Thursday, September 30, 2004
Before I head into my knitting info, I wanted to say thanks to all those folks who are reading the blog. I have been getting comments from folks I don't know ( and my Mom--Thanks Mom!) which is really great! If you are reading, do leave a comment and let me know who you are and where you are from (where ya'll hail from, in Texas-speak or Mumble mumble mumble in my native Maryland-speak).
The Boring Knit
This is the boring felted purse that I am bound and determined to get finished! There are those two big squares (front and back), a little square (pocket), and a strap, which I am now knitting. Blek. Boring stockinette with absolutely no shaping. Plus the pieces are big. The strap has to be 84 inches. 84!!! I don't care that it is only 14 stitches across. That is way long.
I have decided to slog through this and finish it up ASAP. I keep saying that when it is done I get to Klaralund, though I have Kuryeon in the stash for this:
This is the pattern that so many folks have already made--the Black Sheep Booga Bag. The pattern is free on line and looks to be much more interesting and faster than the purse I am putting together. Grr. I can't even tell you what kind of Kureyon I bought, because if I go look in the stash and touch the Noro it will be all over. Have to maintain control...
We live in a fairly small house (by choice mostly) that forces us to keep tossing worthless and unused stuff. I think this might be left from my husband's Peace Corps days in Fiji, but, nonetheless, the anti-materialism bent mostly works for me too. It is only when he starts talking about tossing that one box from high school, filled with goofy bits of memory... Then I starting thinking that people who save every bit and piece of their lives might be on to something....
SO, in hopes that I can contain the stash and not get too many projects going as well, I would like to introduce you to the official residing place of my yarn and needles. Meet the stash cupboard:
And look--nothing poking out of the drawers or the top! Pretty amazing. I just won't tell Bruce about the bag of yarn in the office closet...
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Good news as well--Knit Wit is supposedly in the mail to me from Amazon. This should be a fun group of patterns by the lovely Knitty crowd.
Here's a photo of the cover--fun huh?
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Isn't she beautiful! I am so pleased with this sweater. The yarn was a pain to work with (I didn't like the huge needles and the bumpy texture of the yarn), but the end result is gorgeous. The yarn softened as I worked with it and blocking seems to have really made it nice to touch.
The sweater pattern is the Weekend Warrior from the Yarn Girls book. It was very simple to knit but taught me great new skills like picking up stitches.
This is the first project that I have made that fits just right. I liked my other tank and sweaters, but they don't compare to this.
Ok. I will finish gushing....
Monday, September 27, 2004Barton Creek Resort and Spa for a few days. Bruce had a publishers hoo ha, and Anna and I played. There was swimming, spa-ing, eating, drinking, and yarn shopping. Yes, I finally was able to visit the Hill Country Weavers. What a nice shop! Suzanne, the owner, let me take a few pictures:
Look at all of the yummy yarns. I couldn't breathe! I didn't know where to start! But, I eventually ended up transfixed with the Colinette section:
I decided to pick up a bunch of books, including three Noro books and a back issue of Interweave. The lovely folks also helped me pick out an appropriate yarn to sew up my Colinette sweater (it needs a bit more finishing and then I'll have pics).
Do you see the new project?
This is Colinette Fandango in Toscana. It is so soft and fuzzy that I had to have it. I decided to make this:
It will be perfect for Texas since the yarn is cotton. Great for summer by itself, perfect for winter with a jacket over it. Ya hoo.
I really liked this yarn store. The yarns and patterns were great and the people nice. I spoke to a woman in a knitting class that was working on Klaralund. She didn't know about the pattern correction and had to rip out the back piece. Thank you Wendy and knitalongers for warning us about the problems!
When we got home I seamed up the Colinette sweater. I also finished the back piece of my tote bag, but it is pretty boring, so you have to wait until I finish the pocket and strap before I take pics. Oh--finished Anna's poncho too. It just needs the fun fur. So, this week looks to be all about finishing. No new knitting until the Colinette and poncho are finished. Knitter's promise.
Rollins says that the new additions to the knitting stash are almost an appropriate present for the time spent away:
Thursday, September 23, 2004
We are heading to Austin and will stay at Barton Creek Resort. A book publisher is working with my husband, so the entire family gets to go. We won't be working, unlike Bruce, so I see lots of fun. Spa time, swimming time, margarita time... need I say more?
The other plus to Austin is that I will finally get to visit Hill Country Weavers. This is supposed to be a super yarn store. They have my yarn on order for my poncho, so I will check on that. Plus I might pick up a few more things... Who knows?
Packing knitting for the trip is a little tricky. I don't want to start my Klaralund until I finish up a few of the items that are lurking in my bag. I'm a one or two project kind of person. I would be overwhelmed with more than that on the way. So, I think I will take my Colinette sweater along to see if the yarn store can suggest yarn to stitch it up. My daughter's poncho will go, as I need just a few more rows before I stitch it up and add the fun fur. That will probably be a fine project to work on while we are away. And I will take the evil bag, oh the felted bag that is just boring stockinette stitch. I really want that to be finished so I can try my booga bag in the gorgeous Kureyon that is sitting in my stash.
I have to warn you--I really, really want to buy both Jane Ellison Noro books. Keep your fingers crossed that Hill country has them...
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
I was looking through our University newspaper and found an article that I was interviewed for--A Blog's Life. The reporter called me the other day because she noticed my interest in blogs on my department page. I was a little worried about misquoting, at it sometimes happens with our paper. I could just see the news--Professor uses knitting blog for subversive anti-Bush propaganda. Just what our paper would assume! It doesn't look like this was misquoted, but I find the Psych professor's comments regarding blogs disturbing. The article states:
"Dr. Brian Doss, an assistant professor in the clinical psychology department, said some people might start blogs for self-disclosure and to gain attention. If the need for attention gets to an extreme, it is called histrionic personality disorder, Doss said.
'Not everyone who has a blog has that,' Doss said, 'but if someone has histrionic personality disorder, they might be attracted to blogging.'"
Huh. I might have a histrionic personality disorder. Ok. Let's hope that this professor was misquoted.
Here's my latest "I want to make" project:
The pattern is Sursa from the Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton book 2 (the same one that Klaralund is in). I really like the Noro yarns and this is a smart use of the pretty striped colors.
I want to make this cape/stoll in these exact colors. It is so pretty and interesting for a beginning knitter. I can learn those nifty YOs. A few steps more and maybe I will try a very simple lace type pattern. Oh yeah. I want to be a process knitter. Stockinette gets pretty boring.
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
I'm still knitting the big squares that will become my daughter's poncho. I didn't take pictures since they don't look that different from yesterday (well, they are bigger....).
I wish I was in Denmark
Just so you get to look at something ( I hate blogs without pictures! I'm just too visual a person to stare at words all day... and I have a Ph.D. in English. HA!), I thought I would include a picture from our summer trip to Denmark. I just loved Denmark. The Danes have lots of things figured out that we don't, including issues with health care and poverty. Yes, they pay lots of taxes. But they have a great lifestyle (except for the darkness in the winter....).
So, here you go. This is my favorite place in Denmark--Aero Island:
Aero was just gorgeous. We stayed at the amazing Pension Vestergade, run by Susanna Greve and family. This was the best bed and breakfast that we stayed at in Denmark. Susanna kindly gave us two rooms in the very top of the house, so it was like we had the entire floor and one bathroom to ourselves. Add to that lovely tea, great breakfasts, and chickens in the yarn for Anna to look at, we had the most amazing time.
Here's my daughter's favorite place in Denmark--Legoland:
Yes, that is my daredevil 2 year old on her first roller coaster. Who cares that it is raining? We are going really fast! She made us get on that roller coaster 5 times. I am frightened of those teenage years.....
We stayed at the family hostel and spent 3 days of kid-friendly fun in the park. Much better than Disney world!
In my other life, I work at a large university. In addition to teaching and administration, I try to complete some publishing/research. In fact, I'm currently working on a paper on knitting blogs! It's fun when your hobby crosses into work. This is a pretty straightforward paper--why I blog. Now that doesn't mean that I have an easy answer to why blog, but I am attempting to answer that question.
The nice news is that kind knit bloggers have given me permission to quote their blogs in my paper. I just love knitters! I promise to let everyone know if this paper is chosen for publication. Keep your fingers crossed.
As a sidebar to this, I'm seriously thinking of starting a knit ring for those knit bloggers who are academically connection. In other words, profs, lecturers, librarians, students (Grad and undergrad), administrators, etc. What do you think?
Monday, September 20, 2004
Plus, we took my daughter to the Washington Co Fair, the "first county fair in Texas." We saw pig races, heifer shows, and goats. Anna decided that the goats were what she wanted. As a former 4-Her, I love fairs. It reminds me of the hot August weeks that I spent at the Carroll County Fair. Hey-I was Miss 4-H! I showed sheep! Yahoo!
It was really hot, though. I think we finally hit over 100 degrees. Our older dog, Jessie, wanted to lay on the entrance way hall all day. Smart dog!:
Bruce's hand is also looking better (see the post on the feuding dogs).
My brother et al should be heading back to Florida at some point this week. It sounds like their little house survived and now has electric. It will probably take them longer to return, as the i 10 bridge is destroyed, but they will probably be happy to be at home.
And, there was knitting this hot weekend! I am about half way through my daughter's winter poncho. I wasn't sure about the colors at first, but they look really cute:
So, the poncho a long begins! This is a pretty quick knit (all ribbing), so I think I might have this complete by the weekend.
Klaralund book and yarn has finally arrived. Yippeee!
Isn't it pretty? I'm still trying to figure out how big I should make this sweater. I want it boxey, but not huge. I am torn between a 38 and a 40. I was concerned about having enough yarn, but the nice Klaralund along folks tell me that they are ending up with left over yarn, so not to worry. Ok. Now, I have to carefully measure...
Friday, September 17, 2004
We had a wonderful speaker in our Distinguished American Studies Lecturer, whom I was able to visit with during dinner. Martha Banta, Emeritus Professor at UCLA, gave a great talk. Here's her latest book:
Yes, I'm an academic geek. I know it!
The bad part of yesterday was after I arrived home from the evening talk. We still have my brother's dog (still escaping the Floriday hurricane), and he doesn't like our dog very much. The two got into an ugly tussle, my husband went to intervene, and he was chomped. So, we went to the emergency room. Not fun. Everything is fine, but it took some stitches and antibiotics.
I knitted all of 5 rows of my daughter's poncho. This weekend I'm planning on big knitting. Look out!
Thursday, September 16, 2004Rebecca 28. It is now in English, which makes it much more fun.
I cast on for my daugher's poncho, so I am officially now poncho-along-ing. I think it is going to be really cute, but I'm not sure if the lime fun fur will work. Now that I look at the first inches of the project, it seems more likely that I will need turquoise or hot pink. Anyone need one skein of lime fun fur? Up for grabs!
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
The bad news? I'm a dope. I usually am very careful to count stitches as I go along. As a new knitter, I am not as adept at finding problems as I work. But, I forgot. So, I was counting to bind off and duh, too few stitches. So, I finished the one sleeve and frogged about 1/3 of the other. I should be able to finish the rest tonight. Then, I am going to sew in those little ends.
Have you ever worked with Colinette yarn? I'm still not sure what to think of it. It is really beautiful. I love the colors, the fact that it is hand dyed and the fact that it is made in Wales (how exotic for us Texas folks!!) Here are some of the lovely Colinette colors that I am considering:
But, I am not sure about the thickness of the yarn. It wasn't the most comfortable stuff to work with. I actually have handcramps from working with it! And, it is pretty scratchy until it is knitted up, when it seems to soften. Maybe it will get even softer when I block it???
The biggest concern is actually how hot this will be. I know they make some cotton blends, so maybe I need to look at them. As you know, I live in the humid land of Texas. We do get some cold weather, so there is a chance to wear sweaters. But, I don't wear wool very often. My husband likes to keep our heat low, so that helps (before I met him he tells me he went an entire year without turning on the heat. He is indeed a nutty man. But, that's why I love him!). But, I hate to spend all the money it costs to buy nice wool yarn and then not use it. Does anyone know of a nice blend or lighter weight wool that wouldn't knit up so heavy?
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Do you think I will make it? I'm about 2 inches away from the sleeve cap, but I am not sure. If I don't have enough I will have to order an additional skein of this Colinette Shimmer Fresco. I rechecked my gauge to see if that is what is sucking up the yarn, but it seems right. I don't know what is happening. The small size is supposed to take 8 skeins and I had 10. Grr. I even rechecked the yardage, and it is right. Oh well. I should know if I need another skein by this evening.
On the bright side, I finally received my yarn for the first of my ponchos. This is my daughter's poncho yarn. I love the vibrant colors and the fuzzy finish.
I went with Lion Brand since it is a poncho for a 2 year old--I need to wash it. I forgot to look to see if the fuzzy stuff washes. When I received it, I noticed that the fuzzy fur needs to be handwashed. Grr. Again, that sort of defeats the purpose. This needs to be easy to care for because my daughter will surely drag this through the mud often.
But, as soon as I finish (or run out of yarn) my Colinette sweater I'm going to cast on this poncho. I need to get going as I have my own poncho and a secret X-mas gift for my Mom to work on.
Monday, September 13, 2004
While they were here, Anna's class had Grandparent day. Since she has no grandparents nearby, we sent the Uncle and Miss Lady Whitney. They made a cute crayon hat and a snack. Here's Anna modeling the hip hat:
As promised, here are the minimum legwarmers made from Sally Meville's
I do believe that the Melville books are the most valuable items that I have in my knitting book collection. I read this article in Knitty and had to try this book. It was as good as described. The patterns are fun, but the descriptions and pictures actually make sense. Plus she seems to allow you to think about what you are doing and make modifications that are intuitive. I'm a big believer in feeling your way through the project.
Speaking of which, here's my gorgeous Colinette Shimmer Weekend Warrior sweater:
At first I was afraid that the yarn was much too scratchy, while quite beautiful. But it knits up much smoother than I originally thought. I referred to Melville's book for the M1 stitch--the Yarn girls description didn't make much sense, and it seemed to be creating a hole. I think it is because the yarn is so large. So, I made some modifications with Melville's book, and it looks much better. I'm about half way up the sleeves, the front and back are complete. I think I will need some other yarn to stitch it together, as the colinette is much too thick. Any advice on using another yarn for finishing?
Thursday, September 09, 2004
Yarn Girl Tank
She is finished! After much stitching and crocheting (I hate crocheting), I complete my tank. It is so nice and soft. I blocked it and wore it to work under a jacket. Here it is:
I think it may get a big tighter fitting as I wash and wear it, as the cotton does seem to stretch and contract. But, I think it is a good first fitted item for a new knitter! And, it is wearable!
I finished my leg warmers, so look for a coming picture.
My brother, Ben, his girlfriend, Whitney, and the dog, Bjorn, have been visiting since they were evacuated from Florida. They may be here longer, depending upon what Ivan the Terrible decides to do. We have been having fun visiting, and Anna just loves Uncle Ben and Miss Lady Whitney. Here they are!
I bought Maggie Righetti's Knitting in Plain English and really like it. It has lots of good tips for the beginning knitter. The one that seems most useful so far is her idea of a swatch. I hate to measure the little stitches and Righetti says that it is not very accurate. She says to cast on the supposed number of stitches in 4 inches and then start swatching. After 4 inches measure end to end to see if you hit the suggested width. If not, switch needles, purl a row as a marker, and keep going. How simple! How smart! I'm going to do this in my next project. Any one else use this method? Thoughts about the swatching?
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Yup. I decided the sweater was way too pretty not to make.
Plus, I am way excited about the new Rebecca 28--in English. Look at the new mag!
Back to work....
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
After an internet search and careful consideration, it turns out that Austin's Hill Country Weavers is able to order the GGH yarn that I need. I'm waiting for it to come in so that I can get started.
I also decided to make my daughter a poncho:
This is a free lion brand patttern. I will use the Lion Brand recommended yarns, but in different colors. I picked out a sorbet (bright pink, green, orange, etc.) and a lime fur to trim the poncho in. My daughter will just love this one!
Monday, September 06, 2004
Escape from Storm
My brother, girlfriend, and dog have arrived safely in Texas. I think they are happy they came, as the town they live in has 30 closed streets and 60 downed power lines. They would be stuck inside the house a long time if they were there.
Anna has enjoyed all the lovely attention. I think she likes bouncing on their bed and clothes the best:
New Finished Objects (FO)
I actually finished a good bit of knitting this weekend. I finally finished and blocked my Yarn girl tank. I will take pictures shortly and post. Plus, I made headway on my purse/bag, and I popped out one minimum legwarmer from Sally Melville's Knit book. More pics and descriptions later.
Here, however, are pics of my two first projects. The first is the kid's cardigan from Knitting for the First Time:
I had no idea what I was doing with this sweater, so I went to our yarn place in town (think big generic super craft store). The person there said that there was no problem substituting any old yarn. No mention of gauge at all. So, I whipped this up and, big surprise, it is too big for my daughter. I read everything I could find and now get gauge. So, while the sweater doesn't look too bad and it proved a good learning experience, it doesn't work. But, my new tank fits perfectly, so a gauge swatch does work!
Here is my scarf from Sally Melville's knit book. I love her book. I want two of everything in both of her books. This wasn't a hard pattern, but the nubby Tahki Poppy yarn (in Desert) proved a bit of a challenge. I discovered that bamboo needles are best for me.
It is absolutely gorgeous when worn with a simple black dress. Both times I have worn it to school I've had tons of compliments. It is really fun to say, "oh, I made this!"
Friday, September 03, 2004
It looks like we will be getting a visit from my brother et al. The storm is stalled off of Florida, but he can't go back until the storm hits/destroys/floods and whatever else. So, by Saturday evening he should be here. Apparently it is difficult to get a hotel room when you evacuate not only because of the crush of people, but also because it is Labor Day weekend. I had forgotten about the holiday--in Texas we Labor for Labor Day. You know, it is right to work (and work, and work, and work) state.
I joined a poncho along (see the side bar). I am going to make this great poncho from Weekend Knitting:
I will let you know when the yarn arrives--I had to special order it. More on the lovely yarn shop folks in Austin soon!
Thursday, September 02, 2004
The Big Storm Part 1:
My brother has to evacuate. The big storm is heading right toward his little house and he has rightly decided not be anywhere near the area. Look at this map from weather.com:
No crazy "let's hang out to see how bad this thing could get." Nope. He packed up his dog and, with his girlfriend, drove inland. Last we heard, he made it to Tallahassee, took a break, and then was going to keep going. I think he is planning to head to Texas for an extended visit with us. Anna has been asking if Unc' Ben and his doggie are going to visit. The more dogs, the better for Anna.
Royal Mail Packages
After a much too long day at work, we arrived home to find three, count them, three lovely packages from England by Royal Mail. After much discussion about who ordered the package and who would be opening the packages (my husband swears no one ever sends him packages--just me and the kid), we set about the business of opening the loot.
Here is what was in Anna's two boxes:
Wow. What a great package. When we were in Denmark, we discovered Bundgaard shoes fit Anna beautifully. Her feet are like little blocks--square and high--and quite difficult to fit. No one sells Bundgaard in the U.S. I found This Little Piggy and the wonderful Pam Walker in Perth, Scotland. Through email contacts Pam agreed to let us purchase shoes. So, this is the shipment. The cute little bear and green sweatshirt with This Little PIggy's logo were surprises. There was also a packet of pink piggie candies, but Anna found those first and polished them off. One couldn't ask for a better shopping experience. As Anna's feet grow, we are sure to order additional shoes from This Little Piggy (BTW, they have won the Best Children's Shoestore Award in England--no wonder).
Here is Anna helping Mommy take pictures for the blog:
The final package just send me into a tizzy. This was an ebay yarn purchase:
What gorgeous Colinette Shimmer 5 in Fresco. I am going to make a sweater from the Yarn Girls book:
I really want to start this NOW, but I have to get the finishing completed on my tank and make some progress on my felted bag. I'll keep you informed!
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
I sewed together my lovely little tank top from Summer issue. The tank is the Yarn Girls' split front tank. Sewing it together wasn't a problem, but the yarn is a bit stretchier than I had guessed. It fits, but I hope it doesn't decide to sag. I worked the crochet stitch finishing. Can I tell you that I hate crochet? I feel like I am sewing with my toes. Yuck. But, I did make some progress. I promise pics when I get it finished and blocked. See, I am a good knitter who tries to block my work!
By the by, Anna was convinced to put on the blue fuzz sweater and pronounced that the sweater was NIIIIICE. SO, there is hope that she will wear it come fall. Considering it has been 100 degrees, I don't see that wear date coming until much later.
Now, as promised, the history lesson. I just can't get away from the history angle. It, as we academic geeks say, "informs" everything. Well, my history explains a lot about my knitting. I made a knitting project before my recent decision to pick up the sticks. Both were for my 4-h projects. Yes, I was a 4-Her. Yes, it was in Yes, I was Miss Carroll County 4-H. Yes, I showed sheep and participated in animal judging (think carcasses in a big slaughter house). Ok. I've shared.
But, I did decide at some point that it would be a good idea to try a knitted project for our fair. I looked at the projects available for 4-hers and guess what? The starter pattern was bed socks! Bed Socks! Can you imagine anything worse? They were ugly and mishapen even in the "this is what you should get" pattern pictures. Add blue scratchy acrylic yarn and it was enough to put me off of knitting for 20 plus years.