Monday, July 30, 2007

OOTP movie review

OOTP was excellent. I actually saw it twice this weekend. And I enjoyed it even more the second time around. They stuck pretty close to the book. The changes that were made didn't take away from the story at all, just helped it to consolidate things and get the movie length down some. As with GOF and I'm sure as will be with movies 6 & 7, there's just no way to get all of JKR's rich detail into a 2-3 hour movie. But there was lots of great subtle stuff. Like in one scene when Umbridge has caught Harry trying to use her fire to access the floo network and you see boxes and boxes of confiscated Weasley Skiving Snackboxes lined along the wall. And when the DA meets for the very first time in the Hog's Head, we see a goat by the bar with the bartender. I'm pretty sure that wasn't in book 5, but it's definitely in book 7. Fred & George's departure was great. The ending duel was outstanding. One of the few things that didn't live up to my expectations was the house on Grimauld Place. In my head, it was always a single house, the movie had it as a row-home. The inside was much as I pictured it would be, but I just always pictured a dilapidated old house on the outside too. Can't wait for the DVD! I'm hoping they have deleted scenes for some of the stuff that was rushed through.

I finished the first footie sock I'm making with the leftover Opal Cotton yarn.
I decided to try a short row heel again and it turned out really well. I watched the videos on Knitting Help over and over to make sure I was picking up the wraps correctly and I think that really helped. I've still got a hole at each end of the short rows, but I think I know what I did wrong and hope to correct it on the 2nd sock.

Tonight...
I'm canning tomatoes. The kitchen smells great. I've only got a small batch, but I should get 4-5 pints out of it. This batch I'll just freeze. I'm hoping to have enough to do up in jars by the weekend. And it's supposed to be good and hot the rest of the week, so it's a good possibility.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Quilt show report

Mom and I were off to Quilt Odyssey yesterday. Another fabulous show this year. The most amazing quilt on display was a reversible quilt. The front was white the back was black. The design was machine quilted with colored thread on both sides. It won best in show. When they get pictures up on their website, I'll be sure to link it. The vendor mall was great this year. Lots of variety. I was very good, though and bought only a few things.As I explained to mom, just like sock yarn, fat quarters don't count. Buy as many as you want. The one in the center is destined to be another project bag. I also picked up a new Jim Shore Heartwood Creak figure. One stand was full of them, but I restrained myself. Lunch was at Isaac's and then we went shopping at the Hershey Outlets. The day was lovely and warm and we got home just before a thunderstorm rolled in.

In knitting news, I frogged the Huck Lace shawl. I finished the first whole repeat of the huck lace pattern and the more I looked at it, the more I was convinced it wasn't right. So I ripped it out and rewound the yarn and decided to cast on Montego Bay. This pattern is super easy and moving along pretty quickly. I think the scarf will be lovely.
I haven't given up on the Huck Lace shawl, but think I will end up knitting it in a different yarn. The more pictures I see of shawls that other people have done, the more I like it in a solid color. I'm looking at the Alpaca Cloud from Knit Picks. Should make a soft, warm shawl and be pretty inexpensive too.

Look at what the mailman brought me today!

Back issues of Yarn Magazine, straight from Australia and the new Vogue Knitting (it's another one of theirs with 2 different covers, so don't be fooled if you see a different cover on the newsstand). Alas, I won't be able to read them today as I'm off to see OOTP.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bamboo socks

I did very little reading while reading Deathly Hallows over the weekend. But I did manage to finish the Bamboo Socks.
Bamboo socks finished
Bamboo socks finished
They fit great. I wore them to work today. Very soft and comfy. I love the shine they have. I would definitely knit this yarn again.

Now I'm working on knitting the hem of the V-neck cardi. I'm about half way through the first of the Opal footies. The temperature has been abnormally cool and I'm getting itchy for some sweater knitting. I'm avoiding the siren song though as I know it will be hot again soon. I'm hoping the bits of hand knitting on the cardi will be enough to satisfy the itch.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (spoiler)

My collection is now complete.

The book is read and I know how it all turns out. If you haven't read the book yet, stop now and go read the book.

As usual, JKR did a fantastic job. To read a nearly 800 page book in 2 days for me, the writing has to be good. I was a little surprised that 2 characters were killed in the first hundred pages. It wasn't a blood bath, but there were a number of deaths in this one, some expected, some not. As expected, good conquers evil. I was glad we finally found out why Dumbledore so implicitly trusted Snape. His belief that love is the strongest magic at the heart of it, of course. I wish there had been some interaction between Snape and Harry, did Harry forgive and accept Snape's role? I would also have liked more to the end of the story. The battle ends and then we skip forward 19 years, the kids of the trio are now heading off to Hogwarts. So obviously Hogwarts recovered, but how? Under who's guidance? And what finally became of the trio, besides getting married and having kids? Overall, I'm quite satisfied with the book as a whole though. I do hope the rumors that JKR will someday release a compendium type book are true. I would love to read full character descriptions and histories of the places and things in the books from her point of view.

I'm a bit sad now it's over. But I do believe this is one of the best series of books I've ever read. To mastermind such a complex story over 7 books so superbly is an astounding feat. My hat is off to JK Rowling and thank her heartily for her outstanding contribution to literature.

And now, normal activity can resume. I'm off to knit!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

12:43


It's here!
See you in a few days.

Waiting

It's 8:30 am, Saturday July 21. Deathly Hallows has been officially out for over 8 hours. I'm waiting, rather impatiently, for mine to arrive. I don't regret my decision not to attend a midnight release party, but I'm anxious to start reading nonetheless. According to Amazon's tracking, my book is being delivered UPS. Last time (HBP) it came USPS and I had it by 10. We rarely get UPS delivery on a Saturday and whenever we have, it hasn't been until late in the day. I just checked UPS's little tracking thing and it does not show "Out for delivery" yet. Argh! I hardly slept last night, such was my excitement. Rather than waste the morning pacing the floor, I'm going to try to get some work done. Dinner is in the crockpot so when the book does come I won't have to stop for such trivial things as feeding my husband. I've got the last load of laundry washing now. Maybe I'll try to squeeze a nap in so I can read into the wee hours. And yes, there's always knitting. I realized I didn't plan a project to knit while reading this time. For HBP I worked on the Landscape shawl. Lots of mindless knitting. Today, I have a bunch of stuff on the needles.

Some might work...

Footies in the Opal left from the Horcrux socks. Look! A short row heel!! The V-neck tank, still working the stockinette back.
The bamboo socks, which appear to be in black hole status right now. Seems no matter how much I knit, they aren't getting any longer.

Some that won't work...

The Huck Lace shawl, finally past the boring garter stitch and into the pattern. But you have to knit into stitches below the live stitches which means looking at your w
ork. Not book knitting.
The tube socks, haven't knit a stitch on these in probably a month. The pattern shifts a stitch every two rows and I find if I'm not paying attention, I forget to shift.
The V-neck Cardi. It needs to be seamed before I can finish the hand work. Although if the book doesn't come by lunch, I may get some seaming done this afternoon.

While I'm at it taking pictures, here's some yarn porn for you. I haven't bought much yarn lately, but Carodan Farms had a really good sale last week and I snagged a ball of Regia Java in color 1177. It's another cotton blend sock yarn.
And here is a tiny ball of the new Treadsoft yarn that I dyed. I was aiming for a 50 g skein, but there was a knot in the hank so it's only about 40g.
This was kettle dyed by laying the skein around the perimeter of the pot and adding just enough water to cover. Then you pour the dye directly into the water over the section of yarn you want to dye. The colors sort of blend a bit more and its way less precise than hand painting. I got the idea here (although she used kool-aid rather than acid dye.) It was super easy and I might try this technique again. The results here were a bit iffy, but I think it will make fine socks. I'm hoping there's enough for a pair of footies.

It's now after 10. I had to run an errand and take all these pictures. Still no book.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Horcrux Finished!

Although not imbued with any piece of my soul, the Horcrux socks are finished.
Finished Horcurx socks
As I said before, these are a quick knit. I think the patterning helps them feel faster than plain stockinette socks since you get to constantly change up what you are doing. I don't like the heel on these, it's too baggy. Next time I'd use a slip stitch heel flap and a regular heel turn (rather than the band heel in the pattern). Otherwise, they fit great. I intend to wear these next weekend while reading Deathly Hallows. I have enough yarn left over I could knit another sock. Don't know if this is normal for this pattern or just a lucky break. I should have plenty to knit a pair of ankle socks (my next sock project).

With all the dyeing I've been doing lately, I discovered I really could use a skein winder. Winding skeins on my swift does work, but it puts a lot of strain on the connections and I was constantly having to retie the bars. So I looked into getting a skein winder. Unfortunately, budget wouldn't allow the $80+ expenditure, not with Quilt Odyssey only 2 weeks away not to mention the undyed yarn I bought to dye. Enter my very handy with woodworking dad and voila...
Skein Winder
Fantastic! It's beautiful and turns so smoothly. I can't wait to get the Treadsoft skeined up for dyeing.

I frogged the Four Seasons Cardigan from months ago. It's been sitting in the box untouched for nearly a year by my reckoning and the more I looked at it the more I knew I'd never finish it. So it's frogged and has been re knit, by machine, into a v-neck cardigan of my own design (with the help of the Knitware software). That's it laying on the table behind the skein winder. I got all the pieces knit up between Friday night and this morning. Now I'm working on the hand knitting, adding the hems and seaming. The instructions direct to knit the button/buttonhole bands separately and sew them on, but I think I'm going to pickup and knit the band. I HATE sewing up. I'll go back and rewatch EZ's instructions for picking up a cardigan band on the Knitting Glossary dvd and should be fine.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

RAVELRY!

I finally got my Ravelry invitation yesterday. Hooray! Ravelry is a website for knitters and crocheters to post about all things knitting & crocheting. I got on the waiting list as soon as I heard about it (maybe 2 months ago) and thought I'd never get on. They are still in Beta and controlling the number of registrations. As of today, the waiting list is over 9,000! I didn't really know much about it except what others were saying on their blogs and podcasts. Now that I could actually get on the site, I agree. It's awesome. You can track your projects and stash and needle inventory. You can connect with other knitters and see who's knitting the same stuff you are. I envision spending hours over there, just looking at everyone's cool projects. I need to get photos taken and get my profile up too.

I was working in the garden today and lo and behold...
Our first tomato of the season is almost ripe! Everything is coming along so nicely. And with 90+ temperatures predicted the next few days, things should get a boost. We had our first peppers this week and will have eggplant before long. We still have cucumbers coming out of our ears. Anyone want some? Next year, one cucumber plant. Two are overwhelming!

I cast on the Sea Silk this week. Yummy! I decided on the Huck Lace shawl from the Morehouse Farm Merino Knits book.
Huck Lace shawl
I haven't had a chance to go through this book real thoroughly, but at a glance it looks like there are lots of cool patterns. I like the Huck Lace shawl because it's very plain looking and I think will show off the colors of the Sea Silk very well. Plus it's not too lacy. I'm not really into lace all that much and it's hard to find shawl patterns that aren't lacy.

I dyed up another skein of Gloss this week.
Moo Cow
This is called Moo Cow. White with black and gray spots. Love it. I'm so into dyeing. Ideas keep popping into my head. With KnitPicks being out of the dyeables that I won't for a while yet, I've still been search for other sources. I found Catnip Yarns and ordered a pound of Treadsoft Superwash. It's a bit different than the Gloss I've been using. The twist is much tighter and the yarn is a bit finer. Unfortunately, I've been having trouble with my swift when I re-skein yarn. I think it's creating too much tension on the bars and the ties keep breaking. It's easy enough to fix, but I don't want to damage the swift. Dad is going to make me an actual skein winder, which should make my life much easier.

Monday, July 02, 2007

First Horcurx finished

I finished the first Horcrux sock last night and got the second one cast on right away. The sock looks very strange when it's not on a foot.
But looks great on.This is a super fast pattern and I love the way the sock fits. I might use a different heel next time. The pattern uses a band heel which I've used twice before (on mom's socks and on my Mister Joe socks) and I just don't care for the fit as much as with a regular turned heel.

The stag bag isn't going to happen. The more I worked with the NZ yarn and the more I studied the pattern, I realized there was no way I was willing to put up with knitting that scratchy wool by hand. Machine knitting, though, seemed like a good option. I knitted this bag on my Bond. 50 stitches on KP1 using the Fibonacci sequence for the stripes. I used my cord maker to knit the handles and just twisted them together. It turned out pretty cute. I LOVE the colors. But it's not really my style though, so it's up for sale on Etsy. I've still got a ton of yarn left that I'm not sure what I'm going to use for. The yarn does felt like a dream, so I'm still leaning towards felted something.