Monday, February 28, 2005

The Winner is...

And the winner of this :

is Jennifer of It's Rocket Science. Congratulations and thanks to all who guessed the location of my Thursday post. It is always fun to give away yummy yarn! Jennifer, if you just send me your physical address I will pop this in my mail. I think you have my email? If not, post a comment and I will respond, ok?

I am really enjoying the Aran Knitting book by Alice Starmore. I wish that this would be reprinted, as it is so expensive to buy--over 200 on ebay and other such sites. But, I am enjoying my interlibrary loan copy. I just worry someone will realize how much this book is worth and either refuse to lend it to patrons or run off with it to make some money. Sigh. It does become apparent as I look at this book how much I have to learn about knitting. To make one of these gorgeous sweaters I better start practicing my cabling. Makes me want to cast on for my little cabled purse that I have had on deck for a while....

Maureen suggested look at Vicki's St. Brigid on Knitorious. Wow. Just an amazing sweater! And a super knitting blog. I've added it to my Bloglines feeds.

I managed to rip my lace project--The Flower Basket Shawl--back to a reasonable spot--I didn't loose everything back to the lifeline like I suspected I might. I am putting in lifelines this time at every repeeat. Ahem. Here's a picture:

How do you get a good picture of unblocked lace? I have no idea. But, I think I made it to the 5th repeat--not quite sure with the ripping. I 'll have to count stitches at the end of this one to see where I am at.

And, just to raise my spirits, I stepped out on our back deck this morning and took this lovely spring pictures:

Friday, February 25, 2005

Aran Knitting

Thanks to those of you who left a comment! I will have my daughter draw the winner out of a hat this weekend and post the results Monday. Then, a lovely skein of Noro Cash Iroha will be on its way to you! I will draw the winner from those of you who guessed Ireland, as the pictures were from our trip to Inishmore, the Aran Islands, Ireland. What a lovely trip and amazing weather we had! We flew into Dublin and spent a few days. Here's my husband's artsy shot of me in St. Stephen's Green.

Then we headed to the west in our rental car. This has to be the smallest car we have ever driven:

My Ph.D. work included a section on the Famine Irish immigrants to Boston, so the west of Ireland, where most Famine immigrants came from, was where I really wanted to spend time. We headed out to the Aran Islands for a few days. I could have spent another week on the island. We stayed at Kilmurvey House, biked and walked, enjoyed the sunny weather, shopped for sweaters at An Pucan, and drank Murphy's and Guiness. And, the pictures that I included in the last entry show Dun Aengus, a prehistoric structure on the island.

I dug into my closet and found the sweater I bought from Mary O'Flaherty in a small crafts shop near Kilmurvey house. It is so very warm:

I haven't worn this sweater very often because it really is too warm for Texas. It still has the very faint odor of a peat fire--Apparently Mary knits all winter in a house where they heat with peat fire. I did find two little places that need to be repaired. I'm not sure how to go about fixing this sweater, but I will see if I can find some yarn that will let me stitch the two tiny holes together. This sweater should really last years.

While the relaxing Aran Islands were the highlight of the trip, I also loved our time in Sligo, Mayo and Achill Island. Achill Island was very interesting historically. We visited an abandoned village on the island:

This was a formerly thriving village that was decimated by the Famine--both by numbers who died from starvation and disease and those who left for other places. You can see the bumps in the earth from the lazy beds--the beds in which the potatoes were planted. When the potatoes were blighted, the Famine, and all of the political and historical ramifications, began. Strokestown Park's Famine Museum in Co. Roscommon, which we visited, gives a good overview of the Famine and the Irish Famine site gives great materials as well.

So what prompted this long post? Well, my interlibrary loan book, of course: Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting:

This is really a great book. So many of the designs are absolutely gorgeous. Here's two that I am considering:

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Ahem--Guess for Noro

That is what I get for thinking the lace project was close to finished--I hit a problem and am ripping. I really only needed to take out one row, but ripping lace is not the easiest thing. I am ripping back to where I think I have the right number of stitches.... Luckily I have a life line, but I don't want to head back there--I last put the lifeline in at the 4th repeat. I would loose two full sets of the pattern (20 rows).... but that wouldn't be the end. I didn't even look at the knitting last night, since I had one of those headaches that made everything go blurry.... A front must have been coming in to Texas.

I received a very exciting book from the library yesterday. But since the blog is going to suffer from lack of knitting content, I thought I would try to liven things up with a fun preview. So, if you can tell me where these pictures were taken I'll be impressed--and I'll send you a skein of lovely green Noro Cash Iroha from my stash! If I get no right answers by Friday, noon, Texas time, I'll do a random drawing from the comments and send you the skein anyway. So, you can't loose!

Aww. We look young and in love... prior to the kid!

It was May and beautiful.

The view from our b&b--and the little shop where I bought a gorgeous sweater!

Have fun!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Committee to Protect Bloggers

Apparently the Committee to Protect Bloggers has asked all bloggers to declare Tuesday Free Mojtaba and Arash Day. Not that I have seen any US press on this issue. But, BBC is reporting on the story: Global Blogger Action Day Called.

Both Arash Sigarchi and Mojtaba Saminejad have been arrested for blogging in Iran. Arash has been sentence to 14 years of jail in Iran.

This is a very interesting organization. It reports regularly on various bloggers who are being arrest, tried and/or convicted for blogging, but mostly from an international perspective. If you want a take on American bloggers who have lost their jobs for blogging, check out List of Fired Bloggers. I believe that the issue of blogging will become hotter and hotter over the next few years, with various governments, business, and other organizations trying to decide what is free speech and what isn't and what is the nature of a blog. Just a non knitting thought!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Blocking Wires

The end of the lace is in sight! I can't believe it! I am about half way through my 6th repeat--which means the end if very close. If I don't screw this up, I think I can proudly announce that I might be making my way out of the advanced beginner knitter category. Maybe.

To celebrate the end is near, I ordered some blocking wires from Fiddlesticks Knitting. Since they have to come from Canada, I suppose it might take a little while. I;ll let you know when they get here!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Maybe we can move on

Maybe we can move on. I think that my daughter is recovering. Her fever has been down since Saturday, the antibiotics seem to be working, and she is starting to eat. That means that I may be able to get back to work on Monday, which would be great since I have 3 major deadlines in the next 3 weeks. Argh.

Katt asked about my intarsia class. Thanks for asking! Didn't mean to let anyone hanging--Friday just was still a sick day and a meltdown for me day--I had about had it with being sick, having a sick child, watching the deadlines come closer at work. It wasn't a blog day, let's say.

The intarsia class was a lot of fun--it ended up being a private lesson as I was the only one signed up. Here's a picture for you:

The woman standing is Nancy, the LYS owner--our very own Hook and Needle shop. Nancy just recently started this shop and it is small, but she has lots of great stuff. The wall behind her is filled with Euroflax Linen in lovely colors. Buffie taught the class. She's an excellent knitter--she knitted the Lace Capelet in Lily Chin's The Urban Knitter . Apparently Chin designed patterns for various urban based knitters to knit, including Buffie, and then had them knit them for examples. I've seen her capelet--super pretty!

For this class we did some basic intarsia, which wasn't too hard. It makes sense to me, actually. Next time I suppose we are going to do more--a more intricate design.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Yeah, I'm Here. Barely.

So we enter the sickness round two. My daughter's fever has reappeared, so we headed back to the doctor. Now we get to try some antibiotics. Hope they work, as this crud has been turning into pneumonia for lots of kids--I saw a number of parents and kids walking around with chest x-rays at the doctor's office. Anna has the rattly chest, but no real issues yet. I hope this works--she has had a fever for almost a week now.

Just to let you know that I haven't abandoned the Flower Basket Shawl:

I didn't get a very good picture, but I did make it through the 4th repeat of the middle pattern. Yeah! I've been putting a lifeline every repeat to help me move along. The lace making is getting easier. Now I'm thinking about what happens with the blocking--I would like to use blocking wires. So far the only place that I've found that has them is Fiddlesticks. Any other suggestions? They seem perfect for lace and handy for other blocking. I think it would help to have those nice straight pieces that I wish for....

This evening I get to leave the sick child with hubby and head out for an intarsia class at our LYS. It sounds like I'm the only one signed up--a private lesson, cool! I'll take pictures and post tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Spring Time at the Sick House

Yup. Still sick. My daughter is heading into the third day of her fever/cough/crud. It looks like the fever has peaked and broken, so we might be on the upswing. She actually ate for the first time, so it is looking good.

I've been busy not sleeping, giving medicine, letting my daughter sleep on me, so very little knitting here--just a spring dress:

I'm working on the back of Anna's dress. This is timely as I have an intarsia class on Thursday that will teach me how to do the flower on the front. The Jaeger mercerized cotton Siena is really nice to work with, though it is strange to have no give on the yarn. But the stitches look nice and it is very soft--important to my daughter.

It's a good thing I got started on the spring and summer clothes--spring is definitely here in Texas. Sorry for all you readers in the snow and ice...but we had shorts weather today. The smaller paperwhites are up:

My husband picked a number of these and brought them inside to make Anna and Mommy a little happier. And, Anna found our first daffodil--here's another that is ready to open:

Springtime in Texas is here!

Monday, February 14, 2005

I Love my Secret Pal!

I love my Secret Pal! I was feeling pretty low over the last couple of days, mostly because my daughter has been ill, which means things at work are really backing up because I've been at home. But look what I got in the mail:

What a nice gift! And here is the yarn closer:

My secret pal is awesome--thanks so very much! I had this book on my Amazon list--I especially love the Celtic bags in here. I've never seen the Mountain Colors yarn before, but this skein is very pretty. It is Glacier Teal for the Facine Braid Sock Pattern. Ok. This is the next project on the needles. I wanted to start on some socks and how cool will these be?

So, as I am sitting at home with a child who has a high fever and the crud, I am going to imagine the next project--the socks. Thanks SP!

Friday, February 11, 2005

Gifties to make me feel better!

I am still battling the cold, but feel a bit better. Some of that is because my husband did Valentine's Day a little early. He gave me these before he left for his business trip:

Aww. And then he brought me a gorgeous necklace in this box:

and here it is on:

Lovely, no? It is a Rosselini by Carola Hiersemann (Stuttgart, Germany). I think the colors go so well with lots of my clothes and it will be a joy to wear. What a wonderful hubby!

And just to touch on the knitting, I have made very little progress since I have been too tired at night. I did get a few of the back issues of Interweave Knits that I bought off of ebay. The Summer 2000 had a GGH pattern in it:

Look familiar? The Weekend Knitting poncho pattern designer said that she took the pattern from a German pattern and added the baby cable--this must be the pattern. And, it has a hat. Since I have 2.8 skeins of yarn left over, I think I might alter the ribbing of the hat and make the hat. Neat!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Cold Saga

I was at home yesterday with my daughter, who was supposed to be ill. She was actually fine--running circles around the house because she was bored. Me, on the other hand--I was flat on my back with her crud. So, not much to report. I'm at work trying to breathe--I'll blog more when I can feel less medicated.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Anna's Easter Dress

While we battle the evil cold/flu yuck that is devastating Texas (various schools have actually closed because of their epidemics--Anna's daycare is missing about 1/3-1/2 of the kids each day), I have been working through the projects.

I made some progress on my Flower Basket lace last night--through the first repeat. I think if I could get one repeat finished each day that would be great progress! We'll see.

Anna's yarn came last night:

I went ahead and gauge swatched since I had a meeting this morning that was knit worthy. I cast on the contrasting color and started the bottom bit. The gauge is tiny, but the dress is fairly small. I am working on the back first, which is really important since I have an Intarsia class in a few weeks. I want to take my class before working the flower design on the front. Since this should be finished for Easter or spring, I am going to move it in front of my Coquette sweater. Ah, lists of knitting!

Monday, February 07, 2005


I'm sitting here waiting for my poster to print. Yup. I have to give a poster tomorrow morning. Posters are more science academic things, but this conference requires me to move across those boundaries. So, I wait. And hope this goofy thing prints so I can tack it on the board tomorrow at 8 am for an hour of questions.

The good news? Oh we have lots of great news! My lovely secret pal sent me a very fun email picture of Piazza Arco Degli Acetari in Rome:

Doesn't it just make you want to run away to Italy! My SP read that I just want to travel, travel, travel and this picture is so cool. Thanks very much! Plus she/he said that there was a shopping trip this weekend. OOh.

I too am putting together a package for my SP. I have one more item to get, then I will box it up and put it in the mail.

This was a super knitting weekend. Maybe it was because it was raining--take a look at Anna:

Our poor child always gets sick when Daddy goes away for work, so we are dealing with a cold/cough again. Apparently a few kids at her day care have been hospitalized with pneumonia, so we are heading to the doctors. Good thing for the child that Mommy knows that old adage of getting wet=cold/illness isn't true--just those little germies at fault (lest you think I'm a rotten Mommy, Anna was outside for the briefest of times, just to blow off a little energy).

Look at my Weekend Knitting hoo ha!

Whoopee! Even though it is raining and warm today, I am wearing it. After all of that work, I'm not leaving it at home.

On the lace side of things, I finally seem to have gotten it together. I made it through the first chart and am into the first repeat. I wouldn't have made it without those dental floss lifelines and stitch markers. This is going to be so pretty, but slow going. That's ok--I really feel like I'm learning.

And, my last weekend accomplishment:

That's the front of my Coquette sweater and the Faroe patterned cuffs of the first sleeve. I normally do two sleeves at once, but the sleeve starts with two balls of yarn (separate). I didn't think my poor feeble brain would be able to manage 4 balls of yarn after my work with lace, so I'm doing them separately.

(notice the little person helping with my knitting pictures? Anna wants to be involved in everything! She's two and can do it herself, you know!)

Friday, February 04, 2005

Much Dreaming, Not Much Knitting

We had friends over for dinner last night so I didn't get any knitting completed. We had a couple over who just moved to our small town in Texas from Germany and before that Copenhagen, Denmark. Let's just say that they are having some culture shock...

What did happen yesterday is a nice package in the post! I received two copies of a knitting book for Christmas, so I returned one to Amazon and ordered a few more things:

And of course I needed some yarn to get those socks started:

I am very excited about the self patterning sock yarn. I think it will be nice for the simple sock pattern in Folk Socks book.

After I finish the poncho this weekend, I'm going back to the Shawl. I think I will use a lifeline ever increase or two--probably the dental floss that Maureen suggests. I also need to recheck my gauge--I think the lace might be a little too holey, suggesting my gauge is off. If I can do both the lifeline and the gauge check, I might have something to show on Monday! I keep reminding myself that once I make one full lace project, the next will be a little easier~!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Lace = Fun! (or is that Frog?)

The Weekend knitting poncho/shawl is dry, so I am going to stitch it together this weekend. Finishing is better left for when I am awake and fresh--the weekend. Look for a completed object on Monday.

On Wednesday evening I cast on my Flower Basket Shawl. This is my first full lace project, so I figured it would be tricky. I was right. I've ripped back a number of times. Thank goodness my alpaca seems really strong. It is going to need to be.

I am finally starting to understand the pattern and charts (my first chart!). I suppose this isn't difficult as lace goes, but it is still proving to be a challenge to me. Maureen suggested that I might want to include a lifeline as I go along. Oh how right she is. I initially thought I would run a lifeline at each pattern change (2 in total). I think now that I might need one every five rows or so... Argh. Regardless of the numerous froggings, I really am loving the lace. This could be addictive. It makes me pay attention and think, both pluses in my book.

So, I made it to about the 15th row or so and look:

I don't know if you can see it, but there are two places (one left, one right) that look sort of like knit balls. Somehow this doesn't seem correct. I must have slipped a stitch the wrong way or something. So, I will rip again. I want this to be correct even if I have to reknit it 30 times (don't want to jinx myself--I will probably have to rip that many and more).

In case you think I forgot my sweater, never fear. Here's the lovely Coquette front, almost ready for the v neck shaping:

And I did order the yarn for my daughter's requested dress. Plus I ordered yarn for this:

Anna loves putting a little ballerina costume on to dance, so I thought she would love this fairy dress. What were a couple more balls of yarn?

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Let's Have a Party!

Let's have a party--the Weekend Knitting Poncho is finished and blocking:

I finished the last two inches, sewed in the last few ends (I had been sewing them in as I went along, since they seemed to get caught in the new yarn), and gave the fabric a nice long Euclan bath. When it was blocked and smoothed it ended up being 25 inches wide and 56 long. When it dries I will stich it together and wear this puppy!

Here's a close up of the baby cables:

Based on everyone's lovely comments, I went to the local Hobby Lobby (Michaels) to track down Lion Brand cotton ease or the like for Anna's dress. Of course they had absolutely no Lion Brand cotton blend--only lots of wool ease, Red Heart and other Synthetics. Argh. I wanted to touch this yarn because if it isn't really soft (tricky with blends) my daughter will give it the big reject (I'm still not over the fact that she hates her poncho I made her...). SO I am going to order the Jaeger yarn that the pattern recommends--I think it will be the best, even though it isn't machine washable. Handwash should work for a special occasion dress. Keep you fingers crossed!

And this leads me to the best part of my post--If all goes well I'm going to start my Flower Basket Shawl this evening! Whoopee! This is my first charted pattern, which should prove, um, thought provoking.

BTW, thanks to all of you who are reading my blog. I've noticed that not only are North Americans checking in (Canada and US), but I have hits from Australia, UK, Japan, Germany, France, Spain, Sweden (HEY Mike!), Netherlands, and India, Isn't that so very cool!

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Cable Cardigan

Faroe Island Sweater

Rowan Denim Seahorse


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Lisette from Rowan

Lorna's Laces Socks

Backyard Leaves Scarf

Eloise from Jane Ellison


The WeatherPixie


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