Sunday, May 25, 2008

Flowers for the dancer

ballet - Hansel & Gretel
My weekend (along with more of my life than I sometimes like) has been tied up in this -- my daughter's ballet performance in Hansel and Gretel. She's one of these beautiful brides.

Though her mother forgot the traditional bouquet, her girl friends and her biology teacher* didn't. So when we got home, I took her carnations and rose and baby's breath, and added a few flowers from my garden to make this bouquet for her.
Ballet flowers

I was inspired by this post from the charming "All That is Good" blog. Trina did a very nice tutorial on flower arranging. Trina's bouquet was lovely and tasteful -- an artistic combination of white flowers. The total gaudiness of my arrangement is mostly the result of the flowers blooming now in our yard. And maybe a bit of a reflection of our theater weekend. In no way is Trina to blame.
Ballet flowers
I especially like the mardi gras-esque clash of colors between my coral rose and the pink carnations.

*How lucky are we? My daughter attends a large public high school. Her biology teacher and his wife (their daughter used to dance) came to watch the show, bringing a rose for each of the three dancers that are his students. Wonderful!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Drowning in a sea. . .

Fleece Artist Yarn for Tempest
I'm pretty happy with this blue yarn that arrived today. It's Blue Faced Leicester 2/8 from Fleece Artist (blue-faced referring to the sheep breed, like merino, rather than the color), in Blue Lagoon and Ocean. I bought it at Little Knits. It's to make Tempest. I'll be casting on as soon as the afghan is done. There is even more color variation going on than shows in the photo, and the yarn has a wonderful lanolin smell. I just hopped over to the Little Knits site -- in their photos, you'd think these two yarns were very much the same. My Blue Lagoon is mostly blue, shading to gray-blue. My Ocean has green and greeny-blue tones. The folks at Little Knits helped me pick over the phone -- I'd advise that over picking from pictures of this yarn.

Happy day!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

Read the fine print

Counting Pane
I started joining the strips on Counting Pane, so I finally have some pictures that are at least a little interesting to post. You might guess, just from the pictures, that I've finished knitting strips, since to me, that's the logical sequence in making this afghan. But no, I am on the 8th strip right now. But graduation is less than a month away, and I'm beginning to doubt my ability to finish this afghan in time. So I decided I might like to have something besides a bag of strips to show for my labor. So I started sewing.

I have been worried that the squares won't be as well defined as in the original, which used black, rather than gray, for the outlines. I still think I'd have liked black in this role in my afghan, but I can see that the squares will be visible.
Counting Pane
The instructions call for picking up and casting off along the side edges, and then sewing the strips together. I am using a fussier method. I picked up stitches on each side, and knit across one of the strips. Then I grafted the two together using "garter stitch kitchener", as I learned while making the garter stitch gloves. The hardest part of this was figuring out how to do the set up rows. Did I want two sets of purl bumps before I started grafting? Purl bumps and a knit row? Somehow, it seems the grafting creates the equivalent of two rows of knitting (a right side and a "wrong" side). So, to make the up and down gray bits the same as the cross-wise ones, I had to experiment a little (well, a lot). I think I've got it now. It's a little uneven, but I think will smooth out with blocking (she says blithely).

Garter stitch kitchener? After setting up the first stitches by pulling the thread through purl-wise, on front needle, slip off first stitch knit-wise, and pull thread through second stitch purl-wise. On back needle, slip knit-wise, pull purl-wise. This makes a knit row first, then a purl row. To make the purl bumps first, reverse all knit and purl instructions.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Tempest in a gas tank?

Like lots of other knitters, I was enamored with the new spring surprise from Knitty, Weaverknit's Tempest Sweater. Did anyone else notice that the yarn for this sweater costs about the same as a tank of gas? I had wandered over to Little Knits, the site advertised on the pattern page, and realized I could buy the yarn for little more than I'd paid for my last fill-up. This is true, but a fallacy as well. It's more true that a tank of gas now costs as much as the yarn for a moderately priced sweater. And thus there's less money (unless you're an oil baron) to spend on clothes and knitting.

Alas, I bought some yarn anyway. Photos when it arrives.