Sunday, January 29, 2006

Mozart & Projects Old and New

It's the big Mozart Birthday celebration and we went to the Symphony last night to hear the Piano Concerto #4 and then the Jupiter Symphony #41. It was fabulous.
at the end, the orchestra did a very cleverly written compilation of different renditions of happy Birthday. Too much Fun!

ISE scarf has been mailed, the knitting on the VK11 is done, all I need to do is seam the sleeves and set them into the sweater and that one is ready to wear.
I've gotten out the Colchique, figured out where I was re the pattern, and am likely to have the front on that done before we head to Chicago next weekend. I'm planning on taking Jeff's scarf with me for car and maybe hotel knitting, so that will be done very likely by the time we return from Chicago.

I've been working on my entrelac scarf as a learner project to prepare for the KnitOlympics, and for kicks and giggles couldn't let alone the mohair and rayon that I've been wanting to combine (one is a Georges Picaud yarn, Zig, the other Tiber Le Doux Mohair, but the colors are a perfect match and both have the weight and texture of Fiesta LaBoheme) and I've been wanting to try them together in a feather and fan pattern for awhile, so they made it to the sticks yesterday AM. Both will end up as gift scarves, and both are going what feels like incredibly fast.

I've been swatching. And blocking the swatches.
On the left, Mission Falls 1824 wool, before blocking measure= 4x4, after blocking measure = 4.5x4. I like the stitch size, the resulting fabric, knit on size 8 per ball band and per pattern. Acounting for the growth of 1/8" per inch I can make the small and have the fit come out perfect.
On the right, Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran. Before blocking = 4x4, after blocking = 4.5x4. knit on size 9 needle per pattern. I don't like the loosely goosey feel of the fabric knit on size 9's, the stitches don't look particularly even, and instead of blaming me and the way I knit, I'm getting to the point where I can recognize that it may be wrong needle size. I'm thinking of trying it again on size 7's and on size 8's.
Lady Eleanor, Colchique, new gift scarves, and Jeffs scarf will all be FO's before these make it to cast on status - I'm just playing right now.

And now for my old friend the Union Square Market Pullover.

There, I've said it.
The whole body, knit with Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino on size 3 needles.
The fabric is heavy and doesn't have a nice drape.
I made some pattern reading errors which I realized so late that I kept going the way I was, but suffice it to say that the back doesn't have the same waist shaping the front does, which isn't the end of the world, but it's not right either. And the right side of the neckline triangle is deeper and wider than the left. Don't ask why - dumb operator error. If I liked the drape of the sweater I could live with those things - I think. What was it I said awhile ago? [If you don't like it while you're making it, you arent' likely to change your mind when it's finished. If it feels hinky it probably is. ]
I just keep pushing this baby to the bottom of the heap, have procrastinated on blocking it. - there's another thing - I swatched but never washed the swatches. If this 'grows' in blocking it's going to look like the proverbial sack of potatoes.
Even if it doesn't, I'm thinking this one is headed for the frog pond. I'm really convinced this pattern was meant for a lighter softer drapier yarn, and that this yarn is too nice to leave it as something that I don't like. I've been perusing patterns that call for baby cash and Rowan patterns that call for cash soft 4 ply. I started having serious misgivings about this about an inch into the neckline V, but kept going.

It's all a learning experience. Admittedly it's ridiculous that this is the 2nd sweater in 8 months that is coming apart, and while I haven't started unravelling yet, I can feel it, it's coming. I even have some dusty pink alpaca in the stash that is probably way more suitable for this USMP. Question is, can I even face that much stockinette on 3's in the round again anytime soon?

Friday, January 27, 2006

Ta Da

Yarn: Koigu KPPPM, almost all of 3 skeins
pattern: Classic Elite Princess Wrap
Modifications: added extra repeat for a total of 54 stitches cast on, knit 19 repeats
Needle: size US4 Holz and Stein Rosewood Circ
Blocking: wet blocked with Eucalan
Finished scarf measures 75" long. It grew more than 20" in blocking

It is gorgeous, if I say so myself.
and now it is getting packaged up to mail to Australia.

Thinking I have to join put these up too. Merlot from the Beadslut who also has made buttons for team chocolate and team caffeine - which is probably more appropriate, but what the hey, I'm opting for wine. And 'What was I Thinking?" ( a most favorite refrain of mine these days) came from the fabulous Donni

Speaking of What was I Thinking?, while I won't let myself indulge in casting on yet for an aran that I long to make, I did indulge yesterday in ordering some Jo Sharp yarn for not one, but Two aran sweaters. Someone over on KR posted an inquiry about where to find Jo Sharp yarns (which are beautiful yarns but are not avail for sale anywhere in St Louis) and someone from Knitwerks replied that not only do they have it on sale, but with the code she posted in the entry you'd get an extra 10% off. I ended up getting the Wool DK for $3.50/sk. I bought Navy to make one for dh and Tawny for me. In the interest of being the wonderful enabler that I know how to be, you can find the sale code here posted in the entry from Yarnni.

I'm off now, today I'm going to sit and knit with my friend Sharron while she does her chemo treatment.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

the green eyed monster

Every day I click on the link to look at what they are doing over there on Crossed in Translation and feel the touch of the green eyed monster. Then I go look at the FLAK KAL and wonder - could I catch up? Then I look around me and remember how I feel with as much on the needles as I have, and sanity so far has prevailed!
Amazing isn't it? I've been sitting here with just a touch of envy for all those who practice project fidelity, and here those of you who've left comments seem to think that multiple projects on the needles at the same time is the way to go. Well, it's not as if I'm in any danger of finding out what it would be like to work on only one thing at a time in this lifetime anyway ;) But I need to finish off some of this - too many projects on the needles is causing stress.

Elizabeth, the link for Convergence '06 is that top swishy blue button on my sidebar. Are you really interested in going?

on the topic of the ISE scarf. For crying out loud, now that I am so close to being done, I finally get really analytical about this pattern/chart. Why is it that I'm having so much trouble? I'm a competent knitter. I can follow a chart, I thought I could count - but I keep getting to ends of rows having the wrong amount of stitches left and ....
Well, duh moment: The chart is wrong on the rightmost stitch before the selvage from rows 15-23. I've finally managed to figure out how to look at the stitches just below where I'm knitting to determine If I'm off a stitch on this pattern, so if I watch my stitches, and simply add a stitch after row 14 to the right edge, then bind it off in row 24, I can make this work with much less frustration. Two more repeats to go.

Shel, the variegated yarn is on ebay here. It may be some of what you have, it came from New Zealand. I can't remember what I bought it for, but I need to clean out some and that is a casualty of this latest stash clean out. (not much of a stash clean out - but a nod anyway)

Someday I'm going to finish this ISE scarf and then I'm going to start running in the AM - yup, Couch-Potato to 5k here I come.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Lady Eleanor it is.
So I decided that I'd better learn to do entrelac as a part of my training. So I found and cast on for the Danica scarf using some mohair and scarf fancies I had in stash. And by golly I think I've got it. Even figured out how to knit backwards, which will go a long ways towards enabling me to finish this in the time alloted. I figure 3 tiers/day for 12 days, then blocking and tying on fringe.
The biggest part of the challenge for me may come down to sticking with one project for 2 weeks.
I set for myself the goal of finishing several items before Feb 10, and I'm finding it very challenging to stay on task, and not want to wander off into the land of working on Colchique, USMP, casting on for the long neglected front of Ruffled Cardi, and even worse, planning and wanting to cast on for new projects.

I so admire those who seem to be able to commit to a project and see it all the way through before scratching the itch of start-itis again.
But I'm being Good! I am. I'm seeing real progress on the ISE scarf, which I can honestly say is probably the most challenging thing I've worked on in years. I don't seem to be able to keep track of where I am across 54 stitches. It doesnt' look nearly as impressive as it is hard to get right. One 24 row repeat a day and I'll be finished Saturday. Yay! Whew. It takes me anywhere from 1 to 2 hours to finish a repeat, depending on how many mistakes I make. And that is knitting in a completely quiet room, all by myself. I really can't count across 54 stitches if I have any distractions. Why do I find this so much more difficult than cables? Partly maybe is that I can 'read' cables and from what has happened below figure out what I need to do - here I can't.
Idiot update: I decided this afternoon to knit several rows of the ISE scarf without my glasses on - they went missing again and I could 'sort of' see. Almost one full repeat later, I put it down, everything has gone really well, my rows have been coming out right - pick it up again, take it downstairs and put my glasses on - somehow I did 3 (THREE) knit rows in a row, all with YO's, without a P row anchoring - how could I have missed that? Even without my glasses on...and keep going?. Ripping back an entire repeat now - unknitting since it doesnt' work to take this off the needle and pick it all back up again -and Idiot here doesn't have any lifelines in either.... big sighs....onward. But you know, photos really show the mistakes, and I'm determined not to have any in this. so a ripping I will go..)

Just a little cleaning house:
I just listed several yarns on ebay, including these. (only 6 sk of the Prelude, what I didn't use for Katies scarf)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

blog poll - you decide

For the Knitting Olympics: 16 days, start to finish, something that is currently not on the needles, challenging but not impossible, to be knit during Olympics
What to knit: vote at bottom

What to knit for 2006 Knitting Olympics?
Lady Eleanor Silk Garden

Eris in Adrienne Vittadini Eva

Orangina - cotton blend

Ribby Cardi in Rowanspun

Current results

Mail Bag

Yesterday was MAIL day.
I had to go to the post office to mail about 30 pounds of books (I've been selling them on Amazon and quite a few sold over the weekend) - I had to wait in line for 45 minutes. don't get me started on monopolies and business practices - ANYWAY....

I got home, and got my mail, and there was an envelope for me that wasn't a bill, a solicitation to open yet another credit card account, or an offer to refinance the house. What fun it is to get something in the mail that you don't dread opening and don't have to shred. ;)

Inside this envelope for me, was a little CD from my Secret Pal. THANK YOU thank you thank you. I popped it into the computer, thinking I'm going to be finding some music to knit by, and I find instead a PDF file of the Eris Pattern. I'm thrilled. I want to cast on right now! I have the perfect yarn for this, an Adrienne Vittadini Eva in dk grey, in fact I believe it is the yarn the sample was knit from. I'm in danger of being 70 yds short if indeed the pattern uses all the yarn it calls for - but I will find a way to deal with that, as the yarn has been discontinued and I can't get any more.

so now, exercise restraint.
re yesterdays post: I'm adding some qualifiers. In order to 'earn' that Katherine Howard yarn by the end of the year I have to finish all the projects currently on needles and all of the projects that I cast on for and put on the side bar before Oct 1.
no sandbagging either and casting on but 'forgetting' to put up a status bar.
so, anyone who's knit Eris - the pullover - is it a doable project for the 10 day Olympic Challenge? or would I be setting myself up for ridiculous pressure? I'm working 2.5 days a week right now, so have extra time that I can devote to whatever I cast on for.

and re the Olympics - I've decided that if I finish 3 of the things on my needles right now before the start, that I will accept the O challenge - but IF I'm still plugging along on all, then I'd better kick it up a notch and not do any new challenge project. the 3 I expect to finish - Jeffs scarf, the ISE scarf (that one has a deadline anyway) and VK11. I picked up and knit on the 300+ stitches for the ruffle hem last night on that. speaking of:

Does anyone follow the directions?
I read the directions for this VK 11 sweater, then did what I wanted to anyway. They have you knit the pieces, then pick up and knit the ruffle-hem thing, then seam it all together. Why would they do it that way?
I knit the pieces, seamed together my front and back and knit my neck band on, tried it on and realized that the length was too long so unravelled bottom up more than 2 inches (not a process I would recommend), then blocked the whole thing, and now I'm knitting the mohair lace weight ruffle on in the round. Why would I want seams in that?
The discussion right now on the Knitting Beyond the Hebrides list is all about thinking through the finishing before starting to knit, and it is a really relevant topic right now for me.

off to the dentist.

Thank you so much SP. I love my mail. Oh, you have beautiful handwriting.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Inspiration and dreams

I've joined the knit list "knitting beyond the Hebrides" and the one KAL I stop to check in on every day now is the Crossed in Translation.
What a lot of inspiration.
I've had some really ambitious projects percolating in my head for a long time now, and think that maybe it is time to set some goals.
I've got Alice Starmore's book Tudor Roses, and have been drooling over it for a long time, saying, 'someday'. In fact, back when Alice Starmore yarns were still available I bought all the yarn for this sweater (its called Jane Seymour) - except for the 1200 yds I'll need of what was Turf. She Ewe Knits has translated it and has a Jamieson yarn that will work.
I also, last year, bought a Rowan yarn to make Elizabeth, the cashsoft 4 ply in white.

I have enough of an old pink/purple colorway that I love in silk garden to make Lady Eleanor, the entrelac stole.

And I have some babies to knit for. I'm considering this cutie pie sailor sweater for Dave and Wendys little one - (pssst: looking for feedback here guys.)
Katherine Howard by Alice Starmore

My goal for this year: and the carrot I'm going to dangle at the end of the stick: I want to finish way more than last year. (Obviously!)
finish whats on the needles now - list is on the sidebar
  1. if in addition to that I get two
  2. baby gifts made,
  3. the Lady Eleanor
  4. the Vittadini cable cardi I have yarn for
  5. the VK13 from the last post
  6. the Debbie Bliss Ana that I have swatched for
  7. the Elizabeth from the Rowan

note: I would add the Bergere de France cardi from the last post, but first I have to translate the pattern from the French, and I'm going to give myself some time for that!

The carrot: Then, and only then, if at the end of 2006 all of this is a fait accompli, will I allow myself to order then yarn kit for the Katherine Howard.

When I finish all the current projects in the sidebar I may treat myself to the rest of the yarn for the Jane Seymour too. Be good to be able to at least start that. I've knit the charted design, in that awful mistake of yarn and bad color choice that got frogged last summer. Be nice to knit it in something that works ;)

Knitting Olympics

Stephanie aka Yarn Harlot has proposed a knitting Olympics. I'm of two minds about this

  1. I should just stick with finishing what I've got going
  2. I could use that opportunity to bang out one of the baby knits, or maybe the Lady Eleanor
hmmm, decisions decisions.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

an Agenda

I seem to be creating more lists, and making up an agenda.
The list for today:
  1. finish putting away Christmas decorations - almost done.
  2. Finish knitting Marks hat - maybe I'll make that one, maybe not.

I've been working on the travel and conference schedule for '06.

Boat Shows:

Fiber Related



  • All womens triathalon in Naperville IL Sunday June 25
  • Bike trip along Lake Michigan coast, either the Wisconsin SAGBRAW or the Michigan Shoreline Tour July 29 - Aug 5

Work Related

  • Trade show March 28-30

obviously I've got some overlap and am going to have to work some things out.

Project agenda:

  1. I want to finish up all the knitting for gifts and what I've promised people,
  2. and sewing for others (I"ve got curtains to do for Daniel and the cream silk outfit for my mom to finish, as well as tying up some loose ends) by the end of this month.
  3. I want to finish the Cochique and the VK11 - both should be a slam dunk and I should be able to have both those off the needles and seamed, ready to wear, hopefully by the time I go to Chicago. VK11 is already seamed and blocked, just needs the laceweight mohair frills knit on.
  4. then I want to cast on the sleeves for the USMP and alternate working on that and the Esmerelda (both interminable stockinette projects) with the red cable cardi that I started on the cruise. I hope to have the USMP done by the end of February.

Because there are some projects that I really want to cast on for - interesting fun projects to knit - using (gasp) stash yarns.

I want to knit this - using either the Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran in casket (a burnished gold color), or the Karabella Aurora 8 in red, or the Jaeger Shetland Aran in sage.

And I want to start the cardi from the Fall 05 Vogue Knitting using the Mission Falls 1824 wool in Curry.

Friday, January 13, 2006

knitting with beads

Has anyone seen these little bead kits to knit? Aren't they a scream? I love them! How crazy is this?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A shoe or two, A hat, an opinion

Well, a girl has gotta have choices. Excepting the running shoes I took, this is the selection I took with me on the cruise. This Denise, is for Staz.
You see, my brother-in-law has some interesting ideas about womens footwear, which fortunately I don't need to pay any attention to. Can you even imagine 7 days on a cruise, with 4 shore excursions and New Years Eve thrown in, and another day on the Mainland, with only one or two pair of shoes?? Not this mama! i guess it could be said that I collect shoes too

Mark, this is your hat so far. Do you want me to knit the stripe in with the brown or leave it
plain? The blue picture is the pattern. Very interesting knit - like knitting a 1x1 rib, except slipping every other stitch - creates a double knit fabric. This is going to be one warm hat.

Project Runway (click on PR link to read Tims blog and listen to the podcast.)
Is anyone else sick unto death of Santino and his ego? All right already, time to eliminate the guy.

Coming Soon:
A list of books in the sidebar that I have listed for sale on
We have thousands of books, and it is just plain time to divest ourselves of some of the stuff. Mostly what I'm listing right now are the novels. If you see something you want, email me.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Pictures from the Caribbean

the night before sailing, dinner with some of my family in Tampa New Years Eve on the Royal Caribbean Legend of the Seas

swimming with the Sting Rays off Grand Cayman

Secret Pal 7 questionnaire

For those participating in Secret Pal 7 - my q & a can be found here.

The old year, the New year

Happy New Year to all.
I know I'm a bit late getting there, but I just got here to say it. I will post a 'what I did on my vacation' post later, complete with pics, but, in keeping with my need for a sense of order, I need to get my reflections on the changing of the calendar written.

I'm feeling this New year is a biggy for me. I turn 50 this year. I have a 5 year wedding anniversary this year. My eldest son graduates from college this year.
I started some great things in 2005, branching out and stretching my horizons, and I plan to continue in 2006. I also began cleaning out and organizing in 2005, and 2006 should see much more of that.
In '05 I:
  • cut way back on my regular job and began consulting and designing for a client.
  • I took two seminars from Susan Khalje who really changed my perception of my own skills and craft. I feel so fortunate to have done so, and hope to be able to take another this year.
  • I finally took stock of my knitting UFO's (unfinished objects), got realistic about it, frogged, finished, and tossed, so that UFO's are not the issue they were. I organized my stash, and got some serious knitting done. I also did some serious stash enhancement - which stops NOW!
  • I dropped my membership in ediets, which allowed me to lose the daily focus/obsession with the scale. I feel more balanced, more relaxed. My weight is what is it, and hasn't changed for the worse for the lack of obsessing about it. I did make some wonderful friends whom I treasure through ediets, and am keeping those contacts.

In '06 I plan to:

  • get a grip on my UFO's in my sewing room - some of which also date back to the 80's. Do the same inventory, finish or toss routine that I did with the knitting, so that there are no UFO's at this date next year. This will be a massive undertaking my friends. I also plan to finish all the sewing for this house - a few curtains/draperies, some bed skirts and miscellaneous stuff.
  • In June I plan to participate in my first ever triathalon. I'll be 49 still, as the event is a couple of weeks before my birthday. When I was 39 I did my first VASA race, and took 2nd in class, 5th overall - it was the 40-50 yr old women that kicked my butt. I can't say that I will be especially competitive in the triathalon, but just to do it will be a major accomplishment for me. Barbara is my inspiration and motivation for attempting this event. She is one of the incredible women I know who have inspired me this last year. She came back after chemo last year to train for and participate in her first tri. She's invited me to join her this year, and by God I'm going to. It's an all-women event in Naperville IL the last weekend in June.

Now, for an update on the ongoing projects:

Scarves for Gifting all got done, except my poor suffering husbands. He expressed dismay though when I thought to take it with me on the cruise - why would I want to be knitting with wool or cashmere where it's hot (It's not hot in airports or on planes, but who was I to quibble?). So naturally, I took along some cotton - the very vintage Classic Elite Newport in wonderful cherry red that I bought back when Fran Kirklands went out of business in Grosse Pointe, ...that would be back in the 1980's. I finally found the perfect cardi to make from it - full of my beloved cables.

ISE scarf is underway. And I am delighted by the way the variegated yarn is pooling the colors instead of striping them. I' ve also figured out that each 24 row repeat represents 5% of the finished scarf - lovely to know that I am making progress with each repeat. At the rate of a repeat an evening, I should have this done and ready to post to Australia with plenty of time to spare.

The Colchique Irlandais and the USMP are just where I left them last November - time to pull them out of the heap and finish them. Oh, and the long awaited yarn to finish the Debbie Bliss ruffle cardi came. Finally found it at Lain's favorite store in San Francisco - can't remember the name right now. I ordered 6 sk from them and they sent it in two different dye lots. I checked the original dye lots I had, and believe it or not, the store I bought it from in Birmingham MI sold me two dye lots - so I'll have a total of 4 dye lots in that sweater. Looks like the rest of the sweater will be knit with two sk at a time.