Thursday, June 29, 2006


I present to you the humble beginnings of the Diamond Fantasy Shawl (DFS). I haven't even finished one repeat of the main chart, but I couldn't be happier with the way everything is going. Mostly it's because I can manage to get through one right side row without screwing up, tinking back, starting over, fixing the dropped stitches, and obscene amount of rather unlady like language. This is mostly happening because I've come to terms with the fact that I'm unable to do lace and watch tv at the same time. I know that I keep saying this over and over, but it's a big step in personal acceptance for me. I am a MAJOR multi-tasker (again with the ADD) and find it incredibly hard to not being doing several things at once. This explains why I learned to knit in the first place. I can't just sit and watch tv, it makes me insane. I used to quilt, but after I got my first quilt hand peiced (it's queen size. Don't ever say I don't dive in head first into my hobbies) I kind of got stuck and gave up. I know that I will get it done eventually, it just might take awhile. Like til retirement, but that's another story.
Anyhow, coming to terms with my inability to do any two tasks skillfully at the same time (within reason - I'm not talking about climbing a mountain and sewing on a button here. I consider climbing a mountain and trying to stay alive multi-tasking enough) is a really big deal to me. Not only that, I like working on this enough to not give it up because I know it's the only thing I'm able to work on. Also, another big personal growth point for me.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Blame it on the rain...

This absolutely hideous, dark pic, that should probably not even appear here, is a desperate attempt to show proof of knitting. This is my progress on the Seed-ovli and I think I'm doing pretty good. I have altered the gauge to get a finished in-between size, and it's working out beautifully. I even managed to try it on and only drop a couple of stitches, so I must say that this is moving along pretty well. The seed stitch is working nicely for preventing the rolling and it doesn't add too much bulk or length to the garment. I recommend it highly to anyone who cannot stand the rolling, but isn't up for all the annoyance of a picot edging.
So, if you could actually see this picture you would be able to tell that I'm about 2 inches below the armhole - which is about three inches before the waist decreases. All in all, pretty good considering the insanity that has been my life lately. Sadly, with big plans this week, which ofcourse involve having the house clean, which it could be further from at the moment, the knitting time is going down the tubes. I would like to get this done in the next few weeks, but that is unlikely at best. Which, actually, is okay for me, and completely out of character. I say that because I have the diamond fantasy shawl that I've started and is my focused knitting right now. It's fun, and all I want to work on, but with my ADD I know better than to try to work on it with the tv on. So plain, old stockinette it is. It may be tedious some days, but at least I can measure my progress and feel like I got somewhere. It's also considerably better than tinking back rows and rows of lace, trying to figure out where things went so horrible wrong.

In an attempt to distract you from the horrible knitting picture, I leave you with this cute little guy we saw in California.

Did it work?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Still Knitting

So, sadly, I have no pictures to show you because I've been a little too busy to take them. Mostly the time has been being eaten up by taking care of the garden, I've been getting eaten by the mosquitos. Seriously, they are so bad in the mid-atlantic, I can't go outside without taking a bath in Skin So Soft or I get swarmed. Yuck!
Anyhow....I have been knitting on the dishcloths and it's been a pretty fun experience. It's nice to not have to worry about whether it will fit or about making mistakes or wasting/running out of yarn. It really is a good way to take a break from a stressful lace project or that sweater you keep casting on and frogging because it's not working. Plus it's a nice way to test a lace or stitch pattern on something a little bigger. In the end, even if you don't like it, you got something useful out of the work ;) So I have this one finished already, and I only need to do one more repeat on this one and I'll call it done. I made a total rookie, with a capital R, mistake on that one though. I admired the way the dishcloth had this nice garter stitch border around it to frame it, and then I promptly cast on exactly the number of stitches I needed and started the pattern from row 1. The best part is that I was bemoaning how tight my cast on was the whole way through, and wishing that there was some sort of border rows. I am so. damn. smart. Really.
So that one looks a little goofy, but the pattern is still nice and it's drapey and lacey, and you know what? It's a dishcloth and I don't care. Stress free knitting....I love it!

And, finally, I have chosen the first lace pattern I'm going to knit, and likely the yarn as well. I'm going for the Diamond Fantasy Shawl which I purchased/downloaded from this site. This was a great experience, because on most websites, you'd have to buy the pattern, pay for the shipping, then wait for it to get to you. Now, if you were ordering the yarn from the site too, it might not be such an issue, but I happen to have this yarn leftover from the failed attempt at the lacey scarf. On paper, the yarn is ideal for the pattern and I have just over 400 yards to work with, which is perfect for the "scarf size" of the pattern. But, back to the site....because I have the yarn in the stash and have the patience of a hungry two year old in an ice cream parlor, I wanted to download the pattern. This was the only site I found that would do that. Not only does it allow you to do it, but it gives you three shots at it. I still have 2 more shots at downloading and until Sat. to do it. It worked perfectly the first time, but if something had gone wrong, it would have been no big deal. To me, in this not so perfect world of today's technology, this is a great way to make sure your customers are happy. There was no nervousness for me about something going wrong with my 1 alotted download, and no worry that I would have customer service issues if something happened. Many of the patterns are available for download, and I would highly recommend it.

Tonight I have to go home, find something to wear to the wedding this weekend, pack it all up, pack up everything for Jordan, and get ready in general to leave tomorrow afternoon. That is, after working all morning. I still seem to think that I can get one more cloth done before then. My feet are rooted firmly in the land of not going to happen, but my hands are convinced they fly at the speed of sound. When I get back, I'll let you know who won, but I'm pretty sure you can guess this already. But if you figure it out, don't tell my hands, I like them, disillusioned as they are.

Monday, June 19, 2006

An attack of Start-itis

Firstly I'd like to thank everyone for their help and kind words about everything random I've been writing about lately. I feel like I'm all over the place lately, and you gals are following right along. So thank you for coming along for the ride. And thank you to all the people that have commented that I can't get back to because Blogger stinks and won't let me reply. The comments are greatly appreciated. =)


When last I came up for air I noticed that I had purchased a unreasonable amount of sock yarn and little to no other weights, and I realized I didn't care. But suddenly it has hit me that I want to do other things. Many other things. And all at once. I have gone from the focused finisher to the ADD knitter, with no understanding of how or why. Why, today alone I've set myself up with four skeins of Sugar & Cream to make face/dish cloth wrappers for presents to our friends who are getting married THIS weekend. As if that's not bad enough, they really need to be done and ready to go by Friday morning so they can be packed, because we're spending the weekend away at this not so far away destination wedding. The best part is that I have NO idea what we would "wrap" in these cloths. Well, I have some ideas, but none of them are good.
Ofcourse, it would have been better to come up with this not so brilliant idea before the weekened so I would have had more time to work on them, but I was thinking too hard about the yarn for the Picovoli, which I got on Saturday. I cast on that evening and spent my knitting time this weekend working on it. Above is as far as I've gotten. I decided to edge it in seed stitch because I've heard that no amount of steaming was going to stop the rolling, and I'm just not up for that. It's only 5 rows, but that's what took me the longest, ofcourse. I'm knitting this continetal, but since my purling really really stinks, I did the seed stitch by throwing, and there went my free time. Ah, seed stich, you are so lovely, and so painful.
And, as if getting cloths done by this weekend, and the seed stitch-ovli done in time to wear it this summer, and the foot of the second jaywalker that I seem to refuse to work on, isn't enough, I'm sitting here surfing for lace patterns! I must be crazy. I've decided that I want to make a shawl for my Grandmother and a stole for my Mother as potential "wedding" presents, if you will. They wouldn't be due for another year or so, so I figured now is a good time to get started so that I don't get stressed out when something doesn't work, or with Christmas knitting, and so forth. But as any procrastinator knows, the longer you give yourself to finish something, the more you're going to get absorbed in the "planning" and the less in the doing, and the closer you are willing to wait to the finish date because it's all planned so well, it will just fly by. Yeah. right.
So, out of nowhere, I've decided that I need a few more sets of hands so I can work on several knitting projects at once. Plus I've decided that I need to rearrange my office and clean the heck out of it. Oh, and paint the living room and dining room. And give the house the good "spring cleaning" it didn't get before. And a whole myriad of other things that I'm excited about starting.
I'm really not sure who I'm channeling right now, but it's kind of cool. That is, as long as this starter happens to be a finisher too. I guess that remains to be seen!

And in the Polling the People part of the blog:
If anyone knows any fabulous shawl patterns or laceweight yarns, let me know. I'm liking things like this and this and this. I like the shawls to have a clear, well written pattern that won't make my head explode, but not painful monotony either. I'd also like it to either be not be too large or work from the bottom up, so I can make it as large as I want. My Grandmother is a small woman and doesn't need a shawl with a 7 foot wingspan.
On the yarn front, I'm liking the slightly fuzzy ones, like Kid Silk Haze, but am worried about the mohair itchiness factor, the fact that it would be for summer wear, and the price. I feel like I've worked with a fair amount of different weights of yarn, but no laceweights, so I have no idea what I'm looking for.

And now that I've been crazed, obnoxious and demanding, all in the same post, I think I'll go surf some more new things to make. Clearly, this isn't going to get better anytime soon.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Gone to the Garden

A photo essay

This is what happens when you call a building materials company and ask them to drop off a couple (or seven) tons of dirt at your house....
That is, after you slap down your credit card first. Which is not nearly as fun as slapping down the plastic at the LYS.

When they leave a pile like this in your driveway, you can count on needing the Advil the next day for the broken back you're about to get....

To give you an idea of perspective, that is the handsome, and over 6'0 tall, Fiance in the background, ready to dive into the pile of dirt.

Here is the largest bed that I built. The pictures are a little hazy because of all the sun, but it's got three tomato plants and a pepper and zucchini plant in there. There are also several marigolds in there to keep away the mosquitos (from me) and the rabbits (from my bounty).

This bed is black dog optional.

This is the main veggie bed. It gets a lot of sun and hopefully will make my tomatoes, peppers and yellow squash happy. Our back door, which leads right into the kitchen, is just to the right of this picture, so I can easily hop right out there and give them some water or snatch up some food.

This is the way the shed area used to look before we moved in...

And this is it now. I didn't have enough sunny spaces for all the plants I bought, so we got some containers to plant them in, and I (slowly) moved all the bricks that were on the side over and Fiance and our neighbor moved the wood pile around the corner - all at once!

In the end, we didn't use all the dirt, so our neighbor got a bunch and the rest is now stored safely away under this tarp until further notice.


And in knitting land, for you I have no pictures. Sorry 'bout that, but the second jaywalker is about as interesting as the first. I have just turned the heel and need to pick up stitches.
I am also in the considering stage of one project and the I-am-waiting-for-my-damn-yarn-to-get-here in another. The considering is for several lacey things that I would like to make for some family and the already ordered, tapping my toe waiting, is for some Shine Sport to make picovoli. I had several skeins leftover from the baby blanket, so I used that to start a swatch last night. Another couple of hours and I'll have a good size swatch to measure. I'm hoping to get gauge first time since I have absolutely no patience for knitting gauge swatches in the round. But it must be done *sigh*

I hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend. My crazy family arrives tonight, so things might will get way hectic, and very odd pictures might find their way here. Do not be alarmed, things will return to normal the usual someday soon (if your definition of soon is 43 days or so).


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

FO Report: Yarrow Ribbed Socks

Yarn: Vesper Sock Yarn in Knit and Tonic colorway
Needles: Size 1 8inch Crystal Palace dpns.
Gauge: 9 sts and 12 rows per inch (Alert the media that I know my gauge for once!)
Pattern: Yarrow rib socks from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush
Measurements: Size 9 feet and a 7" cuff
Time to Knit: April 24 - May 13
  • After finally deciding on this pattern, I happily knit along. I think they turned out pretty well and I'm happy with them.
  • Toe Mods: I can't even remember what toe you're supposed to do, but I changed it to the flat toe. I just followed the flat toe directions in the beginning of the book. I'm now a big fan of the flatter toes and kitchenering in general, because it works very well with my wide foot.
  • I liked working with this yarn, but I doubt I'll use it again. Not because it's not lovely, but I'm a huge fan of superwash yarn for socks and a yarn with some nylon in it. Plus Vesper is nearly impossible to get a hold of anymore, and I've surrendered.
  • The pattern was great as usual and I'd totally do it again. I even liked the decorative heel flap work. There was some garter stitch on the flap, and it kept it interesting. Also, the gusset decreases are p2tog, which made for decorative decreases that I would definately use again.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Off the Wall

I would call this post random, but I think it's beyond that stage, so here we go:
  • Blogger has been b&%$# in the last couple of days, and I'm highly annoyed. This post was supposed to show up on Wed. but I couldn't even get to creating a new post. It's been bad for pics and leaving comments too, so if I usually comment on your site, and I haven't, and you have blogger, that might be why.
  • I'm almost done my three repeats on my Pomatomus sock and I'm just not feeling it. It's taken me a very long time to get used to the pattern, and now that I finally have, I'm not liking the finished product. I've ceased working on it lately because it's not worth it. I'm going to take a few days off and see how I feel later. The colors are beautiful and the pattern is fun, but when you stretch it out over my leg, I don't like the way the pattern looks and it's already too long. I still have 8 rows to do before the heel flap. I also don't think I'd do the patterning on the foot because it looks like it would itch in a shoe, and all that work would be lost. It's starting to look like this will be ripped and abandoned.
  • 7 TONS of top soil was dropped in our driveway yesterday. Want to know what 7 tons of soil looks like? You will, but you have to wait until I get my lazy self up and get the pics off the camera.
  • Putting the better part of 7 tons of soil in your garden is back breaking work. I now know this from experience.
  • Jaywalker the seconde is moving along nicely. It was a little slow at first, but once I jogged my memory about how to do the double decrease, things went much faster.
  • I have out of continent family coming stateside in exactly a week. Posting will likely get weirder and more sporadic, if you can imagine that.
  • This is what happens when a California mountain lion puts it's paws in wet cement. I should have put something in the picture for scale, but I didn't think of it. I was too overwhelmed by the lion tracks in a neighborhood!
  • I have socks at home that I finished on the way to Cali and STILL have not washed, blocked or photographed. This is not only random, but pathetic.
  • I never washed or blocked my purple socks. One sock is in the bedroom and one in the office. Classic.
  • I need to find a project other than socks to work on! I'm thinking a tank top, but I'm at a loss for yarns, for patterns, for focus. If anyone has a summer yarn they love, let me know. Something with a little give, around sport weight, though I must be crazy because I'm game for fingering weight, and something with absolutely NO wool. Also, it's got to be reasonably priced, or on sale somewhere ;)
  • Any cute tank top ideas to go with the yarn would begreatly appreciated. Matching the yarn to the pattern is what takes me so freaking long. That and casting on make me crazy.
  • Yesterday I actually caught up on all of the feeds I had from vacation! Heaven help me if I go on a vacation for more than a week.
  • It's mosquito season once again in MD and I'm proving no less the enticing feast that I was last year. If anyone knows of a good natural mosquito deterrent, let me know. I've been using Avon Skin so Soft repellant and sun screen, but they're still coming for me.
  • Below are some of the pictures I took of a rainbow that Fiance and I saw in Tennessee, I think, on the drive back. I could not stop myself from taking pictures. I thought of Sandy the whole time.
  • I could likely go on for days about absolutely nothing, but I won't subject to that any longer.
  • I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, full of good weather and lots of knitting!

Monday, June 05, 2006

There is too much brass in my living room...

Saturday night Fiance and I went out to dinner with some of our friends and then we all retired to our house. Well, 3 out of 4 of us were musicians (ahem, I'll let you guess who the odd man woman out was) and so out came all of the instruments that Fiance and I had brought back with us from Cali. At one point three people were holding various large brass instruments, one of which almost touched the ceiling, (seen here) in my cunning shot of Fiance at work on the Soussaphone, and all I could think was that there was too much brass in my living room. Those words came out loud and my friend noted that that was not a phrase she had ever heard before, and was not likely to hear again. However, I say that if you had seen this brass and heard some of the sounds that they were making, you'd have thought the same thing. =)

Now onto actual knitting....
For your viewing pleasure I bring you one completed Jaywalker. I knit and knit on Friday, and was determined to finish this one. It seemed like the toe was taking forever, but then you get to those last few rounds and suddenly you're like the flash, and it's done. Well, all but the grafting. The grafting of those 14 or so stitches took a good half hour. It turned out pretty well, but I did what I always do and accidentally split one of the plies with my darning needle. I don't know how I manage to do this every stinking time I graft a toe, but I do. I need to learn how to not do this, because with my big, wide feet, the flat toe is incredibly more comfortable than a round or pointed toe. I'd take some advice, so long as it's not graft more loosely at first (tried that, didn't help) or pay more attention (I focused intently on not splitting it, and I still did).
So, anyhow, after I finished this Jaywalker I cast on for the second one. I would say "immediately" but that would depend on your definition of immediate. If your definition is within the next two days, then I'm good to go. This is how far I've gotten on the second sock.

Don't look at me like that. At least I cast on, twice! but we won't get into that. That's 84 freaking stitches right there, and casting on is my least favorite thing to do. Doing it twice, regardless of the stupidity behind needing to, is a monument unto itself. As long as I can get it on the toothpicks needles and join, and knit the correct ribbing a couple of rows, I'm good to go. The toe may have annoyed me, but I'm rather fond of the pattern, so it won't take much to get me to work on it. That is, if I can pull myself away from the other socks I'm working on....