’tis a special day!

On this day in 1969 our DD, Celticdragonfly was born.  She started out life as an “over-achiever” at 10 lb. 6 oz., and 22 1/2 inches long.  She has continued life in that tradition:  a National Merit Scholar;  an exemplary scout, raising money on campus through pennies voting for ugliest man on campus; an honor graduate; and now a wonderful mom to 4 kids, herself.

She is a fiber artist, knitting, weaving, spinning, and with her own sock design featured in the first year of Six Sock Knit-along.  Can you tell we’re very proud of her?  Go wish her a happy birthday, won’t you?

Committed to/by stranding

I started to say that I have committed to do a stranding project, but it may be a bit ambitious.  I chose the Lady’s Jacquard Sweater Vest from Knit Picks, and ordered the yarn in Celadon Heather for the background and Bark for the figure.  (Just scroll down on the pattern page and you’ll see the “color chips”.)  There’s no turning back:  it’s been shipped.

Actually, I’m pretty excited about this vest.  It has waist shaping hidden in the pattern, which sounds like an elegant solution to me.  Now, I need to finish the sweater I’m working on.  Other WIP’s will simply overlap…a knitter has to have variety!

Weekend knitting

First, the good news:  I finished the first sleeve on the Chic Hoodie.  It’s just the right length and the decreases march beautifully down the inseam.

Now, the bad news:  As I bound off the cuff I realized I had knit the standard sleeve.  I knit the lace variation on the front edge of this cardigan, and had planned to knit the lace band down the sleeves, too.  What kind of knitting zone is that, to knit an entire sleeve and not notice you’re leaving out the lace?

Verdict:  Not Frogging, your honor.  As the cats say when they fall asleep and roll off the table, “I meant to do that!”

Duck, duck, goose!

Each afternoon, as the sun sinks lower in the west, we have visitors on our shore.  It’s the flock of mallards, accompanied by their goose.  I like to think of the big white beauty as the “watch-goose”, not unlike the alpacas and llamas that guard flocks of sheep.

The ducks root about in the grass, eating winter insects and grubs, we suspect.  They come boldly near my bedroom windows, which is how I took these photos.

You can tell I was at the window:  the watch-goose has turned to keep a beady eye on me.

I really enjoy their tea-time visits much more than their 5 am quack-ins.  Who needs a rooster with a flock like this?

The Geek Knits, Part 3

There have been so many questions on-line about needle storage that I have decided to share several options with you.

The first, my Bass Pro Shop Double Worm Bag, was widely discussed on knit lists in 2003.  Perhaps you have always wondered what a “worm bag” was, and what a knitter would do with it.  (I believe the sections are designed to store those plastic faux-worms fishermen use as bait.)  The bag has two sides (“double” worm bag); I use one for double points, one for circular needles.  They are the same, so I’m showing you the double point side.  This blue bag comes with a set of plastic zip-top inserts that have reinforced eyelets for a ring binder.  (I bought more inserts separately as my range of sizes increased.  The number seemed adequate for about a year.)  My labeling solution is to print out the size on my label maker (told you I’m a Geek) and put one label on each side of an index card.  When this index card is placed in the zip-lock insert, I can read the size from both front and back.  This solves the problem of labels not sticking on vinyl.

There is additional storage inside the front and back wall of each section, as well as large pockets on the outside front and back.

Knitty magazine inspired my storage solution for my long straight needles.  See the picture in the upper left corner of Knitty?  Click on Knitty’s  jug of needles (upper left corner of their page header) to read about them, and the dedication.  My version uses a jug painted for me by DD, Celticdragonfly on Ravelry.  Beside it you will see a Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice mug my youngest DD brought back from her Disney World honeymoon.  It stores my crochet hooks.

Speaking of the crochet hooks, this syringe holder usually resides in the Mickey mug.  It originally held a 50 cc syringe.  You might ask a hospital nurse if she ever uses these syringes.  This holder is thrown away when the syringe is used.  I use my re-purposed syringe holder to keep track of my steel crochet hooks (the itty-bitties, which you might use for beading). 

Marking a historic day

I have begun Chic Knit’s basic hoodie, the lacy version, in Plymouth Galway in a lovely sage green.  At the time of President Obama’s speech I was putting the sleeves on waste yarn.  I will always remember the day when I wear the sweater.  Hasn’t it always been that way?  What were you doing at Pearl Harbor, President Kennedy’s inaguration/assasination, 9/ll?  All historic days are remembered by the domestic details of our life.  Knitters simply mark our days in yarn.

God bless us all!  God bless America!

Knitting Updates

On January 15th, I showed you the beginning of Primavera Socks, knit with Wollemeise Blue Susanne.  I was concerned that they were pooling too much, and asked what you thought.  Yes, it was frogged.  So many people rave about Wollemeise, but if this was my only experience with it, it would be a real disappointment.

DD, Celticdragonfly on Ravelry, to the rescue.  She gave me Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn for Christmas.  This book explains why handpainted yarns misbehave, and how to avoid that. I had my choice of tinkering with the Primavera pattern, or trying one of the book’s patterns that were designed for the wilder multi-color yarns.  I went for Rib Fantastic Socks (Ravelry link) from the book.  What a difference it made!

Meanwhile, Acer (Ravelry link) was waiting to be finished, with one and a half sleeves remaining.  I pressed on and finished it this weekend.  The buttons were purchased at a historical reinactment at the fort in Nachitochez, LA in 2003.  The purchase was purely speculative then.  (Who knew knitters bought things without knowing what they would do with them?  Right!) I really like with the waistline shaping of this pattern.  The sweater fits well, but because the garter stitch band is very soft in this yarn, it tends to pull and gap.  This will be primarily a house sweater, and I am very pleased with it.

Did you notice?  I got my hair cut in bangs this week.  I really missed my pixie hair cut with bangs, but DH is very fond of my hair this length.  This new style makes us both happy.

It means a lot to me…

It may not seem like a big deal to a muggle, but for a knitter, it’s an honor.  I reported in an earlier post that when you look up Striped Modular Vest, you see me wearing it.  Since then, two of my projects have been chosen to have their pictures represent the pattern.  Two!

First my Paprika Bells and Whistles socks were added to the Bells and Whistles pattern.  Then yesterday I was asked if my Blue Springy socks picture could be used for the Springy Socks pattern. 

I love it…feel like I should begin a post that says something like “I just want to thank the academy.”  Yes, I hear you, it takes so little to make her happy.  Friends, in the dark of winter, I needed some happiness!

It’s so dark!

I’m here, but I fear I’m not fit company, so I haven’t said much.  DH and I suspect that my mood might be caused by the winter dark.

Knitting is happening:  Acer (Ravelry link) has been knit top-down, the body complete and half of the first sleeve done.  It’s in Brown Sheep’s Lamb’s Pride Superwash, Almond Blossom. All I can say is, boy, does knitting the body back and forth and the sleeves in the round show off how uneven my back and forth knitting is.  Elizabeth Zimmermann said she used to think the old-time knitters were much better at getting a balanced stitch.  Finally, she realized they weren’t, the garments had just been washed enough times that the stitches had evened out.  One can but hope.

Last night I spend some time hunting on Ravelry looking for a shawl or scarf pattern that would look good with a handpainted laceweight yarn.  I have a skein of  Knitivity Uptown Road laceweight in “beach” colors, sand and water.   Diagonale Shawl (Ravelry link)  was designed for handpainted merino lace – perfect!  I cast on last night for a bit of a diversion, and found it quite enjoyable.  (What does a knitter do when things aren’t going well?  Cast on, of course!)  As I typed this, thoughts of Harry Potter and Diagon Ally presented themselves.  Now I’ll never see this knitting without thinking of Harry.  Oh well, that bit included Mrs. Weasley, and her prolific knitting.  One could do worse!

Lest you think I am drowning in a sea of beige yarn, I should fess up that I am also knitting Primavera socks (Ravelry link) in Wollemeise Blue Susanne.   No, I’ve never managed to get in on the feeding frenzy that is Wollemeise available at Loopy Ewe.  I won this skein last year in Sherrie’s random acts of kindness contest.

At first, I found the Primavera hard slogging because I was having difficulty getting my right needle in for the M1R and the purl 3 tog wasn’t exactly fun, either.  Yesterday, I came out of my fog long enough to realize that I should change from my pair of Addi circulars to a long Knit Picks needle and knit magic loop.  That gave me the incredible Knit Picks needle tips, and I breezed through three repeats of pattern.  It tends to pool a bit, but in a charming way.  I like Primavera, but wonder if I should frog this and try manipulating the pattern with added purls to change the color distribution.  I have a feeling that it would only change a bit, and might not be worth it.  What do you think?

The Geek Knits, Part 2

I have a lot of knitting patterns that I have printed out.   Patterns have a way of disappearing from the internet; go back for one you loved and you could have your heart broken. I have them;  the trick is finding them again in my studio.

The patterns are kept in page protectors, organized in notebooks with index dividers.  ( DH knows to ask on his way out the door to Office Depot “Need any more page protectors?”  It’s on his list, like bananas and milk.)

The next logical step was a table of contents, which I typed up as a Word document, saved the document in computer memory, and printed it out.  The printed copy becomes the first page of the notebook.    Having it as a saved document means that if there is room in the notebook to add more patterns, I can type the new titles on the end of the list, and print out just the last page.  This sure beats starting over each time!

When I knit a pattern I take it out of the notebook collection and keep those page-protected sheets in my knitting bag…or beside me on the sofa, whatever.  Part of celebrating a finished object is putting the pattern back in the notebook.  Now, don’t laugh at me too much, please, but it took years for this lightbulb to come on.  I finally realized that I could save myself all the effort of hunting for the correct slot  by simply penciling the index number on the upper corner of the pattern when I pull it from the notebook … “#17″.

Why, yes, I could have done this when I set up the notebooks.  I told you it took a long time for my lightbulb moment.  For now, it doesn’t matter if they all have numbers…only the one I take out has to find its way back home.

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