Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lace Zen

I have achieved Lace Zen. That moment when suddenly you aren’t just reading your lace, you know your lace. You can put the chart away, remove all those annoying stitch markers and just knit.

Somewhere in the third pattern repeat of the Trellis Scarf I reached this state last night. I understood the pattern. And not that I have anything against stitch markers, but in this pattern the repeating unit shifts a couple of times over the 16 rows, so you are constantly moving the markers. Which really slows things down and breaks my concentration.


I'm making it in KnitPicks Shadow in the Jewel colorway. It's really not that intense blue, more sapphire blue with flecks of amethyst throughout. And of course it looks a little like unblocked spaghetti.

I haven’t removed the lifeline though. I’m happy, but not crazy. That’s still coming along for the ride, advancing every pattern repeat in Row 2. Row 1 has those 7-into-5 jobs (K7tog leave on needle, m1, K7tog leave on needle, m1, K7tog slip (5) new stitches from needle. A sight easier than the P7tog in the Swallowtail Shawl, but dang! This is not lunchroom knitting.

I haven’t quite committed to only knitting from Stash in 2008, but I am making a serious effort to diminish the beast. I have enough lace yarn for 5 lace scarves, but not enough of any one color for a shawl. Enough fingering weight for about 6 pairs of socks. Those two categories alone could fill up 2008. I doubt I’ll stick to only lace and socks for the whole year, but I will refrain from buying any more lace or sock yarn until these are used up. And I’m not one to buy random bags of worsted unless I have a pattern in mind first.

The Booga Bag is (essentially) finished – I think I want to add some stiff interfacing to the bottom to keep it from bulging when I put things in it. Are felted bags supposed to be so floppy? For some reason I thought it would be very stiff.

And guess who wants a felted purse of her own now too? You guessed it – Audrey! Everything Mommy has, she wants one too. In red. I think I have some red Lamb’s Pride in Stash (I hope I hope) so I won’t need to buy any more. Why she wants another purse (she has at least 3 – red corduroy, pink sparkly, and purple vinyl) I have no idea. It’s not like she carries a wallet. She does have a cell phone though. Three actually (all toys). You can never be too prepared! I think a scaled-down Booga Bag shouldn’t take more than an evening. Or maybe I’ll just make a rectangle, fold it in half, sew the sides and add a handle. Very easy.

DH will be home tomorrow (I hope). Looking forward to a quiet weekend and a playdate on Saturday.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sanity has returned

After thinking just a little more, I decided that making Audrey a Valentine's sweater would actually be a pretty dumb idea. It would take most of the next month to make, and she would only be able to wear it for about 2 more months before the weather gets a little too warm for a wool sweater. And it won't fit next year, I'm pretty sure.

How fast is she growing, you ask? In one year (1/17/2007 to 1/17/2008), this much:

drum roll please.....

3.675 inches

Taa Daaaa! It's the amazing stretching preschooler! Holy cow, I knew the marks on the wall were getting farther apart, but wow - that's a lot of growth. No wonder her legs always hurt.

So, moving ahead with my stash-busting goals, I cast on for the Booga Bag. I've got 2.5 skeins of Kureyon left over from last year, a little short of the 3 called for in the pattern. I'm also working on size 10 needles instead of 10.5 (my 10.5's are too long), and using size US8 for the i-cord, cause those are my biggest dpns. I figure, I'm going to felt it. Whats a little gauge between friends? (Insert ominous music here). Our washer is dropping hints that it may not be long for this world, and since we have pretty much decided to replace it with one of those high-efficiency front loaders when it dies, I want to get the felting project out of the way. I'm not a huge fan of felting, so if this is my last project, I'll live.

booga bag

After this, who knows? Mom's birthday is March 1st - maybe a pair of socks? Or else lace (for me. She got a lace scarf in 2006.) Or maybe focus on spinning for a bit. It's all good.

We'll see what happens. I'll have a lot of knitting time next week - DH is going out of town and I always have trouble going to sleep when he's not here. Nervous about the night I guess.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Halfway through January

Sigh. It's really gray and rainy here. Or is it grey and rainy? I can never remember the right spelling for that color (but not colour - I know my GPS coordinates).

Last week I got an oh-so-wonderful three day all-expenses trip to Boca Raton, Florida! Woot! The weather was perfect - 80F and sunny every day. All I had to do was spend from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with some coworkers and some potential business partners. Which would have been great if one of them was not a chain-smoker. In the office. And IN THE LAB! Nothing like watching someone light up a smoke a few feet from a 5 gal drum of methanol. Eep! I have never had to use my inhaler 3 times in 24 hours before now. A new experience for me.

The "late" starting time each morning meant I got to go out for a jog (to the beach! In shorts and a t-shirt!) Weds and Thurs, which is a real treat. Just the temperature was a treat. I never jog to the ocean from my house - it's a few hundred miles. Even Lake Erie is a bit past my current fitness level I think, although I may work on that this spring and summer. And meals were al-fresco, which kept the concentration of smoke to a minimum. And I ate a lot of seafood, which I love. Is it still health food if it is battered and fried?

The three hour flight meant a little quality Knitting time of course - just right for a Cascade Fixation ankle sock:
Cascade Fixation sock

You can get a pair of these out of one skein, which I think was about $6 (can't remember). I used US3 needles, and 40 sts/round. Speedy knit. The thing is - I don't really like the way this sock looks on my foot or feels. I may not make the second one.

After arriving home, I finished my Northern Lights Mittens. My first real Fair Isle project. The picture below is post-blocking - my gauge loosened up considerably as I got used to the two handed knitting technique. They fit well in the wrists, thumbs, and lower hand, but have way too much free space up at top. I don't know if that is just the way I knit them, or the way they were designed. Probably just me.

Northern Lights - close up
Northern Lights - complete

As you might expect, the pattern uses up lots more Bark and Blue yarn than red, peach, orange, apricot, or pool. Here's what I had left of each ball: bark - 33 g; blue - 30 g; red - 46 g; peach - 47 g; orange - 46 g, apricot - 48 g; and pool - 41 g. So, there is enough yarn in the initial purchase (7 balls of Palette) to make two complete pairs of Northern Lights, and then (350 - 2x60 = 230 g) = 3 pairs more pairs in random color patterns + 50 g left over. That's a lot of mittens for $14! I think I will make more mittens, but probably just in two colors to practice the technique. Charity knitting perhaps? (I really don't need 5 new pairs of mittens).

No (intentional) pattern mods here. I used US2 needles to get gauge of 10 sts/inch; started 11/24/2007 and finished 1/12/2008.

Which brings me to this: empty needles. And no real jones to make anything yet. I'm toying with some stash-busting projects - a booga bag to use up the Kureyon from last year's vest, a couple lace scarves to use up all though single skeins of laceweight I bought a couple of years ago. This afternoon I had a sudden brainstorm that I should design and knit a Valentine's day sweater for my daughter as a surprise. Because, you know, I like stressful deadlines. That's probably what I'll do. Because, you know, I'm kind of dumb that way.

See you later!