Thursday, May 28, 2009

Some Mays are Like This

Sheesh! I think I need some frog repellent.
Seriously, I have made mistakes and frogged more sock knitting this month than I can remember. Sigh! Maybe it has something to do with the rainy spring?
Yesterday I finished the Uptown Boot Socks without further incident, (and I’ll get to those) so then I picked up the scallop socks intending to finish sock #2. Now, I was somewhat proud of myself that even though I had decided to change the design and would end up frogging (just a little) part of the foot on the first sock, I was actually making pretty good progress on the second one. After all I had finished the heel flap and was working steadily toward the heel turn. I finished the turn, picked up the gusset stitches started back into the pattern on the foot, pulled out the first sock to do a little counting and then… hmmm, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something doesn’t seem right. Keep knitting, it’s just the light… No really, there’s something off here… no, keep knitting (sneaking suspicion continues to assert itself) … pull out pattern notes, GASP! I have been doing the simple 4 stitch, 2 row lace pattern incorrectly… no kidding! For most of the sock…. here’s what happened next:
After: But, I still have this to be proud of - Chocolate Truffles: Pattern: Uptown Boot Sock by Jennifer Appleby Yarn: Lucy Neatby Celestial Merino Dream in Bittersweet Chocolate Size 2.5 needles / Magic Loop Times frogged before getting a complete pair: 4
Fit ... perfect!
Some Mays are just like that… June can’t come fast enough I hope it’s too hot for frogs!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorable Weekend

I went down to central IL for part of the weekend and got to see a little parade in my folks town; Dad got to ride on one of the veteran’s floats, unfortunately, I was slow with the camera, therefore too late to get a good picture. Then later that day we all had the privelege to witness my niece Stasi get married…
The wedding was beautiful and moving with a radiant bride escorted by my brother resplendent in his dress uniform despite the tears as he gave away his daughter, then a beautiful tribute song written and performed by my nephew in honor of his sister and new brother-in-law. Many tissues were needed. Then, I had a enjoyable time at the reception catching up with friends and family.
Even though it was a short, pleasant trip, I'm still happy to be back home (and the kitties are twice as happy!)
In knitting news; I was almost to the toe shaping of the second Uptown Boot Sock when I realized that I was knitting on the wrong number of stitches. Epic pattern reading fail (again). Sigh, frogged back to the gusset pick-up. These might take another day to finish. Please ask the knitting spirits to be kinder and gentler to me on this project. Nana

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

More Life - Less Knitting

I probably don’t post enough about my spiritual life or the things that really matter as a regular enough entry. So today I’m taking a slight diversion from my more fluffy posts to touch on that. I was struck by a sort of humbling thought today as I was driving home from work. Usually I am the sort of Christian who wants to trust God in everything, but being a sort of control-freak, sometimes I really want to know more details about the bigger plan He has for me even though I know I’m not meant to see it. Today it occurred to me that I actually feel happy that I don’t know all of those details. It seems that in many areas of my life right now I know more details than I want to have about things that are going on and I know those things because at some point a decision will be required of me. Some of the decisions will have impact on more than just my life, so it’s a little daunting. I’ve never been one to shirk responsibility, but the humbling I had today was that God’s responsibility for our lives is so much more than any responsibility we have or can imagine. So today I am humbled and happy that I don’t have to know all of the things that God does about the future. I will just plan to take things prayerfully one decision at a time. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) Nana

Monday, May 18, 2009

About Knitting

Yes, knitting has been happening along with all of the other exciting things I’ve been doing. I have a few FO’s that I mentioned, but probably haven’t posted pics of, so I’ll try to do a quick run-down:
The Delve sweater in a better modeled shot (same model, nicer pose and cute guy!)
I finished one brown sock, took this picture and then decided that the stitches on the foot were too big/loose.
Spent a few days thinking about it, decided to reknit at a smaller gauge and more stitches. It has now been frogged and I’ve restarted the sock with more stitches on the right size needle.
I finished the Lily of the Valley socks. Overall I like the pattern and might knit it again.
The nupps gave me a little trouble at first, but they got better with practice (and slightly looser loops!). I need to figure out how to tighten up the braid on the cuff and toes a bit, but it’s a nice pattern. Yarn: Louet Gems in Cream Pattern: Lily of the Valley by Susan Lawrence (available from Knit Picks) Size 2 needles / Magic Loop I got 4 repeats done on my Swallowtail shawl and it is starting to look a little more like it’s supposed to: I still have a ways to go, but hey, it takes time (I might finish it before my grand-daughter gets married, LOL!)
And finally, I spent most the weekend on this: The sample and practice pieces for my students to use during my Toe-up Sock workshop (tonight): I think that brings it up to date…. Happy Knitting!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Home Again and Yarny Goodness

I and thankfully my suitcase made it home safely. The Fairbanks-Anchorage and Anchorage – Minneapolis flights were fairly unremarkable. Knitting happened mostly as desired and no infants or queasy moms were seated nearby. The flight from Minneapolis-Milwaukee which should have been an efficient 56 minutes took more like 2 hours and 47 minutes; spent mostly sitting on the runway in Minnesota; due largely in part to storms in the great lakes region. The drive home was not fun either, but like I said I made it, and was greeted by two (happy?) kitties when I came through the door.
It's good to be home but I miss my guy terribly already. Here he is in uniform: The kitties and I were pretty lazy yesterday and I thought I’d get this post up, but we were really lazy…. anyway, as promised, I wanted to tell you about yarn stores in Fairbanks.
Here are the goodies that my DH helped me pick out:
(my apologies for the dark pictures... it was a bit cloudy that day).
The first stop was A Weavers Yarn; which is co-located with the owner’s home, so we initially thought we took a wrong turn when we ended up in a residential area, but found it easily enough. A nice shop with lots of good choices for knitters, weavers and other needle artists; since it was the first stop, I had to show a little restraint, but these goodies ended up in the bag:
One skein of Pagewood Farms Hand-dyed Sock Yarn; 2 skeins of Watercolours cotton embroidery thread (for embellishing) (and because it was just so darn pretty), and 2 skeins of Rabbit Ridge Hand-dyed sock yarn. Plus the owner Susan was helpful and friendly and threw in a couple of free sample patterns.
The next stop on our tour was Northern Threads which is also a quilting shop. This was a large shop which is primarily a quilting shop. The shop offered an excellent selection of yarns, fabrics and all the essentials for knitters and quilters. My Mom would love this shop. Here my biggest decision was over colors more than brands. I found an excellent yarn called Rustic Tweed from Queensland Collection. It came in so many nice colors that I had a hard time deciding. Even DH was stumped (he really liked both of the greys so well even he couldn’t decide which was better). The yarn has a very subtle variegation within the skein. So I really wanted to buy a sweater’s worth, but didn’t bring that big of a suitcase, of course the owner assured me that they do ship! I settled for two skeins of a soft creamy gold toned color… and there was also a scrumptious skein of Misti Alpaca sock yarn that I couldn’t resist, as well as a couple of nice buttons to tuck away for a future project.
After that we decided to take a break for lunch and went to a Chinese restaurant where I had some yummy cashew chicken and DH had some teriyaki chicken. We must have been hungry because there were no leftovers! Thus fortified we trekked onward.
Next stop was Inua Wool Shoppe which is a must not miss place. The shop is beautiful and the yarn selection is very well balanced and again I had a hard time not buying several things that I could have bought and settled instead for a few well-chosen things. Of course the one I know you’ve been waiting to hear about is the big-ticket item that is home-grown in Alaska. I’m talking Qiviut and yes! I got some. I had hoped to get some in a natural color, but the shade I preferred was only in stock in fingering weight and I wanted the lace weight because I figure I need to make something very special with this yarn and of course lace weight knits into spectacular things. I settled for a pretty cranberry color and found a lovely smoke ring pattern to knit it up with*. The shop also had an extensive selection of Noro Sock yarn (both Kuryeon and Silk Garden) and I got to see, fondle and pick from colors I hadn’t seen much of locally. After narrowing it down to three possibilities DH helped me decide on color S102 which is predominantly pink-blue-orange. (I see more striped socks in my future). I also found this funky little button that says “will knit for coffee.” It is supposed to go in the hole of a croc type shoe, but I think I will figure out a way to attach it to my knitting bag. (Maybe not the one I take to work… don’t want Linda to get any bad ideas.) I have to give kudos to my hubby here. He didn’t gasp or tremble at all when we checked out. Love him!
The last stop was the Memories and More shop which is a combination scrap booking and knitting shop. Her yarn selection was smaller, but by no means inferior to any of the others. I already had a rough idea of what I wanted before we went (from looking at the website) and was not disappointed! Malabrigo… yippee! In (ahem) a nice light purple shade. And she, too had Noro Sock Yarn and I found a shade of navy-gray-black (S233) that I hadn’t seen at Inua… it too needed to come home with me. I also got a couple of “Alaska” themed pages so I can do a memory page for the trip. (If I ever get photos printed, etc).
Whew! That seems like a lot. I’ll have to talk about my knitting in another post!
Have a Yarny Weekend!
* In a kind of funny coincidence I was telling DD#2 about our adventures and the pattern I found but I couldn’t remember the name of the designer. Then, she told me about this designer she really liked who had a lot of smoke ring patterns. After she sent me the info on line, I went to the website, and it turns out that it was the exact same designer!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Alaska Highlights

Wow, the time here is really flying by. I guess the fact that the sun is shining most the day makes the passage of time hard to track! DH and I have been having a great time just hanging out, eating great food and exploring some of the area in and around Fairbanks. Unfortunately a couple of the things we had on our list had to be scratched because the official “summer” opening isn’t until this week or next week, but there has been enough else to do. So here are a few highlights of my trip so far. My DH was sweet enough to take me on a “yarn crawl” on Weds and we visited all four of the yarn shops in Fairbanks. Each one had something unique to offer and I enjoyed them all. I’ll have to do a separate post about the goodies I found which will be coming home as “souvenirs” Then that evening, I was fortunate enough to find and join a group of knitters for the weekly meet up at the Alaska Coffee Roasting company coffee house. The Group is the Fairbanks Fiberistas and I found them on Ravelry. Gotta love that resource! I also love the fact that it was so easy to join right in. They like to make up their own KAL’s so some of the ladies were doing an entrelac scarf and some were doing the Cat Bordhi’s Spring Thaw sock (Knitter’s #91, Summer 08). I was working on the Lily of the Valley sock and everyone had nice comments on it. We continued our explorations the rest of the week and through Saturday. Some of the places we went and things we saw: North Pole AK (Santa’s House); The Silver Gulch Brewing and Bottling Co (Yummy food and great microbrews); the Museum of the North (at University of AK, Fairbanks); and on every corner… a coffee hut! I suppose if I had to live here that would be the one thing that would make it more bearable for me (besides the four great yarn shops)! On Sunday, DH took me to the church he has been attending and after services we went to the Alaska Salmon Bake at Pioneer Park, the food was again yummy and the park, even though not quite up and running for the season was charming and we enjoyed the pioneer museum there as well. So here are a few pictures I took: Hopefully the next post will be more fiber and knitting related. Mo Jo to Go! Nana!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Flight Log May 4, 2009

Warning: this is a longish post, but not nearly as long as the flights it describes. (Times are mostly approximate) 730am Arrive at Milwaukee airport, check in, locate gate, read tribune while waiting to board 814am Board flight, settle in; text DH with status update, pull out sadly neglected brown sock (Uptown boot sock), begin knitting. Knit two rounds, begin cable round, and realize at end of first section (sock now being knit on magic loop for plane knitting) that section is short 1 stitch. Count all stitches on both sides of needle, confirm shortage. Pause for flight attendants announcement and safety briefing. Recount; check rows below for mistakes; identify ‘funny’ stitch on last cable round that could be inappropriate k2tog; rip 4 rounds. Take off announced, put stitches back on needle, begin knitting with previous cable round, count stitches upon completion, knit 3 plain rounds; start next cable round and realize halfway across needle that I’m doing wrong cable round (round 7 not round 3); stifle curse. Tink back to beginning of round; knit cable round successfully COUNT stitches, continue knitting uneventfully for duration of flight. 927am Arrive at Minneapolis/St. Paul airport. Locate restroom; do what I gotta do (sweet relief!). check gate info, locate nearby Starbucks. Wait patiently in line while person at counter has entire menu explained in detail (apparently it’s her first time ever at Starbucks – How is that even possible?)Exchange incredulous looks with three other people waiting in line. Finally get to counter to order, coffee is still being brewed, wait for coffee to be ready, nice (patient) barista upgrades size of coffee (woohoo) in thanks for waiting. Hike 17 miles to next gate; pass another Starbucks without line enroute. 1001am Settle in at gate, have snack, enjoy big coffee, knit a bit. Enjoy pleasant chat about Alaska, kids and other random topics with lady carrying small Chihuahua in fanny pack 1125am On board to Anchorage. Text status update to DH. Full flight, seats filling quickly 1127am Yikes; young mother with toddler approaching aisle (not this row, please not this) Dang, she snags the middle seat. Cross fingers that baby will not be awake much of flight. 1140am, wheels up. Baby happy and content, Mom battling gag reflex as plane ascends; this is already a long flight, could feel much longer. Attempt to knit while protecting project bag. Plane levels off without incident. Focus on knitting. 1208pm Flight nicely underway, begin cable row. Ack! Drop cable needle. Perform ridiculous contortions in attempt to locate. Determine it is somewhere under seat against wall of plane. I cannot reach. Sigh, seat-belt sign still illuminated. Proceed to finish row doing cables without needle. Progress is slow. Thank goodness cable only happens in 2 of 8 rows. 1249pm Break for in-flight beverage and snack service; resume sock, seat belt sign still illuminated. Arrive at next cable round; abandon attempts to cable without needle after dropped stitch runs. Fix stitch, fish out darning needle from project bag, and attempt MacGyver method of cabling with darning needle. Sadly it is doable, but extremely slow. 1pm-ish Have now crossed several time zones, watch and reality no longer in sync. Captain announced time 20 minutes ago, but paid no heed as intensely concentrating on newly discovered cabling option. Baby still happy, Mom seems to have fully recovered after snack. 11 or 2ish Depending on the time zone. We are about halfway through flight time; reset watch 3 hours back in estimation of appropriate time; no help. Body and watch are now hopelessly out of sync. Aisle passenger, baby and mom now napping; Attempt to set up stitches for heel flap, after three attempts, get it right. Sort of feeling sleepy myself, decide to give in and close eyes for a bit. Sleep for 15-20 minutes (concept of passage of time now only concept). 1140 am (Alaska time) Start heel. As experienced sock knitter, assume what is written in pattern and forge ahead with standard heel. 1215pm – start heel turn; refer to pattern to determine ending stitch count. Whoa! Go back and read instructions from start of heel flap through turn. Ooops! Not even close to heel I’m making. Decide to proceed with “my” heel version to forgo further ripping out and gnashing of teeth. No need to frighten other passengers with knitter’s angst. Continue knitting standard heel in defiance of pattern. 1235pm Pilot announces arrival in Alaskan airspace. Approximately 1 hour 45 minutes of flight time remain. Scenery will be visible soon! Seatbelt sign has been off for a bit. Turn around and ask passenger in seat behind if it would be possible to locate stray cable needle. Search and rescue successful; gusset shaping complete, cables rounds now much less stressful. 119pm Snow capped mountains visible through thinning clouds; Capt. announces approach to Anchorage. 205pm Arrive in Anchorage. (text hubby of course) Tour concourse and check gift shops in attempt to stretch out legs. Not quite ready to sit at gate yet. Immediately notice Qiviut display advertising Oomingmak Musk Ox Producers Cooperative (in Anchorage). Resist urge to break glass in order to fondle knitted items and yarn. 242pm Report to gate area. rest, then update log. Chat with very enthusiastic lady from Juno who is affiliated with the boroughs (county) program. She is going to Barrow to administer grants. Knit some more of sock after snack while awaiting boarding. 342pm On board plane to Fairbanks, preparing for take-off. (Send text) Continue knitting on sock – very close to start of toe shaping I have high hopes of finishing soon. Get to within ten rows of finishing toe before flight is over. 510pm Arrive in Fairbanks. Greeted by very happy DH! Stay tuned for Alaska stories and pictures later this week. I’m off to plan our shop tour. happy knitting! Nana

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I did it, I did it, I got it done!

Yeah, I know really original post title. Well it’s been hectic, creativity is a little on the short side today. But I finished Delve, project name Desire. Yay! I did a little happy dance even though you can’t tell from this picture. (Maybe I should have let Saucey take the picture instead of Zelda... she never holds still! I’ll try to get a better, less-blurry modeled shot when I’m up in Alaska.) So just the facts today: Desire; Pattern Delve from Rowan #43 Yarn: Rowan Summer Tweed Color 546 Loganberry Size 6 needles
I thought this might knit up a little heavy because the yarn is a worsted weight, but the silk saves it and the finished sweater is light and airy. I hope to get much wear out of it. I ended up using smaller than the recommended needles to get gauge, but as you can see it was worth it to get it to fit! The yarn is actually really nice to work with and I was almost a little sad for the knitting part to end. I totally want to knit something else with this yarn again… maybe color 548 (swirl)… hmmmm.
Happy Knitting Next post from Alaska! Nana

Friday, May 1, 2009

I Get By With a Little Help from My Cats

I had drafted a post earlier in the week, but didn’t finish it… and it really doesn't seem relevant any more, so according to the cats they said I should start over. (Starting over has been a theme lately)
I did, however, finish the knitting on my sweater: Here’s Zelda helping block the sleeves:

(I’ll hold it down, mommy)

All I have left to do now is sew it up and weave in ends.

I also finished Sock #1 of the Scallop socks. Even though I had to rip and reknit the toe three times, I’m not sure I am completely satisfied with how my experimental pattern turned out. The transition between the lace and foot just doesn't quite seem right. I may tweak the design when I knit Sock #2 - I have an idea of how to fix it. If I like it, I'll have to frog sock 1. Otherwise, I guess I’ll make sock #2 match sock #1 since there will be way less frogging at that point (not to mention that I already grafted the toe on sock#1!) Here’s a peek at what I’ve done so far:

Also, Saucey was a very big help this morning hunting down a vicious spider and almost catching it – that is ‘til it went under the cat bed. At that point she sort of lost track of it and didn’t know what to do next. Then Zelda came over and wanted to help at the last minute. I tried to capture it on video it might not be you-tube worthy, but I thought it was cute...

Have a great weekend!

Happy Knitting