on the needles

Monday, May 30, 2005

Box Lace Shawl & Baseball

Well - the Jamieson's did seem to get a bit softer after it's conditioning bath. I started on the Box Lace Shawl from Folk Shawls. The good news is that I am now getting gauge! Yay! This hardly ever happens to me if I use the needles size suggested in the pattern. I usually have to go down about two sizes. I thinking that maybe because lace is a looser type of fabric it fits in with my natural knitting style & I bet I won't have to block it too much. We'll see. :)

I am doing the Box Lace Shawl as my project for the Knit the Classics KAL. We start Middlemarch tomorrow. I can't wait. I read this book many years ago and loved it. I had read all of the Jane Austen there was and was casting about for another novel of "society" to read and came up with Middlemarch. Obviously Jane Austen and George Eliot are very different writers but they both have a deep understanding of human nature. Anyhow - I am curious to see if I like the book as much the second time around & if I get the same things out of reading it as I did before. I also really liked version that was done as a mini series in 1994. It was very true to the book. I ordered it from Amazon but it is taking forever to arrive!

I managed to get 8 rows done today which seemed like alot while I was knitting it! 248 stitches per row. It's a bit tough to knit during baseball though. The Nat's finally won (yay!) so hopefully they are back on track. And the O's put the Sox's in their place today. I am pretty amazed at how well the O's are doing this season and to be honest I keep waiting for them to crash and burn. I hold my breath (except for the cursing!) every time Ponson pitches. What is that guy doing on the mound?? Someone explain this to me. Tonight Bronson Arroyo helped out the O's by being his normal sketchy self and Lopez shut the Sox's down with some amazingly consistent pitching.

Johnny Damon did his best but really - he can't be expected to cover for the entire Red Sox team!

And of course, the under used and pretty cute (aside from the obligatory wad of chaw!) David Newhan stepped up and delivered for the O's with a Grand Slam among other great plays. O's - do yourselves and the ladies in the audience a favor and give Newhan some more face time! :)

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Pooped Out!

I am so pooped! I went on a cleaning binge today. I cleaned out one section of my sitting room library. I counted and it turns out I took down and dusted 488 books. Took apart the shelves, cleaned them & cleaned behind them. There were serious dust dogs under there! Only problem is that I had to put all of those books back - climbing up and down the step ladder. I also purged about 100 books to take to trade in at the local used book store. So all in all today I moved 588 books around.

That got me to thinking - How many books do I actually have? So I counted the rest of my books. Give or take a few, and not counting craft books (knitting, needlework, quilting etc) I have 1047 books. I probably have at least 200 craft books as well. I hope I never have to move!

After all that bustle it was nice to veg on the couch and watch the Red Sox spank the Yankees. (Or the Spankees as I call them whenever they are getting whooped.) I actually like both teams but if they are playing against eachother I usually root for the Sox. Regardless of who wins it is always good baseball.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Blogger Quirks

Does anyone else hate the cheesy spell check on Blogger? It doesn't seem to know many words which I would consider to be basic English. Forget about any "specialty" words. Blogger always suggests that I change "swatched" to "sweatiest". Abbreviations are not expected to be recognized but I still think it's funny that if I type in "LYS" Blogger thinks a better choice would be "lychee". Even sillier is that Blogger's spell check doesn't recognize the word Blogger - it suggests I meant "blowsier". Pundits complain that spell check has made humans to lazy to learn how to spell and pretty soon machines will take over the planet with their advanced intelligence and humans will be enslaved and have to learn to proof read. Well, when that happens I doubt Blogger will be elected the supreme leader of the machines. :)

Mommy Rediscovers Her Inner Riot Grrl

I swatched the Jameison's last night. I couldn't get the row gauge to come out right. I got the right number of stitches but too few rows. I'm still trying to work out how to get more rows out of the yarn without altering the stitch gauge. In the meantime - I gave two of the hanks a bath in some warm water and hair conditioner. Some of the helpful folks over at Knitter's Review suggested this as a remedy for the scratchiness. I hope it helps because good lordy this is some scratchy yarn! I hope it doesn't just turn the yarn into a greasy mess - although I suppose if it's too greasy I could always give it a shampoo! LOL The yarn is drying in the shower right now. It doesn't seem any worse for the wear from what I can tell and now it smells nice too. :)

Hubby and I had childcare this afternoon so we took advantage of the free time to do errands (under the guise of "spending time together"). Any opportunity to be "sans infants" together while it is still light outside on a week day is so rare that even though we had to spend the time doing errands we had a good time together. He didn't even mind when I took a detour into one of the LYS. Of course, while I was in there he discovered a beer store around the corner so I bet he will be going on more yarn store trips with me in the future! :)

I'm really glad I wandered in there today because they finally had their summer class schedule up. I have been trying to get myself to a knitting class for ages now but never could manage it. There was always someone else with a class or a meeting that conflicted so being the mom I always ended up with last pick for scheduling. But not this time buddy! Summertime is school time for Mommy! I am taking a Sock knitting class and an advanced techniques class. Combined those with the Yoga class in taking this summer and I feel positively like a rebel! I didn't even stop to worry about who will cook dinner when Mommy goes to her class. I am even thinking about taking the Finishing Techniques class too. I'm so empowered! :) The coolest thing is that now I can claim that knitting is my homework. If it works I am going to take a class every season! :)

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Oww - my finger hurts

I finally felt well enough to get to the LYS and get some more t-pins. I actually did buy all they had which was four boxes - and still not enough! I managed to get the other piece of the pink tank and the sleeves and back of the Papillon pullover pinned though. So now my finger hurts from pushing in all of those t-pins. I'm not really sure why I blocked the Papillon or if it will be worth it in the end. It's mostly man made fibers with only 21% cotton - but I decided it couldn't hurt. (other than my poor widdle finger of course) ;) I really didn't mind knitting with the Papillon but weaving in the ends made me start disliking it - rather alot. This yarn is just a mess. You can't tell one strand from another and it rolls and twists around so much...that's why I decided to block it on the off chance it will help straighten the whole mess out a bit. I am thinking seaming this won't be any fun. :(

I finished knitting my Rebecca poncho too. It's 160cm long! I really liked working with the Lorna's Laces - it felt really silky and moved fast. I was (as usual it seems!) a bit disgruntled by the amount of knots in the skeins. Out of seven skeins there was an average of two knots per skein. It's superwash wool so I couldn't spit splice it. I hate knots! They waste so much yarn! I was actually starting to wonder if I would be able to knit up all 160cm of it and have yarn leftover for seaming - but I've got enough. I'll probably try some of the other Lorna's yarns because - knots aside - it's just so soft and the knitting just flies.

While at the LYS I got some Jamieson's 2 ply wool to knit the Box Lace Shawl from Folk Shawls. I think that will be a good first lace project. (Fingers crossed!) I got Royal Blue. It's super vibrant! LOVE the color - not too sure about the feel of the wool though. Maybe spoiled by the smoothness of the Lorna's? We'll see. I hope I will get around to swatching tonight.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Finally an Update

I've been quiet for awhile - mostly because I've had a bad cold that started out in my sinuses and has now decided to settle in my chest. So lots of hacking coughs and nastiness. I finally caved in and went to the doctor today because I've had bronchitis before and that was no fun. Also - strep throat has been going around my sons school so I thought I'd better get tested. I swear - is strep throat ever NOT going around my kids school? I think they ought to issue all clear alerts or maybe have a viral terror alert color code - green for nasty phlegmmy things, red for chicken pox, polka dots for head lice etc. Don't you think it's time to have a color code warning system that actually works? Anyhow - no strep throat so that's good & I am actually feeling better today.

In the meantime - I got my blocking board. It seemed like an appropriately easy on the brain knitting activity so I dove right in and started blocking the little pink tank that I did for the Cotton Tape Along.

I hope I'm doing it right! I discovered that despite repeated measuring while it was on the needles the tank pieces are just the teeniest bit off gauge. Like about 1/4 inch total. I also altered the proportions a bit while knitting, making the top part with the seed stitch a bit longer and the drop stitch area a bit shorter. Shouldn't have affected the overall size though. As I was pinning I began to realize that there was no way that two packages of pins was going to be enough. Why did I think that would be enough?? I'm pretty sure I was feverish when I placed the order but still! So, I only got the front section pinned. As soon as I get a chance I will head over to the LYS and pick up some more pins - probably all they have in stock! :)

Here are the pieces for the Papillon pullover. It is the next to go on the block.

I think blocking will do wonders for this yarn because it does look a bit messy as is.

In other news: I am co-hosting the Knit the Classics with Amanda. She was nice enough to invite me to help out and I am really excited to get started. We begin on June 1st with a reading of Middlemarch by George Elliot. Everyone will be knitting the pattern of their choice, sharing their progress and talking about the novel. Come and join us!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Cotton Tape Along Knitting # 2

Here's what I am working on now for the Cotton Tape Along. This is the back of the sweater. I have the front and most of a sleeve done now but as usual my picture taking doesn't keep up with my knitting!

It is # 17 from Katia Children's book # 29. Here's what it will look like finished.

I am using Papillon in yellow. I think my daughter will look like a little spring duckling in that! :) The Papillon is harder to use than the Idea Jeans - mainly because it is a ladder type tape so you have to knit slower & try not to poke your needle through the middle. It also folds up and twists alot more so I have to stop and unwind it every 5 rows or so. A bit of a pain but since it's not a huge project it doesn't bug me much.

Here's a close up of the stitch pattern:

It is Quaker Stitch. With this yarn it makes a really nice soft and squishy fabric. It's literally springy! One word of caution though. Pay attention to what you are doing because you DON'T want to have to frog this yarn. It doesn't frog very well. Also, it is a major pain to fix the knit stitches because you knit into the knit stitch below and the upper part drops off to the side. It is really hard to see the dropped stitch and pick it back up again if you have to - so try not to have to! I ditched a half sleeve rather than have to go back and fix a row. I fixed a mistake row on the front and just didn't want to deal with that again. That's why I buy an extra skein anyway isn't it?

I finally bit the bullet and ordered blocking materials. My pile of unblocked and unseamed sweaters is getting a bit ridiculous. It's time for me to go to the next step!! My mom explained seaming to me so I think I understand how to do it now. Luckily the Katia patterns all have schematics so that will make blocking easier!

Cotton Tape Along knitting # 1

Here's what I've been knitting lately.

I joined the Cotton Tape Knitalong just as I was finishing this:

It is # 30 from the Katia Children's book # 25. This is what it is supposed to look like finished.

I used Idea Jeans in hot pink - about three balls for a size four I think. It is a cotton blend. For some reason I found this tape yarn to be much easier to work with than others I have used. It seemed like it didn't fold up or twist while being knitted as much as most of them do. Here's a close up photo of the stitch pattern.

All of my practice with the Clapotis pattern really paid off on this little tank top. As soon as I started knitting it I realized the bottom was almost the same pattern. :) I think I will add the buttons - maybe purple? - because it gives the project a more finished look.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Latest photos of the hoodie:

I'm halfway through the second side section but I have taken a slight detour and I'm knitting a little tank top for my daughter right now. I've only got about a day's work left on that and then it's back to the hoodie.