30 May 2006

The hunt was on

The shawl knew I meant business--I was not going to be denied. Here it is trying to get away:

It even tried to hide in the stash, the oldest trick in the book.

It knew its days were numbered.

I was victorious, and the shawl...well the shawl had to face *severe* blocking.


29 May 2006

Shawl 4, Knitter 0

OK, so when I frogged the edging, I thought I was being all smart by measuring roughly how much yarn I used, plus a little more. (I used the Vickie Howel tip of cutting a piece of cardboard 18" long so that each wrap equals a yard.) I then re-wound the ball of yarn from the end of the ball marking the end of the yards needed for the edging. The plan was to knit repeats until I saw the marker and then I would start the edging. I was able to add two more pattern repeats before I noticed the marker in the yarn. Things were looking good. Unfortunately, the first time around I did not actually cast off the edging. So I was cruising along when I realized that I had about 2 feet of yarn left and still had to cast off 250+ stitches.

Rip, rip, rip.

Trying to avoid frogging too much, I only frogged back to the eighth row of the edging pattern. I left out rows 9 and 10 (just a repeat of the previous two rows) thinking that this had bought me enough yardage to finish the edging. Once again, I thought all was coming together. I even went up a needle size to make sure that I cast off loosely enough. Again, there was about 2 feet of yarn and still half the number of stitches still left to cast off.

Rip, rip, rip.

I thought, perhaps if I didn't go up a needle size, then I would have enough yarn. Nope.

Rip, rip, rip.

OK, so obviously I will have to rip out one of the pattern repeats. So out come all 11 rows of edging. Stupidly, I counted six pattern rows for the main pattern. I forgot to include the purl rows. So when I picked up the stitches, I realized that I had not ripped back far enough.

Rip, rip, rip.

So now I have finally ripped back to the actual end of the previous repeat. I have picked up 200+ stitches again. I am going back to make sure I didn't drop any YOs along the way. Then I will attempt the edging again. I am determined to finish this tonight. Of course, if I screw up again, I'm not sure I can face more frogging and picking up stitches. (Don't anyone say anything about the lack of lifelines--somewhere the Knitting Goddess is laughing at me.)

I should have just accepted the fact that there would be left over yarn and then I could have been done last week. Of course, it would have bothered me to know that I could have added another pattern repeat. Its a sickness I tell you.

24 May 2006

Who can resist?

Really, how could I not take this quiz? (Found this quiz by following links from Sean's blog.)

What kind of yarn are you?

You are Mohair.You are a warm and fuzzy type who works well with others, doing your share without being too weighty. You can be stubborn and absolutely refuse to change your position once it is set, but that's okay since you are good at covering up your mistakes.
Take this quiz!

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For real, next time there will be actual knitting progress. I had an interview yesterday that I spent many days worrying over and prepping for. In the end, I think I just did OK. I got the distinct feeling that two of the four interviewers were not super impressed with me so I'm trying not to get bent out of shape over it.

On the plus side, hubby and I celebrated 2 years of wedded bliss on Sunday. Life is good when you find the right person to share it with you.

22 May 2006

Knitting slacker

Um, still no real progress to report. I had gotten to the point where I thought I was running out yarn for the flower basket shawl. So, I started the edge rows and got all the way to the end and realized that I still had plenty of yarn. All I can say is that those skeins of Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace have a ton of yardage for the money. Of course, all that leftover yarn was going to drive me insane so I ripped out the edging (if only I had put in some lifelines) and then spent some quality time picking up the stitches and making sure I hadn't lost any. Basically, it looks about the same as last time.

However, what I have been doing is working on my submission for Glampyre's contest. I think I am happy with the tank top design. I'm not sure about the rules for showing the designs so I'll wait until she picks a winner and then maybe I'll post it. Who knows, if it doesn't get selected maybe I'll actually try to create the pattern myself.

14 May 2006

One Skein Exchange

I have never participated in any of the secret pal exchanges out there. Honestly, I've been a little intimidated by all the great and thoughtful packages I have seen others receive and just wasn't sure if I had what it takes to be a good pal. Then along came the One Skein Secret Pal Exchange, only one skein of yarn that you have to send in June and July and then a knit (or crocheted) gift made from one skein sent in August. Surely, even I can do that.

In response to the questions my pal, YourKitchenChick, sent me, here are my responses:

1. Which yarn is most like your personality (you can be specific or general with your answer- brand, type, color, fiber, whatever)?
I would describe myself as pretty down to earth, practical, and easy to get along with. So in terms of yarn, I'm guessing that would translate into something like a wool/cotton blend in a nice solid, basic color like grey or taupe. Of course, I do have a fun side and tend to be attracted to bright reds to contrast against the practical colors.

2. What is your favorite color yarn to knit/crochet with?
I tend to buy muted colors, like mauve or lavendar but also like bright reds.

3. Have you ever used variegated, or magic, yarns?
I have used variegated yarns for baby blankets (usually very subtle changes) and for a couple of shawls. I don't usually like them for clothes. Then again, I haven't tried so I might like it after all.

4. Do you tend to favor certain fibers when choosing yarns?
I used to buy more wool yarns, but since moving to Florida I've been focusing on cotton and cotton blends (usually cotton/acrylic). I'm starting to branch out into other natural fibers like bamboo, soy, and linen.

5. Do you prefer to work with center-pull or traditionally wound balls of yarn?
I usually prefer center-pull balls.

6. Have you ever worked with organic yarns or are you interested in trying them?
I have never worked with organic yarns but would definitely be interested in trying them.

7. How many and what projects have you made in the last year?
If we start with January of this year, I have not actually finished any projects but currently have about 4 things on the needles. For 2005, I think I finished 4 projects (shawl, baby pants, 2 baby blankets). To be fair, I just got serious about knitting in the last year.

8. Will you be knitting any gifts this year?
I am working on two sweaters for my husband. Other than that, I don't have any plans for any knitted gifts.

9. What is your favorite one skein project?
I don't have one.

10. How much yarn do you have in your stash and how do you store it?
I am frightened to think of how much yarn I have...I probably have about two bins full of yarn and each bin is about the size of a paper box. I usually buy yarn with a project in mind so I know that I have enough yarn for two sweaters, a large stole, a couple of tanks, and some acrylic yarns for baby blankets. They are all stored in plastic ziploc bags in plastic bins.

11. Do you have a yarn in your stash that you love so much you can never use it or part with it?
I don't think so.

12. Do you knit less or differently in the summer?
This is my first year in Florida so I'm knitting tank tops for the first time. I'm also avoiding knitting anything in a heavy wool unless its for felting.

13. Do you belong to any knitting groups (online or offline)?
I belong to the Hurrican Knitters yahoo group and the Knitty Coffeeshop. I just found out about a local knitting group that is starting so I'm hoping to attend that group next week.
Too cute

Gratuitous photo just because they look cute sleeping.
Happy Mother's Day!!

OK, not all of you are mothers in the traditional sense but there are many of us who spend a good part of our day caring for others and worrying about their futures. You too deserve some recognition and appreciation.

With the new dog (still just being called Candid), I have been spending a large chunk of my days monitoring the dogs. This means that my knitting progress has been..."glacial" I think would describe it well. As a treat to myself for taking care of the furkids and hubby, I'm taking the rest of the day to catch up on my projects. Hubby can take them for a walk later. For those of you who are interested, the furkids are learning to get along. There is only minimal growling when Genny feels that Candid is infringing on her space. I have been forcing them to share the back seat of the car when I take them with me to work. Although that can get hairy (either one of them could probably take up the better part of the back seat and Candid hasn't figured out that he should either sit or lay down while I'm driving), they are starting to work out how to be in such close proximity.

As I was reading up on my fave knitting blogs, I realized that I had been tagged by ChaCha. (Sorry to be slow on the uptake.) The LYS choices around here are sparse but I will do what I can. :-)

1)What's your favorite LYS? : Considering that the nearest LYS* to me specializes in selling Lion Brand and KnitPicks yarn, Stitch DC would still have to be my favorite LYS. (*That's right people, the LYS sells essentially the same yarns as what is available at the big box stores. As for the KnitPicks, that I could just order myself since she doesn't have the whole selection. Sadly, the chain stores have better selections of yarns and needles. I want to buy from her but she never has anything I want.)

2)What about it do you like most?: It has a nice selection, was easy to reach, and had really nice people. Even though they don't have online shopping, I have called in the past to get yarn and they have been great.

3)What is your 2nd favorite?
: Little Knits which is not local to me but I can't resist Sue's good deals and great customer service.

4)What would you improve about it to make it a tie with your first?
: Considering neither are local, that would easily make one of them my all-time #1.

5)What's the last thing your bought at your #1 LYS?
: I was lucky enough to squeeze in a trip to Stitch DC when we were in town a while ago. I bought some Kid Silk Haze and a special skein for the One Skein Secret Pal Exchange.

So, next time there should be some actual knitting content for the knitting blog. :-)

Enjoy your day!

07 May 2006

New addition to the family

Well, it was just a matter of time before we got another dog. I pretty much always knew that I wanted another dog when we got Genny. She had come from a home where there was another dog and in the rescue she had shared a kennel run. Normally she is pretty timid, so I had always hoped that once it was time to get another dog, that she would bond quickly and be more playful. At the doggie daycare, it took her a few trips before she would play with the other dogs. Even then she is pretty reserved if there are lots of dogs there that she doesn't know.

Anyway, without further ado here is a picture of the retired greyhound racer that we adopted this weekend. His race name is "Perfectly Candid" and we haven't decided on another name for him. (Got any suggestions?)

Here is another photo where you can see our first dog, Genny, in the background. Unfortunately, we had to muzzle her at first to make sure that she didn't hurt him. Greyhounds have very thin skin and Genny is quite territorial at home so we didn't want to take any chances. After having them both home for almost two days, we did take the muzzle off. She still seems to be pushing him around--she kept growling at him through the muzzle and staring him down to the point where he would run back into his crate. However, when we let them out this evening she actually tried to play with him. He didn't respond to her play bow but I think that may be because he still seems hesitant to walk around in our yard.

He is very sweet and laid back, pretty much the opposite of Genny. He likes everyone--kids, adults, other dogs--and doesn't get distracted by the squirrels. Genny, on the other hand, is suspicious of all new people, is scared to death of kids (so she tends to growl at them to scare them away), and is cautious with other dogs. I'm hoping that she learns to mellow out from him rather than him developing some of her bad habits. We'll see. Either way, he is super sweet and a real keeper.

ETA: For those of you who are interested, we got Genny from the Mid-Atlantic German Shepherd Rescue a little over a year ago. She is just over 5 years old and still quite active. She has the GSD coloring but not the build. We have no idea what the other part of the mix is. Perfectly Candid is a blue brindle, purebred greyhound who just turned 3 years old in May. We got him through Greyhound Pets of America. There is a greyhound race track near here so the adoption group had an event at the pet store last weekend. Although I wanted to look at the greyhounds, the real clincher was that hubby really liked one of the dogs they had there. (That particular dog was already spoken for when we called the next day but we have no regrets.) It all happened pretty quickly after that.

02 May 2006

Found my mojo

So, my current projects haven't really been holding my attention. Partly because I'm at the point where I've been working on them for a while so the challenge isn't as great. Partly because I've been bummed about my lack of progress on the employment front. I know I should really just enjoy this time but its hard not to feel like somehow I'm wasting it or not being productive (as indicated by income).

First, I had a great conversation with an old friend of mine that has really helped me focus on just listening to the world around me. Perhaps I'm having difficulty finding a job because its not what I should be doing. So, I signed up for a class at the local community college on starting your own business. Looks like that yarn store might be in my future after all...either way, I'm thinking that I'm going to see what I can do about being my own boss.

Second, I found a new and exciting project. The Alene Camisole caught my eye and the pattern is available from the diy network. I recently bought some Tahki Cotton on eBay and it is almost the right gauge. I'm off by half a stitch but if I make the next size up, it should be about right. I figure its cotton, so if I make it tight it will still look OK after some stretching.
Here's the swatch which includes the lace pattern and stockinette:

Pretty, no? This picture was taken after handwashing and laying out flat to dry and then running it through the washer and dryer. The gauge didn't change but there was more curling after the dryer than when I just laid it flat to dry-no big surprise there.

As mentioned in the last post, here are some pics of the Carolina yarn I got from an Interlacements coop:

Can you see the heathered texture of the yarn?

This picture seems closer to the actual color--more of a raspberry color than red. Again, I think it is pretty, just not quite what I was expecting.

For those of you keeping track, here is the current mess of lace that will soon (I hope) be the flower basket shawl.