I don't do knitted Christmas gifts - that way madness lies. But earlier this year when I knit endless Noro scarves for mindless projects during all of the packing and moving madness, my SIL admired the colorway on one of them.
I did the basic garter in Silk Garden scarf that has been popular for a while. I didn't think I could handle stripes at the time. Instead to add some interest and make it a bit more feminine, I added columns of YOs.
Of course, I forgot to measure it before I wrapped it, so I can't tell you just how large a scarf I got out of two skeins, but it's plenty long. I washed it and shaped it a bit to dry and that did open up the yarn-overs nicely. They look slightly different on the back than the front, but not enough to make a distinct sidedness to it.
I know this looks like a good start on a sleeve for my first NaKniSweMoDo sweater and we still have a week and a half until 2009. I feel the need to swatch this by knitting a part of the sweater to figure out how the cable and rib pattern I'm also improvising as I swatch will actually work. This is my third version and I'm debating if it still pulls the purl stitches to much. I really don't want them to look like openwork when it's done and blocked.
I knit and washed a flat ribbed swatch. I plan to use the change in gauge there to figure how my gauge on this sleeve and, by extension, the garment will change. I used the weaver's trick of making an outline of my swatch pre-washing so I now know this Alpaca/Jacob blend bulky yarn will get wider and shorter.
My master plan is to base a sweater on a sleeve whose stretched dimensions look good when worn, allowing for the % change that will happen with washing and blocking. I count on the elongated chained cables I've alternated with a plain rib not to change that % too much.
I'll figure my numbers for a saddle-shouldered (with a sleeve cable continuing up the saddle) EPS from this derived gauge. The cowl/turtle neck of 2x2 rib should echo the 4 1/2 to 5" of plain rib at hem and cuff. I'm aiming for something fitted, but not too clingy, to offset the bulky nature of this yarn, though in slightly-stretched ribs I get more like 4 to 4.5 than 3 stitches per inch.
Wish me luck. I'm flying by the seat of my pants here.
Here is today's morning newspaper article on Seattle weather and another photo gallery or two. Keep in mind that
Meanwhile, here at my holiday home in the foothills of
The cat, though, is all better and back to being a demanding pain in the rear. I love her dearly.
Most of the time we were back up in Seattle I dressed like this. The temperature did not get above freezing for the five days we were there. This did give me an opportunity to use my wrap that I knit over a year ago. I got a complement and more than one passerby who turned to check out my warm and, I hope, not too dorky look.
After we left the weather got worse. Since then it's looked like this. And this. Plus this and this. A short ways outside the city looked like this. The incoming storm will bring high winds as well as snow.
I know other places are colder, icier, and snowier but Seattle doesn't deal well with weather like this both because of all the hills and because we rarely get it. I really hope things thaw out before we need to drive home over passes next weekend.
Here where I am in the foothills of Northern California today the temperature got above 50F and the sun shone. Unfortunately, I didn't make it outside. Instead I spent the day hanging with a sick kitty. (Why do they never get sick during office hours?) Winne had a goopy eye, was lethargic, uninterested in food, felt hot on the top of her head (the only part that wasn't snuggled up to something), and was not bugging me all day for a lap and undivided attention. She was definitely sick.
She's doing much better after a day of just lying next to me while I swatched, caught up on blogs and occasionally changed the load in the washer and dryer.
I'll try to post some of the swatches over the next couple of days. It's all the knitting I'm managing right now and writting a post seems to be hard to get around to, too. I'm sure most of you are in the same place this week. I did decorate yesterday and today. I may bake tomorrow. Happy holidays to everyone.
I figure if I actually plan to knit a dozen sweaters next year, I'd better do a bit of preparation. Also, the weather in Seattle right now (1" to 2" of snow last night, high of 29 today with 15 to 25 mph winds and a low of 19 tonight - very cold for us) definitely feels right for sweater planning, especially bulky sweater planning while I catch up with everyone after a couple of days with no internet.
I've browsed sweater projects on Ravelry and added a bunch to my favorites for later consideration/ideas. My plan for the year involves working with Elizabeth Zimmerman's bottom-up EPS 'patterns' and Barbara Walker's top-down ones. I like the design-your-own, seamless style of pattern and have knit several of Karen Alfke's Unpattern, and I'll make at least one of those for the Seattle Knitters Guild KAL, but I want to get comfortable with both of these other types in a couple of variations. I also want to do two or three things using cables and get nice and comfortable with them, too.
I bought enough of this sale-priced bulky-weight Cascade Tweed 109 for four cozy-soft house sweaters. I also ordered a copy of the OOP Rowan Plaid book for some patterns and ideas in this gauge. I haven't done a lot of bulky-weight stuff so thought a guide to what works would help.
I started swatching for my first sweater of '09, a ribbed and elongated-cabled Cowl-neck saddle-shouldered EPS, in a 3spi yarn blended from alpaca and lilac gray Jacob. This should be a fairly quick project to give me a nice mental boost at the start. More on that with photos tomorrow when one of my swatches has dried.
And I assembled a selection of yarns to swatch so I can dive right into a project as I need one. Here I have the Tweed 109 in the center with, clock-wise from the top right corner, a dark gray Jaegar Extra-fine Merino Chunky, Tahiki Donegal Tweed, Jo Sharp Silk Road Aran, Noro Silk Mountain, and Rowan RYC Alpaca Soft.
In some of these yarns I have more than one color and project's-worth. Besides these I have a life-time supply of Jaeger Extra-fine Merino DK, with a sweater's worth of gauge swatch, and my Jaeger E-f Merino Aran EPS/giant swatch that I need to frog and restart plus two more project's-worth of that yarn.
I think I'm ready to get ready.
Today I wound a skein of my alpaca/Jacob yarn for swatching on my quick trip up to Seattle and back. My little metal and plastic swift I have at this house did a Herculean job of holding the 392 yards of 3spi yarn.
The ball winder didn't work so well. I had to basically hand wind the last 100 yards. Even using the crank made things move too fast for the ball and yarn to coordinate their moves. The little yarn guide was just in the way.
This ball will not come out of its bag for the duration of this trip if I can help it. I sure Hope the TSA agents understand.
It may be time to break down and order myself something like this. Merry Christmas to me
Wish me luck with security.
Yesterday I made a deal with myself I couldn't post for the day until I'd finished the seeded rib bottom and picot bind-off of the body of my Motley Crew-neck. I'm still not quite finished, though I do only have the bind-off left.
It is a nice sweater body, though, isn't it? I'd try it on for you so you could see the little bit of short-row bust and waist shaping, but I only had two 24" needles in a size smaller for the rib here with me so trying on involves a few dropped stitches and I really didn't want to deal with that tonight. Trust me, it fits very nicely. I expect it to continue to fit nicely since my generous swatch changed not at all in size when washed. I usually just finish out the ball of yarn I'm working with after I split off the body of a top-down sweater and then go back to do the sleeves without the weight of an entire sweater hanging off the needles and filling my lap. That became problamatic this time. The skeins have 350 yards of yarn each and I'm alternating two of them since they're hand-dyed and variegated and I don't want pooling or noticable changes between skeins. I also knit my swatch from one of the skeins I started the sweater with so that one ran out long before the other one, which actually still hasn't. I would have still had a ball of yarn hanging from the sweater body while I worked on sleeves and I know from experience that doesn't work very well. I also knit much of this in the car where a sweater body was easier than an attatched sleeve would have been.
It is a nice sweater body, though, isn't it? I'd try it on for you so you could see the little bit of short-row bust and waist shaping, but I only had two 24" needles in a size smaller for the rib here with me so trying on involves a few dropped stitches and I really didn't want to deal with that tonight. Trust me, it fits very nicely. I expect it to continue to fit nicely since my generous swatch changed not at all in size when washed.
I usually just finish out the ball of yarn I'm working with after I split off the body of a top-down sweater and then go back to do the sleeves without the weight of an entire sweater hanging off the needles and filling my lap. That became problamatic this time. The skeins have 350 yards of yarn each and I'm alternating two of them since they're hand-dyed and variegated and I don't want pooling or noticable changes between skeins. I also knit my swatch from one of the skeins I started the sweater with so that one ran out long before the other one, which actually still hasn't. I would have still had a ball of yarn hanging from the sweater body while I worked on sleeves and I know from experience that doesn't work very well. I also knit much of this in the car where a sweater body was easier than an attatched sleeve would have been.
Maybe it's my gauge, which is running just about a half stitch shy of 6spi over 4 inches and 8 rows per inch, but an inch of progress takes me a long time on this sweater. That's between four and five hours of knitting for the three inches of fancy rib you see.
Now, I rarely just knit, but usually read blogs on my laptop or watch taped TV shows at the same time. At least I do when the project is as uncomplicated at this. So I can't say it's five hour of concentrated knitting, but K3 P1 a round then P3 K1 a round doesn't really require concentration.
I should get the bind-off done tomorrow. Then I'll wind a skein of my alpaca/Jacob bulky yarn and start a swatch/sleeve to make sure I pack the right needles. I catch a plane tomorrow evening and the sweater's too bulky and the start of the sleeves too fiddly for travel knitting.
Besides finishing the 3/4 length sleeves on this sweater I plan to do two or three swatches for next year's sweaters before the end of the year. I think I need a running start at my dozen sweaters and swatching before next year doesn't feel like a cheat. I often swatch ahead of the start of a sweater.
And I expect simple swatches will be about all the knitting that can get done reliably and correctly given that I'll fly to Seattle and back, fit in a major holiday with two different families, and drive back to Seattle before New Year's Day.
This may be more than you want to know about my computer systems, but I do now have a cobbled-together e-mail system again after 11 days without. And I have absolutely no desire to use it. I included a couple of shots of a very old FO - my second Unpattern and third or fourth sweater - to entertain you while I rant a bit and get it out of my system.
Last Thursday my husband set up a temporary e-mail account with our ISP so we could send and receive mail. It didn't go through our server and it's many layers of spam filtering, but at least we could reconnect to a degree.
Which still left about ten days worth of spooled e-mail floating around with no way to get to us. Something in our connection between our server and the outside world is broken and until he can debug it on-site, neither the DSL or ISP people can know what to fix.
So he also arranged for the ISP to forward directly from the spooled stuff on their servers the e-mail for our specific real accounts. This step of specifying which e-mail to forward was necessary because we have our own domain name. That means that every made-up address that gets generated by sellers of male-oriented drugs or fake banks for ouraddress.com comes to us unless we do something to filter it first. Usually we have about three layers of filters and still get a few in our regular in-boxes but only a dozen or so a day in our desktop junk-mail folders.
When DH set up this forwarding the service rep told him it should happen in about 20 minutes. Four hours later when he called back he found that, unlike in the past, the guys on the phone couldn't do this particular fix but had to forward it to the one and only guy who could, who would get to it as soon as he had a chance. On Friday afternoon when the guy still hadn't gotten to it, they suggested DH try sending him an e-mail since he sometimes read those from home on the weekend.
And he did. But he just set it up to send current mail and didn't do the part about only forwarding mail for specified addresses. And for some reason the Universe decided the system would forward everything to me. From late Saturday morning until the guy apparently got to work today and got around fixing it at about noon, I received about 350 to 500 e-mails each time my computer retrieved it - every 15 minutes. I turned off the chime for new mail in the first half hour.
It took 2 1/2 hours for last night's 6,000 message build-up to down load when I turned my laptop on today. Fortunately yesterday I had left it on so the 9,000 ones I had that morning were already there. I estimate I dealt with deleting about 25 to 35,000 pieces of spam and two real e-mails in two days. Sorry, no good screen shots as I was busy trying to keep up with it all. Thank goodness he didn't send everything that had spooled for ten days also.
Last night I had to close various windows and slow down my Ravelry search for patterns as I kept getting out-of-processing-memory messages just from the stuff coming in every 15 minutes (and, um, a lot of photos of sweaters) even though I have a ton of memory. I had trouble with Bloglines not opening stuff while the massive download happened one-at-a-time this morning, but then, I'm not sure Blogline has everything together again after their transition either.
But now I have all the 'real' e-mail I'd not gotten, most of which is out-of-date holiday sales offers and only one business-related thing we should have signed and returned last week. Luckily, most of my knitting and blog-related stuff comes through the account I receive on-line so I've gotten the important stuff all along. I'll now receive e-mails sent to any of my addresses, though all replies from me will still come via the temporary address.
So, that's the long way to say that if I haven't responded to a comment you left on this blog or a message you sent, please bear with me. I think I got all the real e-mail that went to my in-box but did not check everything that went into the junk folder while I deleted a few hundred at a time.
And I may not respond to everything I get over the next couple of days. New messages have lost some of their thrill. I hope to get a lot more knitting done instead.
On Friday we made a round trip to Monterey, four hours each way, to fluff my mom's space in an antique mall before their weekend holiday Open House. We had dinner once again at Taste, where you should go if you're ever in Monterey, or actually Pacific Grove. It's a bit out of the regular tourist areas, but not hard to find and the best food for the most reasonable prices in an area where restaurant food can be very over-priced. The locals eat there.
I volunteered for the after-dark drive home and so got two or three inches of knitting done during the morning stint. My husband spent the first half of it driving in the fog. I spent the second half of my turn driving in the fog in the dark. The trade-off was worth it.
On shelves in the restroom of the antique mall I found some issues of McCall's Needlework & Crafts magazine from the mid-60s. This one tempted me, but I decided not to go there. I do not need more things to collect or store. I once owned 500 gardening books, many of them mainly because they were collectible. Even though I'd read over 450 of them and learned a lot, I don't want to got there again. I already have enough yarn and knitting magazines and books. I didn't even look to see if the patterns for the cover sweaters were in there.
Besides, I'd just ordered a bunch of Aran knitting books, a couple just because they weren't easy to come by any more. Sigh.
I spent a lot of time yesterday and today - too much - browsing through Ravelry and putting things in my favorites folder that I may want to knit for NaKniSweMoDo. I might actually use some regular patterns for some of them instead of my usual design-my-own with Karen's Unpattern. There are actually some nice patterns out there in larger gauges, like some simple Aran-types. And some non-Aran types. I'll need some projects in larger gauges if I'm actually going to come close to finishing a dozen sweaters next year.
On my top-down Motley Crew-neck, I've made good progress. I've done a set of increases for the below-the-waist shaping and have about an inch before I start the ribbing. I'll use the same seeded ribbing I did for my gray Regia socks. Since it will start about where I would do the second set of increases, I plan to just decrease enough to make the pattern work. I don't think I'll get any poofiness, but if it doesn't work, I'll just redo it. I don't plan to swatch it first. Sorry, Karen.
I wonder if I have a size smaller needle here if I need it.
Eight days ago I tripped on a tree root and fell, leaving my left foot swollen across the top, bruised at the base of my toes and sore in one spot when I walked, my right knee skinned and my hand and arm to my shoulder feeling like I'd lit on it with almost my full weight, which I had. But things only felt injured intermittently for two or three days, so I decided I hadn't really broken something in my foot or irreparably jammed my most-used limb.
The hand still gives me fits off and on, especially if I put any strain on my thumb or the area near it. Like sometimes when I knit.
And today I went for the longest (2 hours) and most hilly walk I've done since my fall. When I got home my foot ached at the base of one toe and had swollen over that area again. Darn it. I may have broken something. Sorry, no photos.
Not that there's a lot to do for it. I'm a nurse (though I haven't worked as one for years) so I know there's not a lot to do for it. Except to stay off of it. And not to walk.
But I'm a walker, so this will drive me crazy. I just hope it heals without any lingering issues. If I can stay off of it.
(No knitting happened today. Could you tell? I don't even have a photo for you. And I have to make a round trip to Monterey tomorrow, which will take all day, so I may not blog but will probably get some car knitting done. Not that you'll know since, if you use Bloglines and your account is acting as mine is, no one's new posts will generate the little number in ()s that lets you know they're there.)
Wait, I did post today, very early, to complain about Bloglines and TypePad. So I can post this stamped at the time I finished instead of began and get my little
red gold number on the calender. Yeah, I am easily pleased.
I've noticed over the last couple of days that Bloglines currently does not always indicate when an updated blog link actually has new posts. My own blog is one for which I don't get a nice little number when the latest posts gets picked up, but if I click myself, I'm there.
A while back I found that Stephanie's blog updates had gone stealth. Now Margene's and mine seem to have the issue while Stephanie's regained function a while ago. I'm not sure how many of my blogs are affected as I still have a few I haven't caught up on and I'm not checking everyone to catch missed postings.
Sigh. Anyone else seeing this? I wonder if it's related to their upcoming server move - or if it will be corrected by that.
P.S. TypePad has recently developed a bug in their new auto-save feature. I like having the auto-save for emergencies, but now with every post it wants me to recover the last auto-save the next time I go to compose a post. When I ignored the request I ended up with a broken save of the new post.
The base joint of my right thumb still gave me grief today, so I did only a bit of knitting. Surprisingly, my hand actually felt better after I knit. I think the current issue comes from a trip over a tree root about a week ago. My left foot still has bruises and some achiness across the top. My right hand and knee acted as brakes. Unfortunately, this is not the first injury to the same spot on this hand. I hope it holds up for another couple of decades. I already knit Continental.
Instead of knitting, I prepared for next year's knitting. I've signed up for NaKniSweMoDo, despite not managing to actually finish NaKniSweMo so far this year. Between time issues, my balky hand, and frequent days spent at home in cozy sweaters, I decided I needed some larger gauge yarn for at least a few of my dozen sweaters of 2009. I tend to buy smaller gauges and then knit them a bit tight. Besides those considerations, I also have developed a bit of an obsession with tweedy yarns and cables.
So I finally put together an order of super bulky Cascade 109 Tweed on sale at Webs. I've never seen this yarn in an LYS, so I hope I like the actual tweeds as much as I liked the photos. Between the website and Ravelry, I think I've managed to pick colors that have co-ordinating tweedy bits and will go with my comfy pants. I ordered four sweaters' worth for less than $200 total due to a free shipping holiday deal.
I also found a copy of the Rowan Plaid Collection book on-line. Though I rarely use regular patterns, preferring the design-your-own type like EPS or Unpattern, I found four sweaters in this book that I want to knit with only slight modifications. I got a good deal from an Amazon retailer of OOP books. And It made a good excuse to order all those cable and Aran books I had stockpiled in my shopping cart plus a hardback of Barbara Walker's Top Down book with the original photos.
So now I'm set, especially if they hold a repeat Dodecathon next year and the year after.
Pretty filler Fall photo of setting sun on liquidamber trees from our last weekend in Salem, Oregon.
I set myself a couple goals for November. Considering how much traveling we ended up doing, I didn't do too badly on them, though I missed one by half.
I sort of planned to post every day, though I didn't actually sign up for NaBloPoMo as I wasn't really aiming for 100%, just to get back in the habit. I missed three days, but I did set up posts ahead of time a few times when I knew I just wouldn't get to it. Two of my non-posting days fell just after a break with the pre-queued posts and I didn't notice that I hadn't actually written a post the days I had ones pre-written. And I missed the first of December for no good reason other than allergies that made me sleep all day but still fall asleep that night. It felt like a good reason at the time. So, I did a bit better than I expected on the posting but didn't quite accomplish my goal. I did make progress.
I also made progress on my Motley Crew-neck/NaKniSweMosweater, but got maybe half of it done despite actually signing up for the Ravelry group which functioned as the official KAL site. If I'd known I'd have so many distractions and impediments this month, I'd have gone with the bulky-weight alpaca/Jacob blend rather than the 6spi sock yarn. But I got the project well under way and I still feel the need to finish ASAP, so I'm happy with what I did here.
I could have knit more than I did today, but it's just as well I didn't as now I'm babying my right thumb joint with a heating pad. Occasionally wrapping my hand around a cup of tea didn't quite do the trick. I got only four rounds knit over the holiday weekend but knit two or three times that today. I also took some time to rewind my disintegrated balls (alternating 2 balls to prevent pooling and obvious difference between balls) of yarn back into functional balls from their other end. I need to remember that large balls of yarn work better knit from the outside even if I wound them as a center-pull, especially if the yarn itself is not large.
December looks promising. We'll see. I want to finish my Motley Crew. I signed up for the NaKniSweMoDo, knit a dozen sweaters next year, challenge. I may pull out an old UFO or two, especially as the year goes on, but it won't feel right to me to count this one in next year's total when the goal was to finish last month. Besides, I want to start with a couple of larger gauge projects for the mental boost of a speedy completion.
PS E-mail is still down. I can receive on my karenjoseattle address as I get that over the Internet, but cannot reply or receive on any of my other addresses. It seems we have a confluence of our ISP experiencing a power outage with no one on this weekend and something amiss in the phone lines. Trouble-shooting it while almost a thousand miles from our server is proving challenging. We'll owe our concierge when we get home.