Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tiger Lily Pullover

One good sweater deserves another.  Having finished up Marigold, I cast on Tiger Lily.  The May Flower of the Month from Fiesta Yarns.  I have to travel next week for work and needed an easy airport/airplane project.

I really hate flying these days.  It was bad enough with the airlines cutting back and treating passengers more like cargo than humans, but now with all the security theater I dread walking into an airport.  I really hate being treated like a criminal in my own country, and it isn't even as if these measures are really effective.  Governments always use times of war to expand their powers, and the "war against terror" is perfect because it can never be finished or won.  The same also applies to the "war on drugs."  They provide an excuse for government to intrude into the lives of its citizens and erode our civil rights.  Rights that are enshrined in the Constitution that it seems most politicians never read.  George Orwell was right.  It appears that we are doomed.  For myself, I will opt out of the new body scan and endure the pat down.  I don't believe that the scanners are safe.  Exposure to radiation never really is.  At least the pat downs won't give me cancer.  Been there, done that, no thanks.

Marigold Pullover - Finished!

Finished this afternoon.  It was a quick and easy knit, and it fits perfectly.  This just may become one of my favorite sweaters.  The yarn is Boomerang, by Fiesta Yarns, in the October Flower of the Month Colorway - Marigold.  The pattern is a top-down raglan, from Sweater Wizard knitting software.  Boomerang may also become my favorite merino wool for sweaters.  It is wonderful to knit with, the colors are amazing, and it knits up so beautifully.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Marigold Pullover - Body Done

I spent yesterday and today finishing up the body of my Marigold Pullover.  I am quite pleased with how it is turning out.  It fits perfectly so far and I love the colors and how they are pooling.  The striping at the top of the bodice is due to the fact that the top portion is worked back and forth, with increasing row lengths.  When the yarn is joined and the body is worked in the round, the colors start to spiral.  The spiral is even carried into the ribbing at the bottom.  I wanted to finish the body before I started on the sleeves just in case I run a little short of yarn.  Sweater Wizard estimates that the pattern will take 953 yards and I only have 960 yards, but my gauge is spot-on, and my back-of-the-envelope calculation indicates that I should have enough.  I weighed my skein before I started the first sleeve, and I'll weigh it again when I finish it to make sure that I have enough.  If I'm running short, I can always turn the full length sleeves into three-quarter length sleeves.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Cranberry Delight

I also started another necklace for one of my Larry Scott Byzantine Beads.  I have quite a stash of these beads as I always buy some from him every year at Bead and Button.  In the past I have usually just strung them with semi-precious stone beads, but lately I've been using seed beads.  I have been pondering what to do with this bead.  I picked out some colors a couple of weeks ago, but didn't really hit on a design until last night.  I am using size 11 and size 8 seed beads with tiny tear drops.  I'm going to do another spiral bead crochet necklace, similar to the one I did for Teal and Silver, but with different embellishments.  Once again I will do the crochet around Soft Flex to make it easier to assemble the necklace later.

The exact beads are (using the Beadcats stock numbering system):
2-11-479-02:  size 11 very pale amber transparent luster
2-08-507-90:  size 8 light olive transparent lined with lavender
DT1-198-00:  Tiny tear drops (3mm x 5mm) dark cranberry transparent

The colors are sort of Christmas colors, and with the cranberry drops and focal bead...hence the name.

Marigold Pullover

So this is another yarn that has been calling my name.  It is Boomerang, by Fiesta Yarns, and is another of their Flower of the Month Colors - Marigold.  It is 100% Extrafine Super Wash Merino.  It has great body, and feels almost like velvet.  A real joy to knit with, and who can resist those colors?!  Once again the pattern that they had come up with to pair with this colorway really didn't do anything for me, so I decided to do another top-down raglan.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Morning Glory Pullover - Update

I finished up the neck, body and sleeve increases today and started on the body proper.  I am very pleased with the fit and the way the colors are mixing.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Our Tables Arrived!

The tables that we bought in Jordan finally arrived!  They were shipped on November 1, and arrived in New York on November 2.  But it took until November 18 before they arrived at our doorstep.  Once they cleared customs there were issues with our address.  They were left in our driveway at 4:11 in the morning.  How do I know this?  Because the diesel engine of the truck woke me up.  No, they did not knock and ask for a signature.  For your amusement, I am including the tracking information that shows their journey here.

consignment 961369350
pick up date 1 Nov 2010
destination KING GEORGE
status Delivered
delivery 18 Nov 2010
signatory DROPPED
Details:- 18 Nov 2010, 06:00, Usa Others, SHIPMENT DELIVERED IN GOOD CONDITION.

Details:- 18 Nov 2010, 02:08, Usa Others, OUT FOR DELIVERY.
Details:- 16 Nov 2010, 16:14, Usa Others, OUT FOR DELIVERY.
Details:- 10 Nov 2010, 11:57, Usa Others, SHIPMENT RECEIVED AT DESTINATION DEPOT.
Details:- 10 Nov 2010, 06:02, New York Jfk Airport, SHIPMENT IN TRANSIT.
Details:- 9 Nov 2010, 17:40, New York Jfk Airport, SHIPMENT RELEASED FROM CUSTOMS.
Details:- 9 Nov 2010, 15:17, New York Jfk Airport, SHIPMENT RECEIVED AT TRANSIT POINT.
Details:- 9 Nov 2010, 14:18, New York Jfk Airport, SHIPMENT RECEIVED AT ORIGIN DEPOT.
Details:- 8 Nov 2010, 08:41, New York Jfk Airport, CUSTOMS CLEARANCE IN PROGRESS. DELIVERY WHEN CLEARED.
Details:- 8 Nov 2010, 08:37, New York Jfk Airport, CUSTOMS CLEARANCE IN PROGRESS. DELIVERY WHEN CLEARED.
Details:- 2 Nov 2010, 09:24, New York Jfk Airport, SHIPMENT IN TRANSIT.
Details:- 1 Nov 2010, 22:01, Amman, SHIPMENT IN TRANSIT.
Details:- 1 Nov 2010, 20:56, Amman, SHIPMENT IN TRANSIT.

The wood table is especially lovely.  Here are a couple of close ups.
That is mother of pearl inlay.  One of the information requests that customs came back with was the generic and scientific term for mother of pearl.  I guess they were worried about ivory being imported.

We haven't quite finished assembling the mosaic table.  We still have to tighten up the nuts on the iron frame and make sure it is level.

Miss Chatelaine - Year of Lace 2010

This is the first shawl in the 2010 Year of Lace (the fourth and last shawl will be coming out next month).  I cast this on last weekend and finally finished the first repeat of the body chart.  One of the reasons that I waited on this one was because of the instructions for the construction of the shawl.  You are supposed to knit both edgings, then pick up stitches on one of them for the body and when you get to the other end you are supposed to graft the other edging to the body.  Well, frankly, grafting lace is not my idea of a good time, especially when you have 5 stitches on the edging for every 3 stitches on the body.

I pondered this shawl for a while, and watched what the other folks were doing before I decided to tackle it myself.  The first thing that I did was change how I started the edging.  You're supposed to knit a 2 stitch garter strip and then pick up stitches on the edge of that.  I just did a lace cast on.  I also added an extra repeat of the edging, bringing the row count up to 164, and cast off using a lace cast off.  The pattern called for doing the 2 garter stitch thing again.  I suppose that would have made the edge of the edging match the edging on the body of the shawl, but that really didn't matter to me.  I then picked up every other row for the body, which gave me 82 stitches, and added some extra stitches at the beginning and the end to get me up to 85 stitches - the pattern calls for 81 stitches - so I have 4 garter stitches at each edge, instead of just 2.

The yarn is Audrey,  by Schaeffer Yarn Company.  It is a light fingering/3 ply 50% merino, 50% cultivated silk blend.  It is wonderful to work with, with great stitch definition, and I love the colors.  I have really been drawn to these colors lately.  They just make me feel happy and warm and relaxed.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hathor - Finished!

I've been indulging in some quick projects this past weekend.  This one was a real joy to knit, partially because of the yarn - Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20, 70% Superwash Merino, 20% Cashmere, 10% Nylon.  The pattern was also fun to knit - another Renee Leverington of Goddess Knits design.  The kit was from the ZenGoddess Lace Club.  Every kit was a different goddess.  This kit was Hathor, an Ancient Egyptian goddess who personified the principles of love, beauty, music, motherhood and joy.  Renee chose yellow for her association with the sun, and ruby beads.  I'm not sure why she picked the ruby beads, but they reminded me of pomegranate seeds, which have their own mythical significance in the story of Persephone and Hades.

Friday, November 12, 2010


I have been wanting to cast on this project ever since I received it.  The yarn is Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 in Hathor.  I love the color, love the yarn.  This is one of the ZenGoddess Lace Club shipments.

The Unique Sheep Christmas Stocking 2010

Have I mentioned lately how much I love The Unique Sheep?  They do a lot of fun clubs, which I have been joining, and the club packages that they send out are always put together so well with lots of extras.  This is the Christmas Stocking for 2010.  I thought it would be fun.  I have actually been making needlepoint stockings for the family - I average one a year - fortunately my immediate family is small.  So far I have made two.  The third one is sitting in one of my many works in progress piles.

So, today when I get the mail there is a box from The Unique Sheep and when I opened it up, look at all of the goodies that were in there.  They put everything in a plastic project bag - a red canvas project bag, the pattern, a skein of white boucle yarn, Christmas cards and soap.  Inside of the red canvas bag was the rest of the yarn, a bag of tea, stitch markers, and a clear plastic ornament that is also a needle gauge.

Summer Flies - Finished!

I finished up the knitting late last night (picot cast offs take forever, but they look nice) and did the finishing this morning.  I loved working with this yarn (The Unique Sheep Green Sheep Cotton Bamboo Worsted) and I love the colors.  The pattern was an easy knit, even if the instructions were written out rather than charted.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Morning Glory Pullover

Of course, now that I have finished the Cleopatra Tank, I needed another easy project to carry in my work bag.  This year Fiesta Yarns started doing a Flower of the Month colorway each month with three different yarns, complete with patterns to go with.  I have collected all of the colorways but haven't done anything with them, partly because I have way too many projects in my queue.  The yarn is so beautiful, however, that it has been calling to me, so I finally broke down and pulled out the September colorway.  The yarn is Ballet, and it is 50% Superfine Alpaca and 50% Tencel and comes in 350 yard skeins.  It knits up at 22 stitches and 28 rows to 4 inches on size 6 needles.  This is the first time that I have worked with the yarn and I am liking it.  I haven't really worked with Alpaca before, and I am finding it a bit hairy (I like smooth yarns - no mohair or angora for me).  I have woven with Tencel, but never knit with it.  Tencel is a cellulosic fiber created by humans as a replacement for silk.  It gives the yarn a nice sheen.

For this project I created a top-down raglan pullover in my Sweater Wizard software.  The pattern that came with the yarn is a lace pullover that I thought was just too busy when you combined the lace stitch with the colors of the yarn.  I am letting the yarn pool if it wants to rather than working from two skeins as is usually recommended.  Frankly I feel that when you try to prevent the yarn from pooling you end up with a chaotic color effect that I find disturbing.

Cleopatra Tank - Finished!

I finished this up this morning.  It was a fun knit, very easy, but a very nice design.  I like simplicity.  I also like the yarn, Ty-Dy and Ty-Dy-Dots by Knit One, Crochet Too, it is wonderful to work with, and feels great to wear.  I will be making more things with this yarn (I already have a pattern and some yarn waiting in the queue) and more of this specific pattern.

Coincidentally, I started reading the new biography of Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff last night.  I have always been fascinated by that age and by Cleopatra herself.  So far the book is living up to all the hype that it has been getting.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Summer Flies

In the meantime I have decided to cast on this little shawl.  The yarn is from The Unique Sheep, and is the first shipment of The Seven Wonders of the World Club.  The yarn is Green Sheep Cotton Bamboo, the colorway is Colossus.  The pattern was for a slouchy beret, but I knew it wouldn't look good on me.  I've been pondering what to make with the yarn, and finally decided to follow the lead of another member of the club and make this shawl.  I love the colors of the yarn.  Lately I've been drawn to these spring colors.  I wonder if it is a reaction to the change in the season and the fact that winter is approaching.  The pattern is Summer Flies by Holly Griffin.

White Rabbit Socks - Pause

I had gotten about about half way through the clock pattern when I realized that I had messed up the pattern, so I frogged the whole thing and rewound the ball.  I have decided to take a little break from the White Rabbit Socks while I work out a few technical issues.  I still am not happy with the fit.

White Rabbit Socks - Take 2

So, yesterday afternoon after finishing the leg of the left sock I happily knit the heel flap, turned the heel and knit the gusset and started on the foot.  A few rows into the foot I tried the sock on and realized that if I continued the foot with my current stitch count it would be too loose.  As I was pondering how much to rip back so I could shape the foot I also decided that I really didn't like the fit of the leg.  It was just too tight.  I have very muscular calves (comes from exercising on a Nordic Track for a all of my adult life).  So I ripped the whole thing back (after taking a few measurements and checking the gauge) and decided to start over.

The first thing that I did was increase the initial stitch count from 68 stitches to 84 stitches.  This takes the circumference measurement from 8.5 inches to 10.5 inches (my calf is 11.5 inches around).  I proceeded to knit the requisite amount of k2, p2 ribbing.  After the ribbing, the pattern calls for switching to the set-up pattern.  It was at this point that I encountered my first challenge.

You see, I had decided to knit the cable motif on both sides of the leg, rather than just on the outside (as the pattern calls for).  The pattern is over 26 stitches.  I was working on two needles, with 42 stitches on each needle.  On needle 1, the stitches start with a knit stitch and end with a purl stitch, on needle 2, they start with a purl stitch and end with a knit stitch.  In the center of those 42 stitches I needed a run of 26 ribs that started and ended with 2 knit stitches.  There is no way to center those 26 stitches.  So I offset them towards the front of the leg, figuring that if you look at the symmetry of the leg the back tapers more than the front as you move down the leg towards the ankle.  So I set up my stitches as follows:  Needle 1 - 7 sts, pm, 26 sts, pm, 9 sts, Needle 2 - 9 sts, pm, 26 sts, pm, 7 sts.  I put split ring markers on before I did my next row, on which I would also have the first of my decreases.  Then I knit the row, keeping the rib pattern between the stitch markers and knitting the other stitches, and also knitting together the 2 purl stitches on the outsides of the markers.  The plan is to continue the decreases as I knit the leg in order to reduce the total stitch count to 68 stitches by the time I reach the ankle.  Obviously I will do more decreases across the front of the leg (5 total, for ten stitches) than on the back of the leg (3 total, for 6 stitches).

The picture shows the markers.  After establishing the pattern I removed the markers as they just get in my way.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Whte Rabbit Socks, Left Leg Done

This week I have been focusing on my sock project.  I haven't been especially productive.  I had a devil of a time readjusting my schedule after coming back from vacation.  No matter what I did I kept waking up at 2 or 3am.  My biological clock finally switched back on Thursday, and it was as if someone had flipped a switch, unfortunately that switch seems to be connected to my hormones.  For most of October, and the entire vacation, I had no wacky hormones.  No mood swings, no hot flashes.  It was really nice, but I guess the vacation is over in more ways then one.  Oh well.  C'est la vie.

I've really been enjoying this sock project.  I love the yarn, and I love the color, it is so vibrant, so alive, and the yarn knits up so beautifully.  The yarn is Luxe, by The Unique Sheep, and it is 25% Tussah Silk, 75% Superwash Merino.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

White Rabbit Socks

I started this project a little over a month ago, after I had finished up the Climbing Jasmine Socks.  I even took it on vacation with me, but only knit a few rows.  It is the first sock in The Unique Sheep's Wonderland Club.  Although this round of the club is closed, they are doing a second round and sign ups are currently open.  I've already signed up.  I really like their yarns, and their clubs.

Top with Crocheted Sleeves

I started this top over a year ago.  It is from Nashua Handknits, The North American Designer Collection No. 8.  I finished up the easy part ages ago and it has been languishing in my unfinished pile waiting for me to tackle the crochet part.  I modified the pattern to knit the body in the round (anything to avoid finishing work - that is one of the wonderful thing about lace shawls, almost no finishing) but now I have to figure out how to do the crochet, and while I am an advanced knitter, my crochet skills are still very much at the beginner level.  But I will figure it out, never fear.  I pulled out the pattern instructions today and was looking through them.  The next step was to block the body, so I wove in the ends and the body is blocking.  Once that is done, I'll start the crochet.

I was thinking about my trip and Turkey and I realized that I never mentioned the guide we had in Istanbul.  She was delightful, her name is Gulden.  I think because we only had three days there, and only two of them were really spent with her we didn't get to know her that well.  But she was an excellent guide, and a lot of fun.  Bruce and would like to go back and see more of Turkey, and Smithsonian Journeys offers some great tours there.  Who knows, maybe we'll see her again.