Wednesday, January 31, 2007

There will be no knitting content for a while.

yesterday evening my mother drove my father down to Syracuse and this morning he was admitted to St. Joseph's

his bifemoral graft is occluded and they need to insert some stents and to keep him in the Intensive Care Unit for a day or so. Mother is staying with him in Syracuse until he is safely out if the ICU.

I'm staying at my parent's house by myself and babysitting the dogs while she is gone.


things like this happen quite often sadly, and I just cannot think about much beyond being sat upon by two 50 lb puppies and worrying about my father, so there isn't much knitting going on.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Saturday Sky

It's been gray and cold and snowy all day.
Another boring Saturday sky.

But while Bill was taking Cayenne out this evening I was able to get this neat little pic.

...Yep, it's snow.

Le sigh.

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Taken at 7:40pm, on Saturday January 27, 2006, out the front door of the platypus nest.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A little too excited


I got so excited over Lime and Violet in my last post I forgot to give an update on what I'm knitting!

I finished the hat I was knitting for my grandmother.

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I used Lambs Pride Worsted in colour m-100 Supreme Purple, and a bit of some leftover grey.

Size 7 (4.5mm), 16" circular needles and This Pattern

It came out very soft and cushy and very warm, I think grandmother will like it. We go into Watertown again tomorrow, so I will give it to her then. She doesn't know I was making it, so I think she will be surprised!

And because I can't control myself I started the Squirrel and Oak mittens

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I'm using my magnet board for the shawl though, and I'm about as far as I can get in the mittens without it now, so they will just have to wait until I finish the shawl to get any further.

(or until I loose all my willpower and go out and buy another magnet board.)

I started with my braided cast on but some how mucked it up in the first row, so it looks a little funky.

Also, I've been dying to try out some of the braid from Folk Knitting in Estonia by Nancy Bush, so I threw one of those in before starting the charts proper.

New addictions

I started listening to Lime and Violet the other day, I think I'm addicted.

With this shawl I have found myself getting bored of just knitting in silence, especially on the long plain knit rounds, and I needed something to occupy my mind. 9we don't have cable or any TV reception at all here at the Platypus Nest, our TV consists of Netflix movies every couple of days, and a trek out into the wilds next-door where were watch CSI and Criminal Minds on Wednesdays (or LOST when it finally comes back on.)

Anyways, a lot of people have suggested listening to audio books, so a couple of weeks ago I went to the library in Watertown and took out a CD set of old time radio shows to listen to. (I was a little overwhelmed by the audio book section, and that was the first interesting thing I saw, flashy case and all.) And I LOVED it, so I am definitely planning getting more things like that if I can. But in the mean time I needed more stuff to listen to, as I had eaten through six hours of shows in two and a half days.

So I surfed around the net for interesting podcasts I could download for instant gratification, and I found Lime and Violet! I don't have an i-pod or high speed connection, so I wait until Tuesdays when I can go to work with Bill and use the computer there, which has high speed. And then burn them on to CD to listen to at home.

I just finished episode five and I'm most definitely addicted, you wouldn't think that to sock yarn obsessed women sitting in a room talking about yarn and other knitting stuff for an hour would be interesting. But it's GREAT, I laugh so much and I find myself really wanting to go out and buy all sorts of sock yarn and knit all sorts of new patterns!

You all should totally go and listen to their podcast, they rock.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Just a small town girl

Tonight is another meeting of the Clayton Knitt-Witts.

And as I gather my things together I realize that it's time for another sheep shawl update!
I have made it to the village; you can just see the rooftops peeking over the horizon.
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I had a few rough spots in the orchard, mostly me forgetting to pay attention until I'm half a row away and have to tink back and fix my mistakes.
I'm about 44% finished with the shawl, and I just weighed my skein of Zephyr and I'm only one oz in. This means I should have plenty of yarn left over!
Looking at it right now it looks a bit loose and sloppy to me, but when I stretch it out the patterns look much better; so while I'm not completely happy with it right now I think it will even out and look much nicer once I'm finished and can block it.
And once again because I don't believe in monogamy, I've started something else:
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It's a hat for my grandmother, she saw me knitting the gaiters and requested a winter hat for herself, and how can I refuse?
Also another project in the works!
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The yarn I ordered from Knit Picks arrived yesterday, which means I can finally start the squirrel and oak mittens for Bill!
My lace weight for the veil also arrived, but it is in giant hanks, I'm hoping I can wrangle Bills mother to help me wind it into more manageable balls while we are at the knitting thing, the store has a ball winder I can use that should make the job a cinch.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Preach it Sisters!

Stop insulting my grandmother and stop telling me knitters are stupid!

and while I'm at it...

Blogging Chutzpah

The Knitting Curmudgeon comes through again with an awesomely true and perfect post, she and her friend express perfectly how I've been feeling about the knitting industry for the last couple of years.

Saturday Sky

Today Bill and I went up to Wellesley Island to the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center for their winter fun day. There was lots of excitement, dog racing, birds eating birdseed from the heads of children, fox tracking. And a gorgeous Saturday Sky:

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Taken Saturday, January 20th, at 11:35am. On the road next to the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center parking lot.

Wanna see a dog sled team in action?(YouTube link)

Friday, January 19, 2007

It's my blog and I'll party if I want to.

Not technically knitting related, although she is a knitter, and my best friend, so...



Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Project monogamy, what's that?

Bill has been raving about how awesome and warm his gaiter is.

And we just go hit by a massive cold snap.

-9f !!! brrrr...

So I grabbed some Cascade Pastaza from my stash and I'm making one for myself.

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Hopefully I can finish it by the 20th.

(Don't worry, the shawl is still on track, but I can only do a few rows at a time before my neck and shoulders start spazzing, so this gaiter is a good thing!)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Thinly veiled excuses.

Progress on the Sheep shawl has been halted once again, but his time, not due to headaches, but because of INSPIRATION!

I've been planning on knitting my own wedding veil for quite some time now, but the specifics have been fuzzy. I have tutorials up the wazoo on how to construct a wedding veil out of tulle and etc. but no clue how to go about achieving the same shape with a knitted fabric. I knew I could get good drape out of knitted lace, in fact, I could get a drape and fabric that I preferred much more than that offered by stiff tulle.

Then there was the issue that I wanted something that would be dual purpose, not just a veil but something that could be deconstructed to serve as a shawl during the reception. (I know, I'm picky.)

Enter this:
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The very first shawl had the exact shape I was looking for, rounded edges, but long, not circular.
I immediately bought the book (it has a lot on shawl constructions, especially Farose, which I'm dying to try).

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Unfortunately when I got it home I realized that while the shawl had the perfect shape it had a very weird and awkward construction. The pattern has you knitting a long strip of the edging, but then only picking up a few stitches in the middle to begin the center and then picking up edging stitches along each side with every row until the entire edging strip is connected and then continuing with the main body of the shawl. This of course means that this procedure has to be done twice and the two sections grafted together in the middle once you're done.

Now me? I HATE finishing, and the picking up along the long edge of the edging would mean ugly seams along both ends of the shawl, and possibly an ugly seam along the middle of the shawl if I decided to have a lace motif that didn't have any plain breaks for the grafting.

Luckily I also own this book:
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(This is an awesome book by the way, I love the history and it gives not only shawl patterns, but instructions and tips on construction to make your own)

The Orenburg method is perfect for me, it too requires a long strip of bottom edging to be knit, but then the corners are turned and the middle stitches picked up and the cast on edge picked up to leave no cast on edge, then at the end of the shawl the process is reversed, the corners are turned again, the stitches bound of by knitting the edging sideways over them, and then the last corner stitches are grafted together, for an almost completely seamless shawl.

A little thinking and tinkering has resulted in this:
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A small strip is knit, and the corners turned and main body stitches picked up, then the shawl is knit with an increase on each edge (similar to a triangular shawl done tip up) to give it the rounded/tapered look, then the middle section is knit straight until I reach the other end, where I will reverse the process and decrease back down to my original number of stitches, turn the corners, knit the edging sideways over the remaining body stitches and graft the last corner together.

So far so good, I've learned the simple short rows like method used to turn the corners and my swatch/proof of concept shows that the increasing works exactly as I had hoped, and doesn't distort the edging as I had originally feared. And I have the opportunity to practice some of the simple motifs that I am thinking about putting into the veil. Now I just have to make sure the decrease will work the same way, and practice knitting the applied edging (I've never knit a sideways applied edging before, and since the sheep shawl has one, this is also good to prepare me for that).

Once my yarn arrives I can knit a gauge swatch and do the math, then I can chart up the middle patterns and I can concentrate strictly on the sheep shawl once again.

(After my wedding I may offer the pattern for the veil/shawl up for free here, but it will be charts only, as that is how I knit, and writing up the long hand instructions after the fact will be a huge PITA for me)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Saturday Sky

Ok, this is kind of a cop out, but the sky sucked today, nothing but grey clouds.

And I can only take so many pictures of bare trees and other objects against grey sky.

The lights at night over the St Lawrence.

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Taken 9:30 pm, Saturday, January 13, 2007, out back of the platypus nest.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Now (s)he walks in quiet solitude the forests and the streams

Not many streams, but I've finally made it to the orchard!

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Yesterday I had such a headache that I couldn’t get much knitting done, I was hoping to be farther along by today, but that's ok, today is a Watertown day, so I have over an hour to just sit in the car and knit while Bill drives!

I'm having a lot of fun with this shawl, the charts can be a bit of a pain, they have a small gap between the edges and the pattern repeat sections, but unfortunately, the gap is the same size as a chart block, so when I have the charts on my magnet board with my magnets showing only one line, it looks like there are two extra boxes where the gaps are.

I had Bill copy the charts Tuesday and I drew a line down the gaps with a marker so I can tell they aren't a box, and I'm going much quicker.

Oh and I did finish that gaiter I was making for Bill a couple days ago. But it was immediately stolen to be cuddled and pet and named it George... I mean to be worn, but I was able to grab this pic as he was getting ready to take the dog out last night.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

About commenting:

Today is the beginning of national de-lurking week.

And in honor of it I'd like to make a post about commenting:

I love comments, both giving and receiving.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to receive feedback on my projects.

I try to make comments on other people's blogs as well, because I'm sure they would like feedback too.

Sometimes I can't think of anything pertinent to say, and that's ok, but I always try to make an effort to let the other bloggers out there that I read know that they are appreciated and that their knitting is super cool. (Although sometimes when I read my bloglines I'm just too tired or scatterbrained to come up with something appropriate, I'm going to be trying to make a better effort at commenting though in the New Year)

About commenting in this blog:

Like I said, I LOVE reading your comments, and I often try to reply to let you know. Blogger doesn't give me your e-mail addressed though, and sometimes I'm too lazy or not sleuth-y enough to find them, so I will often just replay as a new comment in that post. I also do this because sometimes I get questions and I want everybody to be able to benefit from the answers. I don't want you guys to think that I'm ignoring you :) also, sometimes by the time I get around to replying, several people have made comments, so to save time and coherency I will usually reply individually to people within the same comment.

Once my job restarts in the summer I will most likely have much less time and energy to devote to posting and commenting, but trust me, I will still be knitting and reading all your comments!

For all that comment in my blog:

You guys rock! Not only do you put up with my babbling, but you usually give some really awesome input and I love hearing from you, keep it up!

And to all you lurkers out there (I know there are some, I check my hit stats) de-lurk! I'd love to hear from you! And not just this week, all the time, interaction is why I started this blog.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Walkin' on Sunshine!

Last night while in the grip of horrible tension headache I got some great news, the Zephyr I ordered had arrived, and so had the 12mm split rings!

This morning feeling much better, I set to work, first to make a batch of stitch markers for tomorrow's knit night:
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Then to the shawl,
OMG! The Jaggerspun Zephyr is amazing, I sat myself down in my chair in my favorite sunbeam and set to casting on and I was amazed, this yarn positively GLOWS! The resulting fabric is so soft and squishy and delicious. It's a good thing I like Monica or I would so be keeping this shawl for myself. But since I do like her, I get to do something even better, once I finish this, I'm going to buy MORE Zephyr and make another shawl for me, mmmm...
Right now I'm about half way through the first repeat of chart 1B (Sunshine)
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I'm having trouble keeping my hands off it, I want to keep working, even though I know I have to finish Bill's gaiter sometime before the 20. (We're going to a winter fun days event at the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center up on Wellesley Island, and he'll need the extra warmth)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Saturday Sky

I was going to take a picture for today over the water downtown, Bill had to work until seven and I was going to go down and have dinner with him, but then I saw this as I left the house.

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Take 3:40pm Saturday, January 6, 2007, down the road from the platypus nest.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Keeping my hands busy

Still waiting for the yarn to arrive.

So I made a cupcake.

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I got the pattern from here I made a few adjustments, mostly doing an increase round after the ribbing and doing a few more rows of plain stockinet before switching the frosting colour.

Remember how I said I was playing around with hand dying yarns?

Here's one I'm particularly proud of:

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I'm tentatively calling it "thoughts of spring"

Our knitting group meets again on the 8th and we're having a yarn exchange, and I think I'm going to take this skein.

Then there's this:

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I wanted to make Bill a scarf, but I was having trouble finding a stitch pattern that worked well with the heavy worsted single ply fuzzy Icelandic wool.

Then there was that little problem of not having enough.

But that's ok, because brioche rib looks perfect in the yarn, and it will make a wonderful neck gaiter that is even better than a scarf because he can fold it in half and just wear it around his beck or her can pull it up to cover his face too! And no long ends to trail and get caught in his coat or covered in grime!

I'm just going to keep knitting until I run out of yarn, the longer it is the easier for him to fold it over/higher over his face and neck her can pull it.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Excuse me, I think I just squee'd myself

The Barbara Walker books I ordered just arrived!

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Oh. My. Gods! These are just stunning treasuries of patterns, I am having so much fun just paging through them.

I've been putting off getting these books, because I wasn't sure if I would like them, but they are AMAZING!

I only ordered the second treasury and the third treasury, I can get the first via my library, but I may have to buy that one too just so I can always have it on hand, and I see that she came out with a fourth treasury when the originals were reprinted.

I'm not big into pattern books, styles come and go, and frankly, I can almost never follow a pattern to a tee, I always make changes. (and almost anything I want to make I can find rough instructions online or in an Elizabeth Zimmerman book) but stitch libraries like this, I'm addicted! And the Barbara Walker treasuries are some of the best I've seen, she talks about the stitches and incorporating them into your own designs, or making your own! Perfect for somebody like me!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Bear With Me

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That's Gypsy

The yarn For the Sheep Shawl hasn't arrived yet, I'm getting kind of twitchy without anything to knit, so I knit a bear.

I've been playing with dying my own yarn, but it's mostly been small batches in scratchy wool, but it's perfect for bears!

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I used the Air Bear pattern from Berroco, but I did it in the round, with worsted yarn, on US 5s(3.75mm).

I didn't like the way the arms looked, and since I couldn't figure out a way to do them as written but in the round without making a lot of seaming work (I hate seaming, that's why I did the pattern in the round) so instead I just knit the body back and forth at the part, and picked up stitches around the armholes.

I think I should have picked up more though; her arms are kinda skinny and short compared to the rest of her. Otherwise the pattern worked beautifully in the round, with no seeming and just a little bit of Kitchener on the ears and top of the head. And I sewed her nose on crooked, but that just gives her character... yeah...

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I will warn, if you try the pattern in the round, start stuffing and do the arms BEFORE you start the head, there are some sudden decreases for the neck that make end weaving and stuffing very difficult.

I finished her up while watching MST3K with Bill at the Motel, and later while driving home Stevie Nicks came on the radio singing "Gypsy" and that is how she got her name.

I had the green shawl swatch thingy leftover from when I was 'unventing' a top neck down triangle shawl pattern, and it makes a perfect little gypsy/Stevie shawl.

Here is Gypsy doing her best Stevie Nicks impersonation:

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