Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Happy Anniversary

No, this blog really is only a few weeks old. But yesterday was my wedding anniversary. That particular work in progress has been going on for nineteen years. This hat is the last thing I've knit for my dear husband. One of his many endearing qualities is that he appreciates the things I've knit for him. Even though it's March, and warming up, I had to wait until he came home to work to photograph this hat, because he takes it with him every day. It's pretty basic, knit from Flory's one skein Noro hat pattern, freely adapted. The yarn is some wonderful stuff leftover from making this sweater for my step-dad.

Actually, and this is a big digression from what was meant to be a sweet anniversary post, I knit the Navaho sweater for my step-dad and adapted a vest for my mom back in about 1996. Then, this fall, I turned Gene's sweater into this:

Some of you might think that's a shame, reducing that gorgeous shawl collared sweater to a vest. But, the vest gets worn. So, now I have bits and pieces of both the black La Lana Millspun yarn and the Forever Random blends. Besides these yarns, Chuck's hat includes leftover from the "pillows that match my rug," which were also a product of the year we lived in Bethesda. Mainly, the hat includes the tan Manos yarn.

So, there you have a history of Chuck's hat, if not our marriage. We're celebrating with some time away next week, but last night we did have a nice dinner at Olympic Blue (the former Chez Chaz) and I wore my new fur coat! This past year has seen more of the sickness side of "in sickness and in health" than anyone hopes for, but there we were, eating good beef with carmelized onions and drinking a nice Kiona Lemberger. I think we've come out the other side.

Monday, March 27, 2006

What I did this Weekend

Actually, what my daughter did this weekend was dance. She's one of these slim columns of green light. Though I am NOT a good ballet mom, I was glowing with pride & pleasure, watching her dance (4 performances!) this weekend.

This isn't my daughter, but it's one of the shots I took in the wings while I ran the fog machine and closed the curtains. I was not entrusted with opening duties.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

In which I knit slow & eat crow

It's a bit embarassing to have a blog and knit as slowly as I do. My knitting progress is paced for a monthly leaflet. Sometimes I secretly wonder if some of you, my fellow bloggers, are bringing out projects from your knitting history. Or perhaps there's really two of some of you. Nonetheless - here's my progress on Karis. It turns out Karis is "just" a feather and fan poncho. Of course, that's like saying those Ghirardelli dark chocolate mint squares are "just" chocolate.

I forgot to let you know that this arrived a week ago last Saturday. Next project: Am Kamin.

This is the page that made my 16 year old son say "ooooh", in a tone of voice I usually only hear from other knitters. It's named after a Schumann piece, which may have helped, since he's playing some Schumann these days. Ordering two books from Japan -- about $35. Impressed noises from teenage son, priceless.

In the eating crow department, I finished Chicks with Sticks: It's a Purl Thing and have to say that it wasn't quite as bad as my last post might have led you to believe. It resolved itself quite nicely - more balance and sense than I expected. Still not great, but better than I was leading you to believe.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

What I've been reading

I finished An Unfinished Life by Mark Spragg. When I picked up this book at the library, based on a Powell's "Daily Dose" recommendation, I didn't realize that the story has also been made into a movie which stars Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman, and Jennifer Lopez. Some critics of the movie and the book have called the story predictable, and derivative. And I suppose I'd agree, in a sense. But since this is the sort of story I like, told very well, I would still recommend this book to another reader who likes a certain kind of warm-hearted story in a western setting. I loved Plainsong, and Peace Like a River. This is that sort of book. Perhaps not as astoundingly good as they are, but very good.

Now I'm reading Chicks with Sticks: It's a Purl Thing by Elizabeth Lenhard. My daughter found this book at the library and was so excited to give it to me (a book about girls who knit!) that I had to read it. And I'll finish it. I should tell you that I am, as you know, a knitter, and as you might not know, a Christian. But what I dislike about this book is what I dislike about cheesy Christian fiction. It preaches. It's a cute story about four girls who discover knitting, which becomes a basis for their friendship. But to read this book, you'd think knitting could replace good parents, religion, meditation, and good nutrition. That said, if you know a 12-15 year old who is a new convert to knitting, she might enjoy this book.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

In Which I Wear the Raccoon Jacket

Here I am in the Raccoon Jacket. As you can see by my squinting face, it's really too warm and sunny for fur, but I did wear my jacket this weekend. On Saturday night, it was nice to have something cozy on at my niece and nephew's play. They did Crazy for You, and my jacket would have been a nice costume piece in it. My sister immediately wanted to try on my Raccoon. This maybe a novelty piece in novelty yarn, but it has some very nice design features. It's very dimensional.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Olympic dawdling

The Raccoon Jacket is finished.

Pam's Olympic medal project:
The Raccoon Jacket by Annie Modesitt.
Pattern from Spring 2003 Interweave Knits magazine, with alternate sleeves from the designer's web site.
I knit the 37 1/2" finished size, on size 8 needles. I needed 13 skeins (!) of Sandnesgarn Funny Lux, (pattern called for 9 skeins) and 5 skeins of Sandnesgarn Funny (pattern called for 4 skeins). My sweater did end up longer & a bit bigger than I expected. Still, I bought yarn 3 extra times!

I look more matronly in it than our "model", but I like it -- it's very cool and funky in a retro kind of way. Here's a back view. My husband thinks we need to go out someplace a bit fancy for dinner soon. Who needs a medal?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Spring in a week

My apricot tree is pretty sure Spring has arrived. Here's a shot of the neck edging for Karis, or part of it, strangely or artily arranged, depending on your outlook, to a background of blossoms and lovely blue sky.

I didn't finish the Raccoon Jacket, but I did make a bit of progress. Mostly I knit on Karis, but not too quickly. I knit on the way to Wenatchee, and part of the way back. However, I kept having to take out rows, because in my lack of concentration, while knitting and talking, I would forget to knit the row of plain knitting between each patterned row. So, progress wasn't what it should have been. But it is pretty isn't it?

And the trip was a success - my son's team was victorious, and I had a lot of fun appraising young problem solvers. We'll go back and do it again on April 1.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Knitting and books too -

Theresa said...
That's fabulous that she sent you the charts - that's one of my problems with so many British designers, that they don't use charts.

Actually - this experience made me wonder if Rowan is the problem with the charts, since Sharon Miller had the chart for the main body of Karis. As for knitting Karis, I bought two new sets of needles -- some Lion brand straights, which have a good point, but are weighted heavily away from the tips. I'm not using them. I also got some Crystal Palace bamboo needles (circular) which are working OK so far. The points are the sharpest I've found in a bamboo needle, and they're a little harder/smoother than some other bamboo needles. I think they're treated with resin, rather than waxed.

Lately I've been listening to Freddy and Fredericka by Mark Helprin. I usually have two books going, an audiobook (from the library most often, on my iPod) and a book to read. Freddy and Fredericka is laugh out loud funny, if a tad over the top. F & F are the Prince & Princess of Wales in an alternative universe. My reading book, which I just finished last night, is a darker trip to Britain. A Test of Wills by Charles Todd features Ian Rutledge, shell-shocked detective of Scotland Yard. My new book is An Unfinished Life by Mark Spragg. Also on the darkish edge, but recommended by Kent Haruf, whose books I enjoy.

I plan to knit on the way to the Destination Imagination tournament tomorrow - Maybe we'll have some Karis pictures on Monday, or a finished Raccoon Jacket - the last of the yarn came today from Bea Ellis.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Karis Cast On

Yesterday I cast on for Karis. I began by making charts for the collar and bottom border patterns. I like using charts because I think it's easier to keep track of what's happening in the pattern. I have a chart for the body of the piece, sent to me by Sharon Miller herself. When I first received the yarn & Rowan mag (they were a Christmas gift from my terrific MIL) I wrote to her at Heirloom Knitting to ask if there were charts for this pattern. And, she kindly forwarded them to me.

Once the charts were done, I cast on. About three times. I may or may not enjoy working with this yarn. I definately haven't found the right needles yet. Nothing I have is quite pointy enough at the tips. I'm also dithering about gauge. The pattern gives a gauge in the collar pattern stitch. The question is, is that blocked or unblocked? And, how much will it matter?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Stuck in sleeveville

I've placed yet another order for more yarn for this sweater. I'm almost done with the sleeve, but I'm MORE almost out of yarn. I should have ordered 3 skeins last time, instead of two. I blame this on latent chemo brain, but it could just be plain old fashioned poor judgement. I'll grant you that the first sleeve took two skeins of yarn, I swear.

So, what's wrong with this sweater that it eats yarn? This is always a scarey question. The sweater IS turning out bigger than I expected. I did check my gauge when I began, but it's entirely possible (likely, given the yarn problems I'm having) that my gauge has relaxed as I knit. In addition, one of the balls in this last batch of yarn had several knots -- when the ball of yarn only has 56 meters to begin with, this makes a difference. As you can see, I'm ALMOST done with the sleeve.

So, the yarn for Karis is out of the box. The Rowan book is on the dining room table. The charts sent by Sharon Miller from Heirloom knitting are being perused. I'm about to try Kidsilk Haze - and given what I've heard about the pleasures of this yarn, I feel like I'm about to try an illicit substance.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The yarn came today

So, maybe I can begin the second sleeve while I'm watching Monty Python tonight. Meanwhile, I've been catching up on my reading and day dreaming about future projects. Next up will be Karis, from Rowan 36. I've had the yarn, Kidsilk Haze in Liquer, since last Christmas. But, that's not what kept me at the computer till late last night.

I've been following the buzz about the Japanese sweater Am Kamin. There's a knitalong here. So, this afternoon I bravely ordered the book from, and also this book. Placing this order was like travelling in a foreign country without knowing the language - which is what I was doing, I guess. Both books, with shipping, will be about $35 U.S. With any luck, they won't arrive 'till after I've started Karis. Then of course, there's choosing the yarn. . .