I'm still alive here, though sometimes it doesn't quite feel like it.
The house we sold in California closed yesterday instead of on the first. When we scheduled movers, the latest date they had was the 25th. Turns out the other side of the transaction assumed that meant we could close early and she could arrange moving help for this weekend.
We needed to make an over-night trip back to Seattle, where I am right now, and assumed we'd have the weekend to get the last bits moved and to clean. We got it done early. I ache all over. Unfortunately, that includes my hands, especially the tendons at the base of my right thumb. So I knit only in small chunks. And I curse the Land Rover which causes some of the hand problems if we drive long distances, like to the airport, because the steering on it takes so much work.
I did get about an inch and a half knit on my Casbah scarf while I sat and waited for the movers to have a packing question. At the other end, just three miles away, I had too much in the way of giving directions and answering questions to knit. I knit another inch on the plane ride down. No new photos. Look at the last photo I posted and imagine another two or so inches.
In 45 minutes I'll head back to the airport under a snow advisory here in Seattle. No snow yet and I hope all I get done is another inch on the plane. If we do have delays, I'll be glad I knit.
Our trip went well. Some beings found it almost boringly routine.
We had good weather and great scenery. Shasta holds a pile of snow waiting to become summer water.
I knit quite a bit on my scarf during my passenger turns. It seemed the better project than the just-cast-on body of my sweater with the still-iffy cable placement. I expect the Casbah to block out well since the label says machine washable, despite the 10% cashmere.
Easter here felt an odd combination of Spring and Summer today. The temperature got to 70, which felt warm to those of us adjusted to Seattle weather. Spring here often runs warm for a few days at a time and 60 is the norm. The forsythia is already fading and there are no clouds. But my oaks still have no leaves, only lichen, on their branches. And they're only my oaks for another week.
NB I somehow fouled up getting this posted, so here it is late but with it's original time approximation. After tomorrow (Tuesday) my posting will depend on the Wi-Fi at Starbucks for a week or so. I may become sporatic. Not that that would be a novel condition right now.
Last year the Frenzy was my first Guild meeting. This year I cleaned out my Clover bamboo needle, labeled them, and took them to sell. For the last couple of years I've used my Addi Naturas instead.
There were a lot of people selling this year. We had to set up more tables. The quality of the yarn available was pretty high and included hand-dyed, undyed, hand spun and dyed, lots of Koigu in multi-skein lots, and many luxury yarns.
I did buy two yarns: about 300 yards of a cream Border Leicester blended with 15% alpaca and 2000 yards of 7 spi Jaeger 100% Alpaca in a golden brown (with one ball partly swatched.) I passed up a lot of beautiful yarn, though most got bought quickly by others.
I didn't sell all of my needle, actually not even half as I had a lot of needles, but I came out ahead for the evening. And I had a nice time chatting with Joy who had the table space next to me but who I'd not
Mostly I knit in the round, which comes from various influences: my main knitting instructor Karen Alfke, a feeling that there's a body logic to it, my laziness about finishing work, and having bought a few of Elizabeth Zimmerman's books early on when I took up knitting seriously several years ago.
But when I knit flat, my purl rows run much looser than my knit rows. To get gauge I usually go down two or three needle sizes from the one called for in a pattern.
After reading several of EZ's books, I bought a set of the Knitting Around videos and watched all three over a couple of days. I rewound the bit about knitting back backwards a couple of times. It fascinated me, this technique that eliminated flopping the whole thing over at the end of every row.
(Note that that linked sites reverses the terms from the way EZ, Karen and I use them. What I refer to she shows as purling back.)
A couple years later, knitting back backwards came up in a conversation with Karen. I finally tried it out in a couple of small tests. Recently I finished an entire sweater using the technique.
Besides eliminating the flop, this technique also helps my hands. I've had tendinitis in my hands and wrists more than once. I pick, so mostly use my right hand, the one with the most issues. For me, KBB switches the hand that does the major part of the work and involves a very different set of moves. Each hand almost gets to rest every other row.
And it turns out I KBB slightly more tightly than I knit. Occasionally I knit back enough more tightly to get a bit of rowing out, but so far not so much that it still shows after blocking. I come much closer to pattern needle sizes - when I knit from a pattern.
Before I took Karen's Unpattern class, I'd had exposure to the idea of designing your own sweaters from basic guidelines in Elizabeth's books. It made sense to me, as I'm the kind of shopper who's alway looking for something that's not 'in' this season.
So, it came as a bit of a surprise when I realized this fall that I'd never actually knit any of EZ's ideas.
The EPS sweater I'm actually knitting for Margene's KAL is not the first one I started when I decide to knit an EPS project a few months before. It's not the second, either.
I plan on doing saddle shoulders for this sweater. I also have a three-rib braided cable on the sleeves and plans for a four-rib up the front - my first big cable project. And I want a steeked V-neckline with the ribs flowing up the sides as smaller cable. That last will be my first steek and a challenge, as I'm using a Merino though Aran-weight yarn.
That's a lot of new things to try in one sweater. But my first planned EPS sweater had trickier cable placement, a zipper, and a double-knit collar to also learn how to accomplish. The second used a sock-weight yarn in a simple hemmed stockinette body. After struggling with a provisional cast-on based on Judy's Magic Cast-on and tiny stitches that kept mysteriously increasing in number, I decided a larger gauge might be best for my first attempt at the hard-to-picture instructions for the saddle shoulders. I really want to try those saddle shoulders.
At this point I'm almost done with my sleeves, lacking an inch or two on the second. These did take a couple tries to get the cables and increases worked out the way I wanted them.
I want to try out some shaping techniques I learned at Madrona on the body - more new things in one sweater. These will fall before I connect the sleeves to the body. Though this sweater is the first where I've knit separate sleeves and body in the round, bottom-up, I think I won't feel like I'm doing an EZ sweater until I get to the point where I Unite the parts. That's really where Elizabeth's way of looking at things differently and coming up with logical and/or clever methods kicks in.
I think EZ's attitude in Knitting Without Tears that anything's possible and nothing except split yarn is really a mistake is good to pass on to new knitters. Beyond that, I think most knitters will need a bit of experience to understand and feel comfortable with her patterns. Her terseness seems to me based on an assumption of some basic knowledge that a few projects provide. How much experience is needed depends on your experience with other craft and construction techniques. Anything that gives you experience in imagining how things go together and what construction steps actually create will help you here.
So now I'll go imagine a bit more of my sweater.
Note - You know you're really tired and need to go to bed when you fall asleep not reading but while actually writing. Thus the Monday Musings tag on a Tuesday post.
Before I left Seattle for California on Sunday evening, I quickly took a few of what turned out as rather fuzzy photos of the EZ EPS sweater sleeves.
One is pretty much done. I may decide to add a couple of rows when I try it on next time I pick up this project. The other is a hank of mostly de-kinked yarn awaiting reknitting the next time I pick this up.
The projects aren't getting picked up much the last couple of days. We're spending time on the phone or running around to do the one thousand and one things needed when you change houses. I'm sure we'll manage to overlook a utility.
I did do some knitting on the Casbah scarf on the plane. It measures maybe an inch longer than it did in this photo. But the color here is pretty accurate, though maybe a bit light.
I really don't expect this scarf to progress very quickly as I have it on US1/3mm needles. Fortunately the rows are short-ish - 55 stitches.
I do seem to expect the sweater to make amazing progress despite my putting absolutely no time into it. Since this piece knits up at 5.25 stitches per inch, when I do work on it it goes at a good clip. Course part of the reason for that results from knitting sleeves. I haven't started the body yet.
I seem to also expect the blog to produce itself while I'm busy lately. I really should figure out some good, short types of posts for when I have no knitting to show you - like tomorrow.
So, I had a couple of bus trips today plus a chunk of time between appointments when I knit on my cabled sleeve for my EPS sweater. I got into a groove and whipped along at a nice clip, finishing almost two repeats of the pattern in half an hour while I sat in a coffee place, sipped a cup of tea and people-watched.
Apparently somewhere in that groove I spaced out on the part where I stop and look at what I've knit once or twice a repeat to make sure everything lined up and crossed correctly.
Of course, at a point in there they didn't. And I hadn't noticed for quite a few rows.
I now have the cable section on a separate needle ready to drop it down and reknit it. Tomorrow morning when I'm fresh with a clear and resigned mind, I'll do the drop.
If you'd like to see a beautiful cabled sleeve for a saddle-shouldered EPS sweater, check out Franklin's (scroll past the current exploits of Delores.) He devised a neat die-out for the transition of his elbow-length cable section to stockinette. I'll bet he finishes his first, too.
I got my mind off the current snafu tonight first by ripping the other sleeve with its multiple issues. The rip involved almost an entire ball of yarn. I planned to wind the unknit yarn into a skein for a quick rinse and hang-dry to unkink it.
How do others reskein yarn into something long enough to fit back onto a swift? This was my solution.
This exercise also provided an opportunity for me to realize that the color of this yarn doesn't actually lie that far out of my normal range, given that I apparently already own pants in a co-ordinating color.
After that I worked on what turned out as two swatches for a simple scarf to provide alternative knitting at times I can't or won't handle cables. I also wanted a second project on the needles for some traveling I'll do next week.
My original plan involved knitting this in stockinette in the round with columns of purl stitches to make an edge turn. Then I stopped to consider that this yarn, Casbah by Handmaiden, measures 325 meters in a one of a kind skein of small yarn - two socks worth at 8 to 9 inches around. I wanted a scarf 6 to 7 inches across or twelve to fourteen inches around - and therefore well shorter than two socks end-to-end. (Note - the yarn is more blue-gray and less lavender-blue than the photo.)
So, I'm knitting flat with a longer seed stitch edge than that pictured.
I think I'm only a day - okay two - after deadline for posting my 'D' in the ABCAlong (Ravelry link) hosted by Vicki. Good thing she hosts things very loosely.
Right now two days behind is pretty good for my schedule. This week I'm dealing with doing things at my for-sale island house and keeping it primped for possible buyers around an Open House and showings. Today's planned outdoor work got rained out and needs to be rescheduled. Between chores I keep having to leave for prospective buyers to come through - a pain but actually the point of the whole process.
And I'm not getting any knitting done. I need to start a scarf or something else completely mindless. Something that doesn't involve both cables and increases, even ones that follow the same row count.
Next week I have to be in California for the closing of our new house-for-Mom/vacation-home-for-us and getting the contractor there pointed in the right direction (fortunately he's an old friend of my Mom's and very dependable). The house here will be on it's own.
But, we do have some very promising nibbles here. Unfortunately, they're leading to some things I have to be here on the island for that will completely mess up my schedule this week since the things I have scheduled are a ferry ride away in Seattle. But I don't yet know just when the messing up will happen. Pfft!
On top of all this, in the last week a red-headed woodpecker (though I think the variety here is actually called red-bellied) has decided to attack the cedar tree right behind the house. Next time I chase him off by flailing at him with an extendable pole-pruner from the upstairs balcony I'll try to remember to take a picture of him first.
Anyway, 'D' is for Dentist - as in I went on Thursday and am just now posting it.
I have a great dentist. He hires great staff and gives them plenty of time to deal properly with each client. Also gives them Fridays off.
I used to live three blocks from his office. Now I fight the traffic getting out of downtown to see him even though I'm sure I could find several dentists within walking distance - like maybe in the Dental Arts Building.
Actually, I know of another knitblogger who fights traffic from over an hour away to continue to patronize my dentist.
Never give up a good dentist with actual people skills - especially one whose office is over a large Starbucks.
And here's a photo of snowdrops just because I like them and because even with the rain it feels like Spring here. I really have nothing to complain about. But I do feel better now.
Right now I blog from our island place where I came to primp things and arrange flowers for the Open House our Realtor holds tomorrow.
And where I just discovered how long it takes to download photos over the Internet when your computer system server sits ten miles away connected across a span of salt water by huge lines running along the sea floor.
So tonight you get copies of the sunsets from this house that I took for prospective buyers.
And you're all invited to an Open House from 1 to 4 tomorrow if you're in the area - especially if you're in the market for a waterfront home.
I'll stay here for a few days, so I need to think about how to cope. Like what make the best tasks to do while my photos download.