Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Whole Lot of Not Much

Considering that it's been 10 days since I posted, you'd think I'd have more to say!

I've been knitting -- I've done a few more repeats on Stonewall, finished one sock and one mitt, and worked a bit more on Bougainvillea (more than this picture shows!).

Bougainvillea socks

Nothing exciting and nothing finished.

I've got a bad case of startitis, and what I want to start is a triangular shawl. A couple weeks ago, I mentioned how I had to knit the Fountain Pen Shawl from the current Interweave Knits, and how I wanted to splurge and use Helen's Lace. One of my LYSes carries it, but didn't have any solids, so they've ordered some for me, in a couple different colors. In the meantime, I decided to start Anne's Whispering Pines -- I bought that exact cranberry yarn ages ago -- and then realized I had no size 2 and 2.5 circular needles! So maybe I'll pull out the long dormant Hidcote...

Hidcote 2

I think there's more than that done.... I guess I'll find out!

Monday, February 16, 2009

One Lace Project Finished and Another Started

I apparently have a new rule in my life that I must have two Anne Hanson projects on the needles at the same time.

On the same day that I finished the Poinsettia Cowl, Anne released the pattern for her Bougainvillea socks. I just happened to have the perfect yarn in stash -- Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Cranberry. (Not much to see so far -- maybe half an inch of ribbing.) Add this to the Stonewall already on the needles, and there are my two Anne projects! What can I say -- I like lace!

poinsettia cowl
Pattern: Poinsettia
Yarn: Malabrigo Silky Merino in Green-Grey - about 1.25 skeins
Needles: US 3 16" Knitpicks Harmony circular
Notes: Both the pattern and the yarn are gorgeous and I'm happy with the result. If I were to knit this again, though, I'd only do 3 repeats of the neck pattern instead of 4. My neck just isn't long enough for 4 repeats, although it will make the cowl warmer. And although I love this yarn -- the sheen, the color, the softness -- I have to say that the skeins are a mess. I've rewound two of them into balls and started on a third (I'd like to make a matching hat) and it's been a real pain. The 'loops' of the skeins seem to be all unaligned or something, causing them to tangle and to be impossible to place on my swift. Has anyone else had this issue with Silky Merino?

And a sure sign of Spring:

PInk Peeps

The first Peeps of the season!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I must make this!


And even though I just told myself I wouldn't buy any yarn this month -- I don't need more yarn! -- I think I may spring for some Helen's Lace to make it. Actually, I only have two lace-weight yarns in my stash with enough yardage for this, and one of those is already committed to a project and the other in green, and I just don't see this as a green project.... But maybe Pewter. Or Charcoal. Or Blackberry!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Birds in Hand

I finished the second Bird in Hand mitten last night. Although it's still drying, I took a picture. The angle is a little weird, but the color is good (except for that weird stain on the towel they're lying on...)

Bird in Hand mittens

Yarn: Cascade 220 in White (8505) and Raspberry (7802)
Needles: US2 (2.75 mm) DPNs

It's obvious I still need to work on my stranded knitting. I'm normally a loose knitter but, not surprisingly, I guess, my stranded work seems to be knit tight. And my tight knitting has kind of messed with the proportions of these mittens. From the thumb gusset to the fingertips, these are a teeny bit shorter and a teeny bit tighter than I would like. The thumb, though, is at least a half inch too long! The cuff is also too long - something I thought I would never say about a mitten cuff....

If these were to be a gift, I would be disappointed in them. But they're for me, they'll keep my hands warm, and I've learned from knitting them. My next colorwork project will probably be Eunny's Endpaper Mitts, which, in retrospect, I probably should have done before I did these mittens!

I'm not ready to start those yet, though -- I'm working on a pair of Nereid mitts. Have I shown you these? I had some issues with actually reading the instructions, but now I'm back on track.

Fish Scales

I've also started another neckwarmer -- you might remember that I have Stonewall and the Woodland scarf both on the needles, but I've also cast on Anne Hanson's Poinsettia cowl in Malabrigo Silky Merino in the most gorgeous blue-green (which, for some reason, they call Green Gray). I tried taking a picture, but apparently there's not enough of it yet to actually be photographed...

And one last thing -- several years ago, when I was afraid of DPNs and heel turning, my friend Dale sat me down and showed me that I could do it. We used Cleckheaton Country 8 Ply, which makes rather bulky socks, but I've worn these as sleeping and around-the-house socks ever since. Last weekend, I stuck them in a net bag with other handknit socks and washed them on the extra-gentle cycle, as I always do. When I took them out of the bag to lay them out to dry, look what I found!

first socks, dead

Yes, both the heels are blown out! I'm not a darner, so I guess this is the end of these socks. But I don't think I'll throw them away...

Monday, February 02, 2009

1:15 a.m.

I finished binding off Daedelus at 1:15 this morning. It's blocking right now.

I'm a really bad blocker...

Details: test-knit (incredibly slowly) for Helen
Yarn: almost 2 skeins (about 1200 yards) of JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk
Needles: Size 3 KnitPicks Harmonies
Beads: Lots of opalescent seed beads and not quite as many white seed beads
Measurements: About 6 1/2 feet by 3 feet, gently blocked -- bigger than I thought it would be.


Sunday, February 01, 2009

Where did January go?


I can't believe it's February already! January just flew by, mostly because I was so, so busy with work. Our nursing librarian left for a job in Arizona at the end of December and, by default, I became the nursing liaison. This is a very natural fit for me, since I worked extensively with nurses, nursing students, and nursing faculty in San Antonio, but it does mean that I now have two full-time jobs. Luckily, I have people to help me out with teaching and consults, but I'm the one answering all the calls and emails!

Last week was really busy, not just during day but also in the evening. That wasn't really because of my new duties -- Tuesday evening I co-taught a class on information resources in global health and Thursday evening, I joined several hundred other middle-aged women (and about 4 men) at Menopause the Musical at the Englert Theatre. The four characters include a Professional Woman, an Earth Mother, a Soap Star, and an Iowa Housewife (wife of a funeral director), so it's possible that our Iowa City college-town crowd -- full of professional women, curnchy-granola types, and Iowans -- identified easily with most of the characters. If you are anywhere near menopause and have a chance to see this show, I would highly recommend it! It's full of funny songs about "the change," set to tunes from the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

Friday evening, I spent at the mall, although not really because I wanted to shop. You see, I LOVE my electric blanket and can't imagine life without it. A few weeks ago, I noticed that one of the controls was occasionally making an odd noise, and thought that I'd probably want to get a new blanket -- or maybe one of those heated mattress pads -- before next winter. Then around 4:00 a.m. Friday, I woke up just enough to yank the blanket up around my shoulders, and saw a little flash of light! I did it again, and the light flashed again! I didn't feel anything hot or smell anything burn, but I'm pretty sure I was seeing sparks. Around 5:00, I turned the blanket off, and by 6:30 I was cold. So that evening, off I went to the mall to find a new blanket. As I feared, despite the fact that we're in the depths of winter, electric blankets are hard to find in January. You were supposed to buy your blanket at the beginning of winter; the fact that your blanket might die at some other time is apparently not considered. I finally found one at the third department store I visited.

When I got home and pulled the blanket out of the bag, I saw that what I had was NOT an electric blanket, but a regular blanket that was supposed to be in the bin next to the electric blankets. So, happy that I had noticed this before 11:00 p.m., I headed back to the mall, where I realized that the queen-size electric blanket bin was full of regular blankets. All they had were king-sized electric blankets (five of them total). I considered getting a refund and continuing my search elsewhere, but considering that it was after 8:00 p.m. and I knew they were in short supply, I bought a king-sized one.

So - the bad news is that I have lots of extra blanket hanging out from under my quilt. The good news, though, is that my bed is nice and warm without actually being on fire, and that is a very good thing indeed!

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Okay -- knitting. Up there at the top is a close-up of Daedelus. I am just five rows (two of them beaded) from binding off. I don't want to event think how many stitches are in each row -- one beaded row takes me close to an hour -- but I'm definitely almost done.

I think I mentioned before that I ran out of beads and couldn't get matching beads to finish. The original beads are sort of opalescent, while the new ones are more opaque. You can clearly see the difference below -- the new beads are at the top.

Daedelus Up Close

I'm not thrilled with the difference and wonder if I should have looked elsewhere for beads closer to the originals. However, the new beads are at the bottom of the shawl, so I think the heavier look will be okay, if not perfect.

As my carrying-around, knit-anywhere project, I started the Nereid Fingerless Gloves, based on Cookie A.'s Pomatomus sock pattern. I have to admit that I never particularly cared for this pattern until I saw it in a solid color. Even though this pattern is not particularly "busy," I think it just looks so much better in a solid color.

As I said, this is supposed to be my mindless knitting, but even with mindless knitting, you really need to check the pattern occasionally! The Nereid pattern says to knit two repeats of Chart A from the sock pattern. The author assumes that you've also read the instructions, not just looked at the chart. I knew when I started the second repeat that something was wrong, but I convinced myself it was fine. Four rounds in, I said to the friends I was knitting with, "It almost looks like the pattern needs to be shifted over one stitch." Oops! That's exactly what the written instructions tell you to do. So I tinked back four rounds, shifted everything, and am back on track. I think....

Fish Scales
Yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Solid in Pink Blossom.
I'm already planning on buying more of this color!