Friday, February 29, 2008

Tragedy on I 295

Okay...maybe not tragedy but it sure was annoyance.

We went down to Fredericksburg this morning to fetch Rachel back for spring break. Easy trip down. I got to go to the yarn shop. (I'll show you what I got tomorrow when there's some sunshine...or at least daylight.) It's a nice yarn shop.

And we all went out to lunch at Sammy T.'s and that was yummy.

The ride home was long. So I pulled out the sweater and knit away at the armhole decreases - all 20 rows of them. And the instructions say that at the end you should have 102 stitches on the needles. So I get through all the decreases and I'm admiring them...lined up so nicely, 10 on one side 10 on the other. Looks great! Well, let's count the stitches just to be sure. One, two, three, four...sixty-five, sixty-six...Mr. Pointy Sticks asks me something and I lose my place. One, two, three, four....forty-six, forty-seven....ninety-nine, one hundred and one? No more? Hmmm...recount. Still one hundred and one. Hmmm. Spread the sweater out on my lap.

See where my finger is? See those stitches on the needle? That very first stitch, down near the head of the needle? It's a dropped stitch. And it doesn't even have the courtesy to be more than 10 stitches in from the edge so that I can just work it up the ladder. It's about 2 stitches from the edge. So all the armhole decreasing rows - all 20 of them - are going to get ripped out, that stitch will be worked up to the top and I'll redo the decreasing rows.

I wanted to weep.

Oh, and in embarrassing news. I discovered from a post on Ravelry that there is another blog out there called Two Pointy Sticks. And not just anyone's blog, mind you. It's the blog of Axelle de Sauveterre, the designer of gorgeous knits. Ones that show up in Interweave Knits with some regularity. And her yarns? Dear God, I'd sell my child for some of her yarns. (Hi, Rachel! Just kidding!)

Now, before I started this blog I did a search for the name and for some reason didn't see this blog. Now I'm wondering if I did something stupid like do a search for "Tow Pinty Stacks" or something without knowing it. Anyway, I left her a comment and said I was so embarrassed and I didn't know the right etiquette. I was thinking perhaps I should rename this blog. But she answered and said she didn't know what the etiquette was either but that she liked my blog! (I'm such a fan geek.)

So I guess I'll keep my name. But I'm going to put a link to the real Two Pointy Sticks over there on the right.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

So...What's This About A Sweater?

I knit scarves. Lots and lots and lots of scarves. And hats. And the occasional blankie. Not so much with the sweaters. Perhaps because I haven't had a lot of luck with them...mostly because of my own bad choices, I'll admit. Actually, today I'm wearing a sweater I knit many years ago and it's nice and I wear it a fair amount....but it is also extremely itchy and I'm pretty tolerant of wool and mohair itching. And then I made a very elaborate sweater in a pretty, pretty pink. Took a long time to knit it. And I thought, "Sleeves are always too short for me...I'll lengthen them a little." I ended up with a pretty, pretty pink sweater (again in sort of harsh wool - what's with that, Sarah?) that had arms fit for an orangutan. It was Goodwilled pretty quickly. And then, more recently, there was the top down raglan I started in yarn from 100purewool. Lovely soft stuff. Lovely variegated the skein. But worked up...well, it started looking a leetle too much like something you might buy at K-Mart. So that's sitting unfinished. Maybe I'll use the yarn for a stole.

But I really, really liked the look of the Kimono Cardigan by Ann Budd that was in the Jan./Feb. Piecework magazine. And I have a bag of Nashua Handknits Creative Focus Worsted in a pretty shade called Delphinium, that I bought several years ago for another cardigan. After swatching for that first cardigan, I realized that the yarn didn't really work with the pattern. But a few days ago I started the back of the Kimono in it...and I liked it. So here we go.

Perhaps this will start a trend. Rachel's been saying she wants a big, cozy warm sweater....

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Monsieur, Chez Beth

Monsieur L'Entrelac has reached his home. I sent him off to my college-friend Beth, who lives up in still-snowy Michigan and who can certainly use a scarf. Here she is, with her son Ben, and the scarf.

She's happy, I'm happy. We haven't seen each other in almost 20 years...we keep in touch by email and keep talking about meeting up at one of the reunions. But somehow...just doesn't happen. One of these days maybe.

Gosh, I remember the day she called me from Arizona (where she and her husband were living) to let me know that Ben had been born. Somewhere I still have the photo she sent me of a very tired looking Beth holding a tiny little Ben.

Car Memorials

Is it just the Baltimore area? I've noticed more and more vehicles - generally pickup trucks or SUVs - with In Memoriam messages applied (in a more or less permanent fashion...we're not talking placards stuck in windows) to the rear windows. Like "In Memory of Granma - 1945-2007" or "RIP Junior - Always in our hearts - 1984-2007." I think it's a little odd. And what do you do when you sell your car?

In other news, I got about 16 or 18 more rows knit on the back of my sweater. Perhaps I'll try taking a picture, though right now it really doesn't look like much of anything. And lest you think 16 to 18 rows isn't a lot...well, it isn't really. Though it is 1952 - 2196 stitches. On smallish needles. Sigh. It's going to be a long time coming, this sweater. This is why I like scarves and hats. But I think it'll be that should keep me going. After knitting Margot's hat, I am sorely tempted to knit myself something in's lovely yarn. But that'll have to wait.

And hurrah...on Friday, Mr Pointy Sticks and I head off to pick Rachel up and school and bring her home for spring break. It's not like I miss her terribly while she's gone...I know she's having (mostly) a good time and working hard, but it'll be nice to have her here again for a while. I'm sure she's thrilled. She's lined up visits from a couple of her school friends. You know, because it'll be a whole week that she won't see them.

Current Reading

I am having a great reading streak so far this year. Lots of good books. Hunter's Run, which I finished last night, was great. I'm not good at talking intelligently about books...all my comments seem to come down to "I liked this!" But this one is an intelligent science-fiction book that gets into issues of identity and what makes us human. Very enjoyable and fast-moving.

And now I'm reading Slip of the Knife, the new Denise Mina. I do like her mysteries. And waiting in the wings is the latest Sue Grafton and The Somnambulist and others too many to mention. (Well, and also I don't remember exactly what they are.)

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Hat of Margot...It Is Done Completely

Yeah, I know...this sort of does away with any incentive to vote on the buttons, doesn't it? But Margot decided. And here it is.

Pictures, Pictures

...even more pictures than I thought because a) I got some buttons and will be wanting opinions and b) I came home to a package from Woolgirl. And I should have taken pictures of the pretty package before I ripped into it but I was so eager to see the goodies, I didn't even think of grabbing the camera. The packages from Woolgirl are packed so beautifully, you feel as though you are getting a present from a dear friend instead of something you paid for yourself.

In the package, along with a sample of Soak and a sample of honey lip balm, were these two beauties.

Dream in Color Classy in Gothic Rose

Madelinetosh in Umoja - Don't those colors just sing!?

And here is Margot's hat....ta da!

Now, it's a perfectly fine little cap. And if Margot wants, it'll stay that way. But I thought it might be cute to jazz it up a little with some buttons. There are four choices -

Shell (could use one or both)




So give me your opinions....buttons or not? If buttons, which ones? Of course, if Margot chimes in here, her opinion will outweigh all of yours (sort of like being Ohio in 2004)...but go ahead, vote anyway!

Must go feed the cats...Duncan is glaring at me and Gizmo is reaching up and patting my elbow as I type in case I've forgotten that I own cats.

The Hat of Margot...It Is Done

Well, I have to weave in some ends. And I think I'll look for a button. Pictures tonight of the hat, perhaps. (If I remember.)

It's cute...well, just a simple watch cap style so nothing special there. But the yarn is so pretty and so soft. It's a spring-y looking sort of hat.

More later.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Clean Bathroom, More Knitting!

Managed to get the bathroom cleaned and more knitting done on Margot's hat. I have about 5 inches from the brim (not counting the 2 inches of turn up) so just a little more to go before the decreases. Well, 2 inches or so, but that's not much. I have it in my head to put a pretty button on the top...if I could find a copper colored leaf, for instance.

And...I've started a sweater...for myself. The Kimono cardigan in the back of Piecework's Jan/Feb issue. It's an Ann Budd design. I have a bag of purple yarn that I bought for another cardigan that didn't really work. So far I have....ta, da!...about 2 inches of the back.

Current Reading

Now reading Fred Vargas' Have Mercy On Us All. Good mystery set in Paris. Someone is trying to panic Paris by making people think that the bubonic plague has returned to the city.

And the author? Doesn't the name Fred Vargas make you think of some kind of stocky guy with dark hair... No, she's actually a very attractive young woman.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Answer: Not A Stitch

Question: (No, it's not "What do you wear while you blog?") How much knitting did you do today, Sarah?

I read instead. And took a nap. And went out to dinner. And visited Daedalus books.

Nice day.

Current Reading

I finished up The Serpent's Tale. I liked it a good bit but not as much, I think, as Mistress of the Art of Death. But still...a good way to spend some reading time.

And then today I read And Sometimes Why by Rebecca Johnson. Good, if sad, book about what happens to a family after the younger daughter is in an accident and put into a coma.

Tomorrow I need to clean the bathroom so I'll probably be knitting frantically to avoid it.

And you know what? I think I need to make an entrelac scarf for myself one of these days.

Saturday at the P.O.

Ya know...the lines at the Post Office would move a lot faster if the employees didn't spend 5 minutes talking to a customer about which were the best casinos in Atlantic City...of course, they'd also move faster if the customer wouldn't request his mail from the back and then say "While you're doing that, I'll just run back to get the mail from my box" and then disappear for 10 minutes.

But, with misty eyes, I said "adieu" to Monsieur L'Entrelac and sent him on his way to his new home. Should be there in a few days.

And I ran into Michael's and picked up another set of size 8 DPs so that I can continue working on Margot's hat. I should have gone up to The Black Sheep, but I know I would have come out with yarn, too. Somehow, it's very easy to ignore the Lion Brand and Vanna's Choice at Michaels, yarn snob that I am.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Frosty February Friday

The weather was nasty over-night, and supposed to be nasty all day, so Mr. Pointy Sticks and I decided we were too old for such nonsense and called in to work to take the day off.

And I've been pretty productive, if I do say so myself.

I folded and patted Monsieur and wrote a little note and stuffed him in a mailing envelope and will send him off tomorrow. I'll be sorry to see him go. I hope his new owner loves him. Niki asked about the fringe yesterday, so here's a picture.

Just hangy-tangly long fringe. But soft...well, as soft as Kureyon gets. Not bad really. Here's another picture. He really relaxed after his bath.

Funny story about the fringe. I don't usually fringe my scarves...I say it's because I like them better without and that is usually true, but also it's because I' I mean, it takes a lot of yarn to make fringe. Yarn that could be better used for knitting.

But this scarf really needs fringe to look finished. So I bought a fifth skein of yarn and, when I was about halfway through the fourth skein I took the fifth one and pulled out what I needed for the fringe. Knit away and finished the fourth skein and ripped through the fifth one as far as I could. I had a wodge left of the fifth skein but didn't think I had quite enough for another two rows of blocks (you have to finish with a row of left leaning blocks). Finished it up and started fastening fringe...and realized that I had only cut enough for one end of the scarf! So then I had the fun experience of cutting the remaining yarn up into fringe...and doing it really fast so that it wouldn't run out before I had all the pieces I needed. I think I ended up with about 8" of yarn left.

So...I packed up Monsieur L'Entrelac.

I packed up birthday presents for my cousin. And I got some other mailing sort of stuff done.

I made chocolate chip scones.

I worked on Margot's hat.

I was working on this at work yesterday and came home without the fifth needle. No problem! I just shifted all the stitches on three needles and knit with the fourth. Ta-da! But then I put it down this afternoon and now I can't find the fourth needle! Argh! I may be making a run to Michael's tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Last Minute Update

As I type, Monsieur L'Entrelac is relaxing, stretched out full-length on a towel, after a soothing bath with Eucalan and a rinse with Pantene conditioner. He is soft and fluffed.

And I've started Margot's hat. La la la.

And He's Done!

The ride home wasn't bad at all...about fifteen minutes longer than usual, maybe. And I still managed to finish the scarf! Now to weave in the two ends and give it a good bath and attach the fringe. Or attach the fringe and give it a good bath. I'm never sure which order to do it in. And it's going to get a good soak in Pantene hair conditioner to soften it up as much as possible. Right now it's sort of....crunchy.

And now I get to work on Margot's hat!

I've Been Knitting Just As Fast As I Can....

...and we all know what that means. I am getting ve-e-e-e-ery close to the end of the fifth skein (I've already cut the pieces for my fringe) and I was squeezing in a last two rows of blocks. I am pretty sure now that I will make it before the yarn gives out, as I only have the finishing triangles. But I'll still be knitting on turbo speed.

Given the snow we've been getting since about 11 this morning, it may be a three hour commute home. I can probably get the triangles done then.

And then I start Margot's hat. (She picked the variegated green/yellow/brown wool.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


So...back at work. I really didn't want to come back. Not just today. Ever. Man, that three day weekend was nice.

And somehow Monsieur L'Entrelac got into my bag with only one of his needles. Naughty Monsieur! So that's irritating.

Current Reading

I finished up Duma Key last night and started The Monsters of Templeton. I really liked Duma Key, though, as is frequently the case, you just can't think too hard about the supernatural aspects. And there is one thing that the main character overlooks that I just don't think he would have overlooked. But a gripping read.

Monsters seems pretty good so far.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Fleece!

The end of Monsieur L'Entrelac is coming soon. I am about finished the fourth skein and then I will have just what's left of the fifth skein after pulling out what I want for fringe. So, if you don't like it, speak up now!

Mr. Pointy Sticks and I went over and looked at the Mazda 5 this afternoon. We had seen one on the Beltway and Mr. P.S. liked the look of it. So we went and sat in it...and in the Mazda 3 hatchback and the Mazda 6. The 5 is a lot bigger than I thought it would be. (We didn't test drive because it's all rainy and yuck.)

Eh. They're cars. I just can't get really excited.

As I left the salesman said something about us coming back and I said, "Well, last time we bought a car it took us a year and a half. So don't hold your breath."

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Arty Sunday

So Mr. Pointy Sticks and I decided to go to the Walters' Art Museum this weekend and my brother and his girlfriend thought that sounded interesting, so off we all went this morning. We were going, in particular, to see an exhibit on maps and mapping. And there was also to be an exhibit of photos from the Hubble telescope. Well, we were a little early for the map exhibit. Like a month. Sigh.

But the photos from the Hubble were amazing. Mind-boggling and awe-inspiring and a little sad making. I mean, here are photos of galaxies hundred, thousands and millions of light years away from us....I'll never know what's out there. Well, none of us living now will, most likely. But think of it! Think of the marvels and beauty that's out there that we'll never know.

There was one large photo of a section of sky 30 million light years away (30 million light years! Wrap your head around that one). At first glance it appeared to be just a field of stars of varying sizes and brightness. And then you realize that a lot of them...images the size of your thumb nail or smaller...well, those are whole galaxies.

And then there was a photo that showed a galaxy and the caption said something about photos of this particular galaxy showing redshift and that that proved that the universe was expanding. Expanding into what? I mean, it's the universe. What's outside it? Too much to wrap my tiny brain around.

As one of the comments in the visitors book said, I've never felt both so large and so small at the same time.

I love the Walters. It's a wonderful old museum that has been added on to in the most complementary and beautiful manner in a very modern style. Just lovely. We wandered around for a while, despite the lack of maps.

Here's a shot of the central atrium, in the old section. I remember coming here for school trips when I was in elementary school.

In the atrium, there are lovely sculptures around the walls, currently topped with more Hubble photos.

And I liked this bronze of a greyhound, named Tom.

After walking about a bit and visiting the gift shop, we headed to Zen West for lunch. We would have eaten at Cafe Hon, but they were still (at 2 in the afternoon!) only serving breakfast (and a few sandwiches) and none of us felt like breakfast.

Only in Baltimore...

Current Reading

Just before we headed off for culture this morning, I finished A Storm of Swords. Wow. What a ride. Great use of paper. I have the fourth volume but, based on something a Readerville friend told me, I think I'll wait to read that until the fifth one comes out.

So this evening I picked up Stephen King's latest, Duma Key. There is a description of an auto accident (well, pick-up truck and construction equipment accident) that is incredibly vivid and you just know King is writing from experience. Yikes.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Hoy, Rax! Assistance Required, Aisle One!

So you say Margot would like a hat? And you say she likes green? I would be thrilled to knit her up a cap and I hied myself to The Black Sheep and came home with these three yarns. Want to give them a gander (you can have Margot look at 'em, too) and let me know which one you think would be best?

The softest one is the one on the right, with the yellow and brown, and I think it might look nice with her patches-of-many colors coat, but it isn't the greenest. The middle one has pretty flecks of red, yellow and blue. And the plain one is just plain, but it's a really pretty shade of green.

So leave me a comment, or email me and let me know which you like.

I told the cats you'd be home in a couple of weeks. Look how excited they are!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Things I've Learned From Monsieur L'Entrelac

1) Entrelac is really....pretty simple-minded. Easy peasy. But the turning back and forth can get tedious, especially as the object you're knitting gets longer. Which leads to...

2) Learning to knit and purl backwards can be your friend!

3) I now know how to knit and purl backwards. *

4) I purl backwards faster than I knit backwards.

5) It's a lot more efficient to pick up all eight stitches along the sides of the squares at once with the left hand needle than to pick them up one at a time...frequently realizing only at the end that you didn't space them right. Run your left hand needle through all of them and then knit into the picked up stitches.

Sock Yarn

I have a lot of it. I just got more of it. I need to knit more socks. I think I may try the Monkey sock pattern in the Envy yarn I just got. I've seen Cookie A's Monkey socks here and there...heck, everyone and their monkey seems to be knitting it. But I hadn't felt the urge until I was looking at that Envy yarn yesterday. It seems to be asking to be a Monkey. And I've checked the pattern and it appears that it'll be big enough to fit my fat feet. So...there's a plan.


* I know I was going to post comparison pictures of some of the first squares I knit backwards to compare with squares I knit frontwards. But when I went back to do that yesterday afternoon I realized had forgotten which squares they were exactly. Which I guess means that they aren't all that obvious. Which sort of obviated the need to post the pictures.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I promised you some pictures and I came home today to a bright sunshiney afternoon. promised.

Monsieur Dans L'Arbre

Can you see the really grassy green in the squares near the top? Where did that color come from? He's not finished, but he's getting longer.

And look some pretty yarns came in the mail.

From Black Bunny Fibers...some merino and bamboo blend. This is the most lovely blend of greens and blues with a wonderfully soft hand and a subtle sheen.

And from Karen's Heavenly Creations (also on Etsy) this wham-bang skein of colors! Look at these colors! They just pop! All of Karen's yarns are just wonderful festivals of color. This one is called Envy.

Both of these are sock yarns, of course. One of these days I really should try to knit some socks, I guess.

I Think I Broke A Fellow Blogger

I stumbled upon Ackery, a wonderful knit blog, some time ago and immediately bookmarked it and began checking it every day. I loved Erica's irreverent sense of humor and her knitting and her adorable daughters. And we struck up an email correspondence and she began to needle me (heh) to start a blog of my own.

And then I did...and now she doesn't post any more! I think I broke her!

No, I've emailed and she said it's just life. But I miss her... Hurry back, Erica!

Actually, I've had this fantasy of getting Erica's daughters and my friend Kaethe's daughters together sometime except that I think that much cuteness and smarts in close company...well, we might just be facing a Black Hole of Cuteness and Smarts. But it sure would be fun to watch before we were all sucked into the abyss.

Oh, and happy Valentine's Day, y'all. May Cupid be kind to you.

Current Reading

I am about two-thirds of the way through the third of the George R. R. Martin series and all I can say is "No-o-o-o-o-o-o!" Read that as an impassioned howl of disbelief and horror, please.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Bamboo Needles Are Your Friends

I finally got to Michael's this afternoon and picked up some bamboo size 8's and it is so much nicer to knit Son of Serpentina with them. The stitches aren't all trying to slither off the needles behind my back.

And I got some gorgeous yarn in the mail today and other gorgeous yarn on Monday and I still haven't posted comparison pictures of the knit-from-the-front and knit-from-the-back squares on Monsieur because it is so yucky and cloudy and gray here that I can't get any good pictures! So, pictures will be forthcoming as soon as Mr. Sun gets off his lazy stumps and shows up here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Last Minute Random Thoughts

1) I have decided that there is little that will freak me out more than a doctor telling me twice in the space of two minutes not to freak out.

2) I really do need to wash and block Monsieur L'Entrelac but I really like the look as it first rolls off the needles, with the edges of each block all crisp and sharp. But already the blocks at the beginning of the scarf have lost that look...

3) It appears that I may be knitting 3 hats for various friends of Rachel.

4) It's late (well, after ten) and I'm sleepy.

Minimal Segmented Atalect-Whosis?!

So, I'm sitting down at dinner last night and get a call from the Urgent Care Center that diagnosed my pee-you-monia and this nice Dr. Collins says, "We got your chest films back from the radiologist and they say you show signs of minimal segmented atalectasis. And I don't want you to freak out, but rather then come back here for your follow-up x-ray, you might want to go to your primary care physician because she might want you to have a CAT scan. But really, no need to freak out."

Which was fine until I went onto frickety-frakking WebMD (somebody remind me to never go there again!) this morning and saw all the lovely things that atalectasis is connected heart failure...and small cell lung cancer. So, I'm not really much of a freaker, but I was getting a little....well, let's just say the knitting needles were flying this morning. Nothing like nerves to drive the needles.

And as I was waiting for the call-in time for my doctor, she actually called me to ask me a question about Rachel (who is also her patient) and I told her about this and she said, in her wonderfully calm tones, "Oh, I'm sure that's probably just the pneumonia but why don't you have the follow-up x-ray here in, oh, four to six weeks." Sigh. I feel a little more relaxed now.

So, Monsieur L'Entrelac is now gnawing on his third skein of Noro. This won't be a hugely long scarf....though I think it's going to grow during the blocking stage. Sure is purty, though. Soon I should take my fifth skein and pull out what I need for fringe so I know how much I'll have of it to use up.

Oh, and I know I didn't post pictures of my backwards-knitted blocks (and there you all were with your breath all held, too!) but it was too dark and too cold to take the close-up pictures yesterday by the time I (a) got home and (b) remembered I was going to take pictures.

And oh, again, my brother has some sort of grippe-y type bug, so get well soon, mein brutter! And avoid the atalectasis!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Oooh, La La...And Bonjour To You!

Kaethe said she thought it ought to be Monsieur Entrelac...and perhaps she's right. Though since he's knit from Noro yarn, perhaps he ought to be Entrelac-san. He's grown by another four rows of blocks today. I am practicing my knitting least on the back side rows. Being able to knit backwards saves flopping the ever-growing scarf back and forth when you turn it...but I am not sure that my knits look as nice on the squares where I have knit backwards. So perhaps I'll post pictures tonight - one square knit normally and one knit backwards - and see if anyone can tell the difference besides me.

Man, I just love the Noro colors. Every now and then I stop and look at the scarf and I'll think, "Oh, this is my favorite block...look at those rusts and greens." And then look a little longer and think, "No, it's this one with the turquoise and greens and touch of brown." And a minute after that it's "No, I like this one with the pale turquoise and hint of purple." The man has a way with color.

And, while I don't think I'll ever enjoy picking up stitches, I'm sure getting better at it!

Current Reading

I am on the third of the Fire and Ice series, A Storm of Swords. Still just a rollicking great read. And this third volume? It has the walking undead and giants. Giants riding mammoths! It all sounds very silly, but when you are reading, you can really see the Others (as they are called in the book), emerging from the snowy mists, ready to wrap their undead fingers around your throat with the thundering footsteps of mammoths echoing behind them. Also, still lots of political intrigue and warfare and lots of blood and some characters you really like and others you really hate.

I had to laugh...I had an outraged email from my friend Kat this morning saying that she had to run out to the bookstore to pay full price for the second volume! She's reading them solely because of a discussion we had on Readerville about them.* Heh. All we need now is a plague and she'll be hooked for the entire series!
*I said that someone who liked The Once and Future King might like these and another 'Villian took exception to my comparison, saying Martin was a hack writer and that T.H. White would be rolling in his grave. It was actually an interesting discussion about the sorts of things we all look for when we look for a good read. And how that differs from reader to reader.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Mr. Entrelac....He Grows!

Here he is today. And a better look at some of the colors that will be showing up in the scarf.

Speak now if you don't like it!

It's one of those addicting knits, especially in Noro. You want to do just one more square and you want to see what color will be showing up next and how that color will look with the colors next door.

I sewed the button on S.'s hat last night, after she picked out the one she wanted. It's funny. I loved the square button (and still do) and thought it was the best choice. But then we took them off the cards...and the square one just didn't look right. Instead, the large round one, that I didn't like that much on the card, looked perfect. One of these days I'll have to get S. to model the hat for a blog picture.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Look, Ma, I Learned Something!

Wonderful, wonderful class. I now have a great start to a gorgeous entrelac scarf.

Meet Mr. Entrelac.

Come a little closer.

Isn't he handsome? I think I'm in love.

What you see there is three hours of intensive, non-stop (except to get a drink of water), knitting.

Now I realize that I have threatened to send this to someone who reads the blog. (At least, I think that is the case.) But I really don't want to send it off to someone who doesn't like it. So, if you're reading this, and looking at the pictures and thinking, "Oh, dear God, what's next? Crocheted granny squares in neon variegated acrylic yarn?" let me know. Maybe not in those (not terribly tactful words) but something like, "Gee that's pretty, but wool makes me break out in large purple welts and drool." Or, "Oh, that's nice but really not my colors." You know. Break it to me gently.

Entrelac, it turns out, is really pretty easy. The fiddliest part is neatly picking up stitches...which you have to do a lot of so I imagine by the end of this I'll be pretty darn good at it.

"So," you say, "I imagine with all this knitting, you were able to get out of the shop without actually buying anything but the supplies you needed, right?" wrong. Look at this pretty, pretty skein that just leaped into my cart. Bag. Hands. Whatever.

This is from the Sheep Shop Company and is called Sheep Number Three. It's wool and silk and soft and yummy and 325 yards of nice stuff. No, I have no idea what it'll be. It's poetically named color #G043.

And then I stopped at Joann's on the way home and picked up buttons. The hat I have made for S. needs one large (or two smaller) buttons on the brim as a little decor. S. has simple tastes, so I picked these up.

I love the sort-of-square one.

So...all in all...a beautiful day. And I came home and it was remarkably warm (though they are calling for snow later in the week) and the birds were singing...robins and cardinals and a mourning dove. Just gorgeous. I leave you with a glimpse of the was that sort of opal-y, blue-y lavender pink that you just can't capture with a camera.

Friday, February 8, 2008

One Hat, Over Easy

S.'s hat is all done except for a button. I'll stop at Joann's on the way home from my class tomorrow and chose one.

I love choosing buttons for things. Looking at each one and comparing colors and styles. I have fond memories of choosing buttons and fabrics with my mom when I was little and she sewed all my clothes.

[Insert Happy Friday Dance]

I am so glad it's Friday. Even with Monday off (perhaps because of my Monday off), this has felt like a very long week.

And tomorrow is my entrelac scarf coming up. And you know what? I've decided that I want to give this one to someone I know. Someone who reads this blog (I think). Hee might be you! The scarf may not be finished until next year (I hope not, but I don't know how tedious this is going to turn out to be) but once it's done, it's going to the person I have in mind.

How irritatingly mysterious, right?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Son of Serpentina

I am knitting away on the green Serpentina that I started a while back. (I should really be working on S.'s hat but I seem to have left the fourth dp needle at home...which makes it hard to work on.) I have modified it somewhat. The original Serpentina is made up of blocks of the viney stitch set apart by little blocks of stockinette. With the green one, I've made the first little block and the little stockinette section and now I am just madly vining along with no stockinette inserts. Then at the end I plan to mirror the beginning. Just to make this one a little different.

I'm not a big fan of this yarn, I can tell you that. (It's Portofino by Filatura di Crosa, purchased at Webs.) The nylon binder thread throws a hissy fit at the slightest provocation, going all frazzy and sticking out all over. I should really be working this on bamboo needles, too, instead of these very slippery aluminum ones, but of the umpteen-hundred pairs of size 8 knitting needles I own, do you think I have any in bamboo? No.

On the plus side, though, the finished fabric feels delightfully drapy and slinky. Like a real serpent.

I'll try to add some pictures this evening. they are:

Jumpy, the Gotch-Eyed Cat meets Son of Serpentina

S's Hat, guarded by the Axolotl of Warm Ears

I am all excited thinking about the entrelac class on Saturday. I think I'm going to treat myself to some pretty Noro, probably Kureyon but perhaps Silk Garden.

Current Reading

I finished up Midnight Cab this morning. It was...okay. It was a page-turner up till the end and then started feeling a little flat to me for some reason.

So now I'm going to start the third George R. R. Martin, A Storm of Swords. I am almost tempted to peek at the end to see if my favorite characters make it through this next volume.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Not Much Knitting To Speak Of...

...but a couple of books to mention.

Current Reading

Last night I finished up the second George R. R. Martin book in the series and, rather than dive face first into the next 900+ page behemoth in the series, I decided to insert a book or two. Well, it was going to be just one book, but I picked up Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader. And it took me all of 45 minutes to read. But what a pleasant 45 minutes. The book is sweet and charming and a little funny and right up a reader's alley. It did make me a little sad because I kept thinking about how much my mom would have enjoyed it. And that got me thinking about the books she's missed since she died...she never, for example, will know how the Harry Potter series ended. Sigh.

Then this morning, since that little book went by so quickly, I picked up a mystery I had snagged at Daedalus called Midnight Cab. Pretty good. There is one exceedingly vile character and I am waiting for him to get his just desserts.

Tomorrow...maybe some knitting.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Let's Play With Their Little Heads

You know, I do hate email spam. But I would happily agree to get twice as much email spam if I could never get another phone spam message.

So, after the second "This is a second call to tell you that your vehicle warranty is about to expire" call this afternoon, I've decided to waste their time. Next time they call, I'm going hit 1 to talk to a representative and then see how long I can keep them on the phone. I'll ask them all about their deal...what's much it costs. And then ask if I can purchase coverage for a city bus, since that's what I ride. (Not true, but hey, they're probably not telling the total truth either.) Or ask if it'll cover my horse and carriage since I don't have a car. (Also not true. But our cars are a 1992 and a 1997. Hardly under expiring warranties.)

Or, you know, I may just press 1 and scream at them.

Back At Work -- Again

I treated myself to one more sick day yesterday...since I felt so wretched all day Sunday. I spent the day napping and reading, reading and napping, and feel much better today.

I finished up Tudora yesterday, except for the button. And I still have a chunk of the yarn left. I am wondering if Tudora is worth keeping. It's sort of a silly little thing and, while I think it looks stunning on the slightly aristocratic-looking silver-haired model with cheekbones there in Knitty, I think on me it just looks....sort of dumb. So, it is sitting button-less and forlorn while I decide whether or not to frog it. I can always spit-splice the two pieces together again. I just think the yarn deserves to be something that I'll actually use.

This will require some thought.

Current Reading

I am nearly at the end of the second George Martin, A Clash of Kings, and it is every bit as gripping as the first. The books are long and, even with some sick days to devote to them, it is taking me a while to get through each one. Pleasurable time, but time, none the less. Also, I am so liking one of the characters, Tyrion, and spend a lot of time mentally wincing because I am afraid that he will end up horribly dead at some point. (I don't think there are any easy deaths in these books.)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sunday Blahs

I am feeling a little peaked perhaps going to Fredericksburg yesterday wasn't the brightest idea. On the other hand, perhaps I would have felt just as woobly today if I hadn't gone, and I would have missed out on seeing Rachel and having a tasty lunch.

I started Tudora yesterday in the car. Actually, I worked on it pretty steadily on the way down and then realized, shortly before we reached Fred that I was doing it all wrong. See those pretty alternating columns of knitting and cables? Well, I had carefully cabled every single column. Duh. So I spent the last bit of the ride down ripping the whole thing out.

But look! On the way home I cast on again and restarted and here we are this morning:

(Thanks to Mr. Pointy Sticks for holding the needles for me while I took the photo.) Look at those lovely gray-blue-greens. Looks like a storm at sea. The yarn is some gorgeous hand-dyed, hand-spun Blue-faced Leicester from Lanas de Libelula, a 136 yard skein. This yarn is pricier than most I buy but I was very lucky...this was gifted to me by the spinner/dyer's mother-in-law, a friend for whom I knit a scarf. It's yummy yarn. I am hoping that this will be enough...I emailed Cheryl, Tudora's designer, to ask her if she thought it might be enough yardage and she encouraged me to go for it.

A close-up....

It's a fun little project.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Are Twitchy Fingers A Sign of Pneumonia?

Between naps today I managed to finish up Serpentina. It is lovely and soft and warm.

But now I need something else to knit. I have Oak Leaf, and I have the hat I'm working on for S. But I need something more. But what?