Thursday, July 28, 2005

Try, try again.

Does this look like an afghan square? Actually, it didn't a few minutes ago either. I've made 3 tries at this, and each gets closer to what I have envisioned, but its not quite right yet. So now that I have a better idea what I need to do, I think its time to print out some knitter's graph paper, and chart it out. Then I'll try it again. Hopefully this weekend I'll have a finished square. Finally.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Look what came in the mail

The yarn I ordered from Danette Taylor Designs came in today. 3 skeins of baby alpaca in the colorway referred to as Pony-puke. This is for a gift, and the person it's for will love the colors, fortunately. They really aren't my colors at all. But the yarn is wonderful, and I think I will enjoy knitting with it.

The second yarn is for me. It is 700 yards of superwash merino. The colorway is Bouquet. I don't know what I am going to do with this, but I liked the colors, and since I was ordering the pony-puke anyways, I ordered this for me. (I ordered all this about 2 hours before my husband told me about his upcoming dental ordeal.)

Progress shot on my bag. I still need to graft the seam at the bottom, and I think I'll get about 10 more inches before I run out of yarn. Then we'll see how it felts. The colors look a bit odd together now, but because I used these for slippers already, I know that they will look quite different after I felt it. I think they'll be fine together then.

I worked on Kiri last night, and got another repeat done. Tonight I want to work on my afghan square, and of course, I have to get some housework done too.

One last picture--my cat Jerri, just because she was feeling left out.

Sewing Lessons?

So, The other night while I was over at my parents house, my brother made it a point to tell me that my niece will be 8 this winter. I agree that this is true, while wondering what the significance of this is. Well, apparently, at some point in the past I said something that has cause my niece to be certain that when she is 8, I will teach her to sew. I have no recollection of this at all. But, apparently it made a big impact on her. My brother says she has been looking forward to it, and has been reminding him of this impending milestone since her last birthday. So, this fall I will be giving sewing lessons to my almost 8 year old niece and my 10 year old niece. I figure if I am going to teach one of them to sew, I should teach them both.

So, my dilemma is: I don't actually remember learning how to sew. I learned so young that I feel like I always knew. My first memory of sewing is when I was 7. I was sewing a set-in waist band on a barbie skirt, by hand. I remember being really annoyed because my Mom wouldn't let me us the sewing machine until I was 9, and that was forever.

So--any suggestions on where to start? My Mom suggested having them start with sewing seams and hems on scraps until they got their stitches down, before actually making anything. But that sounds pretty boring, and I think it will hold their interest better if we start with an actually project. I'm looking for something really simple that they can be sucessfull at with out too many problems. And they will be hand sewing whatever it is. Any Ideas?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Wrist Warmers

Thanks Christina, for the comment. (Look, my first comment!)

Those will be my second pair of wrist warmers. I made these in March, shortly after starting my current job. My office is always cold, and this spring, it was occasionally so cold my hands would be numb. I have always had cold-sensitive hands, and I find I use these a lot, even this time of year. Our low temperatures get down in the high 40's or low 50's at night, even in the summer. Regular gloves would be too warm but these are perfect on a chilly night. We turn our furnace off in May usually, so it is sometime chilly in the house in the morning or when I am up in the middle of the night. (My allergies often keep me from sleeping.) I made this pair with some Patons Kroy socks that I had around. I read a couple of patterns for gloves, and then just made these to fit my hands based on what I read. I want another pair in a more subdued color, and I'll make a couple other changes as well. One of the things I don't like about these is that they are too long by the little finger, and too short by the index finger. Now that I have learned about short rows, I'll be able to make the next pair fit better.

I made some progress on Kiri this weekend (I'm on row 88 now), but mostly I worked on my bag. It is now about 16 inches long, and the bottom is done except for grafting the seam. Next I will pick up the stitches from the provisional cast on, and knit until I am almost out of yarn, then figure out how I want to attach the handles. No photos today though, as my camera battery died.

I finished reading The Secret Life of Bees this weekend, that's what I was doing as I knit on my bag. I thought it was a very good book. Then I started reading A Widow For One Year, by John Irving. My DH and I watched The Door in the Floor this weekend, and As soon as I saw the opening scene I recognized it. (I had no idea what the movie was about, my DH chose it.) I read the book years ago, and some of the scenes have stuck with me ever since. So after seeing the movie, which is base on just a portion of the book, I had to read the book again. I love the way John Irving writes, his scenes are so visual.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Stash inventory

First a photo to show that we do get occasional bright days. Our yard is in the shade by the time I get home from work, but you can see the sun hitting the street. Tomorrow is supposed to be nice too, so hopefully we can get the yard work caught up. You can see that DH started cutting the grass today before he got dragged away to play disc golf.

Since it was nice this afternoon, I decided it would be a good time to inventory the yarn I have on hand. So here is all is, all spread out on the picnic table. Not a whole lot, but as I am not a very fast knitter, I thing it will keep me busy for a while.

I have enough sock yarn for a couple pair, although the grey Regia there will probably become a pair of wrist warmers instead of socks.

This is 2 kg of Sari Silk. There are 10 skeins of the dark color range, and 10 of the light. I bought this from someone because I got a great deal, and I really like the recyled silk. I want to make a vest from some of this, and I may make a shawl for a friend as well.

32 balls of cotton ease, in 4 colors. I am working on the a project in the blueberry already, but it is going very slowly as it is my "take along knitting" for when I am waiting for someone, etc. and I haven't worked on it much lately.

4 Skeins of Silky Wool. I was going to make a gift for someone out of this, but she didn't like the color. It is a dark grey and she thought it would be better in a true black. (She didn't know it was intended for her.) But anyways, she ended up getting a different gift, and I have this, which I really like, but haven't decided what to do with yet.

I also have a bunch of assorted single skeins and odd bits that could be hats, scarfs, etc. With the projects I have already started, this is plenty to keep me busy for a while. And it will also keep me from getting distracted from what I am working on by new projects.

I have gotten a bit farther on my bag, but not much more done on Kiri. Last time I worked on it, one of my ferrets decided to check out my bag. Ferrets are extremely curious, and always check out anything that is new, or in a different place, so I didn't pay much attention. Later I realized that she had been digging at my cone of yarn, and had made a big tangle at the bottom. So I spent the 45 minutes I could have been knitting, untangling yarn. No more ferrets in my knitting bag! At least she didn't damage the yarn, and I was able to untangle it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Last new yarn for a while

Yesterday after work I stopped by my LYS and picked up these. The first one is Cherry Tree Hill Super Worsted in Silver Streak and is for my afghan square for the tribute project that Annie is organizing. This is wonderful yarn, very soft. I played around with my design last night for a bit, but it didn't come out quite how I wanted it to, so I ripped it all and I'll try it again.

The second yarn is 650 yard of handpainted silk/merino blend from Raven Frog Fiber Arts in Sitka, Alaska. I was bought this the Midwest Moonlight scarf for the stick ya neck out scarf swap. This is a bit finer than the yarn called for, but I think its fine-its a scarf after all, and I think a smaller scarf will be just fine. I love the colors in this and the way it feels.

So, why is this the last yarn for a while? After I got home last night, my DH told me that he has to have $4000.00 worth of dental work done in the next couple of months! And, of course, his health plan at work doesn't cover dental. So, I am now on a strict yarn budget (and everything else budget too). Of course, I still have yarn coming that I ordered on Saturday. I have enough stash yarn to keep me busy, but what I keep thinking, is that my stash isn't very balanced. I have alot of Sari Silk, some sock yarn, and a bunch of cotton ease. I guess I need to go through it all and see what I do have.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The States thing

Okay, I know this is old, but I'm new, and as I have nothing else to show you today, so here goes.

bold the states you've been to, underline the states you've lived in and italicize the state you're in now...
Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C. /
Go HERE to have a form generate the HTML for you.

Sunday I worked a bit more on Kiri. I've done 72 rows, which means I am 25% done according to my excel chart. I also messed around with ideas for an afghan square for this project. I don't have the yarn that I want to use for this though, so I need to shop before I actually make it. I have an idea for a design, and for the color I want, so if it works out I'll have something in a day or so. Yesterday I didn't knit at all as we had friends over after work.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Why I didn't go to art school

Okay, you can see why I never went to art school. Here is a bad sketch of how I envision my bag coming out. I have several shoulder bags already, so I think one with handles will be a better choice for this one. After I get it felted I will mess with making it fold in at the top like I have it drawn. I think I may stitch the top inch or so like a pleat to make it keep this shape when closed, but still open fully. The colors didn't come out great on the scanner, either, but the colored pencils I used weren't exact matches either, so I don't suppose it really matters, as it is basically just a visual note to myself.

This is another bag I made last winter. I based it on the idea in Cat Bordhi's Book, and just made it up as I went along. The yarn is Paton's Classic Merino. I had one skein of each color, and had enough left over from the bag for a pair of Fuzzy Feet. When I knit this I made the base round, but then changed my mind when I felted it, and blocked it into an oval shape. I love the bright colors.

The knitting you see there is a sweater I am working on. It is the With-a-Twist Turtleneck from Sally Melville's The Purl Stitch, and I am knitting it in ggh Relax. I finished the front and back, and did the shoulder seam using a 3 needle bind off. Then I tried it on and remembered that I planned to do some short row shaping on the front. I did most of the front while watching movies, and got distracted from what I was doing. By the time I remembered I was supposed to stop and figure out the short row thing, I was almost done with the front, so I decided to just keep going and see if I really need the short rows. What was I thinking--being of the "full figured" variety, of course I need them. So there it sits, waiting for me to rip back, figure out where to start the short rows, and re-do the front. One reason this has been waiting (for about 2 months now) is that once I got the shoulder seems done and tried it on, I'm not sure this is the right yarn for this sweater. Or maybe not the right yarn for me. It is too fluffy and soft, and makes me feel like an orange marshmallow. Having put it that way, it seems pretty obvious that I really don't like it. So, I'm going to rip the whole thing and think of something else to do with that yarn. I love the color, but I think the only way I will like the texture is to use it with another yarn so the fabric has more substance. At least I got the yarn on clearance. (Besides that, if I rip it, I can have my bag back to use for another project.)

Rainy, lazy Sunday

Well, I have done some knitting this weekend, but I have no pictures becasue it is pissing rain today, and the light is awful. Here is a picture of the rain hitting my little tank pond. And also one of the street so you can see how bad the light really is. Southeast Alaska is full of "grey days" with a few gorgeous bright ones thrown in just so we don't all move somewhere else.

Anyways, Friday afternoon was one of the great ones, so we grilled steaks and sat around the fire in the backyard with a friend. I knit another repeat on Kiri, then my count ended up off somewhere, and by then it was too dark to find the mistake, so I put it away.

Satuday I worked on my bag, and got about 4 inches done on it while finishing The Most Beautiful House in the World. I really enjoyed it, but I have a thing about books about remodeling, building, etc. I think I have a plan for how I want the bag to look now. I picked up some bamboo rings that I want to use for the handles. I'll try to sketch out what I am thinking and scan it for you.

Also yesterday, I signed up for stitch ya neck out, a scarf swap that looks like it will be a lot of fun. Then I had to go to my lys and buy the Scarf Style book (and a set of size 13 dpns, and another ball of wool for my "scrap"bag). I also ordered some yarn from here, and some patterns from here. SHH! Don't tell my husband!

I have been fighting a cold for the last few days, and today it's winning. So I think I'll stay out of the rain and spend the day knitting, and start the next book on my pile: The Secret Life of Bees.

Hope there is sun where you are.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Current reading

Since I did not have time to do any knitting yesterday, I thought I would post about books today. I read quite a bit, and we have a house full of books: shelves in every room, and piles of books all over as well. I get most of my books from a used bookstore that benefits our local libraries. Books there cost anywhere from 25 cents for most mass market paperbacks and up. Most trade paperbacks and hardbacks are $1.00. Books that are especially popular, or really nice are more (The Harry Potter books in hardbound are about $5.00 right now) but I don't recall ever seeing anything over about $10.00. All of the books are donated, and all the workers volunteers, so it generates quite a bit of money for our local library. So, I buy most of my books there, and then I keep the ones I really like, and give back the others. About every 6 months I go through the house and reconsider the books I have and get rid of some more, just because we have run out of space.

Right now I am reading The Most Beautiful House in the World by Witold Rybczynski. I just started it the other day, and am not very far into it, but I am really enjoying his writing style. Kind of a slow, meandering tour of architectural history.

The last book I read was A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. This is the first time I have read it, and I really enjoyed it. I can see myself reading it again. This won the Pulitzer Prize in 1981. About 5 years ago I decided that I would read all the Pulitzer Price winners for fiction. I have read about 20 so far, so I still have a long ways to go, but I have enjoyed all of them. The reason I have been reading them so slowly is that I mainly buy them at the used book store, so I only get them when I come across them.

Last week my husband was looking for something good to read, so I handed him Empire Falls, by Richard Russo. He read it in about four days, and enjoyed it so much he has decided to try to read all the Pulitzers as well. So he asked if I have any others around. Then, when I started pulling them off the shelves, he decided they should all be grouped together, rather than filed alphabetically with the other fiction books. A few years ago, I had started doing that, but when we rearranged some of our shelves I moved them back into the general fiction. Kind of funny that I have been playing at this for 5 years, and now he suddenly takes notice.

The pictures show some of our books: under the livingroom window (modeled by Doobie, our 8 year old lab) and in the hallway.

We actually got some sun today, and my husband had the day off, so he and a friend went hiking. I am waiting for them to call so I can pick them up and take them back to where they left the car. So I think I will go sit in the backyard and enjoy the sun myself (and work on Kiri) while I wait.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Random musings on a slow day

Its a slow day at work today. My boss took the day off, and the shop guys are busy on a couple of easy projects. Therefore, they haven't needed to come ask me questions about my drawings or anything. I have a couple of bids I am working on, but nothing urgent. Its a grey rainy day here, as is typical in Southeast Alaska (after all, it is a rain forest) so no walk-in business yet today either.

So, I made a spreadsheet to figure out my progress on Kiri. I based it on my guestimate of needing to do about 150 rows to get the size I want. 14 repeats will be 151 rows, and is 29763 total stitches before the edging. I am up to row 55, with 145 stitches on the needles, and that works out to be about 15% completed. Not that I am terribly concerned as I am really enjoying knitting this and have lots of time before it needs to be done, but I find the numbers interesting.

I haven't worked on it at all the last two days. (And I probably won't be able to work on it tonight either, as I have a meeting after work and won't get home until about 10pm.) Tuesday I went over to my parents house after work and stayed all evening. Then yesterday, I wanted to catch up on my computer reading, so I worked on something simple.

I started a bag out Iceland. I had small amounts of this in 3 colors left from making felted clogs for my husband and myself, and last weekend I picked up a couple balls of purple to go with what I had. I am making this up as I go along, and just have a general idea of what I want to end up with. I was going to make the base similar to the one on the French Market Bag, but I discovered that I don't have any size 13 dpns, and I didn't want to go to the mall last night to get some. So I cast on using a provisional cast on, and figured I would add the base later. Besides, I am thinking I may want the base to be rectangular rather than square, but I won't decide for sure until I have a better idea of you wide it will be. So I cast on 100 stitches, and started knitting in the round. I am going to do a basically random stripe pattern with the colors I have left from the clogs, and see how it goes. I haven't decided how I want to do the handles yet, I thing I will have to wait and see what size and shape I end up with first. I am not too concerned about the final size because I want to use it for a project bag, and regardless of how big it ends up, its bound to be good for a project of one size or another.

And here is a picture of the felted clogs, and a curious cat. I made a pair for my husband in January, and then decided I want a pair as well, so I made myself a pair last month. We like to sit and have our coffee on the back porch on weekends, and the felted clogs are great for that because of the double thick soles. We can wander about the yard in them if we want, and they are thick enough to hold up and not feel damp from the grass, and to be comfortable on the gravel path.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Kiri Progress

This is a lovely skein of handspun that I received from June as a prize for donating to Claudia's MS ride. It is 100g of heavy worsted weight (spun dense), 100% wool (Mary Pratt Merino x Romney). (Yes, I copied that from Claudia's blog.) I haven't decided yet what I am going to do with it, but it will definitely be saved for something special.

So, Saturday morning I cast on again for Kiri, and again I got about 8 rows done before I frogged it. I decided the stitch markers I was using were too big and were throwing my gauge off every place I used one. So I took a break and made stitch markers.

Then I cast on again, and worked on it on Saturday, and a bit on Sunday. I am about 50 rows into it, and have about 129 stitches on the needles. Judging by the size it is so far I am guestimating it will take about 150 rows total to end up about 60 inches wide after blocking. This is a wonderful pattern. Even though I have already decided to give this away, I keep looking at it and thinking 'I could just keep it.' But I know I would never use it, so I would rather it went to someone who did.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Escape Artist

This is one of our ferrets, Riley. He got out of the house tonight, and was missing for about 1 1/2 hours. Fortunately, he always wears a harness with a name tag and a bell. Some nice people in the next street found him in their kitchen and gave us a call. He has gotten out before, and we've always found him in the yard. We aren't as worried about him finding his way home again as we are about dogs, eagles, and cars.

In knitting news, I decided to make Kiri again. I have a cone of wool that I bought off eBay, and then decided it wasn't really my color. It a dark blue/black that I love, but it has bits of green, yellow and pink in it. It is a fingering/sport weight (19 wpi), and I think it will be nice. I started on it tonight sitting by the fire in the back yard, but frogged it after the 8th row because I decided I want to go down a needle size. By then it was getting too dark to knit anyways, so I'll probably start it again tomorrow.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


I knit this a few months ago using Polly's wonderful Kiri pattern and sari silk. It is small for a shawl-- more of a large scarf. I think I did 3 repeats of the pattern on size 15 needles.
As you can see in the second picture, there are bunches of small bells hanging from the 5 centermost points. These clip on with lobster clasps, so I can remove them if I am going somewhere I don't want to jingle. I think they work well with the funkiness of the sari silk. They are really very quiet, and not even noticeable except in a very quiet place.

The picture of it on the grass also shows a bag I made out of the same sari silk with a pattern I made up as I went. It also has removable bunches of bells on the drawstrings, and the strap clips on so I can change the length. I only carry a purse when we go out. Most of the time I just shove my keys, phone, and wallet inmy pockets. So I needed a bag to hold all that stuff when I wear something dressier than jeans, and I don't want to have to keep my coat handy.

I was reading what Cate wrote about knitting lace, and I completely agree. I have been so distractable lately; it seems I never do only one thing at a time. I read or watch movies when I knit, or I knit in front of the computer. At work I seem to jump from project to project. I think one reason I enjoyed knitting this so much, I it took my attention so completely that I didn't do anything else at the same time. I just knit--and I enjoyed it!

Since I finished this, I keep looking at other lace projects and trying to decide if I should knit another shawl of something. I know if I do, I'll probably never wear it. We don't dress up that often, and I work in a woodshop so it would never work there. I think I've decided to go ahead and knit another shawl and donate it to a charity auction that will be happening this fall. So the only question now is: Which one?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Weekend Update

I had a pretty good weekend. I didn't do much celebrating, but I did get a lot done. On Saturday I worked a booth at a charity carnival. There were about 10 booths in all, and each was raising money for a non profit organization or community project. The various booths had carnival games, face painting, etc. People buy tickets when they come in, and use them at the various booths. Then at the end of the day, the tickets are turned in, and each organization is paid what they earned. All the prizes for the games were paid for in advance with money raised from sponsors, so ALL the money spent on tickets goes to the non profits. I belong to a fraternal organization, and our booth was raising money to help with medical cost for 3 local kids: 2 of them have cancer, and the other one has some surgery coming up. We raised $600.00 on Saturday, to add to the other funds we have raised. Not bad for a days work. I didn't hear how all the booths did, but several that I did talk to were in the $400 to $500 range, so I think as a whole the carnival did pretty good. And the kids playing the games all seemed to be having a great time. This used to be an annual event here in town, but ended after a fire destroyed all the booths and some of the games. This year one of the malls decided to host it, and it seemed to go well. They also have the advantage of being able to hold it indoors, so even though the weather was awful, they got a good turnout. Hopefully they will do it again next year.

Sunday I ran errands in the morning, and then cleaned house. I hate to say it, but I am finally getting around to "spring cleaning"." Spring is our best weather here, so we spend as much time outside as we can in April, May and June, and my house was showing it. So on Sunday I started de-cluttering. All the stuff that gets put somewhere "just for now, I'll put it away latter" got put away (or went in the trash, or donation box). All the stuff in the living room, and entry way at least, I still have to go through stuff in the bedroom. My husband worked on the shed on Friday when he was off, so we got a good start.

On Monday local legend held true and we got good weather for the 4th of July. (Good is a relative term and in this case means it wasn't blowing a gale and pissing rain.) We had scattered showers in the morning, then the clouds blew out and by afternoon it was sunny and about 70 degrees. Perfect weather. So we worked in the yard. I weeded and deadheaded the flowers, and my husband dealt with the compost piles and mostly we just dinked around and enjoyed the yard. It was a great way to spend the day.

Today, July 5th, is the traditional start of the rainy season here. We average 223 days of rain a year, with April and May having the least rainfall, and October the most. So from here it gets wetter and wetter. Oh well, that's what makes the sunny days so great!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Fuzzy Feet

These are some fuzzy feet I made last winter from the pattern in Knitty. They are from Patons Classic Merino. Most of the yarn was left over from a bag I had made. I love these things, they are great for our cold floors.

I don't have much time this morning, I am spending the day working at a booth for a local fun fair/charity carnival. Our booth is raising some money to help with medical expences for 3 local kids, 2 of them with cancer. Wish us luck!