Sunday, August 23, 2009

Oh My Aching Back!!

We got home from VT on Friday and decided to rearrange the house. What we thought would be a half-day project took, of course, the entire weekend and we're not done yet. We moved downstairs to the master bedroom, moved the kids into the other bedroom and moved the office upstairs into the huge room that is now the office/playroom. I think I'll just call it the multipurpose room. We've got some very heavy furniture and wow, does my back hurt! I'm sort of worried I reinjured the thing I did where I couldn't move for two days, so I'm lying down now, taking it easy. Part of the urgency is that my roommate from college is coming to visit for a couple of days and I need somewhere for her and her 10-month old to sleep. I think I've achieved that! I've also boxed up some stuff that was on top of our wardrobe and dressers and I'm just going to stick it in storage. Why is there a category of stuff that you don't want out but don't want to throw away? Sometimes my mind doesn't make sense to me.

I'm also deep into "getting rid of baby stuff" mode. I just gave away all my maternity clothes, and all my baby boy stuff, and I've got the baby girl stuff going away soon. I can't believe my "baby" is such a big girl now, walking, starting to talk, throwing tantrums with the best of 'em! I am sure there will always be a tiny (or maybe even not so tiny) part of me that will want more, but it feels good to know we're done. I am so grateful and thankful every day for our blessings, even when they drive me crazy!

So, that's all the news here. No knitting happening. I am hoping to get motivated to organize all my knitting stuff. I got some bins for it, so let's see if it happens.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

You're just going to have to trust me.

I have been knitting! My camera won't talk to my laptop (laptop too old? camera too new?), so I can't put any pictures up. But it's true, I have been.

I'm on vacation in lovely VT, land of glorious sunsets, rolling hills, and a mosquito army that is apparently poised to take over the world., We're having a lovely time but it's a skosh itchy.

So anyway. I managed to knit the entire drive up, and finished a simple vanilla sock! I also started (in my head) a screen play for short film about a woman who marries a skein of Koigu, but that's a different post. I've done a couple of pattern repeats on my Swallowtail and decided I'm going to do 12 instead of 14, because I think if I do 14, it'll be the Swallowtail That Swallowed My Sister, and that would be no good.

I also started another sock, because I need some mindless knitting. More basic toe-up, magic looping goodness. Why no, it's not the mate for the sock I just finished, what a funny thought!!

I've also been hiking, swimming, and did a brief drive-by an alpaca farm but (a) the store was closed and (b) it was apparently the breeding ground for the Mosquito Army and we were driven out.

Now I want alpacas though.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Size Matters

In which I ramble my thought process onto the page...

So I've been knitting pretty monogamously on my sister's Swallowtail shawl, but I've got a conundrum, which is the size issue. The pattern calls for 612 yards of DK/sport-weight yarn to get a blocked shawl size of 64" across. I've got about 600 yards of what Ravelry calls an aran/worsted weight yarn. 64" across is pretty big, so I think it would be okay if the final product were smaller. I've done 8 pattern repeats of the Budding Lace, and I'm just about through the first ball of yarn. I have estimated the width at about 26" so far. I The pattern calls for 14 lace repeats. I'm worried that I won't have enough yarn. I'm not going to do the nupps because it's a mini-bouclé and I don't think they'll show up. I just have no idea how much, if at all, the final product is going to grow due to blocking. Some might have done a swatch and blocked to learn that information, but me? No. No, I didn't. So here I am, knitting away, hoping that I don't run out of yarn.

Okay, I just did some math with my lovely, lovely spreadsheet. I've completed3,903 stitches out of 19,550 (pattern as written). That is 19.96%, which looks very close to 1/5th so theoretically, I should have enough yarn.

Of course, you know what they say: In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

It's all in how you think about it.

Yesterday we spent the entire day at the celebration of a friend's mother's wedding. It was a lovely day, beautiful weather, lots of love and joy in the air. It was also very, very social, and I think we're a family of introverts (even me! This would surprise most people who know me), so we were all left a bit tired. Today, the boys were just Not Listening to me. I'd tell them to stop doing something, they'd do it again. I'd tell one boy to knock it off, the other would then do the exact same thing. We were out on a walk and I ended up taking the boys home because of this, while DH took the girl off to poke sticks in the lake (a favorite pastime of most of the family). Instead of staying angry, or just tuning out, I decided that we needed a little running around, so I got out the cones and the soccer ball, and we played a soccer/tackle/rolling down the lawn game for the next hour, that left us all laughing and breathless. It was a powerful reminder to me that so much of life is truly what I make of it. I have been very influenced by Viktor Frankl's work (probably time to go reread it, actually!) and it's useful to remember that I have a great deal of control over how I experience my life.

And on to the knitting!

I got a chance to do some knitting, and I actually took a picture! My sister, when I told her that I'm currently obsessed with knitting shawls, asked if I'd be willing to make one for her. I immediately got excited, and did a little stash-diving to come up with this! The yarn is some yarn that my mom found for me at the local second-hand store: The yarn is Madil Rebus in sapphire. The pattern is Swallowtail and I'm knitting it on size 8s. Since the yarn is listed as a bulky weight, I'm sort of winging it on size. I've got 5 skeins (600 yards), which I am hoping is enough to give me a good-sized shawl. I really wasn't sure this yarn would work with a lace pattern, because it's a mini-boucle, but it actually really works nicely, in my opinion. It also just feels so soft and velvety! I think this will be a lovely, warm, but lightweight shawl. I'm interested to see how it blocks, with the nylon content that it has. It looks like it will felt, so I'm hoping to spit-splice the skeins and have fewer ends to deal with. I've done 7 pattern repeats, and am about to do a couple more. I haven't decided if I'm going to do the nupps or not, since it is a bigger and fuzzier wool, I'm not sure if they'd look good or not. I'll decide when I get there! Mainly I just have to figure out how many pattern repeats to do! And yes, I am using lifelines.

And in other news, my SIL asked if she could "hire" me to make my niece a cardigan! On the one hand, wow! I got really excited...on the other hand, I am not sure my skills (especially my buttonhole skills!) are really good enough to do something that she could actually wear. Scary!!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

FO: Falling Leaves Lace Socks


So, I apparently started the socks in August of 2007. So yes, that's two years. I recently got re-energized on them, and today I actually finished them! Remember that whole thing of "three major errors is my threshold and then I need to rip and redo"? Well, apparently it's context-dependent, and when the context is that it's something that's hung out on the needles for two years and I'm 12 rows from done, and it's socks so the error(s) will be hidden under my pants leg, then I don't rip and redo. Just saying.

So, anyway. Here they are!

Pattern: Knitty's Falling Leaves Lace Socks
Yarn: Tofutsies in 729 (according to Ravelry, the ball band is loooong gone)
Needles: KPs fixed circs in 2.5
Pattern Mods: none really. Used Judy's Magic Cast-On, a double-wrapped, short-row and did 2x2 ribbing instead of 1x1.

Thoughts: First, this yarn, while pretty, was annoying. It's splitty and the repeats are a bit too long for this pattern, leading to interesting pooling.

As you can see in this image, they both pooled, but quite differently, and it's actually a great illustration of the impact of knitting tension. The sock of the right (labeled first sock completed) was, um, the first sock I knit. Apparently I finished this in October of 2007. If I recall correctly, I was a bit stressed out. I was newly pregnant with my daughter, and we were seriously house hunting and planning on moving. So, I knit quite tightly. The spiral is thicker on the foot of the second sock, started definitely after we moved, though I can't find a date. I was clearly more relaxed. I apparently got a little too relaxed around the heel and ankle, so I started deliberately tightening up my knitting to get the spiral back. So, it's fine, I'll wear them, of course, and I'm thrilled that they're done, but I think this was not the right yarn for this pattern. How the yarn stripped on the heel was really pretty and it if had done this over all of them, I'd like them better.

It's funny, I'm such a control-freak, but I *love* variegated yarn and the total unpredictability of the outcome. It's good for me. :)

I still have too many things on needles and I'm feeling really psyched to get some things done!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Did you hear that thud??

That was me, falling off the yarn diet wagon with a resounding thud. You may have heard it? You know it's bad when you're gathering your new purchases to photograph them and think "waaait just a minute, wasn't there a whole 'nother box around here somewhere??"

So yes. I have purchased yarn. A lot of it. Well, a lot for me. And now, reallytrulyseriously I have to stop because, well, I just don't have that much time to knit!! And this pretty much blows my allowance for a while too.

First up, we have the Knit Picks order:

Here we have the Essential sock yarn (now called Stroll) in Meadow. You know, I read the description of this colorway, but in the picture on my monitor, the brown looks more greenish, but it's really...BROWN. We'll see, I'm undecided about this.

Next up is Stroll in Pansy Multi. Purples, it's very pretty, what can I say. I love purple. This will probably be a basic stockinette sock.

After this, we have the Stroll Handpainted, in Make Believe. This is gorgeous! I have three skeins because I was pondering a lace shawl of some sort, but I'm a bit concerned it'll be too busy. I guess I might *gasp* have to swatch. Not sure what pattern, maybe a Swallowtail? And really, it's a handpainted, superwash sock yarn with Nylon in it! I don't know if this is the same base as the Felici self-striping, but the socks I made from that line have worn really well so far, and I do love being able to toss them into the wash as needed.

Also in this order I got a replacement Options cable (for the one the cat chewed on) and some more locking stitch markers because I'm running low.

Then we have the Simply Sock Yarns order. I was a bit frustrated with how long it took to get this until I read the blog wherein they mentioned that they were on vacation! So, once I knew that, no worries and they shipped immediately upon return. First, the Ty Dy Sock Yarn from Knit One, Crochet Too, in Blue Pansy. What can I say, I'm a follower. It's totally "my" colors, and will be some sort of simple sock. I need to do some Rav surfing to see what other people have done. (Ooo, just found a gorgeous sock in the same colorway, I may have to do it!)

Then we have the gorgeous Dream in Color Starry in Midnight Derby! It's *much* darker than on their website, but on the Simply Sock Yarns website, it's a bit more accurate. There are color shifts in there, but they're more subtle. But, the main reason I wanted a darker yarn was that the silver fibers just really pop! This is destined to be shawl of some sort.

And then we have the huge, terrible splurge from ColorSong Yarn. Hand Maiden Sea Silk. More of it than one slow knitter should have. I just fell in love with the Lily Pond colorway, so I actually bought two skeins of that. I don't know what pattern it will be, but a shawl of some sort, most likely. And then, they had the 150g balls. So I got one in the Renaissance colorway, which I think will be a Gail. This yarn is gorgeous, just gorgeous.

I was feeling pretty seriously guilty about all this, but you know, it's not like I really have any other vices left to me! I do love yarn, I really do.