Monday, February 25, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Did I mention....

...that there's a new yarn shop in downtown Iowa City? It's called Home Ec Workshop (website not up yet), and carries yarn and fabric, and also serves coffee, muffins, cookies, and other yummies. It's got a nice little sitting area as well as a classroom equipped with sewing machines. I was there last Saturday morning, and although their target audience is definitely college students (downtown Iowa City is right next to campus), I felt very welcome there. I'll definitely be back!

They carry a nice selection of yarn, including some not carried by the other two LYSes in town. I was thrilled to see a variety Lorna's Laces -- not just Shepherd Sock, although that is what I bought. Oh, and a couple skeins of Malabrigo Worsted.

Malabrigo and Lorna's Laces

That's 2 skeins of LLSS in Douglas Fir and 2 skeins of Malabrigo Kettled-Dyed Worsted in Cactus Flower.

Speaking of yarn, I finally got the extra skein of RPM Pink Lamb's Pride yesterday, and finished the second Very Cabley Mitten. They're going for a little Soak right now -- pictures to come.

And finally -- Sissy, be watching your mail!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"-8 is the new 20"

Remember when this was cold? Now, we're looking forward to this weekend, when it may actually get into the 20s. Last night, a friend mentioned how an acquaintance had joked that "-8 is the new 20." I wish I had thought of that, because it's SO true. 20 would be practically balmy!

In case you're wondering, the normal highs here for this time of year is in the low- to mid-30s low 40s!

And for you Celsius types:
  • -8F = -22C
  • 20F = -7C
  • 35F = 2C

Monday, February 18, 2008

Truly Finished Honeybee

Now I just need to get it in the mail....

Bees and honeycomb

Pattern: Honeybee Stole, by the amazing Anne Hanson. Cast on November 1, 2007; finished February 17, 2008.
Yarn: Wooly Wonka Merino Laceweight in Northern Lights. I used every bit of the 1800 yard skein.
Needles: US 5 circs from Jenkins Woodworking -- Bolivian rosewood and extremely pointy!
Notes: I am a loose knitter (I just now realized how that sounds... you know what I mean, though!). Actually, I've decided that I'm more of a loose purler, and this pattern has lots of purls. Although I blocked very loosely, this shawl is 11 feet long, not 7 feet as specified. Luckily, this is for my 6 foot tall sister! I actually left out one repeat of the honeybee-and-honeycomb pattern (above) on the second end, plus a couple of plain-knit rows in the edging, because I ran out of yarn.

Although this took twice as long as planned (I had hoped to be done by Christmas) and although I ran out yarn, I'm really please with this project. It was both challenging and fun, and the pattern is extremely well-written.

As I said, I blocked this loosely -- I soaked it in cold water and Soak, and then spread it out on a couple quilts on the floor. I made sure I pulled the pattern out, but I didn't pin down all the little picots along the edge. I don't have that many pins or that long of blocking wires! When I picked it up off the quilts, this is what I saw:

dye spots

Lots of little blue dots. I knew that the water had been blue when I took it out, but this really surprised me. I'll have to warn my sister not to sweat while wearing Honeybee!

While Honeybee blocked, I cast on (again) for Wisp. This time I'm happier.

Wisp KSH Tea Rose

This is Kidsilk Spray in Tea Rose. It's a little pinker than shown in the picture, but I love all the colors in it. I cast on 66 stitches instead of 46, and plan on making it longer, too (unless, of course, I get bored first!). Luckily, I have 4 skeins of the yarn, for a pattern that calls for 1 to 2 skeins!

Friday, February 15, 2008

FO: Honeybee!

Finished at 11:45 Wednesday night, but not yet blocked -- all 8 feet of her.

One Big Honeybee

Harley likes her, too. When I block (probably Sunday, during the next predicted snowstorm), I'll try to pull the sides out, to make her a bit wider.

See the few inches that need to be woven in in the picture below? That's ALL the yarn I had left!

All that's left

I'll post specs with the blocking pictures in a few days.

So last night, I cast on Wisp with some beautiful tea rose Kidsilk Spray. I knit a few rows, decided it needed to be wider, and frogged. Except, of course, Kidsilk Spray doesn't frog so well, so i just cut it off. Luckily, I have 4 skeins of yarn for a pattern that calls for 1!

Tonight, because I'm no longer in a Wisp-y mood, I think I'll cast on for my Bird in Hand mittens. Of course, I could work on my hat... But I think my hands are colder than my head!

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Too bad it's not quite "D is for...." week, because mine would be for Denial.

This is Honeybee, just 6 rows and a bind-off from being done.

Wad of Honeybee

This is how much yarn I had left.

Not enough

I knew that, thanks to my loose knitting, I was going to be cutting it close. But after the miracle of more yarn, I had faith that there would be enough.

Oh, well. I was apparently wrong. I've frogged back a little ways (thank god for lifelines!) and will be omitting one repeat of the Bee and Honeycomb section and a couple rows of the hem edging. And then all that's left is blocking this 8-foot long shawl!

Dolly on the couch
Dolly says, "I'll just be waiting here on the couch."

Saturday, February 09, 2008

C is for Cake Plates and Candlesticks

Bet you thought C would be for Cats, right?
It would have been, if I could get the two of them in the same frame!

Musical cake plates

C could be for a lot of things, since I am something of a Collector. One of my Collections is of Cake plates. It began with the one at the bottom of the picture above, which belonged to my Grandma. Shortly after I received it, I found the top one in an antique shop in Lebanon, Illinois. The two are exactly alike, except that Grandma's doesn't have the gilt edge. I don't know if it ever did, or if it wore off from use.

Now I have a small Collection of Cake plates lined up on my sideboard, which was also Grandma's. Behind them are some colored glass Candlesticks, which I found in a dusty box in a little shop in Boerne, Texas. I think I paid $5 for the group of 7. I don't know anything about them, except that a couple of them have a "made in China" sticker on the bottom. So they aren't old, but they're pretty!

C is for Cake Plates and Candlesticks

The four Cake plates on the right are old, although not antique. The two on the left are new. I like them all!

C could have also been for Candles, since I almost always have candles lit while I'm at home, especially in the winter. I'm particularly partial to warm scents like Cinnamon, Cloves, ginger, and vanilla.

I guess it also could be for Cascade 220, since some followed me home this morning. It's all destined to be Bird in Hand mittens -- a white pair with the design in raspberry for me and a pink pair with white design for my niece.

I've resisted winding up the hanks, because I've got a bad case of startitis, and I really need to finish Honeybee. I'm so close!!!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Snow -- and lots of it

I'm tired of winter. My co-workers tell me that this is the worst winter in years, and I hope it's not starting a trend.

Way too much snow

We got between 10 and 14 inches of snow, most of it during the day today, although it began last night. I had already planned on going in a couple hours late this morning, and I ended up staying home all day. Waiting for the bus in almost blinding snow didn't sounds like fun.


Isn't this tree pretty in the snow? I'm amazed at the size of this evergreen tree, across the parking lot from my place. I wish I had taken a video of it -- the slightest breeze makes the branches bounce up and down.

Meanwhile, there's an uneasy truce in our house.

Dolly Harley

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Hello, Dolly!


On Saturday, Dolly came to live with Harley and me. Dolly belongs to a friend who has developed really bad cat allergies in the last few years. My friend also has two dogs, who Dolly hates. So we thought the quieter, dog-free environment at my house might be better all around.

Dolly is about 7 years old -- the same age as Harley -- so totally breaks the "new cat rules," which say that ideally, a new cat should be a kitten of the opposite sex. So far, though, things seem to be going okay. Neither Harley nor Dolly is very agressive, and mostly they've just been ignoring each other. There was one dash up and down the stairs, which I heard but didn't see. (It sounded more like elephants than cats!) I'm not sure what caused it or who initiated it.

Dolly has spent most of her time so far under the sideboard, but did sleep on the foot of my bed last night. Of course, that meant that Harley wouldn't even come into the bedroom!

Dolly looks amazingly like my late cat Charlotte. I'll try to find a picture of her to scan. And while I'm at it, I'll try to take one of Dolly that's not blurry and laser-eyed...