Monday, July 30, 2007
And not because my wandering eye is now lusting after a drum carder. It is, but that's not the point either.
And not because I'm getting the house painted this summer and I'm looking for a newer car, not those reasons, either.
And not even because I felt a distinct sense of, eh, so what, when confronted with the extraordinary array of colors and yarn types at Halcyon Yarn a few days ago. That's true, but it's so not the point (although I'll try to remember that I'm satiated with yarn and fiber).
The real issue is that I just took Sophie, my 6-year-old black cat, to an orthopedic vet for a consultation. She's been limping off and on for over a year, particularly on her back left leg. Apparently, her knee joint is not well-constructed, such that the knee cap and associated tendons slip out of place easily. My vet and I have controlled this for the past year with glucosamine supplements, but she's getting worse. Hence, the visit to the specialist.
Sophie dear needs major surgery on her knee, to the tune of $1400 to $1700. Yikes! Now, I can well afford that, and Sophie is a lovely, healthy, affectionate cat in the prime of her life, so of course she'll get the surgery.
But I think I won't buy any more yarn or fiber or knitting-related books or patterns or whatever for a while. Maybe till Rhinebeck.
In the interim, let us enjoy the pretty cosmos, OK?
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Knit the first set of sleeve decreases. Yes, that means I finished the sweater front last night.
Then empty the dishwasher, fill the dishwasher, wash the dishes that need to be washed by hand, empty the trash baskets, clean the kitty litter, pick up the bittersweet vines Earle left to die on the driveway, quick before it rains.
Knit the second set of sleeve decreases.
The sun's come out; I think I'll get a walk in before it rains again, as predicted. So here's a short tour of the neighborhood. First, my garden, from a sufficient distance that you can't see the weeds. Nor the flowers, either, I'm afraid. Take my word for it, the garden looks lovely right now.
Next, the lake. I live a few houses down from a lovely lake, as you can see.
But not all of my walk is by the lake - most of it is in a standard small-town neighborhood. These houses happen to be closer than most to the road, and with no big trees out in front, so you can tell I'm walking among homes. Most of the time, the houses are set a bit farther back and there are big maples and such shading them.
I'll spare you the photo of Main Street, as it wasn't looking photogenic this morning, but here's a shot down my street, just as I turn down it from Main. My house is on the left, just past the first telephone pole and the big sign which says Road Work Ahead on the front (the reason why Main Street is not photogenic these days). You can't see my house; it's set well back from the road, more so than its neighbors.
Sigh. Back to work. Knit the third set of sleeve decreases.
Watered the house plants and ate lunch. Blogged about this morning's thrilling activities. Took some aspirin for my knit-weary tendons. Perused the knit-blogging world.
Knit the fourth set of sleeve decreases. This is beginning to get old. And I don't know if it looks this way to you, but I don't really feel as though this sleeve is really gaining much in length.
Filled out the rare animal report form for a Spotted Turtle I saw before I went to Maine. Planted the Red Elderberry seeds I picked on Matinicus; Red Elderberries are exceedingly handsome in fruit, not that I remembered to photograph any for you while I was on the island.
OK, deep breath. Knit the fifth set of sleeve decreases.
Cook Penne (OK, I used rigatoni, it was in the house) with Mushrooms, Leeks, and Dried Tomatoes for dinner, from Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven cookbook. I hope it's edible; I've never made it before. I'm planning on making the Savory Corn Cakes, as well, from the same cookbook, once it's a little closer to dinner time. Now, mind you, I'm not doing much cooking these days, I'm kinda bored with it, but on Matinicus, I made the Pasta Shells with Marinated Chickpeas and an Unexpected Ingredient from this book and we loved it! It was perfect! I plan on making it again very soon.
Eat dinner - yum!
Knit the final 6 rows on sleeve. Bind off. Weave in ends.
Repeat for the second sleeve ... some other day. And, remember, I have a whole 'nother sweater like this to knit, too. Since the magenta sweater is only going to take three, maybe a bit of a fourth, balls of the Filatura di Crosa 501 (which goes on sale at Elann this Tuesday, btw), I certainly have enough to make a matching olive-green sweater.
However, I'm sick of magenta today; it's back to the baby blanket for me tonight!
ETA: Increases! I mean sleeve increases, not decreases! Geez, you'd think I wasn't paying the slightest attention to what I was doing all day. Thanks, Elizabeth!
Saturday, July 28, 2007
The harbor on Matinicus Island, Maine.
The house where Elizabeth and I stayed.
The first full day we were on the island, it was foggy and drizzled a little. Thus, I give you the results of Day One:
Day Two we went to Matinicus Rock, another 15 minutes of boat ride from Matinicus Island. Matinicus Rock is a nesting site for Atlantic Puffins, Razorbills, Black Guillemots, Common Terns, Common Eiders, and probably a few others I've forgotten - I'm sure you can tell the various species from this photo.
A raft of Razorbills came near our boat.
Day Three was hot and sunny. The knitting sunbathed on the deck and admired the view of the meadow.
What's that? You don't see seed-stitch hearts on the baby blanket? Well, that's because I changed my mind, again. Here are close-ups of Blocks 3 and 4 on this 4-block blanket - any guesses from the peanut gallery as to what I'm creating?
There were roses blooming everywhere - they made the whole island smell lovely.
But alas, Day Four dawned and we left for home. We stopped at Halcyon Yarn in Bath, Maine, on the way, just to ease our heartbreak, but I'm afraid it didn't help all that much.
I still don't want to be here, I want to be there. Perhaps forever.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
So, Chloe's baby - check! One down...
Four babies to go - Gak!
A triple baby shower, for Chloe, Melissa, and Tara, has just been scheduled for August 10th. I found out the date of the shower a day and a half ago, on July 18th. Thus, I had 24 days in which to knit three baby items. Luckily, the final baby's not due till December and I can postpone that knitting for a while.
In my usual excessive fashion, I decided to use stash yarn (good for me! but a limited selection, if I wanted machine-washable yarn) and to knit something more demanding than booties. More exciting than hats. I wanted more - something interesting, something that would use up lots of yarn, yet something that might possibly get done in time.
This last issue will be helped considerably by the fact I'm going on vacation next week to Matinicus Island off the coast of Maine with my friend Elizabeth. Now, Elizabeth knits, but she just broke her hand, so I expect to be the only knitter in our cottage. At least Elizabeth will be supportive and not demand that I do something 'fun' like lying in the sun getting a tan.
So, I've had to make a few quick pattern and yarn decisions. Here are the facts so far: Melissa is having twins, a boy and a girl. Tara is having a baby of sex-to-be-discovered-at-birth.
You may possibly remember that I have a half-knit baby blanket, started for Melissa's first child, who is now four and a half. Luckily, I have conveniently forgotten this fact, and you would do well not to remind me of it right now, either. You don't even get a picture of it, as it's too hot to dig that deep in the UFO closet.
I do have quite a store of four different colors of Filatura di Crosa 501 machine-washable, DK-weight yarn, however - five balls of a deep red-violet, four of a nice olive green, one of a nice orange, and a bunch of a lovely lavender.
There's more than sufficient of the lavender to make Oat Couture's Curlicue Coverlet, which in fact, I had started some time ago, when I thought I only had one baby to knit for this summer. I had acquired the red-violet and the olive green at a sale at a yarn store; I really liked how the colors went together and I had thought I might be able to squeeze out something cabled and sophisticated for me, like Annie Modesitt's Bi-Color Cables. Alas, there's not really enough to make something that would cover me decently, although in poking around to find a link for this pattern, now I see that others found it took much less yarn than the pattern called for.
Too bad, because I've already cast on for a little cabled baby sweater for one of the twins, using the red-violet and orange yarns and a pattern from Knitter's, called Classic Cables, by Mary Bonnette and JoLynne Murchland. The pattern is simple: drop sleeves, a placket and button at the back neck, three simple cables up the front and back, seed stitch at the sides and for the sleeves, and an accent color stripe in the bottom, neckband and wrist ribbings. Simple and very nice. The patterns calls for a worsted weight yarn, not the DK weight I have, so I'm using the stitch numbers for the 2-year-old size and aiming for an 18-month size. So far, so good, says Mr. Penguin.
If I can get a sweater out of four balls of the red-violet, then I'll knit the second sweater from the olive green, with lavender as the accent color. If four balls won't do it, then I'll knit a lavender sweater with the green as the accent. That'll mean I won't have enough lavender for the Curlicue Coverlet, but that's OK; now that I see how it's constructed, it's kind of boring to knit in one color.
One of these days I might knit that coverlet in a variegated yarn or in several colors, just to hold my interest.
Next, my stash yielded 920 yards of Classic Elite Spotlight, a nice machine-washable cotton in pale turquoise, 18 stitches to 4 inches on size 7 needles. Again, I bought this on sale at the LYS one town over, the same place I bought the red-violet and olive green 501, just to boast. This struck me as perfect for a nice baby blanket - preferably something relatively simple and mindless, perfect for knitting on the porch or deck or whatever there is at the cottage in Maine, something I could switch off to from DK-weight cabling and seed stitching. I thought first of the Big Bad Baby Blanket in Debbie Stoller's Stitch 'n Bitch. That certainly qualifies as mindless, as it's only four big squares, two of knit, two of purl, bordered by seed stitch. It looks lovely in the variegated Koigu called for in the pattern, but in the plain turquoise I've got, I thought it would be a little plain (and show off baby droolings, etc., entirely too well). So I thought about various Barbara Walker knit/purl patterns, and about undulating columns of knits and purls, constrained by seed stitch on the sides, and about a great big seed-stitch heart centered on a knit background and bordered by yet more seed stitch.
Finally, I decided on a grid of four knit-stitch squares, bordered by swaths of seed stitch, with a single seed-stitch heart of reasonable size in each square. At least, that's the plan so far. We'll see what actually happens; I may get really, really sick of seed stitch (remember the sleeeves and side panels on the two sweaters for the twins). Here's the progress so far on the baby blanket:
And now, if you'll excuse me, I have a lot of knitting to do!
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Then the lowest buds opened bright red.
Finally, the rest of the buds opened! And, magically, little ties materialized under the neck and a swirl of decreases made this into a hat.
A completely impractical baby bonnet, mind you - it's Shetland wool, so not machine washable, and probably a little scratchy, too. And the baby, due in August, is a girl, allegedly. Plus, this is kind of a small hat, definitely a newborn size. So, here we have an August baby girl, who is supposed to wear a scratchy blue hat.
Well, at least the kid’s Canadian. And, if nothing else, she can put this on her dolly in three or four years.
And, the same day that I’ve finished one of four baby presents due this year, I find out that yet another friend is expecting. Babies are just budding up everywhere around here!
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
They're resting on my handspun shell, which has passed a critical test - I took it off the needles and measured it for width, when it was about 8 inches high. It passed the test - whew!
I love the texture of the plain old stockinette.
Finally, a pansy, just because it's pretty.