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April 2005
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June 2005

It IS Calmer

Remember last summer when I swore off cotton knitting? Look at that last FO: mostly cotton. See this new WIP: three-fourths cotton. But what cotton! Maybe it's the combo with the microfiber, but this is nice stuff. Rachael was knitting with it at my very house 13 months ago; I have no idea why it took me so long to give it a go. Suffice it to say I'm far from a Rowanette, but I did join for a year, and figured I ought to knit something from Rowan 36 or 37 to make my subscription worthwhile. So here I am with a $40 pattern for a rather slight sweater, but I don't mind, because I'm knitting with Calmer and I am calm.

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Elspeth by Laura Long, from Rowan 37

That's my swatch, a/k/a the left sleeve, in  Laurel. Happily, I got gauge with the suggested needle, and that first piece floated off my Denise in no time. And other than socks, this was my first experience with short rows. I didn't even consult Nona's tutorial, and I made it through the few that curve the bottom of the sleeve just fine. Mini-vacay #1 starts tomorrow after work, and I can't decide if Elspeth or Safira gets to go to Atlanta with us. Neither is mindless, but the shawl might be a better bet for listening to an audiobook after the Wee C hits the hay. Still, I don't want to let go of this Calmer ~


Psych!

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Please ignore the half visible yet incorrect date stamp

This one's for you, Kay! (Oh, but I'm not gifting it your way ~ sorry. Not sure where it's going, actually, since some kittens were liking to steal balls of DB Cotton Angora . . .) Once our north-of-the-M-D friend got me making a big square for Elisabeth's Jamie's blankie, I was hooked. And I can't exactly remember how I happened to have a number of oddballs of this yarn in my stash; I do know I bought one more at Knit Happens in February. I soon realized that an entire blanket of this fine fiber, besides being un-washing-machine-able, would be danged expensive ~ and the color range isn't really broad enough. So I opted for a cushion, seaming the sides with Kay's suggested picking-up-stitches method. Meanwhile, I've 13 colors of Reynolds Saucy with the potential of becoming an afghan. But another new WIP has also hit the needles ~ stay tuned!

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L-B in Action

Rknit0002 Even though Wendy won their competition, the speedy Lindsay-Brooke forges ahead on her gorgeous Inishmore, knitting on through the pain. At one point last night she took a break to go soak her hands in hot water! That's devotion ~ or insanity. She's got a permanent dent in her third finger there where the yarn is crossing it, too. What a trouper. I'm honored to have witnessed her in action.

Me, I was just working on that second mitten, between trips to the restroom and the Mr. Putter & Tabby section of B&N. Meanwhile, Beth and Monica wound away, much to the amazement of the cafe's non-knitters.

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It Takes a Lickin'

Ll ~ or Bad Kitty, Part II. And this time it's my own damn fault. We're clearing around two basement walls in preparation for their waterproofing, so I moved the bag o'sock yarn from its inacessible hanging perch (think squirrel-proof birdfeeder) to atop the stacked yarn bins beside the sofa. Bad idea, that couch giving cats an easy hop to the yarn mountain. Wee C, sittin down to await her dinner last night while I was bringing in groceries, exclaimed, The kitties got some yarn! Yup. So then I was off in search of the other skein, which was also missing from the bag downstairs. We found it on the upstairs landing, slightly less mauled. But you know what? That Lorna's Laces is tough stuff. I'm sure several strands spent some time in a kitten mouth, and this is all the actual damage I find. Whew. (So I put the skeins high on a small dresser, then later brought the bag up and hung it again out of reach. Nevertheless, when I awoke there was one Shepherd Sock skein on my bedroom floor, and the other halfway down the stairs!)

Mitt Here's the first of the matching Dulaan mittens, the easy-on ones designed by Julia at Moth Heaven. The leftover yarn didn't go as far I as I'd hoped, so I added some Elann Peruvian remaining from my felted Bucket. The mate will be purple and sage, and I hope the FIRE folks can figure out that they're supposed to go together. I hope to work on the second one tonight at the semi-monthly knitting group that's evolved from the Knitting Meet-Up. That'll have me group KIPing two weeks in a row!


Train Knitting, and a RAOK

Chardulaceroak0003 I took a little trip this weekend, to get together with my growing-up babes at the beach. And since Amtrak takes the same amount of time as the car (ostensibly, allegedly, when the owner of the rails doesn't decide to do a little work and alert no one), I rode the train to Charleston, S.C., and back. On the way down I redid the edging on my Charlotte's Web shawl, inspired by Nathania's, the one she was wearing when we met in Maryland. I removed the fringe, the pulled out (can you call it frogging when it's crochet?) the chained loops that held it, and crocheted anew some scallops joined by chains. I was winging it without any how-to manuals, and it took several tries to get something I liked. But I had plenty of time, and this is how she's finished now. After that was done, I made a pair of Koigu booties like these and gave them to Sarah for her sister's baby-to-be, and on the way home I worked on Safira (above). It's an easy lace pattern with only three distinct rows, one repeated, and all purls across the back. I look forward to seeing how it blocks out, since the yarn is mostly silk and cotton. And I (finally) got rid of the extra stitches with a couple of extra K2togs ~ no problem. When the time comes to attach the edging that's knit separately, I'll probably tuck the remaining wonky bit into the seam.

Chardulaceroak0004 And look what I found waiting for me upon my return ~ a RAOK surprise, this lovely origami whale, folded  by Maryellen of Garrison's Garret Fiber Art. And get this: on the train I was listening to a Studio 360 broadcast I'd downloaded from Audible about . . . . Moby-Dick! Many thanks, Maryellen.

TV knitting this week so far has been a couple more hats for the Dulaan Project. (I can't knit lace during season finales!) I'm planning to send my box out after next month's S&B, in c ase others (Thanks, MaryB!) have something they want to add. My latest pair look like this, except that the one I finished last night has a 4-stitch i-cord. I have about 50' total left of the yarns I tripled, so I'll either try some mittens or a scarf ~


Book Moment

I'm not making a habit of giving book reviews, and have read other good books lately that I neglected to comment upon ( i.e., Banishing Verona by Margot Livesay, loaned by Greta). But I finished Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris the other night, and just want to say how much he entertains me. I had actually read a number of the pieces in this collection in the magazines in which they first appeared, as random issues of Esquire and GQ (for which my friend Andrew is a senior writer) were arriving at my office. I recall tears of laughter on the portico at "Rooster at the Hitchin' Post." I love recalling first hearing Sedaris on NPR when he was house cleaning and holiday elfing. The thing that I love best, though, is that we both hail from the Old North State. Knowing what a small world it always turns out to be, I feel sure we have some mutual friends or acquaintances, and I wish our paths would cross so I could confirm that suspicion ~

Y'know, I used to read a lot more before this knitting thing took hold. Of course, my introduction to parenthood tired me so, I wasn't really able to concentrate for reading or writing, and then I got out of the habit. I'm hoping that having an iPod and access to Audible will amend that a bit, even though listening is not the same as reading ~ but it lets me knit at the same time. And that's a good thing.

Unless I'm knitting something complicated, as when I attended the Richmond S&B last night. I decided to plow forward on Safira, and had reached the third pattern row when I joined Melanie, Monica, Amy, Suzanne, JJ and the gang. As I got into it, well, at least I could tell somthing was awry. I'm proud that I've gotten to know lace a little better after knitting Charlotte, enough to recognize when I've lost the proper pattern. But it turns out the knitting peeps were not at fault for diverting my attention and precipitating a mistake ~ I had missed a YO on the first pattern row, before I arrived. I tinked back once I got home, and made some sort of fix, although I still have one unexplained extra stitch on the needle . . .


Damn

Look what I just found:

Corrections for The Sentimental Journey Collection

The corrections apply to the designs Safira and Agatha.

Safira, p. 58, Shawl:
Cast on 217 sts...

Agatha, p. 62:
left column, row 3 should read: ...then 2 sts 1 (1) 2 (2) 3 times.

   I'm sorry!
   Elsebeth Lavold

SafiraWell, I'm sorry, too, Ms. L.* I looked for such info after I knit the first couple rows of this shawl, which I am making in cream-colored Jaeger Trinity, when the 219 stitches I had carefully counted as I cast on did not finish the pattern row as the chart indicated. But I did not find this errata page until now, while adding Safira to my WIP list. And I completed four more rows last night. Will I rip, or will it rest? At least I have the reassurance that I didn't screw it up. Not yet, anyway.

I had come up with a rationalization for moving forward, in light of the Trinity's yardage differing slightly from the recommended Cotton Patine'.  As its eight balls at 121 yards total a bit more than the Trinity's four at 219, I decided that the long side where I'm getting the extra knit stitches could go unadorned with the leaf-lace edging. But, damn again, I now realize that these stitches fall on the short end. Options abound: rip and cast on anew, perhaps with fewer pattern repeats; get more Trinity; choose a smaller edging. Suggestions?

*And Agatha is the pattern I bought the book for, to use last summer with some Linen Drape ~ Good thing I never got around to it. Do we have to check for errata as a rule? Damn.


Rach-made

Yes, as noted, there was travel knitting en route from MD to NC (and NC to VA; I  drove the VA to MD leg), but let us first take a look at some of Rachael's stitches, for she gifted me (us) with these delectable Koigu creations, just in time for Wee C's fast approaching birthday:

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And after watching both her and Lala knitting new socks at Wendy's soiree, I'm determined to cast on my next sock (that isn't the mate of one I've knit already) using Wendy's popular toe-up method.

Rachyarn_1 If you've read Rach's MSWF report (and surely you have!), you know she's become quite the spinner, and got a new wheel to keep the yarn coming. But she was already at it prior to the purchase, and I've got something to show for it. Mmmmm, alpaca! I should have photographed it in the hank, but I had to get my hands into it, and the camera battery died. This shot is a tad out of focus, too, (click to see it bigger) but I think you can see it is rich with blues and charcoal and a little violet. Thank you, darlin'!

Deco So, me, I knit a Ken's Dulaan Hat on the way to the fairgrounds ~ Stephanie's right, that thing is quick! I got as far as I could on my second Broadripple without the pattern in hand (I'm still rather a sock novice, y'know), then turned to other things for the ride home. First, the Deco-Ribbon Bag that has been my computer knitting for ages. Now I'm glad to have it behind me; also, I don't really love it, so I may just hang on to it for the next time I'm asked to provide something for an auction. Or maybe I just need to redo the seams . . . In typical fashion I added stripes; I also made it slightly larger than the free pattern, and made the handles shoulder length.

Bbags_1 Better bags are these buttonholes! I'm up to a count of four, hoping to reach five for Wee C's teachers. Our museum shop manager expressed interest in trying to move some there, but I'm not sure about the pricing. And while I'm inclined to keep the celery-turquoise one I made first, next up is one to match my Ribby Cardi ~ Oh, better go order that zipper! Happy weekend ~


MD - NC - VA

My mom's turned 80 today ~ and that's why I'm just getting around to my MS&W recap: We headed to Carolina Sunday before noon to make Mother's Day, then I stayed there yesterday to celebrate her birthday a day early. What did I give her? A hat kit from Cloverleaf Farms, which I cast onto her new DPNs for her yesterday. And how was Maryland? Amazing, of course, as dozens of other bloggers have already reported. Greta was the perfect guide, having made her first foray a year ago. She knew where we should stay, the hotel where we bumped into other knitfriends at every turn.

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Theresa and Julie

Joan from Reno joined us in the bar, where I attached the sleeves to my Ribby (I added the collar after dinner). Suddenly Greta jumped up and ran into the lobby to throw her arms around Nathania, so I went out to greet her and Sheila, too, and soon all those Westerners joined us in the bar before we headed out to dinner.

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Vanessa, Lolly, Joy, Sheila, Shannon, Sarah, Nathania

Msw050003 We woke early and excited and made it to the fairgrounds before nine,  making our way immediately to the swag shed for commemorative gear, together with Sara, Cece and Cate. Having forgotten my sunglasses, I bought a visor, the intended totebag, and Ts for me & Wee C. We waited awhile, but I found it a nice time to acclimate to the hugeness of it all. Msw050004 And soon we were off to the main exhibition building, where I joined Kristine and Ann in what Kristine has appropriately named the Koigu scrum ~ and my seven sequential mill ends were worth the effort (the blue eighth will go elsewhere), especially if I turn them into another lovely shawl for only $22!

Msw050005We stepped across the aisle to greet our friend Mary Ann, a first-time exhibitor, and show her that I was wearing the scarf I'd knit from her silk-merino I got at the FFF in October. Happy to see Kristine report that she made some Three Waters Farm purchases herself, as I'd pulled her in to the booth behind me!

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Lala and Rachael

And then we found our girls! We met bloggers all through the day (Leigh, Carolyn, Norma, Silvia, Claudia, Anmiryam, Jill, Jane, Sarah, Chelsea, Rose, Lara, Katy, Beth, Barbara, and more!) and it was grand, but I was really wanting to see me some Rach, and meet her good Lala. After a healthy lunch of ice cream and curly fries (this vegetarian isn't the only one who can't eat lamb amidst the lambs), we took off in search of the Harlot, but were waylaid by vendors and critters and friends, including Wendy, to whom Greta presented a SpongeBob surprise:

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We did eventually locate Stephanie, who graciously signed our books before going off in search of food. I'm grateful for Claudia's tips that she posted before the show, because I did visit most of the vendors she recommended. And I found some others on my own, which was also fun. But like the average newbie, I overdid it, shot my budget, lost control. I'm not gonna rue it, though, because the fest was such fun and the fiber so tantalizing, what's a knitter to do? I'm certainly well-stocked (as if I wasn't before!) and will try to resist further stash enhancement for the foreseeable future. So, wanna see the haul?

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clockwise, from the top: solar-dyed in seawater wool in the basket with Mom's hat kit, Tess's microfiber ribbon for a tank, the spindle Greta got me, the KPPPM, three shades of Socks that Rock, 175 yards of a chained mohair, sock yarn from Ellen's, four fiber fluffs for spinning or thrums, a big hank of Wensleydale wool in case I take to the spinning, and in the center, a wooly panda and glass-star hairband for Wee C and a set of glass buttons

Whew. What a good time. And I knit. More than the Ribby. More on that later. Thank you, Greta. Thank you, Maryland. Thank you, sheep.

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On the Road

Although the watch I'm wearing still says 6:30 (it needs a new battery), it's more like 10:30 and that means only a couple hours until Greta collects me and we begin our journey north. I'm so excited!

In the Suki (knitting bag):

As if I'm not going to help with the driving. As if I'm not going to be buying new yarn that I have to start playing with right away. As if I'll have hours and hours to knit. There will be car time, though, especially as we are heading back down to NC to make Mother's Day. Wonder if I can find something special for Mom at the Fest?