Friday, March 30, 2007

She saw it and likes it, so I decided to finish up and give it to her.

Ta Da!

Below are my perfect buttons. My friends at Wild and Wooly are to thank for these. They are almost the same color purple as the yarn. So fabulous...

Here's a shot of the cool lace detail down the front. I might use this in a scarf soon. It's a simple ladder, but it's so easy to do, and looks great.

And... here's how big and boxy it got on me - you can't really see well, but trust me. It's supposed to be pretty fitted. And it ain't.

It grew sideways, but the length is still perfect. Which proves it was a blocking issue. Am thinking of knitting it again, but casting on less stitches and making it narrower. Hmmm. The way I figure, I just need to measure the existing sweater and count off.

Think that will work?

Then Jo Sharp 2's cardigan will be just like Zephyr's Green Gable.

A pattern so nice, I knit it twice!

oh and about the mice... the exterminator came today and loaded up our basement with enough poison to kill the entire mouse population of Boston. We'll see if they go away now.... he says it takes about a week. Which explains why Zoe saw one run across the floor this afternoon...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Finished my Jo Sharp sweater out of the lovely Rowan. It came out great - I did a good seaming job and had very few mistakes at all. The yarn is really gorgeous.

But the blocking. This yarn expanded! As a tweedy wool would. But, I must now grow in order to wear the thing. I need one of those little cakes Alice had. A little taller, a little wider, a little more solid in the shoulders. I imagine I've been off gauge all through, and didn't really notice, but I had tried all the pieces together and they were OK. Oh why did I block?
Maybe I'm knit cursed? The last three sweaters I made - the everest vest I gave to Melissa, Arwen, which is off being evaluated for a refund, and the Jo Sharp vest, which I abandoned a few inches in - what have I got? Oh yeah, and the socks I also bailed on. I got nothin.

This could be a lesson in substituting yarn (really... if I want to take a close and objective look... hmmm) but no - the Jo Sharp was the suggested yarn and I wasn't feeling the urge to finish it.
Ugh, it's the yarniverse conspiring against me?

But back to this cardigan. I have to sew down the collar and add the buttons, but maybe I won't.
I'm thinking of bringing it ot Knitsmiths and seeing who it suits. Maybe someone's been dying for a purple short sleeved cardigan - someone who's around a size 10? I could frog, but i did such a GOOD seaming job, if you know what I mean. I'll never find the ends all woven in perfect and such. oh well, no promises, but it might be up for grabs on Sunday.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

All I need to finish on this are the sleeves. They're short so it should be done soon....

On the mouse front, here's what the girls did this morning before school - they got dressed early and pulled up stools to watch the Running of the Mice. Seems the route goes from our stove to the fridge. And back. These little warehouse mice have no fear of noise or lights - and no sense of time. Arent mice supposed to be nocturnal? Not these guys, they seem to enjoy a good 6-8 am romp.
Anyways, Lowes has offered to pay for the exterminator and I'm going to schedule him later on today, much to the dismay of the cheeering section below...

Hello under there....that's Squeaky.

Zoe has a playdate here this morning - it's the first time they've ever been over and i don't know the mom or the kid that well. Think they'll be amused or horrified?

Monday, March 26, 2007

And since there is no such thing as A Mouse, look below.


And they are soooo not afraid of me. I think they're posing for the camera.

Apparently my family has been unknnowingly selected for a month of customer service trials. In addition to our new and very sporadic Comcast service, which has already warranted many calls back and forth, and the saga with the Sublime sweater, we now have a whole new relationship with Lowes Home Improvement.

See, we had company this weekend (the human kind, not these little dudes) down from Maine. A family that used to live on our street came to visit with their kids. On Sat PM, as all the kids settled into bed, the husbands looked at each other and decided to head out to Lowes to look at the Grills. After all, the temp had gone above 50 and the snow had melted, so it was obviously time to begin shopping.

My friend Suzanne and I were perfectly happy to open up a bottle of wine and found a bad chick flick on TV. (The Lake House. Many plot holes, but entertaining nonetheless) We even called the men and warned them to stay out and get a beer unless they wanted to see Keanu Reeves. It was around 9:00.

Instead they returned a half hour later with a grill and a six pack. A grill they wanted to assemble that night - in the same room as us. We rolled our eyes and turned the sound up and made fun of them and complained about the noise.


they noticed the styrofoam. It had been eaten away in places. There was mouse poop in the box. And something furry in the corner. Lucky for us, they decided to open the door and take the box out on the deck before going any further. Long story short, an entire mouse family had set up camp in the warm cozy grill. Moms, Dads, Uncles, Aunts. We saw em dart across the deck in the snow. The worst of all was the batch of mouse babies in the charcoal tray. The guys abandoned the project mid box and called Lowes.

Lowes came the next morning, gave us a new assembled grill and took everything off the deck. But I'm thinking the little family needed to find new digs, huh? The babies didn't make it, but apparently many of the adults are now happily cruising around in my old walls.

Eeeew. And now there are three of them posing for photos in my kitchen. One we already caught in an trap this morning, and another is floating around the back closet.

Am waiting to hear back from Lowes this AM - I have to go off and teach a knitting class, but when I get back, either I'm calling the exterminator or they are.

And either way, they're paying the bill ....

again, eeeew.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

It's nice enough to be out here! You need a light jacket, but the snow's gone and the sun is out.
And that's enough for us.

I'm not doing a ton of knitting this weekend, but I managed to finish up the first side on this cardigan while Zoe slept this afternoon. I am going to LOVE this sweater (so I say now...)

And look what I found on the web!

I think it'll have a more prominent place around here soon.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I know I'm new to this whole lace thing, and I began the pattern using something I already own, instead of going out and buying proper Yarn Meant to Be Used in Lace. So, I did a little mini blocking just to see if this isn't too busy. It is a lot of colors.
what do you think?

I have less busy yarn...
I could do a more simple repeat with this one?

I'm just afraid for all my effort, it might look like basketweave in the end.....

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

And none of them match, but they're all really beautiful. I'm going with a few projects at once all the sudden, seems I'm still not very committed to any one thing. Indecision matches the weather around here. Not exactly winter (if you ignore the snow) and not exactly spring (although it's going to be 50 degrees out). I sent Maya to school in snowboots and a light jacket. Really, if Mother Nature can't decide on a season, why should I have to decide on a project?

So, this first photo is my debut in lace. I've done a bit of yarnovers as part of other projects, but no actual "meant to be lace" patterns yet. I"m feeling like I've mastered cable patterns this winter between Starsky and Arwen, so a lace pattern should be the same kind of thing - without the extra needle. right?

The yarn came from my Mom's big stashout. It's Koigu, and the colors are really amazing. Deeper than in this photo, with lots of mustards and blues and burgundy. The pattern is the split leaf from IK's little scarf insert this fall. So far, it's going well - but definitely not kid and playground knitting. My fabulous magnet chart reader is coming in handy - and after a few repeats, I am getting the rythym, so it could get outside yet. (when the snow melts again....)

In the meantime, for knitting around the kids -- A raglan with no actual thought required. This is Zoe's latest commission. Blue and yellow, with ladybugs, as directed. Ostensibly to match the hat, but we're not exactly going that way. I got the variegated blue yarn at the recent Knitsmiths swap - it's a Lorna's Worsted. The yellow is the same cone from the "matching" hat, and the red is also from the hat - a Peace Fleece. There's a lot going on here, and she's chosen giant yellow and blue floral buttons, so I'm going to go easy on the bugs. Maybe just a couple. (I have changed the pattern to make them round assed this time)

And lastly, a sideways photo of some mystery alpaca esque laceweight I gave Dani ages ago. I didn't even expect to get any of it back, so this was a great surprise! She's dyed it a beautiful purple and lavender colorway. She had some concerns about the durability and strength of the fibers, but I'm thinking it might be lace scarf #2 if I make it through the Koigu number and want more lacy goodness. I have been eyeing Branching Out, and have been told it's a great beginner lace project. (so why am I doing Split Leaf first and Branching Out second?)

yeah, too lazy to flip the photo.

For anyone following my Sublime yarn saga, Arwen is on her way to Sublime Corporate for a review. I dropped it off yesterday at Wild and Wooly -- along with my receipt and a short letter. Jackie called me this weekend and asked me to bring it over, it seems they are concerned enought to want to see it themselves. Stay tuned...

Friday, March 16, 2007

Like my cool new wallet? I was picking up stuff for the school at a local store and it was right in front of me. Very springy, and look how it matches my bag. I had to do it.
I finished the scarf for the auction out of Dani's ex-yarn. Doing the little wrap Xs was cool, but not fun enough to make a whole scarf of them. The triple wraps are a little unweildy, although it's a very cool technique. Cables out of wraps. I figured the playground knitting called for simple garter stitch anyways, so X trim, garter scarf. It turned out great, and I'm thinking I might give it to a friend instead of donating it. The colors are pretty perfect for her, her birthday was Monday, and she admired it on the playground, so..... like my new wallet, some things are just too perfectly aligned not to be done.

And then some things are so wrong, you have to bail. I wasn't loving the Jo Sharp lace tank. Besides having doubts about the final fit on the vest, and the fact that no one seems to have knit it, so I can't get any of your feedback or opinions, I realize I just don't love knitting sweaters on little needles, and I'm not in the mood for cotton. So, it's back in the attic.

Instead, something from my NEW Jo Sharp Book. (by the way, Seed Stitch did have a copy waiting for me, but I didn't last a day without buying one first up here) I'm using my Rowan Harris Tweed for this, so it doesn't have to be a summer item exactly. The gauge is great and it feels good to be working with a sure fire fabulous yarn!

If anyne wants to swap for the 10 skeins of light gray Jo Sharp Cotton DK and Summer Book, comment me....

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

First the yarn. I've been lurking around the destash blog lately and seen quite a bit of yarn I'd like to own, but I've successfully convinced myself I can live without most of it, no matter how good the bargain.
But then I saw this stuff. Deep purple Rowan tweed. 8 skeins, about $40, including the shipping. What's a girl to do? Well, you know what I did. I cannot wait to knit this stuff up for next fall!

and more yarn...
This skein came from the Knitsmiths Swap last Sunday. It's a really beautiful mix of pastels from Morehouse Merino. It's mine, courtesy of Dani. Although it will never look good on me, it's begging to be a scarf for someone. So, i'tll be up for silent auction, along with my other random projects, later this spring. This auction is great - it's given me an excuse to knit all those skeins I do want to knit, but do not want to wear!

And a little more yarn..
These skeins I do want to wear. They came from a great little yarn store I stumbled upon last Saturday in Salem. It's called Seed Stitch and it's located on Front Street, just down from the Peabody Essex Museum or just up from the Salem Beer Works (depends on where you're coming from...) A cool little street full of crafty shops - quilting, needlearts and knitting!
It's a beautiful space - exposed brick and natural light, full of amazing luxury fibers. The folks working there were friendly and helpful, even when it appeared I was just there to browse and not to buy -- while Zoe slept in her stroller.
I hung our and read pattern book after pattern book. They have an amazing book selection - tons of gorgeous stuff. It's just a nice way to pass the time, checking out those Jo Sharps and Louisa Hardings in one of their chairs. Unfortunately the one book I wanted they were out of, but the salesperson gladly offered to call me when it came in. I couldn't wait and already own it, but it's been less than a week and they already called me back to say they have it.

The skeins are this amazing stuff called Terra. It' s upstairs now so I forget the actual fiber. Each color is beautiful - a main shade with almost a shadow color over it. $16 a skein, but so unusual I convinced myself I was worth it! they had the most gorgeous red and orange shades, but this one is a bluish teal with purple running through it, really lovely. I have about 200yds, just need to find a good pattern for an openwork spring scarf.
So anyways, stop by if you're in Salem - and then you can get a beer after, just down the hill.

And then, speaking of stores.... Some of you already know my saga with the Sublime Yarn. I knit Arwen and it came out great. Flattering, fits, all that. But I finished it up on Sunday and it already looks like something I've owned for a few years.

The light is better today to show you the fuzz and pills that I'm talking about. They began while I was still knitting - and keep in mind, I bought these skeins about a month ago and kept them in a plastic bag until using them. And I knit them inside, on a velour chair. You'd think I dragged the thing across a concrete sidewalk, or knit it on a playground of wood chips. Little white and gray fibers are popping up all over, and on the red, it really stands out.

Anyways, I wore it on Monday and although I love the sweater, am pretty disappointed in the yarn (did I already mention that???) So... not sure what might happen, I wore it over to Wild and Wooly, where I had bought it, to show them and see what they might have to say.

After all, $120 is a lot to spend, yes? So anyways, kudos to Wild and Wooly so far. I've gotten Jackie's ear and she's called the rep already. She's as dismayed as I am, and is trying to get the rep to come in and see how the yarn's worn. I am hoping to get my $120 back, and she's backing me up. I'll let you know what happens, but so far I'm very impressed at my LYS for standing behind their products and trying to help out a loyal customer....

stay tuned. (of course, the $120 will go right back into new yarn if I get it, yes?)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Finally done and ready to wear to the playground today. It's 50 degrees!

It fits really well and has a nice heavy drape to it, so it feels nice and cozy.
I'm still bitter about the yarn, but I do like the sweater. The pattern was fun and I love the cable - maybe I'll use it in a scarf or hat someday?

here's my worst mistake at the hood seam.
I think I didn't end on the right row.. oops.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

says Colleen
and Zoe.

It's been mentioned to me that these are pointy assed ladybugs,
as opposed to the more common round ass variety.

I promise to use round ass ladybugs in the sweater.

Friday, March 09, 2007

That would be me. We're walking over to a friend's house the other day and Zoe, out of the blue, says, "Mommy, can I have a hat with ladybugs? A yellow hat with ladybugs?"

So what did I do as soon as we got home?

And here we are a day later.

She swears she'll wear it.

And here's Arwen in her latest stages. I've finally finished all the knitting and have seamed the hood, but I'm taking a break from it before finishing the rest. The hood seam didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped, but I'm prepared to give a bit on this sweater, since the knitting has gone on and on and on. I'm ready to be done and wearing it!

to the swap?

Friday, March 02, 2007

It's slushy and cold and rainy today, AND I'm childless until 2pm so lots will be getting done around here today. First off to the gym, supermarket and liquor store - but that should still leave 3 hours of quality knitting time before I have the kids around again.

So Arwen... I put down the left side of Arwen and began the right as written. I'm almost to the shoulder, and the actual pattern looks like it will work out fine. I kept the sleeves a little short (only 10 sts less than Kate intended) but kept the same # of short rows and sleeve rows and the math is going to be fine. Turns out I had overthought the thing. No pics, it looks pretty much like it did in the last post, just bigger!

Am hoping to finish the right side this afternoon and then I'll only have the left to redo before seaming and blocking. My goal is Arwen by the Swap. We'll see how that goes. I'm pretty obsessed at the moment - I don't even have a secondary project traveling around with me!

It's actually a little freeing, only knitting when I'm home at the dining room table. I'm finding I have all kinds of time and other things to do... I picked up a book I was into and I even read a few magazines while waiting for Maya to finish her skating lesson. One of them was a cooking magazine, so I'm inspired today.

I used to cook all the time, recipes from our subscriptions to Saveur, Bon Appetit, Fine Cooking and my library of cookbooks - which is even bigger than my collection of knitting mags. I'm a sucker for heavy stainless steel pots and my Le Creusets. Something so right about them. And they look so pretty on my stove with a blue flame below.

Seems this knitting thing has eaten into my other hobbies a bit yes? You guys never even hear me talk about the kitchen. But, dinner is going to be a roast chicken recipe with honey and cumin, from the NYT Jewish Cookbook - which is an awesome cookbook containing lots of recipes not really Jewish at all. I bought it originally as a gift for someone else, and had to buy another since I was not able to part with it! Highly recommend to anyone interested - With it, a onion and pepper couscous with dried apricots. And maybe even cookies for dessert if the girls are willing to pitch in.

I figure the smell of a chicken in the oven will perfectly cozy on a day like today - especially after I go to the liquor store for more red wine... The cable guy came yesterday and we even have free HBO and Starz - does life get ANY better than this????