Monday, August 29, 2011

Caribbean Pullover - Body Done

I got a lot of knitting done on this today, despite having to go to work, because my building had no power.  I am still perturbed that the status was listed as fully open when the power had not been restored and the only buildings that did have power were those that had backup generators.  To add insult to injury (quite literally) the traffic lights at the major intersections approaching the facility were still out and there were no police there directing traffic, resulting in at least one accident.  The real crime was the fact that after the police cleared up the accident they left the scene.  We were finally sent home at 1230 after several generators failed, but I have already received a status update stating that the facility is fully open tomorrow.  Maybe I am cynical, but somehow I don't believe it.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, I have a meeting up near Baltimore tomorrow, so regardless of the status of my building I will actually be able to work.

But enough griping about stupidity, so here is the body of the Caribbean pullover completed, and I have started on one of the sleeves.  This is my third Camp Loopy project, the 800 yard one, and I should have no trouble finishing it with time to spare.  I did this deliberately, picking a project that I know I can finish easily in the time allotted.  I have enough stress in my life without adding any more.  I am looking forward to cooler weather, when I will be able to wear all of these lovely sweaters that I have been knitting.  I have completed five and have two more in the works (including this one), as well as yarn for several more.

The yarn is Fiesta Yarns Boomerang, in Caribbean, 3 skeins
Top Down Raglan from Sweater Wizard
Size 5 and 6 Needles

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lotus Garden Scarf - Chart 1

So, remember the Charleston Socks that I knit earlier this year?  Well, this is the other pattern that came with the club shipment.  I actually picked out the yarn and even wound it into a cake while I was working on the socks.  I even cast on and knit the set up row.  And then it sat.  I finally got back to it a week or so ago.  The yarn is Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 (70% Superwash Merino, 20% Cashmere, 10% Nylon) in Baltic Sea.  I am adding beads at the central double decreases.  Now just 5 repeats of Chart 2 and the scarf will be halfway done.  For the complete scarf - repeat and graft.  The pattern is by Janel Laidman, Art & Sole Sock Club.

Hurricane Irene

Most of the day it wasn't too bad, some wind and rain, but we've had much worse before.  It didn't really start to get bad until the eye passed to the east of us.  We had a branch, actually two branches come down on our deck around 9 pm.
And a lot of leaf litter and smaller branches in the yard.  I actually napped for much of the evening on the day bed in our living room.  Just before the power went out it started getting worse, so Bruce and I went out onto the front porch to check things out.  He had the good sense to take the flashlight with him.  We had turned the porch light on and were shining the flashlight into the yard just to get a sense of things.  There was some lightning, and after one rather spectacular flash everything went dark, including the porch light.  "Uh Oh" we said to each other.   This was around 11:30 at night.  At that point there wasn't really anything else to do but to go to bed.  We took a couple of candles upstairs along with the flashlight.

I think the best part was the two of us lying in bed reading on our Kindles in the dark.  I have a lighted case for mine, and he was using a clip on light that I had received from The Unique Sheep in one of my club shipments.  When we finally put out the lights, it was very, very dark.  He dropped off pretty quickly, but I lay awake listening to the storm for a while.  A thump on the roof startled both me and the cat.  We can see a branch up there, but neither one of us wants to climb up there to get it down.  We did lose one tree in our woods.  Our woods are pretty wild and we tend to have a non-interference policy with nature in general, so we probably will not do anything about it.

We both woke up around 4am, and things had mostly died down by then.  I opened one of the bedroom windows a few inches to get some fresh air and the cat promptly jumped up on the shelf in front of the window to scope things out.  The power came back on around 11am, earlier than expected (when I called in the morning, Dominion had said between noon and 6pm).  Times like these I wish I had a home weather station...hmm, maybe I should set one up, as well as a seismograph...

Moonfleet - Clue 3

I spent most of yesterday working on this shawl and listening to the storm.  I did put Turner Classic Movies on once I realized that when working on lace I really need some TV playing because it makes me look up periodically.  If there is no TV playing I won't look up from the knitting and rest my eyes, resulting in eye strain.  For some reason just looking out the patio door is not enough, or maybe because the scene rarely changes I don't look up often enough.  Clue 3 consisted of three more repeats of the Mohune Y pattern, and then a transition pattern, which I finished up this morning.  Here is a close up.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Moonfleet - Clue 2

This week I have been focusing on lace, the Wandering scarf, the Lotus Garden scarf (more soon on that) and the Moonfleet shawl.  I love knitting lace.  I think it is my favorite kind of knitting.  I finished up Clue 2 this morning, waiting for Irene to hit.  She still hasn't touched us yet, but the sky is overcast and the air is warm and still and humid.  I can see a little bit of movement in the tops of our trees, and now the breeze is just starting to penetrate the shelter of our yard.  We should start to get some wind and rain soon.  We aren't too worried, we are on high ground, but not exposed, our house is about halfway down a ridge line, so we tend to be sheltered from the worst of the wind.  When Isabel hit our area we only lost one tree in our heavily wooded yard.

I have also been successfully fighting off a migraine with biofeedback.  Whenever the pain starts I imagine the blood flowing from my head into my hands.

Here is a close up of the lace motif.  The pattern calls it a Mohune Y pattern.  It is easy, but not too boring.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wandering Scarf - Clue 2

I finished up Clue 2 this afternoon while watching an episode of Mission Impossible on Netflix.  I bugged out early from work because I wasn't feeling well, victim of a random allergy attack.  Ain't menopause grand (not).  The second chart was easy and quickly memorized.  The main thing that slowed me up while knitting were the frequent stops to fondle the yarn and admire the color.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Wandering Scarf - Clue 1

Here is clue 1 of the latest Light & Dark Lace Club.  The yarn is Serenity Sock (80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon) by Zen Yarn Garden.  The color is Moon Purple and it is just amazing.  It kind of reminds me of blackberries.  The design is by Ruth Greenwald.


So I'm sitting in a meeting this afternoon and things start to shake.  The first thought we all had was "who is kicking the table" but the shaking went on and got stronger and we realized it was an earthquake, so we all went outside.  The osprey were carrying on cranky, wheeling about in a group.  I can imagine what the shaking must have felt like in their nests (which are up on tall poles).  This is actually the third earthquake that I have experienced.  The first one was when I was in high school in Yellow Springs, and I was sitting at the kitchen table and when things started shaking I wondered what my brother had blown up in the basement.  The second one was in California after college, and there was no mistaking what it was.  A few things fell over, but there was no damage - I was not there for that big one that collapsed the freeway.  When we finally got home a few hours later it was to find a little bit of damage, and one very spooked kitty.

A shelf leaped off the garage wall and something on it attacked my car, leaving a small dent and scraping off the paint.  We'll pick up some touch up paint to help prevent rust.

A small vase leaped off a shelf in the bedroom and had the misfortune to land on the base of a lamp.  Fortunately it is a clean break and I will be able to fix it.

And some books toppled off of a shelf in my studio.  I thought about taking pictures of the scene before cleaning it up, but was afraid that you wouldn't be able to tell that something had happened (yes, I do need to do some work down there, and I am, but it is always slower than I would like).  The only damage was a tin that got smashed by some books.  You can see some of the culprits lurking in the picture trying to look innocent.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Moonfleet - Clue 1

So put me in the slow lane for this shawl.  The final clue came out over a year ago.  This was the first Unique Sheep Mystery Knit Along that I signed up for, but I think it took a back seat to the Evenstar shawl, and several other shawls that I had on the needles at the same time (I think I had at least 6 going, remind me never to do that again!).  The yarn is Eos, and the color is Mermaid.  When I selected the color I was going for an ethereal effect, reminiscent of sea spray.
This picture shows the beads a little better.  The magatamas are the most wonderful aqua, and the seed beads are a lustrous white.  The seed beads are hard to spot unless you enlarge the picture.  They outline the lace section.

Barcelona Pullover - Body Done

I spent most of yesterday knitting in the car going to Blacksburg and back. I finished up the body of this pullover, and almost finished the shaping on the Caribbean Pullover.  I really like the colors in this one, they are very rich - orange, purple, pink, red and light blue.  I also like the fact that there is very little pooling.  the colors of the Caribbean pullover are also wonderful, but in a completely different way.  They are mostly greens, with a little bit of periwinkle, and there is some very nice pooling going on.  I find it interesting that for all three of my Camp Loopy projects I picked cool colors in the green and blue family.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fiori Di Sole - Finished!

I finally finished Thursday night. Charts F, G, H and I are the hardest. The crochet bind off is also a bit tricky. It is all chains and slip stitches, but slip stitching 5 live stitches from the shawl together can be challenging, especially when you are working with a 2.25mm crochet hook and lace weight yarn - I don’t think I would try this with silk.

For the bind off I held the working yarn in my left hand, and had the end of the knitting needle with the live stitches also in my left hand - sort of as if I were knitting continental. When chaining the live stitches together I would slip the bunch onto the crochet hook, wrap the yarn around the hook, rotate the hook so that it faced down towards the bottom of the stitches and gently pull the yarn through. I generally did not pull through the live border stitches and the stitch on the crochet hook all in a single move, but instead did it in two steps. It can be a bit tricksy, especially when you have stitches that were yarn overs on the next to the last row, and a couple of times I did lose the yarn, or the live stitches leaped off the crochet hook.   They were a pain to pick up, and swearing was involved.

When pulling the yarn through the live border stitches I would gently hold that bunch of stitches with my thumb and middle finger, keeping a slight tension on them so they stretched out a little. That seemed to make it easier.

It took me an hour to pin because of all of those crochet chain stitch loops.  I ran blocking wires through the two outermost loops and then went back and pinned out each loop, removing the blocking wires as I went.

Here is a beauty shot.  The shawl is an absolute dream to wear, soft, light, wonderful drape.

Pattern - Fiori di Sole by Rosemary (Romi) Hill
Yarn - Serenity Lace, by Zen Yarn Garden, color - On Fire
While I have been focusing on this shawl, it isn't the only thing I've been up to.  I have two more Fiesta Yarns pullovers on the needles, Barcelona and Caribbean.  I am almost done with the body on the Barcelona pullover, but have only just started the Caribbean pullover, which is my third Camp Loopy project.  I will get lots of knitting done on those two pullovers today as we are taking Stephen back to Virginia Tech - 8 hours of knitting in the car.  I have also been continuing to organize and catalog my yarn stash, and have made great progress.  Of course, organizing the yarn is only one small step in getting my studio organized, there is also the fabric stash and all of the sewing patterns, not to mention the books and magazines...but I will get there.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fiori Di Sole - Charts F and G

Only two more charts left.  I took a picture after I finished Chart F, but it was only the first half of the motif, so it really didn't look like much.  Now I'm going to get back to work.  I really want to get this shawl finished.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tiger Lily Pullover - Redux - Finished

I finished the sleeves this past Thursday.  I like the pooling of the red on the bottoms of the sleeves.  Definitely better than the first version of this sweater with regard to the pooling, and also the fit.  I am really enjoying knitting this pattern, especially with the yarn - Boomerang by Fiesta Yarns.  I love the colors, and the yarn is really wonderful to work with.  The pattern itself is super easy, just a simple top down raglan and I have a fair bit of it memorized.

The first time that I worked for my sister Virginia in her Beadcats booth was at the 2000 Convergence (Handweavers Guild of America conference), held in Cincinnati, Ohio.  During one of my breaks I was wandering the floor and ended up talking to an Amish woman at a fiber booth who was knitting a sock.  It was a simple sock, and I think she was knitting from the cuff down.  When she had to help a customer, she would stick the sock in her pocket, pulling it out again when she was done.  We chatted for a few minutes (I had not yet started knitting, but I made my first purchases of fiber at that show) and she explained that she always had a sock on the needles.  It was a simple easy knit that was eminently portable, as well as being something that you always need more of.  Now, my sweaters are definitely much bigger than socks, but thanks to the size of my knitting bag, they are still quite portable.  And given all of the beautiful colors that Boomerang comes in, I will be knitting many more of them.  Can you have too many sweaters?

Yarn - Fiesta Yarns Boomerang, 3 skeins in Tiger Lily (May 2010 Flower of the Month Color)
Needles - Size 5 (ribbing) and 6
Pattern - Top Down Raglan from Sweater Wizard software with modified neck and body shaping.

Here is a picture of the first version of the same sweater.  The pooling is quite...dramatic...This version was knit on size 8 needles.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fiori Di Sole - Chart E - Finished

Five repeats of Chart E completed, finally.  Actually it wasn't too bad, the chart was pretty easy to memorize, but wasn't too boring.  Now on to chart F (and then G, H, and I and then it will be done).  I started this shawl on January 1, 2011 and it has been sitting around far too long.  I need to finish it so I can cast on another lace shawl.  I think the next one I knit will be Moonfleet, which is the first Unique Sheep KAL that I signed up for.  The yarn is all wound into a nice cake and the beads are sitting with it, along with a knitting needle.  The yarn and the beads have actually been sitting in the same spot for months.  Now that I have knit so much of this shawl, I am a little sorry that I didn't add beads, some nice red beads would look great accenting the points of Chart E, and maybe outlining the petals of the flowers...

Images in the Mind

In a green pasture with gently undulating hills sloping up towards the trees stood a lone dead tree, its limbs straining towards the sky.  On the tips of two of those branches perched vultures, their wings outstretched in the gentle rain.  They could have been part of the tree, seen only in silhouette, dark as the branches that they perched on.  I wished for my camera, but there would have been no where to stop and pullover (Virginia doesn't believe in shoulders on their roads, and this was a country road near Charlottesville).  Times like this I wish I had a camera in my eye, so I could capture these images.

We were driving to Charlottesville to move our daughter into her apartment (she is a first year medical student).  I am the master packer in the family, the queen of loading stuff into vehicles.  It was a long day and her apartment was on the third floor of the building with no elevator.  As we carried things up those stairs I was reminded of all the times that my parents had helped me move, and I suddenly understood how my mother felt when I would breeze buy with an armful of things with a seemingly boundless energy.

At dinner at the Mellow Mushroom (a pizza place within walking distance of her apartment), Amy mentioned that one of the activities that she would be going to next weekend was a wine tasting and a polo match.  So I told them about the time when I was a little girl in Pakistan and my father played polo. I ran out onto the field at the end of the match, and he lifted me up to sit in front of him on his horse.

During the drive home we were treated to spectacular displays of lightning from a nearby storm.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Tiger Lily Pullover - Redux - Body Finished

I finished reknitting the body of the Tiger Lily Pullover this week and have started on the sleeves.  Easy, mindless knitting.  It is amazing how much difference changing the gauge can make in the pooling.  Here is what the sweater used to look like.
The striping of the green, pink and red of the new version, as opposed to the pooling of those colors on the old version, really tones down the wild colors.  The scale of the pooling is also more consistent in the reknit version, which just makes the sweater look more like, well, a sweater, instead of some psychedelic hallucination.  It also fits much better.