Tuesday, February 28, 2006

So Close

But no gold. This is where my Olympic Tank was on Sunday night when the torch was extinguished.

And that is where it still is. So very close to done, but not quite. (In case you can't tell, it's a V neck.) I'll probably finish it up tomorrow, since the weather forecast says it will be very nearly warm enough to wear it. I only have about two more rows to go on the back, join the shoulder seams, then I think a row of single crochet around the neck and armholes would be a good idea.

Even though I didn't medal, I did learn from my Olympic experience. For years I have stayed away from larger projects such as sweaters, vests, etc. because my memory is that it took months-n-months to complete such a thing. But I designed and (very nearly) knit a tank in just 16 days. I'm thinking that this tank pattern would make a very nice wool vest. And I still want a tank with a square neck. And now I know that I can get such a thing done in a reasonable amount of time. Three cheers for the Yarn Harlot for getting us all to push ourselves!

And now I'll leave you with a pic of a gift my b/f picked up for me on our recent trip to Springfield.

Isn't he a sweetheart?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Jesse James Connection

Recently, my SIL asked me about a family story that a relative used to do some gunsmithing for Jesse James. Was it true, or was it just something that my oldest brother made up? I assured her it was true, because Aunt Sis told me about it, and she wasn't give to tall tales. However, I couldn't remember the details, so yesterday I asked Dad to give me the scoop.

Dad said my great-great grandfather used to sell guns to the James gang, as well as perform custom gunsmithing for them. As Aunt Sis pointed out, the James brothers were liked in that part of Missouri, because they spent their money there, but didn't cause trouble. Plus, you just didn't say no to Jesse James. Dad said they paid real well, too. When GGGF did some gunsmithing for Jesse, he would leave the guns in a certain hiding place. When he checked back later. the guns would be gone and payment left in their place. However, it didn't end well for great-great-Grandather. He ended up dead at the bottom of a cliff. Jesse James said he was drunk and fell, but no one else was around to see what really happened. The family believed that Jesse knocked him over the head, then pushed him off the cliff. Once the body reached the bottom, it was impossible to tell if the marks were caused from the fall or not.

I suppose there is a moral in there somewhere. Something about staying away from cold-blooded killers, even if they are free with their ill-gotten gains.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Crunch time

OK, I've been neglecting my Olympic tank lately, even though we are nearing the deadline. Just didn't want to sit down and figure out number of stitches to bind off for armholes, etc. But I finally bit the bullet and did just enough math so I could pick up the needles again. I'm working on the back, so I have a little more time before I have to make the momentous neckline decision. I'm experiencing that excitement one feels when nearing the completion of a project. I'm two-thirds done, and the rows keep getting shorter.

Didn't visit the parents last weekend, but we are definitely going this weekend. While lots of drivetime knitting is good, I will probably have to do more cipherin' while out of town. Hope I don't need a reference that I didn't think to pack. Would it be unreasonable to take my entire knitting library with me on a weekend trip?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Ready for Mardi Gras!

I finished the scarf today. I love it! I've been walking around the house with the scarf wrapped about my neck. Decided to make the fringe a little longer: 5" rather than 4", and I didn't use as many as I expected. Revised pattern will be up on the free patterns page shortly.

You know, this is the first scarf I ever made. I know that beginning knitters generally start with scarves, but I didn't. I guess, living in So. Cal. at the time, a scarf wasn't a compelling project. I have a little stuffed garter stitch dog; I think that was the first thing I made (other than practice swatches).

This scarf was fun, and didn't take long at all. I've already started another, this one with sock yarn (different pattern). It's a mindless break from the Olympic tank.

Speaking of the Olympic tank, I am now at decision time. It's time to start shaping the armholes, which means I have to start the V soon if I'm going to do a V neck. I don't feel like doing math tonight, so I'll probably do my cipherin' tomorrow on bind offs, etc. Yes, I know, I could have done this part before the cast on date, but that would be far too sensible. And anyone who knows my b/f knows I don't have much sense. :)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Back to normal

Yesterday morning was warm and sunny. Then the clouds gradually started rolling in, and the breeze picked up, and it got a little cooler. Clouds got darker and darker. Then, at 3:00, the skies opened up and we were pelted with hail. Big chunks of ice falling from the sky and attacking my poor car. Then the hail stopped, and the rain poured down, and the temperature dropped precipitously. Today it's cold and windy, like you'd expect in February. Welcome to Missouri.

Enough with the weather report. Here's the status of my WIPs:

Olympic tank measures a little over 8". When it gets to 10", I need to start the armholes, and it'll be decision time for the neckline: square or V? Today I'm leaning towards V. Tomorrow I'll probably swing back to square. It'll probably end up being decided by what mood I'm in when I get to that part of the tank.

Mardi Gras scarf measures 41". I'm aiming for four feet, before fringe.

I may go visit my parents this weekend, which means a lot of knitting time in the car (b/f does the driving--isn't that wonderful?). Neckline decision time looms near.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Nice day rule

Sunny & 62 degrees. Yes, I said 62 degrees. This calls for some outdoor knitting.

The tank is resting on my knees as I sit on the back steps. The white stuff on the grass is the last little bit of snow that hasn't melted yet. All I can say is, G-d bless global warming.

Monday, February 13, 2006

2 rounds = 1 mile

Yesterday I discovered I can knit two rounds on my Olympic Tank in the time it takes to walk one mile on the treadmill. Just one more way to sneak in some knitting time.

In case I failed to mention it, I am knitting a tank top. Yarn is Plymouth Sausalito, a cotton blend. I love the combination of colors. Here's a closeup:

I haven't decided whether to make this a V-neck or square neck tank. As soon as I come to a decision, I start thinking of changing my mind.

BTW, my Mardi Gras scarf was about two-thirds done when the Olympics started. Since I am making good progress on the tank, I have given myself permission to work one pattern repeat on the scarf each day. That way, I should have it done in time for Fat Tuesday. Then, I have to get cracking on the next CIC challenge!

Sunday, February 12, 2006


My little felted spoolie bear has disappeared. He made one trip through the washer, and was still a little long in the body. So I tossed him in again to see if he would shorten up any. And now he's missing! I shook out each piece of laundry, looked in the legs of each pair of pants, and double-checked the washing machine. No little spoolie bear! Where could he be? I fear he is wherever missing socks go.

Olympic report: The needles arrived in time. Props to the good folks at oregon*trail*yarn for shipping promptly, and making Priority Mail available. I must say I like the Bryspun needles; very smooth and pleasant to use. And the cables relaxed and straightened out without a lot of trouble.

Here's a pic of where I was on Saturday afternoon. Watched quite a bit of TV Saturday night, so I got a good bit more done. Tonight will be an hour or two of SG-1, so that's an hour or two more of knitting. Olympic greatness, here I come!

Friday, February 10, 2006

What's in a name?

I've been knitting away at my Mardi Gras scarf. While admiring it last night, I noticed I made a mistake. Several times. Instead of two garter stitch ridges between each row of dropped stitches, it alternates between 2 and 3. However, I also decided I liked the effect of the mistake, so it is no longer a mistake. Now it is a serendipitous pattern occurrence.

I am at the end of skein #1, so I can now provide the instructions (featuring the serendipitous pattern):
Gauge: 12 stitches (in garter stitch) = 4 inches
Don't fret too much over this; I mean, after all, it's a scarf!
Needles: I used US 13
Yarn: 2 skeins Moda Dea Ticker Tape in Festival
Finished size: Approx. 5 inches wide, up to 70" long (w/o fringe)

Cast on 15 stitches. Knit 4 rows. Begin pattern stitch:
Row 1: *k1, yo; repeat from * to last stitch; k1. You know have 29 stitches on the needle.
Row 2: Knit across, dropping the yarn overs. You are now back to 15 stitches.
Row 3-5: Knit

Repeat pattern until scarf is desired length, or you are nearly out of yarn. Knit 4 rows, bind off. Add fringe if desired (fringe seems appropriate for Mardi Gras, don't you think?)

Fringe: Cut 30 8-inch lengths of yarn. For each fringe, fold one length of yarn in half. Pull the fold through one stitch on the short end of the scarf, making a loop. Thread the ends of the yarn through the loop and pull to tighten. Repeat for each stitch on each end.

Toss it about your neck and go get yourself some beads!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Mardi Gras Scarf

I recently got in a bunch of ribbon yarn. I took one look at this colorway and thought, "Mardi Gras!" Being on the lookout for a project to tide me over until the Olympics start, I cast on for a scarf. With fat needles and a lacey stitch, it's going fast, but I'm not sure I'll finish it before the torch is lit. Of course, I'm not sure I'll have my new needles by the time the torch is lit, either!

Olympic update: The needles are en route. They were shipped Priority Mail on 2/7. Priority Mail generally arrives in 2-3 days. That means they might be here today, but more likely they'll arrive on Friday. It's a toss-up whether my mail carrier will arrive before 2:00 on Friday (the official start time). Friday afternoon may find me standing by my mailbox, yarn in hand, impatiently awaiting my mail carrier. Of course, he knows me well enough that he wouldn't think a thing about it.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Holey Moley

The weather guessers said a few snow showers, but the ground was too warm for it to stick. It has been snowing since before I woke up, and it's still coming down. Seems like a good day to stay inside.

Recently, I bought one of these:

I've been cranking out i-cord to make a little felted spoolie bear.

I used Paton's Classic Merino, since I know that felts well. I swear I followed the directions, but his body sure seems longer than the one pictured in the directions. Right now, he's being buffeted about in the washer; we'll see how he turns out.

Olympic update: This is a first. I am a loose woman knitter; I generally need to use needles two sizes smaller than the mfr's recommendations to get gauge. However, with this yarn, I actually had to go with a size larger than recommended. Go figure. Anyway, I don't have a size 9 circ, so I placed a rush order online for a Bryspun pair. I've never used them, but I hear they're great. I'm a big fan of bamboo, but I'm tired of fighting the cables on my Clover bamboo circs. Didn't feel like using metal, and developed a serious hankerin' for the Bryspun. Couldn't find 'em locally, so bought online & paid for Priority Mail shipping. Hope they get here in time! I'd hate to be needle-less when the torch is lit.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Need some cheering up?

Visit www.imreallysad.com when you need a boost.

Click if you are sad

I love kitties.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Vest #2

Another vest for CIC. I changed my mind and didn't adapt the WWII knitting pattern. I went with a V-neck this time, and moss stitch edging at the armholes and neck. These knit up so quick, I want to do another one! Next time, I'll start the V sooner so there will be more room to get the child's head through. Not sure if I have enough of the Briggs & Little for another vest; may have to choose a different yarn for the next one. Peace Fleece seems a likely option, or maybe Fisherman's Wool. I need to find a little toy to slip into the pocket; this little felted bear seems like a good candidate.

Olympic update: Training/swatching is underway. I really like the look of the Sausalito yarn; it is knitting up very pretty!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Mail's Here!

Finally! Here are the possibilities for my Olympic knitting project. I am strongly leaning toward the blue skein. It is a cabled yarn of multiple shades of blue, 60/40 cotton/acrylic. I really like blue (which accounts for about 75% of my wardrobe). The purple ball on the left is just way too drapey, it is definitely out of the running. The yellow ball is also a cabled yarn, and is a possibility. I would like to see what kind of hand it has when knitted up. The purple ball on the right, I suspect, will give good stitch definition and a relatively crisp fabric. Let the swatching begin!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Drumroll, please

The CIC sock challenge brought in a total of:

624 pairs of socks!

There were also a number of sweaters, vests and shawls donated. Way to go, knitters!

The next challenge has been announced. This time, it's fingerless gloves/mitts for the ladies who care for the children. Goal: 150 pair by the end of March. There is a pattern in the old WWII knitting book I have been perusing lately; I think I'll give them a whirl!

Olympic update: Is the mail ever going to arrive?