Friday, September 29, 2006

Serenity Now! A finished object report

As I knit this sweater, I couldn't help thinking about George and Frank from Seinfeld screaming, "Serenity now!" So this is my Serenity Now sweater:

Serenity Now!

Pattern: Serenity from the RYC Classic Style book, second size
Yarn: RYC Silk Wool DK in color #307 Velvet, exactly 15 balls
Needles: US sizes 3 and 6
1. I love this sweater. The yarn is soft and cozy and the pattern is attractive.

2. You're not going to see an outdoor photo of this sweater any time soon. It's still in the 80s in Houston. A wooly turtleneck is not my idea of summer-wear. (Yes, I'm wearing shorts in this photo!)

3. I'm not certain that I'm going to keep the turtleneck part. I doubt that it will ever be practical in Houston--it's even a bit much in overactive air conditioning. But because this sweater is going on display at Yarntopia, I knit the collar as written in the pattern. But I also left the collar ends long so that I could pick them out and frog the collar at a later time.

4. I have a 36 inch bust so I knit the size "to fit 36-38 inch bust." Then, I discovered (after all the knitting was done of course) that the finished size is 41 inches. Eep! I probably would have been better off with the smallest size that has a finished size of 37 inches. Next time, I'd better study the schematics BEFORE knitting.

Also note that the sleeves are way too long. Though they are the correct length according to the pattern.

5. According to the pattern, the size I knit requires 17 balls of Silk Wool DK. I stopped knitting the collar when I had used up the 15th ball of yarn. The total length of the collar is about 2 cm shorter than the pattern specifies, but because the collar is doubled over, the collar height is about 1 cm shorter. Not a huge difference and I saved a ball of yarn. Considering that this yarn retails for about $10 a ball, it was a wise decision.

I can't say for sure that the pattern completely overestimated the yarn needed--my row gauge was slightly off so that could have affected my yarn usage. However, if you're going to knit this sweater I suggest knitting quickly so that you still have time to return unused balls of yarn if needed.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Our house is a very, very, very fine house

OutsideEdit.jpgRachel has chastized me for not having a full blog entry with photo up within 48 hours of moving. While I always aspire to reach Rachel's level of dedication and rabidness to blogging, I have to admit that unpacking, organizing, and sleeping were higher priorities for me. Sorry if I have disappointed all of you.

This past week has been another adventure in exhaustion for us. (Mostly me. Peter seems to have an incredible amount of energy and drive to “get things done” even when the clock says that hours past our bedtime.)

Barbie called this move “The Fastest Move Ever” and that is not an understatement:

• On Tuesday, the packers had our entire house packed in under 3 hours. (And within minutes of their departure we began to unpack because we discovered that we had forgotten to set some necessary things aside.)
• On Thursday, closing on the new house took about 2 hours. Thankfully, all the people involved were kind enough to send copies of all of the papers to Peter a few days before the closing. If they hadn’t we would have been sitting there for 5 hours or more as Peter read every word and asked 10 billion questions.
• On Friday, the movers had everything out of hour old house in 2 hours and everything into the new house in 2 hours.

Dining2.JPGHowever, all was not peaches and cream during the move. Our refrigerator delivery guy completely screwed us over. The fridge was to be delivered on Saturday. Delivery guy calls in the morning and says that he can’t deliver it because his helper didn’t show up and he can carry the fridge to the second floor by himself. Delivery is rescheduled for Monday. Delivery guy calls up again and says that there was some mix-up with the dispatcher and delivery has to be rescheduled for Tuesday. On Monday, Peter calls to find out what time the fridge is going to be delivered. Turns out that our delivery guy LIED and told the dispatcher that he attempted delivery but we weren’t home AND the guy either quit or was fired over the weekend. He also lied to us about when the fridge would be delivered because he never did call the dispatcher. The real dispatcher told Peter that the soonest we could get our fridge is Wednesday.

But we’re well on our way to being settled in. The cats are getting used to their new palace though they seem to think that standing on the top floor and yelling is the way to get us to go upstairs. Only once did Scout think that the best way to get downstairs is to go through the railings (Peter caught her while she was desperately trying to get back onto the stairs.)

Photos of our new house (complete with captions!) can be found here. Don’t miss the series of photos of the microwave oven that’s smarter than I am.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Be Back Soon

Serenity sleeves finished.
Mostly unpacked (books and decorative stuff remain).
Cats moved in.

Photos soon.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Weaving in Loose Ends

Serenity Sleeves
SerenitySleevesI have abandoned all hopes of finishing Serenity before I move. I’m nearing the sleeve caps, but see at least two more days of knitting ahead of me. Then, there’s the time I need for blocking, seaming, and collar knitting. I think this could have been another 2-week sweater if life hadn’t gotten in the way. The photo is rather boring. Scout was sleeping and Elly only felt the need to walk across the sleeves, not pose with them.

After tallying up the pro-bobble and anti-bobble votes, pro-bobbles won by 4 votes. However, some of the pro-bobble votes were not so much “yay bobbles!” but more along the lines of “those bobbles aren’t bad.” I’m starting to like the bobbles but mostly because the more bobbles I knit, the less enthused I was about cutting them off.

However, the simple idea of a bobble-ectomy is very intriguing to me. (Thanks to Elizabeth for coining the new word) Oh yes I have to try a bobble-ectomy. Yes, I’ll test the surgery on a scrap, not the sweater. And yes I know that the bobble has to be replaced by a purl stitch (not by a knit stitch as some of you suggested). I just want to see if it will work!

Short-Row Shoulder Shaping
Some time ago, I promise Rachel and Laura that I would write an article about short-row shoulder shaping. It’s a technique that I use on all the sweaters I knit because I think it produces a much neater looking shoulder seam. Short-row shoulder shaping gets rid of the ugly stair-step effect and it sets up for a convenient 3-needle bind-off shoulder seam.

I started writing that article and planned to submit it for the Winter issue of Knitty. I had photos planned and everything. But when I set out to find a good tutorial for the 3-needle bind-off, I found that Knitty already HAS an article on short-row shoulder shaping. Bummer. I debated whether to finish my article and simply “publish” it on this blog, but eventually decided against it. The instructions in the existing Knitty article are clear, so I directly my loyal and curious readers to that article.

Good-bye Little House in the Suburbs
This is going to be another crazy week for me and I’m not looking forward to it.
Tuesday: Packers (from the moving company, not Green Bay) are coming to pack up our house--mostly packing the kitchen, the remaining books, and clothes. We also have the final walk-through of our new house.
Wednesday: The closing for our current house.
Thursday: Cats go to the cat kennel and we have the closing for the new house.
Friday: The movers move our stuff from the current house to the new house.
Saturday: New fridge is delivered, the appliance guy comes to hook up our washer and dryer, the lady who sells blinds comes to measure our windows, and the cable guy comes to hook up our internet service.
Sunday: Pick up the cats and hope that they don’t Scout doesn’t freak out in the new house.

I’m moving a mere 21 miles from the suburbs into Houston, but I’m a bit scared about this move into the “big city.” I don’t like cities. I was never thrilled about living in the suburbs of a big city but cities are where the jobs are. Perhaps some day Peter and I will be able to move to a small university town (our dream) or to a goat farm (my dream) but for now, I’ll make the best of the current situation. Being less than a mile from the largest yarn store in Houston won’t hurt either.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Yarn Review: RYC Silk Wool DK

Judging by the number of comments on the last post, the results of my personality test apparently did scare some people away. I will try to be more agreeable and less neurotic from now on.

But this is a yarn review! Here it is, without further ado.

Silky Woolly GoodnessSilk Wool DK is a new fall yarn from RYC. It is 50% spun silk, 50% merino wool, and 100% luxury. From the moment that Amy showed me the little bits of yarn on the color card, I knew that I wanted to knit with this yarn.

What first attracted me to the yarn was the sheen of the silk. This sheen is so intense that the yarn appears to be glowing from a light within, a quality that is difficult to photograph. The appeal of the yarn is furthered by the extreme softness of the yarn. I can easily imagine this yarn being used in a slinky, skin-tight sweater for a special evening out.

SilkWoolPliesThe yarn is a tightly-spun, 4-ply yarn that has a springy, bouncy feel that initially reminded me of Karabella Aurora 8. In fact, Silk Wool knits up into a fabric that behaves and feels similar to the fabric knit from Aurora 8. Thanks to the wool content, ribbing is very grabby and cables pop nicely. However, the yarn also has a nice crunch to it due to the high percentage of silk. RYC has done a masterful job blending these two fibers such that the superior qualities of each are well represented.

The yarn texture is generally smooth, though the yarn does bloom a little with washing and friction. Thankfully, the sheen of the silk is not muted by the slight surface fuzz. Silk Wool is easy to work with and is not prone to splitting, but I have snagged a few stitches as I knit. When snagged, the silk fibers tend to pull out and create a fuzzy poof in the fabric that cannot be easily worked back into the fabric. So if you have rough skin on your hands like I do, be sure to keep your hands well moisturized when working with this yarn!

SilkWoolCableI am thoroughly enjoying my experience with Silk Wool. It has already gained a place in my “favorite yarns” list. If money were no object, I could think of many sweaters that I would want to knit with it.

Silk Wool comes in 50 g balls (100 m or 109 yds) and has a recommended gauge of 22 stitches and 30 rows in 4 inches. It is currently available in ten muted colors, which include pastels and rich, dark colors. I am working with “Velvet” color #307. The RYC Classic Style book contains 16 patterns using Silk Wool. The patterns include several pullovers and cardigans, two vest, three bags, and a scarf.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Don't let this scare you away

I didn't really need a survey to tell me that I'm neurotic and introverted...

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Thursday, September 07, 2006


I have been happily working on Serenity for several days now. I finished the extremely ribby back in a few days and started working on the front. However, before I could knit the front, I had to chart out the cable pattern. I can’t bear to read written out cable directions. Are cable charts frowned upon in England? Neither Rowan nor Debbie Bliss ever have cable charts for their beautifully cabled sweaters. Phooey!

I love my charts

As I was charting away I read this: MB. MB? What’s that? Turns out that it means “make bobble.” Ugh. I didn’t know that this sweater had bobbles when I picked it. I’m not a big fan of making bobbles or looking at bobbles. Even as I study the photos of the sweater online I can’t see the bobbles very well and I know where they are!

Now, if I were making this sweater for myself alone, I would certainly leave out the bobbles that seem to interfere with the lovely cable pattern. But because I am knitting this as a yarn AND pattern sample for Yarntopia, I can’t really modify the pattern.

So here’s the first repeat of the cable pattern with the bobbles and with the bobbles pushed in. Which do you prefer?
Disappearing Bobbles!

I’m seriously considering performing bobble-removal surgery on the sweater after I get it back from Yarntopia. I think that if I make a judicious snip in the bobble yarn and unravel the bobble, I will have two long tails to weave in. But I’m not sure how it will look after doing that and I’m not sure how annoying it will be. I would have to operate on a lot of bobbles...

Friday, September 01, 2006

Now with 100% more blog material!

Whew! It’s been another crazy week in my life. So much to say. But because this is a knitting blog, I’ll start with the knitting first and then move on to the drivel about my life that may interest about five of you.

Thank you to everyone who voted for me in the Amazing Lace challenge. I appreciate all your support. Sundaes all around!

It is the shawl that never endsProgress! Now that I’m working on the edging, the Shaped Triangle shawl is starting to look more shawl-like and less blob-like. According to my handy-dandy anal-retentive spreadsheet, I am now exactly 83.06% finished with the shawl. I’m a little nervous because when I was 75% finished, I had used more than 75% of the yarn. I’m not allowing myself to panic yet as I think I can do a little fudging at the end to save yarn if needed.

Silky Woolly goodnessMore Knitting!
Peter and I happened to be near Yarntopia on Tuesday (see below for the reason), and he suggested that we stop by. (Yes, his idea, not mine. Isn’t he great?) As soon as I walked into the store, Amy said, “You didn’t waste any time!” Huh? What?

As it turned out, Amy had sent me an email earlier that day to tell me that the yarn and pattern for my fall Yarntopia sample knitting had just come in. For reasons described below, I hadn’t seen that email. So it was all a surprise for me! I’ll be knitting Serenity from the new RYC Style booklet using RYC Silk Wool in a luscious purple color. That’s 50% silk 50% merino. Yum. I’ve swatched and will cast on this weekend. Expect a yarn review soon.

Puzzle solved!
Monkee has been hounding me about whether or not I’ve solved the crazy clues that were sent to me over my trip. It was hard, but I did manage to decode the clues. Instead of making anagrams of the FIRST letters of the words, I had to make anagrams of the LAST letters of the words. As soon as I did, the answer was obvious:
Sherry Floyd.

Yes, Sherry Floyd. Who is she? She’s no one right now, but I happen to know for a fact Monkee plans to change her name to Sherry Floyd as soon as possible. Why does she want to use that name? Well, it’s because Sherry Floyd is an anagram itself for “fleshy or dry.” Monkee, being the die-hard Texan that she is, loves Texas barbeque. And like all good Texans, she’s picky about her barbeque. She likes her barbeque to be either fleshy or dry, but not both at the same time.

Ingenious isn’t it? That Monkee sure is a clever one. If that’s not the answer to the clues, the only other possible answer is that the words are completely random and designed to drive me out of my mind. But I’m sure that can’t be the case. Monkee wouldn’t do anything like that to me.

Bald bookshelfLast week, I informed you that Peter and I were planning on selling our house and moving. I even complained loudly about the stager who invaded our house. Just LOOK what she made me do to my bookshelf! Peter and I have six large bookshelves and four of them look like this now. (The other two have books that I use for my work and I refused to pack them up.) I wonder if people who come into the house think we’re crazy for having so many bookshelves and but so few books.

But that day with the stager was only the beginning of an eventful six days. Here’s the play-by-play:

Friday afternoon: Peter goes to our buyer’s agent’s office to sign an offer for the place that we want to buy. At the same time the stager is in our house driving me batty.

Friday night and all day Saturday and Sunday: Peter and I work furiously to do the things the stager asked. Lots of packing and stashing boxes in the attic. The last half of Sunday is used to completely clean our house from floor to ceiling. Scrub, dust, vacuum, mop, touch-up paint, repeat.

Sunday night: We get a counter-offer from the seller of the house that we want. We discuss and decide it’s good.

Monday: Call buying agent tell him to find out a couple more details from the seller, but that we were happy with the rest of the terms. Meanwhile, our house officially goes on the market--property is listed on the MLS computer, sign goes up, keybox goes on door, photographer comes to take photos of our now perfectly staged house.

Tuesday: As we’re preparing to go to our buyer’s agent’s office to sign the official offer papers, we get a call telling us that the first showing of our house will be that afternoon. We tidy up (hide the cat toys and cat beds) and leave. We finish signing papers but there’s still more time to kill before the showing at our house is scheduled to be over. Peter suggests going to Yarntopia. We do. Yarny surprise! As we’re driving home Peter says, “Wow! This day has been perfect. We’ll get home and there will be an offer on the counter.” We both laugh.

As soon as we get home, Peter calls our seller’s agent to ask her a question. Before he can ask, she tells us that we have an offer on our house. For our asking price. Offer is sent to our house. Peter reviews it. It looks good.

Wednesday: Peter calls seller’s agent to tell her that we accept the general terms of the offer but want the timing of the closing adjusted. Our buyer’s agent calls and says that our offer on the new place as been accepted and signed and we are now under contract for our new home. CELEBRATE! Seller’s agent calls to say that our requests for the adjustment of closing were accepted. We sign those papers and now our house is under contract, too. CELEBRATE! And then fall down from complete exhaustion.

Thursday on: Now it’s time for me to worry about the actual moving process…