on the needles

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Look Who I Caught Blogging

Last night I returned to my computer to discover this:

He was reading the latest entry in Cari's Blog. He's been concerned about his cousin (all IG's think of themselves as cousins!) Diego who has been suffering from some ill health lately. Luca wanted to send him a message of good will and waggy tails.

He looked a bit embarassed about being busted surfing the web. But I told him he was sweet to be concerned about his computer friend and helped him type his message. After all, it's not as if he was surfing around looking at Kibbles and Bits (if you know what I mean!).

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Ponson trade rumors

O's Trying To Ship Ponson To Padres

If only this were true! I really doubt it will come through though. Hopefully it will at least serve as a timely wake up call for Ponson. Not that he hasn't had about as many taliking to's as a guy can have and still have a job! Anyhow - not holding my breath over this one.............Pity the poor Padres if the trade does work out!

I knit a whole lot this weekend - entirely on the Leaf Lace shawl (LLS). I am in the middle of the 7th repeat - so I am half done in terms of number of repeats. But since each repeat gets bigger I am more like a third through in terms of volume. I think this pattern moves along really quickly. It is very easy to tell when you have made a mistake. I've messed up twice - once I saw it before I got halfway across the row & only had to take out a few stitches. The other time I didn't see it until I started the next row of pattern repeats so I had to take out about two rows. Not too bad over all. And I haven't been using a lifeline (despite all of my vows and good intentions) because it is just so easy to see what is going on with this pattern. I don't think (knock wood!) that I will ever be in so much trouble that I would need a lifeline.

Wanda asked if this either this shawl or the Flower Basket Shawl would be good pattern for a beginner. I don't know about the Flower Basket Shawl - I haven't knit it yet. But I do have the pattern and it looks about as easy as the Leaf Lace Shawl. The two things about the LLS that I didn't know already were the provisional crochet cast on and the sk2p. The sk2p is: slip the first stitch as if to knit, knit the next two together then pass the slip stitch over. That one was easy to figure out but I had more trouble with the provisional cast on. It wasn't hard but it was easier to have someone show it to me. When I tried to do it on my own I wasn't sure where to knit into the crochet stitches. TONS of shawls begin with this exact cast on so it is a skill worth learning. Hope this answers your question Wanda! :)

In class this week I spent nearly all of the time seaming and stuffing the pig toy I knit a year ago. I am determined to whittle away the UFO's which are all hanging around waiting to be put together. The actual list is longer than the one on my sidebar. (Blush!) I really only got the body put together & the eyes put on. I was working super slow!! Sigh.....

The good news is that I joined the Amigurumi along. So this will give me motivation to finish up all the little critters I have in baggies waiting to become real toys. I also want to crochet some "actual" Amigurumi. I have a book I bought off Ebay but I can't find it! I really need to get my craft room together!!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Leaf Lace and Lone Star

Here's a photo of my progress on the Leaf Lace Shawl so far:

I'll try to get a another photo with the pattern stretched out so it can be seen better - but for now you get the idea. I do like the Elsebeth Silky Wool. It works up much faster than the Jamieson's - probably because there is much less drag. This pattern is turning out to be much less complicated than I thought when I first looked at it. I'm starting to feel like I could tackle something harder soon! :) In fact - it is working up so fast I haven't even had a chance to put up a progress-o-mter on my sidebar.

Also - since it was admired by Knitter in Progress when I posted a sliver of it over at Knit the Classics - a photo of my Amish quilt:

The pattern is Lone Star. Unfortunately, I can't take credit for this beauty! Quilting is the one fiber art that I haven't really learned yet. I do know the basics of hand quilting but I never have time for it so I would like to learn to machine quilt. Too bad my sewing machine HATES me! Anyhow, the quilt is totally handquilted by an Amish lady with initial EES. (It is signed and dated.) I have a small collection of handquilted Amish quilts - about 10 or so. I will put up pictures of them from time to time if anyone is interested.

Here's a photo of the bird motif at the top of the quilt:

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Luca Buckaroo

You all know how much I love my little dog Luca. He is my ultimate sidekick. So you can guess how excited I was when, courtesy of Stitchy McYarnpants, I was introduced to the amazing new human and animal teamsport of Buckaroo. Everyone knows Italian Greyhounds are super athletes. Luca couldn't wait to compete. That very night we dove right in to the brave new world of Buckaroo. We went straight for the gold - the ultimate dvd tower. Luca was a natural. He laid there asleep like the champ I always knew he could be. It was a stellar debut in the world of Buckaroo and I have submitted the photographic evidence to the judging committee. So far the sport has been dominated by the feline species - everyone knows what stellar sleepers cats are! However, to the best of my knowledge, we have made history by becoming the first ever dog and human Buckaroo team! Drumroll please..................I present - Luca Buckaroo!!!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Box Lace Shawl Progress

Here's the latest pic of my progress on my box lace shawl:

I have about 11 repeats out of a total of 26 finished - so I am approaching the halfway mark. Hooray! I was starting to wonder though if I was going to run out of yarn! A quick set of calculations convinced me I may need up to 5 more skeins. Of course my LYS where I had bought the yarn in the first place was out of that color. So I hopped onto the internet, looked up the Jamieson's stockists and sent an SOS out to all of the stores that had websites. I was thinking there was a possibility that i wouldn't be able to find any more of this yarn - after all I needed to match the color AND the dye lot. I had no idea how old this dye lot was and also I found out that Jamieson's is in the process of "reformatting" their yarns - switching the hank sizes. So I was feeling a bit gloomy about my prospects. Imagine how happy I was when I got back no less than five replies saying they had my yarn in the correct dye lot! I had replies from Canada, California, Wisconsin and I think Rhode Island! Made my day! :) How awesome is the internet? How huge would my phone bill have been if I had to do this yarn search the old fashioned way? I bought up all the yarn I could & have already received two shipments and the yarn is perfect. :)

Here is a detail of the pattern repeat:

I have also started my Leaf Lace Shawl. Love it so far!

Knitting at Chez Moi

Me knitting in my jammies with Luca assisting. A typical night at my place. :)

My first finished garment!

Here it is - drumroll please.................

The Project: A tank top (#30) for my daughter and the Cotton Tape Along
The Pattern: from Katia book #25 children
The Yarn: Katia Idea Jeans (this is a ribbon type cotton blend yarn.)
The Color: 3 balls of #2613 Hot Pink
The Needles: #6 Addi Turbos
The Stitches: mostly stockinette, seed stitch and dropped stitches
The Verdict: My dear daughter loved it! It's still a wee bit big for her as I did a size four.

Here's another shot:

I seamed it up in my class this week. I spent the first half putting together the tank top and the second half starting my Leaf Lace Shawl. That also went really well and is moving along quickly. I think I will enjoy knitting that.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The London Attacks

My heartfelt sympathy to the people of London and the UK. London has always felt like a home away from home to me and the British people have always been kind and welcoming. I hope the world will rally around to support them and to stop the people who commit these terrorist acts.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Knit the Classics: Middlemarch

Well - I am about two thirds of the way through my rereading of Middlemarch. I always wonder if I will enjoy a novel as much the second (or third time around) because sometimes it seems like a certain story really hits home to me more due to my age, or life experience at the time I read it rather than because of the merits of the story itself. So I am happy to report that I am enjoying Middlemarch even more this time. It is a novel that really gains in depth.

Of course the actual end date of the read for Knit the Classics was June 30th but we seem to have a few stragglers like me who were determined to finish the novel anyway. Middlemarch is a slow read at first while Eliot lays out all the characters and their situation and personalities, and it is a very long book so we probably should have allowed more time for it. But it was our first read & we are learning as we go. We have set aside two months for Wives and Daughters - and some of our readers have already finished it! Hopefully this will give everyone time for a lively discussion.

I finally got my DVD copy of the Middlemarch miniseries which came out in the mid nineties. I decided to watch it concurrently with my reading so over the weekend I watched the first three episodes. For the most part I really liked the casting in this one - everyone seemed very well suited for the roles, especially Dorothea, Fred, Mr. Brooke, Lydgate and Will Ladislaw (even though he was a blond in the book). I've noticed that Eliot tends to make her "deeper" characters dark haired (Dorothea, Lydgate, Mary) and her more shallow characters blond (Rosamund, Fred, Ladislaw). In fact the one casting mistake in the movie was the Rosamund character - she wasn't blond enough. Eliot continually refers to Rosamund's infantile blondness which I took to mean that super almost white blond hair that babies often have. This visual trait of Rosamund's is really important to the plot of the novel because it determines how others view her - as innocent, rare and pure - which allows Rosamund to operate in a very manipulative manner, taking advantage of people's suppositions about her character.

Overall I really like the miniseries adaptation of the novel. Many of the scenes use the exact dialogue from the book. Of course the narrative "voice over" that gives the novel so much depth is really missed in the movie itself. It could have been easily possible to include something like that (as they did in the movie of The Age of Innocence). Once scene which I thought was mishandled was the part where Rosamund manipulates Lydgate into marrying her. She was too straightforward and not fragile enough in the movie. I also thought that it was a wrong choice to make Rosamund respond so sexually to Lydgate. In the book, the Rosamund-Lydgate marriage is a mirror to that of Dorothea-Casaubon. Rosamund should have been more cold and unresponsive to her husband's passion. She wouldn't have wanted him to muss her hair or her dress. She was all about external appearances. I think Rosamund can be compared to the May character in The Age of Innocence. Both used other people's perception of them as innocents in order to manipulate them to get what they wanted. Neither of those women loved their husbands (or anyone else) except in relationship to what their husbands gave them or did for them. Quite the same way that Casaubon can only perceive Dorothea through his own selfish and narrow focus. (*After I wrote this and was providing links I noticed the first reviewer called The Age of Innocence "the American Middlemarch" which I think is an apt description.)

Well - that's my KAL update for now. I've gotten about 8 repeats done of the box lace pattern on my shawl - only 18 more to go. I also have my first knitting class tonight & I will (hopefully) get started on the Leaf Lace Shawl from Fiber Trends. I excited and also really nervous. I will have to battle traffic to get up there in time and that always makes me feel stressed. But I guess that is what I have to do if I am going to come out of my knitting closet and actually knit with other knitters!

Thanks to everyone who expressed concern about my daughter. She is doing really well now. We are just crossing our fingers and hoping it doesn't happen again.