Saturday, September 29, 2007

Off they go

I finally got around to sewing up the Noro hat this week. Here it is all finished up:

I think I said before this was Noro Kureyon. I was wrong; it's Noro Silk Garden. Very nice yarn to work with, and I love those gradual color changes.

It's time to mail my box to Cheyenne River Reservation, so today I added care tags to all the hatz & mittnz, tossed in a few extras, boxed 'em up & sent 'em off:

Final count was 3 hatz, 7 pr mittnz, 3 happy meal-type toys, 1 balsa wood airplane, and 4 toothbrushes. Hope they enjoy everything!

I've been sorting through the huge box of donated yarn I have, deciding what to make next. I have a couple pair of socks OTN, but they aren't really exciting me. I've picked out some yarn to go with my handspun:

I'm still leaning towards doing a hat, but haven't committed myself yet.

In the meantime, I've completed about 2 inches on ILG Sock #2. I don't think I'll complete the pair in time for the KAL deadline tomorrow. [grin] Although I know some people could definitely do it in that amount of time, I'm not one of them! Besides, I have a baby shower coming up next week, and I have to finish a washcloth that's part of my gift. Heavens, I didn't realize I had so many WIPs! Guess I'd better get to work.

Yitzhak hanging out where she doesn't belong

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Lookee what I found!

I was searching for a particular skein of yarn in the spare bedroom (really have to organize that room one of these days), when I came across this!

A spindle full of singles, waiting to be plyed! I set this aside ages ago, then forgot about it. So, I refreshed my memory with this article, plyed, niddy-noddied, wet set, and now I have this:

88 yards of two-ply handspun; looks to be about a sport or DK weight. Now, I'm trying to decide what to do with it. I'm not really enthusiastic about pink myself, so whatever I make will likely get donated somewhere. My best idea so far is to find some yarn of approximately the same weight in a complimentary color and make KnitPick's 11th hour hat, using the handspun for the brim and the other yarn for the rest. The pattern doesn't seem to be available on their site any more, but I think I download a copy some time ago.

Anyone else have any thoughts on what I can make with this? Input welcome!


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Household Supervisor

Hilfy ensures the dishwasher is loaded properly.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

ILG Half Done!

I'm so excited! Last night I finished I Love Gansey sock #1. Here are the specs:

Pattern: I Love Gansey, available free on Six_Sox_Knitalong Yahoo Group
Yarn: Cervinia Calzetteria in Tan Heather
Needles: HiyaHiya Bamboo DPNs in US Size 2
Gauge: 7.5 st/inch in stockinette

Modifications: Let's see if I remember them all. First off, I went with a little looser gauge than specified. The pattern was written for 8 st/inch. It starts off with 64 stitches, which are then reduced to 62. Now, at that gauge, I use 64 stitches for a plain stockinette sock. Knowing that the cables would make the sock a little less stretchy, I decided to make my sock a little bigger by making my gauge a little looser. (Recommended gauge for this yarn is 7 st/inch, so it's still plenty tight for good wear.) Fits perfect.

I made the slight change to the weaving of the cables as proposed by group member Lia:
I only had to change 2 rows, and it makes just a 10 row repeat--andthis is
convenient for anyone who wants a shorter (or longer) leg:in row 7, I did
P1, CB2B, P2, CB2B, P1 -- so both cables go in thesame direction--and in row
9, I did K1, P2, CB2F, P2, K1, so it is crossed the sameway as row 5. Then
you just repeat the whole business for rows 11-20. (Though you could reverse
it for a 20 row repeat.)
Not being much for hearts, I converted the hearts to diamonds. You can kind of make them out in this pic:
And I think I made the leg a little shorter than written, IIRC. I got it to a length I liked, then started the heel. I chose to make an Eye of Partridge heel rather than one with a heart/diamond (thought this would be more comfortable in shoes).

While I had to pay attention while knitting these, I wouldn't say it was difficult, exactly. Just not suitable for a distracting environment. I'm so glad I decided to give it a try! OK, I'll stop gushing now. :)

As mentioned above, pattern is available free on the Six_Sox_Knitalong Yahoo Group. If you decide to give it a whirl, be sure to print out the chart and/or graph as well as the pattern. I used the chart, and it made it much easier to keep track of everything. Give it a try; I bet you'll love it as much as I do!

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Summer Vacation Part 3, including knitting report

Still with me? You hardy soul, you.

Thursday a.m. we went to the Costa Mesa Omelette Parlor for breakfast. We make a point of going there whenever we are visiting the area, it is absolutely wonderful! Tucked away in a corner of a strip mall, we found it quite by chance several years ago. The other restaurants I've mentioned are gentle recommendations. The Omelette Parlor is an absolute must-go if you are in the area. The online reviews often mention long waits; we've never had to wait at all, but we have always gone there during the week. The food is fabulous, the staff is friendly, and the decor is fun. Go; you won't be sorry.

OK, after fortifying ourselves with plenty of calories, we went to Huntington Beach (after a stop back at the hotel for bathing suits and sunscreen, natch. Still wishing for the sheep-dip sunscreen vat.). Huntington is generally considered a better beach for surfing, and we certainly got some good waves. The heat wave had broken and it was a little chilly, but fortunately we had our wet suits (which meant that I only needed about 25% of the sunscreen I put on. Oh well.). I really got a workout that day, but playing at the beach never feels like exertion to me, not like the exercise I force myself to take daily so I don't turn into a slug. Swimming, surfing, splashing about in the water are so much fun that I'll keep on until I drop.

After cleaning up, we went shopping at Southcoast Plaza. I should say window shopping, since this is a very ritzy mall, featuring names like Cartier and Dior. However, I did make one very important purchase:

I got my See's fix. IMHO, See's chocolates are the best in the world. Maybe it's because I grew up with them, but no other chocolate I have ever had matches See's in my book. Buying some See's candy is absolutely essential whenever I visit California. I will not leave the state without it.

Friday was reserved for visiting friends, which is just as well since my muscles were protesting Thursday's activities. Then it was time to pack everything up in preparation for a very early departure Saturday. Insanely early. Criminally early. (I'm really not much of a morning person).

In all this whirl of visiting beaches and islands and ships, I hardly picked up the knitting needles at all. But, I did have quite a bit of car time out and back; 57 hours, in fact. OK, much of that time it was dark, and sometimes I was asleep and sometimes I was driving (tried not to do those last two simultaneously), but what do I have to show for the rest of the time? Here's what I took with me:

1. Sideways garter stitch hat, in Noro Kureyon. Done except for binding off and seaming, which I plan to try doing in one operation. We'll see how that goes. This was perfect car knitting; garter stitch with short rows to keep from being boring, yarn and needles big enough that the occasional bump in the road wasn't a problem. Only downside was, it was over very quickly. I was done before we arrived in California.

2. Wildfoote socks. Made some nice progress, in spite of little bitty needles and fine yarn not exactly being the best choice for car knitting (some of those roads could have been a little smoother).

3. ILG socks. Didn't knit a stitch. Not a good candidate for car knitting, what with cables and charts and such. Thought I would work on them in the hotel, but I never did. See earlier references to being wiped out.

We had a wonderful time on our trip, but we were also glad to get home Sunday afternoon. The vermin seemed a bit wary at first, as if they were wondering, "Do I know you?" But by the time we ate dinner (and fed them theirs) and sat down to relax after that long drive, they not only remembered us but wanted to be near us (or on us) constantly.

Yitzhak and Hilfy help with the mountain of laundry.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Summer Vacation, Part 2

So, Tuesday afternoon we arrived in Newport Beach. We checked into our hotel, changed into our bathing suits, and I slathered sunscreen all over my pale skin. (I wish I could just dunk myself in a vat of the stuff, like a sheep dip. It would be much faster.) We grabbed our bodyboards and headed for the beach.

Newport Beach isn't great for surfing, but I love it anyway. It has numerous surf shops, souvenier shops, restaurants, et al, just yards from the beach. Some turn up their noses and describe it as "too touristy", but I like the more vibrant, alive feeling provided by the commerce and associated foot traffic. And, although the waves aren't great, I still got in some good rides on my bodyboard. The beach was unusually crowded, I think from a combination of people seeking relief from the heat wave, and the fact that school started the next day for many. I was in heaven; the b/f said I was grinning from ear to ear, and looked like a little kid. I don't doubt it; I'm happiest in the water, especially if that water is off the Southern California coast!

After a couple of hours surfing, we went back to the hotel, washed off the salt, and headed back to the beach for dinner. We tried a new (to us) place: Newport Beach Brewing Company. We loved it--if you find yourself in the area, I highly recommend it! The b/f had a Newport Beach Blonde (good thing I'm not the jealous type), while I had a margarita. I wish I liked beer; there are so many interesting kinds to try, and you can make it yourself as well. Whenever the b/f orders a beer, I try a little in hopes of learning to like the stuff. So far, not much luck.

Oh, we had some food, too.

On Wednesday, we drove to San Diego to visit the Maritime Museum. We saw the ship that played the HMS Surprise in Master and Commander; here I am at the wheel:

and the Berkely, a steam ferry boat; here I am at the engine order telegraph:

and a Russian sub; here I am checking some gauges:

When I saw this on the sub, I could hear Rock Hudson declaring, "The one thing you cannot have on a submarine is a torpedo tube with both ends open to the sea at the same time!"*

We also got to visit the USS Midway; I wish we could have had more time on her, but I was really worn out by the time they ran us out at 5:00.

We then drove to Coronado Island, across a really cool bridge. We went looking for a restaurant the b/f remembers visiting over twenty years ago. Not surprisingly, we didn't find it, so we went to McP's Pub instead. We sat at one of their outside tables so we could enjoy the wonderful weather. The food was good, the location lovely; another place I can recommend without hesitation.

Driving back, I tried taking pictures of the freeway at night. The b/f was really glad when I figured out how to turn off the flash.

I love digital photography.

Next up: Summer Vacation Part 3, with knitting report

*Ice Station Zebra, a great flick

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What I did on my summer vacation, Part 1

We're home again from our lovely vacation. I had every intention of blogging while we were gone, but in the mornings I was eager to get to our destination for the day, and in the evenings, I was wiped out! So much for intentions...

We elected to drive to California (rather than fly) because the b/f wanted to drive his special car on the Californa freeways. So, the better part of two days was spent reaching our destination.

First we visited friends of the b/f in Rosamond, CA for a couple of days. Did a little visiting, a little target shooting, and quite a bit of eating. We saw smoke from forest fires coming over the mountains, and fine ash drifted down on everything. Did I have my camera handy when I could see those smoke clouds? Of course not.

I did snap a pic of the sign at our motel, which I found absurdly amusing:

How old d'you suppose that sign is? I mean, how long has it been since it was considered necessary to advertise the presence of a television at a motel? Anyway, I'm sure this sign will be coming down soon. The place is now a Days Inn; this is how it will look soon. They did a pretty good job of photoshopping the sign in the web site's photo because, trust me, right now it is proudly proclaiming the presence of TV.

There was one little feature of the motel that, oddly enough, isn't mentioned on the corporate site. This is the view when standing in front of the door to our room:

Yes, those are railcars. Right across the street were some very busy train tracks. Although, I must admit, the trains didn't keep me awake at all. Like I said, by the end of each day, I was wiped out.

After two days in the hot, dry desert, I was seriously ready for the coast! So, after a little more visiting Tuesday a.m., we hopped in the car and headed out for my favorite place in the world: Newport Beach!

I'm always so happy when the trees start to look like this.

Stay tuned for our next installment: Summer Vacation, Part 2.