Monday, February 28, 2005

Baby Got Back

I finished the back of Peter's sweater over the weekend. I wasn't sure I was going to post photos, but the sun finally came out this morning, which provided some lovely low-angled light in which to properly photograph the cable pattern. I touched up the photos using my new photo-editing software. The software is called Picasa and it is currently available free from Google. It works pretty well. As far as I can tell, it can't do fancy stuff, such as making people skinnier, but it's good for adjusting color, adjusting contrast, and all the other basic stuff.

In the next two photos, I used Picasa to adjust the color (the sunlight and my cheap-o camera washed out the color) and strengthen the contrast (to really show off the cables). So, here's the back:

And here's a close up of the cable pattern:

Shawl Update:
I finished the 4th ball of yarn. The shawl is now 45 inches long!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Back by popular demand

Last night I went to the Clear Lake SnB and learned that the members were NOT disturbing or mentally unbalanced (hee hee). And I had the great fortune of finally meeting Monkee in person. A few of the other knitters seemed to find it strange that Monkee and I met over the Internet. I think they feel that meeting the people over the Internet is dangerous. But hopefully, those knitters didn't find me to be terribly disturbing or mentally unbalanced.

At the SnB, I learned that I was wrong about the straight vs. circular needle usage rates. Most of the knitters there were using straight needles. I guess all the discussions about Denise and Addi Turbo needles on the knittyboard just skewed my perception of needle usage.

Anyway--the batteries for my camera are recharged so I can now litter this blog with more photos of my two WIP. First up: Peter's sweater!
[Edit to say: sorry photo accidentally deleted. But you can see the finished back in the Feb 28 blog entry.]
This is the back. I'm about to start the arm hole shaping. See that lovely wound center-pull ball of yarn in the upper left corner? It was wound with the wonderful help of Monkee and her wool winder. She and I wound 8 skeins of Cascade 220 last night. That's a lot of yarn!

Next: the ever popular reversible rib shawl

Ok, I'll admit that it isn't the greatest photo of the shawl. But cutie-pie Scout posed so nicely with the shawl that I have to post this photo instead of the other photo I took. I was attempting to photograph the reversibility of the shawl. If you wish to see better photos, look at this blog entry. The shawl is long now--I'm guessing about 40 inches. I'm in the middle of the 4th ball of yarn.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Dead Camera

I was planning to post new photos of my WIPs (shawl and Peter's sweater), but discovered that the batteries in my camera need to be recharged. Oh well. I guess they wouldn't be the most exciting photos anyway.

Tonight I'm going to my very first SnB. I have no idea what to expect. Hopefully, the members will be welcoming to someone new. I heard about this group from Monkee, so I hope I'll have a chance to meet her there! Interestingly, just last week I saw a feature on the local news about the popularity of what they called "stitching groups." The segment featured the central Houston SnB (the one that meets on West Gray). I laughed when they showed the cover of Stitch 'N Bitch and placed a big STAR over the "B" in Bitch. While watching the segment, I was surprised to see that most of the people were using straight needles. I thought that most people used circulars these days. Maybe my perception is skewed because I have never used straight needles.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

No Time!

This past week has just been awful! I've made very little knitting progress and I keep thinking of more things that I need to knit.

Part of my lack of knitting progress can be attributed to my trip to Austin this past weekend. Peter (my DH) ran the Freescale Half Marathon. As usual, he ran fast and did very well--he finished 6th in his age group and 29th overall. That's out of 3798 runners. Sometimes I'm so jealous that he is such a great runner. But most of the time I'm just proud of him.

While in Austin, I visited Hill Country Weavers and was very impressed and a little claustrophobic. It's a little house crammed with yarn from the floorboards to the rafters. And there were so many kinds of luxury yarns! I just stood there petting the yarn and dreaming. Good thing I'm not a stasher. I might have bought a few skeins just to have them!

However, I did by some sock yarn to make a baby sweater. The sweater I'm planning to make is very similar to Devan from Knitty, but it's a crew neck cardi rather than a v-neck. I'm going to make the sweater for my little niece, Eva. Prior to her birth, Eva was the inspiration that caused me to start knitting again after several nonknitting years. When my brother and SIL announced that they were going to have a baby, I decided to knit a baby blanket. I haven't stopped knitting since. Here's a photo of little Eva wearing a sweater that I made for her.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Happy New Year!

Today is what I call Chinese New Year but what the press generally calls Lunar New Year. I guess the press is trying to be politically correct by not excluding the Vietnamese or other cultures that use a lunar-based calendar. This year is the year of the Rooster. My brother was born in the year of the Rooster, so I sometimes call it the year of the Chicken just to bug him. But then, I was born in the year of the Dog and it's difficult to put a good spin on that! What's all this Rooster/Dog/other animal business? The animals are the signs of the Chinese zodiac. Similar to the western zodiac, there are 12 signs in the Chinese zodiac. But the signs in the Chinese zodiac cycle yearly rather than monthly. So, Happy New Year everyone! Eat noodles for long life and wear red for good luck!

Knitting news...I finally received the yarn for DH's sweater. I have finished several inches of the back. The cable pattern is much easier than it appeared to be in the chart. I can do most of the pattern without looking at the chart now. I just need to glance at the pattern to know how to start the seed-stitch in the center of the diamonds. Here's a photo of the work in progress:

Monday, February 07, 2005

Cats and Kidsilk Haze

I have three fairly well-behaved cats. For example, the cats know that they aren't supposed to jump on the kitchen counter or on the dining room table. So, they only go up to those places when no humans are in the room and jump off when they hear a human coming.

When I knit, I usually have a cat or two sitting next to me or sitting on my lap. Normally, the cats leave my yarn alone and don't try to play with it. But things are different with my shawl yarn. My lovely shawl is being knitted out of Rowan's Kidsilk Haze. All three cats are entranced by the floaty, fluffy yarn. And they can't wait to get their paws (or their mouths) on the fuzzy balls. Once, Scout tried to run off with an entire ball of the yarn. I scolded her and she dropped the ball and looked very sad and apologetic. Then, she grabbed the ball again! Do the cats think that the yarn is some sort of animal?

Shawl update: I finished the third ball of yarn. The shawl is now
32 inches long.

(Edited to add hard return before "32." The editor inside me can't stand it when a line breaks between a number and its units.)

Friday, February 04, 2005

What a deal!

Last weekend, I was browsing around in a Barnes and Noble store and found a 2005 Knitting Pattern-a-Day calendar in the 75% off bin. Including tax, it cost less than $4. Normally, I don't like buying pattern books without seeing the patterns first, but I figured that I was bound to like a few of the patterns among the hundreds of patterns in the pack. (And before some smarty-pants tells me that there are 365 patterns in the pack, let me say that Saturdays and Sundays are combined as one "day" and some patterns are spread across two days. So there!)

Well, I was correct--there are several patterns that I like. But, of course, there are several patterns that I know I will never make. For example, all the sock patterns. I don't knit socks. The only exception was the pair of Fuzzy Feet that I made as an experiment.

So...if anyone out there wants the sock patterns, I would be happy to mail them to you. Just let me know your snail mail address and the patterns are yours!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Where's my yarn?!

I'm itching to start DH's sweater. I have most of the yarn, but the contrasting color has yet to arrive--and the sweater starts with the CC. I hope the yarn arrives today. If it doesn't, I will email the vendor.

I'm all prepared to start the sweater. I've wound yarn, swatched, washed the swatch, made a swatch of the cable pattern, and made an enlarged copy of the cable chart. And because I'm such a visual person and a bit of a nerd, I carefully color coded the cable chart.

Why is there a weird glare on that chart? Because, in even more nerd-fashion, I put the chart in one of those plastic page protectors. And if you filp the chart over, you will see the entire pattern for the sweater. So where's my yarn!!!???

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Someone reads my blog!

I guess Monkee is reading my blog. At least she has link to it on her blog. That makes me so happy! (Hi Monkee!)

Now the music thing...
1. Total amount of music files on your computer? About 700 Mb. Is that a lot? It's all stuff off of my own CD collection that I put on the MP3 player that I use when I run. I need distraction when I'm running.

2. The CD you last bought is: Clay Aiken's Christmas CD. Don't laugh. I really wanted a new Christmas CD and I liked the songs on the CD and I like his voice. No, I'm not a Claymate.

3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message? "Anything Goes" I have KUHF (Houston Public Radio) on and they just played that. I just use that station for background noise.

4. Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.
Now I'm going to show my total geekiness and nerdiness here. I listen mostly to classical music and "modern" show tunes. Really. Laugh all you want.
* Elgar's Cello Concerto because it's the greatest cello concerto ever and I used to play the cello
* "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" because it's the prettiest song from my favorite musical, Evita
* "Puff the Magic Dragon" by Peter, Paul, and Mary because it reminds me of my childhood
* Carmina Burana by Carl Orff because it's amazing and powerful and good mad music
* Anything from Into the Woods because it's all so funny

5. Who are you going to pass this stick to? (3 persons) and why?
* Jaimi because she was inducted into Knittyheads the same day I was inducted
* PumpkinKnits because she lives in Massachusetts and I love pumpkins
* Gaile because she likes my shawl

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

I'll play, too

I saw this on habsgirl's blog.
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don't search around and look for the "coolest" book you can find. Do what's actually next to you.

"The acceleration that occurs in circular motion is known as centripetal acceleration (sen TRIP uht uhl ak SEL uhr AY shuhn)." from Holt Science and Technlogy: Physical Science (c) 2005. What's so cool about that sentence? I wrote it. No kidding. I really did. Ok, I didn't write the phonetic respelling--a copyeditor did that for me. The only books in this office are textbooks, textbooks, and even more textbooks.

Shawl update

I finished the second ball of yarn on my shawl. With the first ball, I finished only two repeats of the pattern. With the second ball, I finished two and two-thirds of a repeat (2.66 repeats). I'm pretty surprised at the difference. I made three little swatches with the first ball, and the first seven rows of the shawl are done on smaller needles, but I didn't think that either of those conditions would result in such a large difference. See the shawl here:

The entire shawl is now about 2o inches long. I want it to be between 5 and 6 feet long (60-72 inches long). I'll just keep going for now. I'm in love the shawl already. It's so soft and fuzzy and pretty. I can't wait for it to be finished so I can start wearing it around. See a close up of the rib/cable pattern here: