally grateful for this since I have no desire to rip it and reknit it when I'm this far along. That and I've got the Elann version of this yarn (called Esprit) on order. Enough to make 3 or 4 pairs I think. At this moment, my knitting life is firmly centered on little knitting...socks and washcloths. I've got some big knitting socked away for fall and winter, but this should keep my occupied through the next few too hot for knitting in your lap months.