Monday, August 30, 2004

Its all coming back...

Knitting is starting back up. I have found that knitting with nice resilient fibers is best for my hands, so I'm knitting with wool. I'm switching off between 3 projects: My Kersti Ribby Raglan (great Olympics knitting), my Charlotte ponco, and the 3rd re-invention of the baby blanket.

Yes, I've re-thought and restarted. Somehow, I wasn't happy with the color and pattern of the baby blanket as before, and the combo of the acrylic (Plymouth Encore - mostly acrylic, some wool. Great yarn for baby stuff...) and the needle size was making knitting difficult. I pulled out some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in Lorakeet from my stash. It had been part of a half-done Baby Albert (from Sally Melville's Knit Stitch), but I had run into a slight problem there as well.* I had picked up a couple skeins of light blue solid LLSW, and a couple skeins of dark blue - so I've doubled the Rainbow yarn (its the most beautiful yarn in the skein... ) I love this yarn - its one of the softest superwash wools I have ever worked with...

Pattern. Well, I'm modifying the "Big Bad Blanket" from Stitch n' Bitch. One, the doubled Shepherd Worsted is much higher gauge than either Kersti or doubled KPPPM. Second, because I have 3 skeins of Shepherd Worsted in Lorakeet, I wanted an easily divided in 3 pattern. So, instead of the reflection st st/ rev. st st. pattern, I'm doing a checkerboard. I'll have pictures soon - its a little too dark right now.

Tomorrow should be fun. As a last Hurrah before school starts, my husband and I are taking the day off from work tomorrow and taking the Big One to the State Fair. Ah, the Minnesota State Fair. Home of all food on a stick. This year, they have added Deep Fried Corn on the Cob on a Stick, and Deep Fried Reuben on a stick. The Big One wants to be a Vet when she grows up, so we spend lots of time in the animal barns. Like the "Miracle of Birth" barn where they have lots of pregnant animals who can have babies pretty much at any time during the fair, and the Vet building where they do small surgeries on small animals - like spaying and neutering. I like to wander through the Craft building, where the knitting submitted for judging is housed as well :-)

Then, school starts on Wednesday. The Big One is torn - she's had a good summer, and isn't quite ready for it to be over yet. But, she also likes school. Met her teacher today - she seems nice. Its hard to believe she's in 5th grade already....

-- aside. Its hard to type when the Tigger-kitty decides to sit on ones arm and put a paw on the trackpad and click the mouse button...Sweet cat, annoying habit here.

Well... pictures soon. Going to go watch some more football, and get some more knitting done!

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Since I can't get much knitting done, I'll do some blog housekeeping tonight.

Firstly, Thank You Everyone for your kind comments on my Charlotte. I love it. Its beautiful - and the pattern is so addictive I've started a poncho.

Secondly, a couple days ago Nathania asked what the yarn from my secret pal _was_, and I responded with this:

"Its K1C2 Tartelette in the Kaleidoscope colorway. (Look at these colorways!"

I still love it. I hope my hands settle down soon so I can knit up a scarf with it. I am very tempted to get more to make a wrap or a poncho as well.

Thirdly, I want to apologize if my tone was whiny yesterday. I don't always deal well when my hands hurt. I have recently noted that I start pulling inward when this chronic pain comes back. I either do stupid things (like today, when I didn't ask anyone else to do the whiteboard writing this afternoon) to not "inconvenience" anyone, or I get rather selfish and self-absorbed. I'm working on it...

Fourthly As Wendy recommends - pictures!

The baby blanket

I think I'm liking it. Its a very straightforward pattern.

The Charlotte Poncho

This is out of the Cherry Tree Hill yarn I bought a while ago. I am not including the lighter green, as I am only including 4 colors in the poncho. I'm deeply in love with the red color... (see my August 2 post for the colors)

And, a gratuitous Cat Picture

This is the Amber cat. She's the ruler of the household. She makes the dog run and hide. She is also definitely my husband's cat. She'll sit on his lap when he's at his desk, or in the living room. Or pretty much anytime. I think she's crept onto my lap 3 times. (We've had her for 11 years...) I know where I rank :-)

Knitting slowdownOver the weekend, my hands decided that I shouldn't knit for a while. I have a history of RSI starting in college - I used to play cello, and worked in the theater costume shop. The combination of more practicing and playing cello than I had before, combined with making these awesomely beaded shirts conspired to make it painful to grip anything. (This is a big reason why I spent 6 falls in college, 1 spring and have no degree - there are a couple more.)

After the Big One was born, my hands settled down. Granted, I write very little with pens/pencils. I gave up cross-stitch in college, and do very little hand-sewing. Knitting has never bothered me much before, nor have I had a ton of problems typing. These last few days have been more tricky than most in the last 10 years. (I've had some flare ups, but not for long)

So, not much knitting. I'm sleeping in my splints again (I had to _find_ them... that was a trick).

After posting last, I changed my mind on the baby blanket. Again. Instead of the machine knit and instead of the Heartstrings baby blanket, I'm making a blanket using the stitch in the top scarf here. I've got 3.5 repeats done, but have stalled. For some reason, knitting with the 6mm needles bothers me more than knitting with the 4.5 mm needles I'm using on my Charlotte Poncho.

Yes, I started my poncho. Last night my hands felt better so I cast on. Not much to see yet, as I am knitting much slower. 7 rows into the first repeat.

Other than that, I'm trying to type and mouse less (tricky, when one's job has a bit of typing/mousing in it), and am only knitting a little bit. Hopefully if I take it easy for a little while I'll be knitting my usual output soon.

In more family news, the Big One is off at the Concordia Language Villages to do Japanese immersion for the week. We sent her off on her 4 hour bus ride with books and knitting. She especially wanted her knitting, as they will take away English books, music, etc. and she wanted something to do in the evenings to relax. We pick her up on Saturday, then school starts next week. Monday she gets to find out who her teacher is. Tuesday we're considering taking a part day off work and taking her to the State Fair. (I'm not big on the idea of taking the 2 year old to the Fair, so we'll go during day care hours. And, weekdays are less crowded. yay!)

I have been watching the Olympics avidly. I love my Tivo, though - we skip through commercials and less interesting parts. The gymnastics competition has been a wild ride, hasn't it? So much judging controversy. So much fun gymnastics. The swimming was great. I also Tivo'd some of the daytime coverage, so saw some table tennis, some fencing, and some archery. Only saw 1 point of badminton... I had wanted to see more, but missed it. The biggest problem is the Olympics is cutting into my sleep time. So, off I go to get more sleep. Take care, all.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

She's done.She's finished. Isn't Charlotte beautiful!

Charlotte's Web Shawl
Finished 8/18/2004
Pattern from Koigu yarns
Used - 5 skeins of Koigu KPPPM (Didn't note down the colors...)

I blocked her yesterday - wet block pinned out on a towel on the floor. Each little picot edge was pinned out. (and I found the place that I missed one... oops!) Wove in the ends last night after the Olympics. Got pictures first thing this morning - then distraction occured and I didn't get this this posted.

We got a large format printer in the office today - prints poster sized images. Of course, it had to get set up and played with... um... tested right away! Printing big images is fun!

My Kersti is getting a workout. Yesterday afternoon I knit Kersti at pool-side while the Big One and her friend swam. Last night I knit away on my Kersti during the olympics. Then I started this baby blanket. I'll get pictures when I've got more than 1 repeat done. I found that counting cast on stitches during the gymnastics was tough - they either announced a number, or I was distracted by the events. Ah, Paul Hamm. I thought he was way out if it! To win gold was AMAZING.

Unfortunately, due to a browser error, I already know who won the women's all-around tonight. That irritates me to no end. I don't know if the event is as dramatic as last night - but I would have hated knowing Paul Hamm was going to win after he dropped to 12th! It would have taken all the hope and anticipation out of it! Sigh.

Well - the Olympics are calling me! More knitting time! More swimming drama! More gymnastics drama!

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Presents!!I think I freaked out my secret pal.*I posted late last night and didn't mention the present I had received. Well... that's cause it was hiding in my door until I went to bed. As I was closing down the house for the night (this is after midnight, mind you), I opened the front door to grab off the flyer.... and there was a box. A cute little box with nothing that I ordered in it...

This was in it!

Isn't it lovely! Yes, I had to ball it up last night. I need to play with it - its so soft and satiny. What doesn't come through is how purple the dark stripe on the side is - its a rich, plummy purple. And the other colors are wonderful! My secret pal is amazing!!

I had also forgot to mention that last week I got a great e-card from my pal... she noticed my URL, and sent me a card with rubber duckies! I love rubber duckies - this is one of the shelves in my office... and since I took this picture, a couple more have shown up.

While catching up with this secret pal stuff - I notice that I have neglected to answer any of the suggested questions. So, here goes!

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer high-end/natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?

I somewhat prefer natural fibers, but use a lot of Lion Brand Wool-ease and Encore. I like the Lion Brand glitz yarns. Its nice to get a decent yarn for less. However, I can go nuts in the Yarn Store with the best of them. I do avoid strong wools, as I'm rather sensitive. I love KPPPM and Kersti wool, that I can deal with. But the Shetlands make me itch from miles away.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?

I crochet enough to do edgings. I spin enough to make "designer yarn"... I need to spend time with my wheel and get better.

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)
I have a strong dislike for the smell of smoke, and don't deal too well with perfumes. Strong wool makes me itch.

4. How long have you been knitting?

I've been knitting for 10 years. I learned the year we lived in Seattle from a friend I worked with. My first project introduced me to the joys of recalculating - we redid most of the directions!

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

I have an Amazon wish list, but I only keep it current for Christmas and my Birthday (in Feb). The rest of the year its way out of date.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
Being sensitve to perfumes, I don't usually use scented candles and bath products. But, the more natural the scent, the better. I like Vanilla and mint. My only perfume that I've been able to deal with smells like lilies of the valley.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?

OH YES! Chocolate is both my friend and my downfall.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?

Like I said before, I spin a bit. Other than that, I have no time. Knitting eats it all up. (Terrible to have 20 or so projects you want to knit...)

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if you want to make her a CD)

I like showtunes a lot, then pretty much everything except rap, hip-hop and country. I'm seeing Sarah McLachlan in 2 weeks.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer?

My favorite color is dark purple. I'm fond of most darker, clear colors, though - red, deep greens, deep blues. And black, of course. Chocolate brown is pretty, too.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I have a husband, 2 girls (10 and 2), 2 cats and a dog.

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)

Life dreams is a tricky question. I want my girls to grow up to be happy, amazing people. I want to be happy - doing work and other fun things that keep me fufilled and going. I am not reaching for a huge goal - most of my goals are much smaller.

And, round 2 of the questions....

What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?

Kersti, KPPPM. For baby things, Plymouth Encore is great. Lorna's Laces Shepard Sport is amazing. I like soft yarns, mostly :-)

What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?

Kersti, Kersti, Kersti

What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

I knit a bunch of baby things, shawls, and sweaters. I have yet to finish a sock - but I have 4 half done single socks stashed away in my knitting room.

What are you knitting right now?

I am doing finishing work on my Charlotte shawl, knitting away on my Kersti Raglan, and trying to come up with a quick-knit baby blanket.

What do you think about ponchos? (this is really a curiousity question for us)

I like them. I have a bunch of yarn sitting waiting to become a Charlotte Poncho!

Do you prefer straight or circular needles?

Circular. Double Points are fine, but I can't knit on standard straight needles. I need to support the weight with my lap, not my wrists.

How did you learn to knit?

When I was 8 or so, my grandmother triedto teach me to knit. It didn't work - mostly because she got hung up on gettimg me to hold the needles and the yarn the "right way", and because the fabric didn't grow fast enough for me to see any progress. I really learned about 10 years ago. One of my co-workers (lovely woman - we've lost touch since I moved away from Seattle) was knitting a beautiful lace shawl (one of the cloths from Kinzel's books of Lace Knitting), and I asked to learn how. The rest is history :-)

How old is your oldest UFO?
Oh, probably 10 years old. I never did finish the first sweater I worked on. I have a bad case of start-its. The planning and starting of a project is much more interesting to me than the finishing.

This morning was kitties to the vet - shots time. And, they're healthy. Next week the dog goes in to have tartar removed. And the big one goes to Japanese camp for the week - that'll be fun. Then, school starts Sept. 1. The summer doesn't seem like it should be almost over, does it?

*I actually know I did, since I got an email from her this morning asking if the box came - since UPS had reported it delivered...

Monday, August 16, 2004

Another quick postingI'm just running low on time these days - my husband is in California for a couple days, and I'm all over Olympic coverage. Annoyed tonight - I had my Replay (a Tivo-like device) set up to record the Olympics, and it didn't. So, I missed the first 3 hours. I'll have to record it in its replay after midnight tonight, and catch up. Somehow. I'm especially bummed since I love both men's and women's gymnastics, and I missed the first 2 rotations. Sigh.

On to knitting...

Thanks everyone for your nice comments on the baby booties. Both the Big One and I are thrilled! The booties were a big hit - the recipient had a baby shower over the weekend, and showed them off. Everyone thought they were TOO cute - and were SO impressed that a 10 year old made them!

I did a hat to match the baby booties the Big One did for her teacher.

But, in bigger news... I FINISHED MY CHARLOTTE! I haven't blocked it yet, but isn't it pretty!

I did a simple crocheted picot edging on it - which I'm very pleased I did (along with pleased I grabbed an extra skein). I didn't need the extra, but this is how much yarn I had left....

No cutting there - I only had a couple inches left from skein 5.

I'm working on my Kersti - I love this yarn. Up 3.5 inches on the back. Granted, I'm going to try to knit a quick baby blanket by Sept 12th which will cut down on my Kersti knitting. I'm also lusting after the Lara that Wendy and Kristine are starting a knit-along for. Fortunately, that knitalong doesn't start till Oct. 1, so I may have a chance to finish one up before the next one starts!

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The Kersti Kid

ust a quick post - my Big One just finished her Kersti booties! Aren't they adorable!!

And, here she is holding them -

How is she going to go back to acryllic?!?

Pattern is from Mellor's 50 Baby Booties to Knit. Its on page 51, but I forget the name. They're shown with felt stars and hearts, but we skipped those - the Kersti speaks for itself!

I'm making a matching hat - but that will take a little while. Should have it done tomorrow - but I'm heading to a Weird Al concert tonight. (I have a weakness for well-done parody. Its silly fun, and my husband likes it a lot.)

And, staying home sick yesterday, I got 5 more rows done on the Charlotte. Only 5 to go!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

My Knitting Kid

My oldest has caught the Kersti bug.

This morning I came upon her starting a pair of baby booties for her day care teacher. Now... we hadn't yet talked about small things like gauge - so she had just pulled out some (horrendous acryllic) yarn and size 8 needles and was knitting away. At that rate, those baby booties were going to be approximately 5 year old size. Also, she hasn't ever picked up stitches on a knit piece, so it wasn't a good "take to day care where mom can't explain things" project.

In swoops Mom. We picked out a simpler bootie pattern - page 51 of 50 Baby Booties to Knit. (I forget what they're called). I noticed that the gauge was 22 sts/4 inches. Why, that's the Kersti gauge! I pulled out a leftover skein from the Kersti Blanket I made last month. She knit the first row and was singing its praises already! She had one slipper done - but had cast on the second flap on the wrong side, so had to re-knit the last few rows. All done with the first She will have to learn to sew up her knitting, but that won't be too difficult for her. I'm so proud. I can't understand how she can

I'm thinking of making a baby hat that matches - either like Simple Knits for Cherished Babies or Stitch n' Bitch. That shouldn't take long.

Not getting much knitting done tonight - I'm catching cold and feeling right icky. My colds almost always follow a standard pattern. I get a sore throat, then feel the beginning of my congestion - I'm not stuffy, but my head starts feeling stuffed with cotton. In a couple days, the congestion will hit, and my throat will stop hurting. Then I'll be fine. I might be home sleeping tomorrow...

10 Rows

That's about all I have to say today. I'm 10 rows away from being done with the knitting on Charlotte. Each row takes a while. It addictive, though. I now am in the throes of wanting to see what it looks like when its done. Going at this speed, I should be done by the end of the week. Yeah!!

I'm not planning on fringing it - I'm not a "fringe" person. I was liking the look of the two rows of crochet edging - then saw Nathania's shells... and now need to look at patterns. I did buy another skein for edging - its close to the same color - should work. (I hope)

I had some nice mindless knitting time (watching the Italian Job on Saturday), so got some more knitting done on my ribby raglan. Its a couple inches up. Looks just like the back, oddly enough :-)

Friday, August 06, 2004

Wonderful Time!

I had a wonderful day yesterday - met with Nathania. She's as lovely in person as she is on her blog. There are pics from our meeting over at her blog, I didn't have my camera with me. (Silly me)

She graciously offered to come and pick me up at my hotel at 4, after which we went to Knitting Arts in Saratoga. I had been nervous about meeting her - but was at ease quickly. I got to see her lovely Charlotte - I love the scalloped edging she put on it, and the colorway is beautiful. Knitting Arts turned out to be the latest incarnation of the yarn store I used to shop at way back when I lived in Cupertino - it was called the Braid Box, then. I fell in love with the store - and the yarn! Oh, the yarn... of course, I had to buy some. This is what I came out with (now that I'm home, I can pull out the camera):

From top to bottom, left to right:

Column 1 - Koigu in colors:
D115d, P615, 2 of 2160, 1315d, P304, P319, P831, P105d

Second Column:
Fiesta La Boheme in Coyote (I bought a second skein of this, and had it wound. Its not in the picture...
Noro Lotus 153
Great Adirondack Yarn Crayon Sequins

(And I did actually put a couple things back. Really - just ask Nathania :-) )

The Sequins yarn is really cool - see the closeup?

After enhancing my stash, we walked down the street to a bubble tea place. As Nathania said, I was a bit hesitant. The idea of having something chewy in my tea was... hmmm... different. I liked it - not somuch that I'd have it every day, but I'd have it again. It sweetened up the green tea wonderfully, and the chewy beads were kinda fun. I got to see the yarn and beads for her Caryl's Kerchief that Nathania's making (the picture doesn't do the colors justice - they are soft and deep in person), and the neck band piece for the fuzzy blue halter - that will be stunning when assembled!

My husband called wondering if I'd be around my computer soon around 6:30... I was shocked that it was after 6! We had completely lost track of time. (Nathania's Kevin was text msging her while she was driving me back as well...oops.

Nathania said it best... Kindred Spirits.

Over at Nathania's, you can see the pic of my Charlotte - after my trip I am now only 19 rows from the end. . However, Thursday night I also picked up my poor, neglected Kersti and....

Finished the Back!!!!


I had forgotten what a dream this is to knit with. Even better than Koigu KPPPM... I now have the front started as well - about 5 rows up. Hopefully, I get both of these done soon... then I can start knitting up the La Boheme. (targeted at a stole). And the Lotus (purse). And the Sequins (scarf for my Grandma for Christmas)

Oh, yes. And, before I left the Twin Cities on Tuesday I stopped at The Yarnery in St. Paul to find nice things to send off to my secret pal... and bought more Koigu there. I picked up this lovely purple stuff... I'm thinking winter gloves.

For the weekend, I'm going to enjoy being back home with my family. Taking the Little One to see Sesame Street Live in the morning, and the Big One has a birthday party in the afternoon. (The host parents are nuts... they're going to Chuck E. Cheese's... for almost 5 hours. With 10 year olds. See what I mean?) And, spend some time with my wonderful husband who didn't complain once that I had gone, leaving him with the kids for days. :-)

Monday, August 02, 2004

Here's the PicturesI have made great progress on Charlotte... Isn't she pretty? The ball at the top is the next color - starting the very next row. I'm truly enjoying this pattern. I'm greatly appreciative that I thought to put stitch markers between every repeat. Its easier to tell mid-repeat (not even mid-row) when I have missed a yarn over, or missed the "pass over" part of the sl1 K2tog psso.

This is what (I think) I'm making my Charlotte poncho out of - unless I change my mind. Its Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn. It feels soft and yummy, and I like the colors. From right to left, the colorways are: Wild Cherry, Northern Lights, Spring Frost, Green Mountain Madness , and Dusk. The Spring Frost is greener than that colorway usually is - I like it, and that was the decision point - you see, I had 2 colorways picked out. I bought this one because it wouldn't look as good with a truer Spring Frost - however, the shop lady wrote the other colors on my sales slip so I'd have them for later :-)

Now, if I change my mind about making this a Charlotte Ponch - this is a bunch of pairs of socks!

After my little rant yesterday, I got the knitting machine working. I switched tables it was mounted on, which helped greatly. This is my progress:

I'm unsure about the stripe in the middle - I think that's where I changed yarns. However, I'm likely to ignore it. When this works, it works pretty well. When it doesn't work its truly annoying.

Tonight I picked up stuff to send to my secret pal - but its a secret :-) I'll get it mailed tomorrow - can't leave my pal without presents!

And - I think I'll be able to knit on my trip - my thumb feels much better today. Shouldn't be a problem at all tomorrow! (whew!)

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Full Stop

Hand Knitting has come to a full stop around here. I munged up my thumb on Saturday... I was opening a changing table in a store restroom, and it went down a bunch easier than I thought it would. I managed to peel down a section of my left thumbnail, and it hurt like the blazes. It doesn't hurt today unless I put pressure on it... which means no knitting for a while.

Which is a bummer, since I'm on a plane on Tuesday for the Bay Area. I'm going to San Jose, CA for work until Friday. I'm hiring in California (quality assurance position), and prefer to do in-person interviews if I can get away with it. I managed to plan the trip on Friday... I love quick notice trips. I'd have plenty of time for knitting - since its a short-notice trip I've made no evening plans, and will likely be enjoying the silence of my hotel room in the evenings. (Don't feel sorry for me. I usually have a 2 year old attached to my legs from 6 to 9pm). I wish I had an excuse to a) get a car and b) make a road trip up to Artfibers in San Francisco. Someday I'm going to get there - or I'm just going to make a leap of faith and order yarn.

Not that I need more yarn...

I wandered into a new yarn store on Wednesday, Borealis Yarns. Its in Saint Paul, on the corner of Thomas and Hamline. (I'm pretty sure). I found out about it from the Knitty forums. Very nice store - the woman working there (one of the owners, I am assuming) was very helpful and congenial. They have a nice space - open, with much natural light from their corner location. Ih their front window they have a huge table, where I laid out my purchase (more about that later). They have Colinette yarn in a lighted display case, highlighting the gorgeous nature of this yarn. One of their shop samples was the Simply Knit Obi knit out of Noro Silk Garden. That was tempting - I'm going to go back and try it on. I think I can carry it off... I also saw Plymouth yarn, bunches of Cherry Tree Hill yarn, Douceur and Soie, and this fall their carrying yarn from Twisted Sisters. She showed me her samples... that yarn feels wonderful! This is not the same group as the "Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook", but a group of 3 women (not sisters) who spin and dye their yarns. I'm looking forward to digging through this yarn!

And I bought yarn. I bought some Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn to make a Charlotte Poncho. Now, I am feeling some pangs about not using Koigu... but, as you will see once I get pics up, its beautiful.

Late last week, I bought some pretty yarn (Plymouth Encore) to make a baby blanket.

One may have noticed that I said Hand Knitting is on hold. I have a Bond Ulitmate Sweater Machine (from hell). I'm trying to knit the body of the baby blanket on it, but it keeps jamming. I have 5 rows knit, of which the first 3 were easy. I've redone the 6th row 5 times trying to get the **$%#%$# cartridge across. I bought this THING to make stocking stitch easier. ITS NOT. (whew. Venting over. Thanks for listening)

I've got to get this posted even without pics. I'll try to take pictures tomorrow.