Friday, June 29, 2007

Finished Object: Flower Basket Shawl


Pattern: Flower Basket Shawl from Interweave Knits
Yarn: El Coyote Ranch 100% Mohair, one hank
Needles: 4.0 mm, US Size 6
Finished Size: about 50” wide and 27” tall
1) Yet another little shawl. Apparently, I am incapable of making an average-sized shawl. Either I make enormous shawls or I make small shawls. I thought about making this shawl larger, but I didn’t want to start the second ball of yarn.

FBS_CloseUp2) The reason why I didn’t want to start the second ball of yarn was because I wasn’t very trilled about the yarn when I was knitting it. The yarn was rather scratchy and I didn’t care to keep going with it. But, after washing and blocking, the fabric softened up nicely. It’s still a bit scratchy, but not as bad as I thought it would be.

3) I think the shawl will make a nice scarf. It seems sort of “rustic” to me, so I wouldn’t wear it to anything dressy, but I could see myself wearing it with jeans.

4) I really wish I had used a centered doubled decrease instead of s1, k2tog, psso, but I didn’t think to do that until after I and knit a couple of repeats. The yarn is just sticky enough to make annoying to frog easily. So I just lived with it. If I make it again, I would change the decrease.

And a Thank You

Thank you everyone for your compliments on my new hair. Believe it or not, I’m still getting used to it. Similar to people who have had limbs amputated, I’m suffering “phantom hair.” I still try to flip my nonexistent hair and I’m always moving invisible hair out of my way when I put my head on a pillow.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Jo took off her bonnet, and a general outcry arose, for all her abundant hair was cut short.

“Your hair! Your beautiful hair!” “O Jo, how could you? Your one beauty.” “My dear girl, there was no need of this.” “She doesn’t look like my Jo anymore, but I love her dearly for it!”

As everyone exclaimed, and Beth hugged the cropped head tenderly, Jo assumed an indifferent air, which did not deceive anyone a particle, . . . rumpling up the brown bush and trying to look as if she liked it.

--Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Ever since I first read that passage as a young girl with waist-length hair, I’ve wanted to sell or donate my hair for wig making. The last time that I went from very long hair to very short hair, I inquired about donating my hair, but could not find information about it. (That was before everything-you-need-to-know-and-some-things-you-don’t was on the Internet.)


BeforeFront.JPG BeforeBack.JPG


AfterFront1.jpg AfterBack1.jpg

I did not cry, though my heart was racing and I was trembling when I felt that first cut of scissors. My agony was prolonged because the hair was cut in three fat ponytails which each took the hairdresser a long time to hack through. It did not help when the hairdresser in the next station looked over and yelled, “OH MY GOD!!!”

And the hair? It’s on its way to Locks of Love.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Finished Object: Birthday Socks


Pattern: Started as Alison’s ankle socks, changed to Laura’s intuitive socks, and finally morphed into variations on a heel by Joanna
KoiguLeftovers.jpgYarn: Koigu KPPPM in unknown colorway, 1 hank
Needles: 3.25 mm (US Size 3) DPNs
Comments: I had 10 g of yarn left over, I suppose I could have made taller ankle socks instead of these little footie-style socks, but I didn’t know that until I finished and by then I wasn’t about to rip the socks (again).

Who wears wool footies? I guess these seem terribly impractical, but I’ll probably just use them as bed socks.

You can see the pretty short row heels and toes here.

With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies?

It all started when Valerie showed me Cookie A’s socks. Now, as you know, I don’t get excited about socks, but I do always appreciate a beautiful knitting pattern—even if it’s a pattern that I’m not likely to knit. So was the case with the Cookie A patterns—I loved them.

A few weeks later, Tania mentioned that she could get printed versions of the Cookie A patterns at a discount through a co-op. “Hmm,” I thought, “printed patterns.” I don’t have a color printer, so I don’t like to purchase patterns that are primarily available as downloadable PDFs. So, I asked Tania to buy the Millicent and Twisted Flower patterns for me—just so I could have them and admire them. Certainly NOT so I could knit them.

ValSarahYarn2Fast forward to a couple of days ago. A package arrived bearing enough RED sock yarn to knit Millicent. Apparently, Valerie and Sarah have decided that I must start knitting socks. They are ignoring my constant “ho-hum” attitude toward socks. They are obviously conspiring against me. I’m sure they hate me. Okay, maybe they don’t hate me. If they hated me they wouldn’t have sent such luscious yarn in the most perfect shade of red. I love the yarn. Thank you Val and Sarah!

Don’t worry Debby, despite all this sock and sock-yarn action, I’m not going to abandon the Apathetic Sock Knitters Club! Knit on! er… Apathy on!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Look Ma, No Needles!

Katherine.jpgFor a few years now, I’ve been coveting Sal—the lace cap in Rowan 31. (However, I hate that name. It needs a prettier name like Katherine or Amanda.) But Sal, henceforth to be known as Katherine, is crocheted and I didn’t have the foggiest idea of how to read a crochet pattern. Enter Drew aka The Crochet Dude.

Drew, S t a c i , Jeanne, and I have a slacker breakfast SnB. Slacker because we meet during “work hours” and breakfast because we eat breakfast (obviously). This week at slacker breakfast SnB, I asked Drew to teach me to crochet. Drew is an awesome teacher. Within the first few minutes of our lesson, I learned the following gems of wisdom:

• “Blue” is not a proper designation of crochet hook size.
• You can’t pick a crochet hook because it is cute. You have to pick a hook based on gauge.

I wonder if those tips are generally included in crochet books or if they are special techniques that Drew has developed. Anyway, I’m now making a hat. I’m not very far along because I haven’t had much time to work on it (and because I keep ripping the dang thing out), but I hope you can imagine this stringy thing turning into a hat.


Meanwhile—I’m sure there is a large portion of the viewing audience who has been impatient for a Morrigan update. I know, I’ve been such a tease. First I had a big build-up leading to me casting on for the sweater then one measly photo of progress. But there’s a reason for it. Let’s review the facts.

1. There are 300-or-so stitches on my needle.
2. I’m working on 3.25 mm (US size 3) needles.
3. Every round of the pattern includes cable crossings.
4. On the odd numbered rounds, the longest I ever go without a cable crossing is about 4 stitches.
5. Each round takes me approximately 20 minutes to complete. (And I’m supposedly a fast knitter!)
6. After about 2 hours of knitting, my hands HURT.

Shaping.JPGSo you see, progress is not so swift. However, I finally do have something interesting to show. One of the most nifty-keen things about this sweater is that all the shaping is done in a cable pattern. The photo shows the side cable with all the decreases for the waist shaping completed. A couple more rows and I’ll start increasing. Are you as impressed as I am? Jenna Wilson is just brilliant.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Science Geeks Unite!

We have a winner!

Joanna is the winner of the Oh! Science! contest. She was one of only eight people who got the first question right. The reason why the bottle was crushed was because of differences in atmospheric pressure. Atmospheric pressure decreases as altitude increases. I drank almost all of the water in the bottle during our hike up a mountain and then I closed the bottle thereby trapping low-pressure air inside the bottle. We then hiked down the mountain, got into our rent-a-car and drove to an even lower altitude. (I think we lost about 3,000 feet in altitude.) At the lower altitude, the atmospheric pressure outside the bottle was much greater and it squished the bottle.

The other people who got question one right were Janelle, Beth, Tania, Paula, Aimee, Laurie (Etherknitter), and Terby. (Forgive me for not linking to all of your blogs.)

The answer to the second question is that I got excited about the bottle because I am a complete and total science geek. I accepted any variation on that theme as correct. Pretty much everyone who got the first question right also got the second question right. (Is that because only science geeks answered that question and can relate to my geekiness?) Joanna's name was pulled by a random number generator, but as you will read, her winning sock yarn from me is eerily appropriate.

And finally, the caption “I didn’t hear any oboes playing” on the photo of Peter and the Duck is a reference to the piece of orchestral program music by Prokofiev called Peter and the Wolf. In that composition, different instruments represent different characters in the story. The Duck is played by an oboe.

Meanwhile—there has been knitting. I just haven’t been writing about it.

KoiguPastel.JPGLast year, Jennifer sent me some beautiful Koigu for my birthday because her husband and I share the same birthday. When I left for my Colorado trip, I didn’t want to drag Morrigan along. So I decided to make Birthday Socks using the birthday yarn. I figured that I would easily finish a pair of socks by my birthday (yesterday). No such luck.

I started the socks using this pattern and short-row heel tutorial. I finished the first heel before I got on the plane to Colorado. Just minutes before the plane was to board, I decided that my short rows were ugly and ripped out the heel. (Imagine me trying frantically to get the yarn and needles in order before they called my row.) Then, on the plane, I had to start the heel again—without any instructions on how to do a different short-row heel. Oh sure, you expert sock knitters are probably scoffing at me now, “What do you need directions for? It’s just a short-row heel.” Okay, how many of you made your first short-row heel without directions, hmm?

BDSv1.JPGI inferred how to do a wrap-and-turn short-row heel on the plane. It worked okay. At least it looked better than my first short-row heel attempt. I finished the sock the next day and was not exactly impressed with my handiwork. Although one side of my heel was passable, the other side had rather large gapes—not holes—just gapes. At this point, I could have started the other sock and finished it by the time I got home, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to cut the yarn. So, there was no more knitting for the rest of the trip.

After I got home, I read about Joanna’s magical garter-stitch short-row heels: no purling, no picking up wraps. I emailed Joanna and asked her for instructions. (Now that I had regained Internet access, I figured that I should use it to my advantage.) Armed with the new instructions, I produced ONE birthday sock yesterday. I’m not sure when the other sock will be produced. Maybe it will be a week-after-birthday sock. But look! Pretty heel!