Monday, August 28, 2006

Postcard from the edge

Dear Reader,

I'm having a grand time! Wish you were here...

The center of the spiral rug was finished in 2 days, liked making the circle, very cool. And then the madness began. That outside piece? that would be done in knit stitch for the circumference of the rug (wait for it...twice). Since there's another knit piece for the outer section. All I can think of is 'don't run out of yarn don't run out of yarn don't run out of yarn...'

On why I don't want to run out of yarn: Peaches n Creme is an okay yarn, but I don't want another cone of the darn thing. Unfortunately, the way the edge is knitted, if you run out of yarn, you either rip it and reknit with less stitches (I'm doing 9 vs. their 10) or buy another cone. Update: yep, need to buy more yarn (at least it's cheap!).

On another note of madness, I just picked up and am knitting 240X2 + 160 stitches for the edging of the shawl. Picking up 240 stitches per side was a little harrowing. I calculated that I needed to pick up approximately 7 stitches per wave motif. Yes, I had to repick up the first 50 a bunch of times before it was okay. The last 40 stitches were also a pain since you can't fudge it since you run out of edge. And the other side? I tried my best to match the previous side, but oh well. Oh, and since I knit it all in one piece without reading the directions carefully, I have an additional knit row on one side.

And now, I'm stuck on the stole. If only I knew how many stitches I needed at the end, I could fix it...really I could.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Bandwagon here I come!

Yes, I'm knitting a rug! Something I never thought I'd do. I'm doing it due to the Mason-Dixon book (I WILL get value from the book, besides a good read). I really liked the concept that your house will never complain...good thought. Oh, but I'm not making Absorba, I'll be working on the pinwheel rug using short rows. I'm using Peaches n' Creme denim 3 strands held together. At SnB last night, I wound some of it off the cone and then realized I didn't have the appropriate sized needles -- I think my assortment of needles from size 10-13 are all on UFOs.

So, I swatched with #13 and 9's and realized that I almost got gauge with the 9's (12st/4in verses their 13st/4 in). Not a big surprise since they're using wool and doubling the yarn while I'm tripling.

I was able to finish one wedge last night. I think I'll be doing alternating with the ecru color. Not sure yet about the look.

Oh, if this rug turns out, I've got the wool yarn ready for a rug in the kitchen! Yep, kitchen.

Monday, August 21, 2006


We left a and z at our wonderful friends' home and went off to a beautiful wedding in Berkeley this weekend. Although the bride (and some of our friends) asked about the children, I must say it was absolutely liberating attending an event without having to have mom-radar on and repeating over and over 'please stop doing that'...

It was a very touching ceremony at the Botanical Gardens -- now, why didn't I know about the site? It's absolutely serene. Very gorgeous. I recommend this site to anyone wanting a smallish outdoor wedding (besides our beloved Oakland Rose Garden, of course). And honestly, I think that it takes being married (and having had to plan said wedding) to really appreciate a wedding. I now understand all about the care that goes into such an event, the songs to be picked out (they really are meaningful!) and the details...things I didn't pay attention to when I was single and clueless...oh, well.

A 'friend' (what do you call a person you like, but doesn't live in the same town, don't keep in touch with, but really enjoy their company when you see them?), a friend just had a baby (5 weeks) and was telling us about their delivery -- much to my surprise, we had similar (horror) stories. At 48hrs after birth, her son's heart also had to be restarted, just like a. And I totally understood about the trauma of trying to recover from a c-section (her's was an emergency c-section after 30 hrs of labor) and being told you need to sign this consent form because your child's heart is getting ready to bounce out of their body!

So that was Saturday. On Sunday, we went up to the Marin Cheese Factory to celebrate MIL's birthday. It was lots of fun seeing family and meeting her friends.

She had said she didn't want presents, but what was I to do? I got the yarn early this year specifically for I presented her with this (completed of course).

Interlacements Rick Rack II
Scottish Lichen - purchased at Stitches West in February
Feather and Fan pattern from them
80in X 30in?
off and on knitting 2/2006-8/2006

The nice thing is that I've got more yarn so I can make one for myself! Altho' this is 'novelty' yarn, it was pretty spendy. But it does feel lovely!

Yarn Info:
Rick Rack II - Scottish Lichen - Color 119
The most beautiful rayon yarn to weave and knit. Knit as a fine yarn or as lace with a 6 needle, we have a Feather and Fan Shawl that is to dye for. Also weaves into scarves and in combination with other yarns for clothing.

Colorway: Scottish Lichen
Colorway Color: Sky Blue, Olive, Turquoise, Dark Green, and Blue Green
Type: Novelty
Fiber Content: 100% Rayon
Yardage: 1400 Yards
Size Weight: Approx 16oz.
Putup: Reeled Skein
Gauge: 10 epi plain weave, 13 epi for twill.

Friday, August 18, 2006

What I knit on my summer vacation pt. I

While down south, when I wasn't dealing with the kids, or when I wasn't lazying around watching TV, I knitted--actually, I knitted while dealing with kids, lazying about, and watching television. I finished another bib and worked on Eunny's Print O' Wave stole. I originally got the Misti Alpaca to do the Mystery Stole II, but as the clues got printed, I realized that I wanted a lacy lace stole, not one that was knitted fabric with a few YO patterns. I do like the MSII stole (especially the pictures I saw on the yahoo group--gorgeous!), just not right now.

I then hit the intarweb...what a wild wacky world...where all your dreams can come true. Anyway, I searched a number of sites and found Eunny's beautiful stole pattern. It's supposed to be an easy pattern -- if I can make a Liesel scarf this should be a cakewalk given that it's only a 9 row repeat. I'll put some markers in...first mistake. I ripped it by the 5th row. Oh, yes. Step back and realize that although all the stitches at the end of the row end up totalling 80 stitches, umm...well, the markers I so diligently placed, well they move!? Now, why didn't I think of that before. I literally knitted and ripped it 2-3 times before I got it, then it was a smack on the head and a 'doh'.

I then searched 'Eunny and wave' and found that there was a Yahoo group, which I then joined. I also found that there were much discussions about this stole so I spent time reading that too. Finally, I looked at the joining the two center pieces together and vacillated between knitting the pattern as written or knitting a big long piece.

Many bloggers were in the same boat regarding the seam down the center. Now, I'm a symmetrical type of a girl. Given there's one side, I'm compulsively trying to make sure there's another that matches...sort of. For example, socks with variegated yarn, yes, I do make an attempt at trying to sort of match the two socks (that's not to say that by the end, they do match -- but I try). And I did like the waves flowing downward. But then I kept going to the center of the pattern and how there's a visible connection seam. Well, that just won't do. A blogger thought she was going to knit an additional pannel to 'fix' it, but well, I've just not looked at enough lacework yet to figure out what pattern would look nicely there. So, my solution is to just keep on knitting...
After that issue was resolved, I'm continuing to knit. But again, as this is my first true knitted lace item (don't count worsted weight scarves or bookmarkers), I'm stressing about how big and long it's going to be. Again, Eunny has written how if you use laceweight yarn, it'll turn out huge at 70in long...BUT I like scarves/wraps/stoles long. On one hand, I really want to believe the lace knitting gurus, but on the other hand, as a scientist, I compulsively 'do the experiment' to confirm results. You may think it's reinventing the wheel, but as a scientist, you need to confirm published results before you build on them...yeah right, you should do a gauge swatches too!

Since I'm knitting one long panel, I have a ways to go before I decide whether to veer even farther away from the original pattern...

So, right now I'm on 21/34 pattern repeats. But I read that the edging is what kills ya.

I should add that it's being knitted on #4 bamboo straights mostly and somewhat knitted on SB circs when I need to add a lifeline. Why not Inox or Addis? Don't have #4's in either, that's why. Also, that blue bit on the needles, that's the curly doodad in action

Monday, August 14, 2006

Curly Doodads

I love tools, specifically knitting tools. You know, point protectors, stitch markers, needle sizers, organizers, needle holders, counters, I love them all. And I like to collect them. And organizers to put the doodads in (sigh).
I'm not one of those folks who would rather use cheapo needles and spend all their $$$ on yarn. Nope, not me. Yarn, once knitted up, becomes an object to be used/worn/given away. It's the perishable part of knitting...unlike the tools, which are more like the well-honed chef's knife or the perfect pot for making toffee.

But my newest love are these plastic phone cord deals, made by Clover (Clover Coil Knitting Needle Holders). They're outrageously priced at $5plus for 5 small plastic coils, but I've only gotten the set when I've had a coupon, so they're a little more reasonable. But man, they rock!

They're even better than the plastic needle holder licorice twist looking things. With these, they hold the stitches on the needle well enough so that I'm not going to come back to a big mess. Yet, the holder can be 'wound' onto the needle so (yeah!) I can find the darn things when I need to set the knitting down momentarily -- like when the baby cries.

Anyway, they're awesome.

In other news, I'm reading Yarn Harlot's newest book Knitting Rules . Of course I should have read her first book first, but oh, well. I really do like her blog and thought her book would be interesting. As I said, I just started it, but I've already learned a lot. For example, I am a Knitting Scientist (according to her quiz). She must have known about my uncontrollable need to do quizzes. Maybe this is knitting thing, the urge to quiz, or maybe a blog thing, or a knitting thing. I do wonder if there's a natural selection for certain traits to be a knitter. hmmm....

Oh, and I did enjoy her table on how to determine the fiber type of an unknown yarn. My first response (as a scientist) was to put it under a microscope. You'd be able to tell fibers pretty easily, especially if you had control fibers on hand. But then again, I guess not everyone has access to Zeiss scope. But very handy tool to figure out what type of yarn you have.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Just back from 'TV vacation'

Not at all what you's a vacation full of TV watching. Yep, went south to visit the family and you know that my mother (actually parents, but the driver is my mother) is a technophile. Growing up, I never thought twice about the fact that we got a clunky box thing called the VCR (VHS not Beta -- that was my brother-in-law), SelectTV, Apple II Plus computer, etc...

Well, for the last how many years, my parents have had all-the-channels-all-the-time-cable-tv with the DVR AND my fave 'On-Demand TV'. Sweet!

Z was in TV vacation heaven. He's normally monitored as to the amount of television he watches due to the fact that we have experimentally concluded that z + TV in the morning = non-listening z for the day. Why yes, it was imperically determined. However, when you put z in front of the TV ALL DAY LONG, he does eventually get bored and will turn the thing off. When asked what his favorite part of this vacation was, his answer was "watching TV". that's my boy!

As for me, I only watched TV when z slept (he's only 3 1/2). So, here's a list of the movies I saw (in no particular order)**

Proof - Gwyneth Paltrow movie. Why yes, math geeks are crazy (no. really, they are) and they can party too!
Serenity - sci fi by Buffy the vampire slayer guy. It was a series for awhile. I didn't like the series. But the movie rocked!
Robots - This I watched w/ z. Robin Williams sometimes gets a little old. Overall a cute movie.
Herbie movie - Matt Dillon and Linsey Lohan. Linsey used to be able to act when she was a child star, what happened?
Sky High - Didn't remember Kurt Russell was in this flick. Kinda lame, but another one that I watched w/ kids.
Alexander - Didn't watch it all...missed the middle part. It was disconcerning seeing Alexander with a Scottish(?) accent.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith - cute movie. Nice eye candy.
Final Encounter - really bad futuristic Dean Cain movie. Yeah, you never heard of it? yes. waste of time.
The Island - another eye candy movie.
Lords of Dogtown - I saw the documentary, heh on the movie. Keith Ledger as the stoner head guy was pretty cool.
Kingdom of Heaven - Orlando Orlando Orlando

**if there's more, I'll add later

Oh, there was knitting too. Will post pics later.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Cotton and food entrapment devices

Here's a picture of the dishcloth that I whipped up awhile ago as requested by z&a's dad. And here's the bib done also in Sugar n' Cream for the girl. I didn't have the book at the time, so I faked it. Casted on 40 stitches w/ #7's and knit until the right size. Then knit the straps 10 st wide.

As a 2nd time mom, I know that the buttons used to hold the bib , whether the back of the neck or on the bib are very nice and super cute, but guess what? It's a NFED (nasty food entrapment device). I just know that I'll be having to hand wash the bibs because the buttons are fragile--and you're not going to see me w/ a toothbrush cleaning out the crevices. Instead, I made an I-cord and this system seems to work. I'll also be making more bibs in the lime green, blue, variegated, etc.

At first, I was all like, why would you make bibs for a baby? especially when you can buy them? but you know, z&a's dad really likes to use the dishcloth, and you just rinse them out or toss them in the laundry...what could be easier. And for less than a buck a piece, pretty darn good deal.