Thursday, August 30, 2007

Gettin' excited

We've started packing for our vacation. The b/f got out the big suitcase last night. Tonight I packed all the clothes I am taking: shirts, shorts, jeans, socks, underwear & bathing suit. It took up one-third of the suitcase. The b/f had the remaining two-thirds full before he had put any shirts in! I'm trying to refrain from teasing him much about being a clothes horse; after all, I haven't packed any knitting yet.

We leave early Saturday morning. Excitement is warring with worry that I'm going to forget something absolutely essential. I probably won't get any sleep tonight.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mittnz 7 Done!

Finished Mittnz #7, gave them a nice bath, and once they were dry, tucked them into the box where I am accumulating goodies for the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. I'm glad that now I know how to knit mittens, but I'm also glad to move to something else for a while! I think someone issued a hat challenge for the Rez; I seem to remember that somewhere I have a skein of Noro something or other that should make a nice hat. If I can find it in time, I'll take it along with me on our trip--leaving in just 2.5 days!

My list of knitting to pack is getting to be nearly as long as my list of clothing to pack. I seem to be experiencing some sort of separation anxiety at the thought of leaving anything behind. What if I have a minute or two of idle hands? Horrors! No, no, no...must have lots-n-lots of knitting so I always have something suitable to reach for. I wonder if the b/f would mind hitching a small U-Haul trailer to the back of the Trans Am?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

ILG - Ready to start the heel

Well, I'm ready to start the heel on my first I Love Gansey sock. I'm so excited! I decided to go with a basic heel-stitch heel, rather than carrying the pattern down the heel. I'm not so sure that I would like cables on my heels. I should make faster progress now, since the complicated cable is done. The moss stitch hearts (or, in my case, diamonds) and the 2 stitch cables continue down the instep, but the intricate cables stop here.

A week from today, we leave on vacation. At that time, I should be done or near done with this sock. I expect to have a lot of car-knitting time, but doing the cables on sock #2 would not be a good project for the car! Not sure yet what I'm going to take along. Other than the ILG socks, my current WIPs are pretty mindless knitting. Maybe a little too mindless for super-long stretches in the car. Maybe I should start something new, especially for the trip! Then, I could take along my ILG sock (for those times when I can work on it), and my special trip project, and one of my mindless knitting projects (should never be too far from one of them). My b/f would definitely go insane if I packed that much knitting.

Wish I could take this along:

I always miss the cats when we go on a trip. We're going to be gone longer than usual--9 whole days--hope they don't totally trash the house while we're gone.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

WIP Wednesday

For no other reason than the fact that I like the alliteration, I've decided today will be WIP Wednesday. I shall forthwith show off/confess to my active works in progress (no way am I digging anything out of the closet; this is just stuff I'm currently working on and expect to actually finish in the reasonably near future).

1. I Love Gansey sock. Still lovin' this pattern. I'm starting to move a little more quickly, getting a feel for the pattern so I don't have to check the instructions several times on each row. It's about 4.5 inches long now; another 10-12 rounds and I'll think about starting the heel.

2. Mindless knitting socks; Wildfoote in Bluegrass colorway. I started these a while back so I had something to grab when other projects were at a "pay attention" spot, and I needed something for TV knitting and the like. Not sure exactly when I started them, but I'm really rather surprised how far I have gotten with knitting a few rows now and then. I figure that someday they'll actually be done, and I'll feel like I magically conjured up a pair of handknit socks without any concious effort.

3. Weekend sweater. I actually forgot about this for a few days when I got obsessed with the ILG socks. (So unusual, for a knitter to be obsessed!) Just started the 3rd skein; it's about 7 inches long. I'm able to work on it for longer periods of time now without my arm hurting; don't know if I found a better position or the muscles in question are getting stronger (hope I don't end up with a weirdly muscular right forearm).

4. Mittnz #7. Inching along, bit by bit.

There you have it! I'm off work today, and I had planned to enjoy some knitting. However, as the day drew closer, more and more chores and errands popped up, and it always seemed like today would be just the perfect day to take care of them. Now it looks like I'll be running around all day and won't get to knit until after dinner. *sigh* I'd probably have more knitting time if I went in to work. Note to self: be sure to buy a lottery ticket today (imagine the stash I'd have then!)

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

I *heart* Gansey

I'm still loving the I Love Gansey sock:

I'm using Size 2 (2.75mm) needles and getting 7.5 stitches/inch in stockinette stitch. Even though the sock is worked on 64 stitches, I was afraid that the recommended gauge of 8 st/inch would result in a sock a little too small for me, since the cables would cause it to draw in and be a little less elastic. This looks like it will be just the right size.

I made a slight alteration to the pattern; since I'm not much for hearts, I'm doing diamonds instead. Diamonds seem to crop up in my knitting a lot--in the Girl's Best Friend socks, in the foot pillow I made for the b/f, and now here. I'm beginning to wonder if it's Freudian. I have been wanting some diamond earrings for quite a number of years. If I ever find a new job, perhaps I'll celebrate by treating myself to a pair. Then maybe I can move on to some other pattern.

I haven't found my cable needle(s), but I found a substitute in the kitchen cabinet; a wooden toothpick. At first it was a bit rough and tended to catch on the yarn, but after a little use it has smoothed out and is working quite well. I'm betting that once it has been polished by use to a satiny smoothness, the cable needle(s) I shelled out good money for will turn up.

BTW, tinking a cable pattern isn't easy! I made a mistake at one point; thought it would be easy to fix since I noticed it quickly. Ha! Getting the stitches back in the proper order was no picnic; I finally just ripped out two rows and did them over.

Yitzhak's reviewing my work. Did I get it straightened out OK, Yitzie?

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

GBF Socks Done!

Hot off the needles:

Pattern: Girl's Best Friend Socks
Yarn: Panda Wool (wool/bamboo blend), in Bluebell
Needles: Brittany Birch DPNs, US Sz 3

I've said it before, but it bears repeating: this yarn is delicious! The socks feel silky, cool and soft on my feet. I plan to contact the distributor to see if I can get this yarn for my eBay store.

Aside from the fact I wanted to wear these socks, I was eager to finish so I could start on the current Six Socks Knitalong project, I Love Gansey.

This is what I got done at work today (very slow day). I'm using Cervinia Calzetteria in Tan Heather, and my new HiyaHiya DPNs. Both yarn & needles swiped from my eBay store; a concientious retailer should test her products periodically, dontcha think? Now I just need to find my cable needle. I know I have one or three somewhere, but I've never used it/them; where or where could they be?

Lest you think I am totally neglecting my mittnz:

Mittnz #7 are progressing very slowly, but they are progressing. Since the I Love Gansey socks will require attention to charts, this will be my TV knitting.

BTW, these pics were taken with my new camera. I've been practicing, and the results so far have been good, but boy, do I have a lot to learn! I totally don't understand most of the information on the display. Good thing the camera is smart enough to figure out most things for me. However, I hope to eventually have some fraction of a clue what all this stuff means. I plan to work my way through this stuff. Wish me luck--I'm afraid my head might explode.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

9 down, 3 to go

I have just 3 more pattern repeats to go, then I start the toe. I hope to get at least two of those diamonds knocked out today. If work stays as quiet as it has been so far, shouldn't be a problem.

I am well fortified for a quiet Sunday @ work. I have my knitting, natch, and the book you see above (a Miss Silver mystery), as well as To Live and Let Die from I purchased the first James Bond novel (Casino Royale) on CD, and enjoyed it immensely. I decided to try downloading 007's second adventure to evaluate the Audible service. I do like the ability to "bookmark" my place when listening, but the sound quality isn't what I hoped for. I chose the format with the best sound quality, but there are occasional pops and snaps. I didn't have anything like that on the CD. Haven't decided yet if it bothers me enough that I'll dump

Apart from the quality of the recording, I'm finding these early James Bond novels so much fun! Originally published in the 50's, they are an interesting look into the attitudes of that era. When I read books or watch movies from the 60's and earlier, I often enjoy the sociological aspect as much or more than the plot. I love observing the fashions, manners, slang, racial stereotypes, gender roles--it's all so fascinating! It brings a place and time alive for me in a way that reading history never could, while helping me to understand and put into perspective historical events. So I get my horizons broadened through vintage escapism. It doesn't get any better than this.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Lotsa goodies

I received lots of nice stuff in the mail today--some knitting-related, some not.

After considering it for months, I finally broke down and bought a new camera:

A Nikon D40; I was strongly influenced by this review. Old camera (a Nikon Coolpix 800) still works fine, but one of the big selling points for me on the D40 is no shutter lag. I have almost no pictures of Yitzhak because she won't hold still; I get a nice shot all framed, press the shutter, and she walks off before the camera takes the pic. I can hardly wait for the battery to charge so I can start snapping away!

I also received my KnitPicks order:

The long-awaited CotLin (Nightfall and Linen), some Essential sock yarn (Black Tweed and Carbon Twist), plus three books: Top Down Sweaters, Simple Socks Plain and Fancy, and The Magic Loop. Some fun reading in store!

Before I try a sweater from the top down, though, I want to finish my Weekend Sweater from the bottom up. It's going slowly:

Once I got a few inches done, I found that my right arm started hurting after a few minutes of knitting. I'm experimenting with different ways of holding the needles, hoping to find a position that doesn't cause pain. Otherwise, I can only do a round or two a day; that's slow even for me!

I've been working on my GBF socks, too. Finished the gusset yesterday. I have to work tomorrow, so I'll save that pic for then.

Whaddaya think, Yitzhak; is this camera faster than you?

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Out of my league

Earlier this week, the b/f discovered two very interesting houses near us were for sale. Even though they were totally out of our price range, we contacted the sellers and arranged for a tour of each today.

We saw this one first. I loved the spiral staircase, and the way the house was so full of light from all the windows. The bathrooms, unfortunately, hadn't been changed since the house was built in the 70's. I wasn't a fan of avocado or harvest gold fixtures even back when they were in style. So, if someone was overcome with a desire to give me the money to buy this house, I'd have to ask for enough to tear out and totally redo the bathrooms.

Then we saw this one. I'm in love. I love the solid log construction, the quarry tile floors, the covered front porch, the deck and pool in back, the 10-acre lot--10 freakin' acres, and less than a 30-minute commute to work! OK, the closets were small and few in number, but if I somehow managed to get into this house, I wouldn't be able to afford anything to put in them, so it's not really a problem, is it?

Man-oh-man, we should have known better than to look at houses we can't afford. Now we're pining for that log house (that may have been a pun; if so, forgive me. I'm not thinking clearly). The b/f actually did some calculations, and concluded that, unless we win the lottery tonight, or we discover that one or more of the vermin is a very rare and valuable feline, there's just no way. *sigh*

What am I bid for this slightly used, but still serviceable buff tabby?


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Made the plunge

OK, Monday night I screwed my courage to the sticking point and cast on for the Weekend Sweater. After all, if I don't like it, it can always be yarn again, right?

So far, so good. I am seriously liking this yarn (Telemark from Knit Picks--Charcoal Heather). Reasonably soft, with a nice spring to it; it's lovely to work with. I'm pleased with the needles, too, which is something for me; I don't generally like metal needles. But I'm just tired of fighting the cables on my Clover bamboo circs, and I flat refused to buy another pair. These are Susan Bates Silverado needles, which are supposed to be a cut above their Quicksilver needles. Can't tell you if that is true, as I've never used the Quicksilver, but these are nice. The cable is flexible enough that it isn't fighting me, my yarn isn't catching on the joins, and the needles are smooth without being so slippery that they feel like they are going to jump out of the yarn. Works for me.

Speaking of Knit Picks, they finally have the CotLin yarn available. I'm thinking about picking up a couple of skeins, plus maybe some of the sock yarn in one of the new colorways, and a stack of books. Gotta make that $45 minimum order so I get free shipping! Now that's good money management. ;)