Monthly Archives: June 2007

Saturday Sky with a Surprise

I went out to take a picture of a Saturday Sky on a perfect June morning — the kind that rarely come, and then I’m usually at work when they’re here — but today I had a day off!

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And as I looked through the camera’s eye, I saw this:

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See the nest? That’s right outside our bedroom window; the blasted birds have ripped into the gutter. No wonder they’re so loud at dawn. Dagnab it.

Well, today was a quick jaunt to a LYS that opened in May, which I mentioned previously; I forgot to take my camera the first time I was there. This time I took my camera. Funny thing, it didn’t take any good pictures inside my purse. Perhaps third time will be a charm.

A little cleaning; a little knitting on MS3, for which the first clue came out yesterday:

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I realize it looks like it’s taking to the sky in flight! It’s just a photo at twilight on a white table outdoors (beautiful night to sit and knit for a bit, she says somewhat Seuss-ishly). Looks bad in the photo, but pretty good in person, even pre-blocking. Better photo and more progress on Mystery Stole 3 Monday.

And I did some experimental knitting. If it works out, you’ll see it here.

I admired my garden:

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Echinacea.

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Lavender.

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Monarda impersonating an alien. (“They’ve Landed!”)

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I did NOT admire this garden discovery, cute though it may be.

WARNING for the phobic — corn snake pictures follow!

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Trinity the corn snake shed her skin yesterday, to my relief; she’s been looking dull for days, and she’s had bad sheds before, probably due to our extremely dry air in the winter. But I discovered something in documenting her new duds:

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Note to self: Red-eye reduction doesn’t work on albino snakes.

Not all who wander are lost

Dummy me, I forgot to ask the corn snake if she’d seen the missing fingerless glove.

It was wandering —  under her terrarium.  Maybe she was cold — she’s cold-blooded after all.  (We’ll ignore the fact that it was subtropical temperatures here a few days ago.)

So that allowed me to finish the fingerless gloves and get them off to Sheri kind of on time!finished-fingerless-gloves.jpg

Ignore the fact that these look like they’re for a lobster.  They look much better on!  If I used this yarn again for this , I’d do a fingerless glove with just a thumbhole, as I most often do, or I’d do an afterthought thumb because I find the change in color pattern on the hand distracting.  Ah well.

Today is the first Clue for Mystery Stole 3!  (Click on the sidebar button for more info.)  Melanie got the clue out in the wee hours, I think to diminish the morning stampede, and some excited and/or transatlantic knitters have already finished the first chart.  I didn’t think to look this morning before work (always following rules! I knew it wouldn’t be out that early so why look?) and then, though I took my yarn and beads to work, I forgot my preferred needles.  So I will have to wait till tonight to cast on.   The parts people have already done look awesome.   Remember, you can still sign up until July 6th, but not after — lots of people haven’t started yet, due to holidays, waiting for yarn, etc, so if you’re interested, you won’t be behind!

Eyecandy Friday:

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The Scent of Fruit Filled the Air…

at the Knit and Dye night at my house last night!

Yes, we were Kool-Aid dyeing in the back yard, and having a high old time.

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Unfortunately for me, that meant no knitting time for me, pout, pout — particularly as the kids that came with their moms thought this was a wonderful idea; so the popular colors disappeared in the wink of an eye, and I and my unusually dutiful daughters were kept occupied mixing, helping, and microwaving.  An emergency run to the local grocery store needed to be made by one of my friends for more Kool-Aid (fortunately, it was ON SALE, 9 packets for 99 cents! And when my friend went, the blue was back on the shelves — it was out when I went there earlier — so that was great!). (As you can tell, I now describe powdered drink mix by color, not flavor….I ordered what I thought was blue raspberry online, it said raspberry and was in a blue packet — when it came, it was the INVISIBLE kind! Wahhh!)

So it was a great success and here are some of the results:

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I only dyed with what was left over, so pretty much all of mine are heavy on the reds and pinks, which is fine by me:my-skeins.jpg

except these two,

warm-pastel-skeins.jpgyellow-green-skein.jpgI used a different technique and microwaved an already-wound skein soaking in the dye, which means that the color changes are less regular so more random looking when knitted. (Hard to get dye to the center of the ball with this technique, but I did it with this red/purple skein

red-purple-skein.jpgby dropping powder into the center and wetting with enough water to permeate.)

Here’s the Preteen’s:

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And the Gothlet’s:

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Now the fun part is knitting them up.

Some knitting happened!

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We all stayed up past our bedtimes: the Preteen took a picture:

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T – 1 … Almost Blastoff for Mystery Stole 3!

(But who’s counting?!)

Have You Seen Me?

fingerless-gloves-with-kimik-yarn.jpgI have visual proof that this completed fingerless glove existed — you saw it right here a week or so ago.

Now the completed glove has disappeared. I can’t even finish the other one, because it needs to match the other as far as length, top shaping etc. (Since I’m making it up as I go along.) Everyone in the family including the cat denies having seen it. I don’t think it’s flown away like the Tsarina’s Odette. But it’s not showing up in time for me to finish the pair to send to Sheri.

Oh well, it can be a future gift when — not if — it finally shows up! But that’s part of why I quick knit another pair (nicer, to tell the truth), which I mailed yesterday —

model-fingerless-gloves.jpgbecause I was going to send TWO pairs of fingerless gloves, by gum! One way or another!

Tonight should be fun — I’m hosting a backyard Knit Night, and the weather looks like it’ll be great — sunny and low 80s. Not only knitting and cold drinks, but yarn dyeing is on the menu! Fun with Kool-Aid! A few kids including mine are going to be there too, but it’s so very not just for kids; I have achieved very pleasing and sophisticated results with dyeing with powdered drink mixes. (Of course, it helps if you like red!) ; )

Well, one of the better examples of how it can look, is the lace weight yarn I dyed in this way: it required mixing some flavors to get the teal/sea-green I wanted, and the grape took over a bit more than I envisioned, but it is still cool!

Here it is in my MS3 swatch (again)

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I also made a lace scarf for a friend from this, and have plenty left, even after another lace scarf, to make more lace-y projects in the future.

Mystery Stole 3 Monday — a bit late

Well, it must be Monday somewhere, eh?

My plan is to have a regular Monday MS3 post, but circumstances intervened yesterday, as I said.

So here are the TWO yarn & bead choices!

First is the KnitPicks merino laceweight yarn in the “Bare” undyed color, with beads which came yesterday.

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Here’s a close up of the beads, in the sun and in indoor natural light:

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My choice is the bead that’s on the left — which is kind of subtly opalescent with a pale gold center. The other two are lovely too — the middle one just above is clear with an iridescent coating, and the right one clear with dark gold inside — but I’ll save them for another project! In the tube, I thought the clearer ones looked best (on the right in the first photo), but on the yarn, it changes.

Now the black yarn, which came yesterday:

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Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in black. The original beads I had, a very dark purple in the strings on the left, I don’t like as well. I’m going with the gunmetal gray in the tube, which are the two right-most beads on the yarn; 8-0 and 6-0 respectively. The 6-0 is a lot easier to put on this fingering weight yarn; I’ll decide on the fly which one for sure, but am leaning towards the 6-0 size.

What fun! It’s hard to wait!

Lastly, I promised pictures of the new projects which I really didn’t need to cast on last weekend:

Here’s a pair of fingerless gloves for Sheri’s Loopy Ewe Quarterly Challenge, started 6/24/07, finished 6/25 (knitting time in the car, love it!):

supersock-dk-fingerless-gloves-1.jpgbead-detail-fingerless-gloves.jpg Yup, those are beads. I’m addicted. Made with Supersock DK mill end from eBay, I’d have to check on the colorway.

And I started this because it looked so cool (cool as in refreshing AND cool as in awesome!):

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Bonne Marie’s ChicKnits Ribby Shell, in Cherry Tree Hill North Country Cotton, in potluck blues colorway. Mmmm! Hard on my hands, but it will be worth it!

Lastly, a flower picture since there were none yesterday:

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Another shot of Monarda (beesbalm or bergamot) — it’s taking over the garden, but I do like it! I will have to be firm with it, however; kind of like a Preteen.

Looky what I got!

First, to set the scene:

I was out of town all day at a work meeting; long drive; luckily I was passeng-ing, so that meant knitting time! But a headache developed on the long drive home, I think due to the heat, the AC and a little dehydration. I stopped at work and did a little computer stuff, but the headache convinced me to go home; before I logged out, I checked on the computer and was excited to find that my beads from Emilia Beadelia’s Bead Shop had been delivered!

So I made my way home, tired and hurting, but with anticipation.There were several packages.

(Some you will see tomorrow.)

I first found the one I was looking for. Bead Wondrousness! You will see that tomorrow also.

(Cue Carly Simon here: An-ti-ci-pa-ya-tion! It’s making me wait!)

Melanie, you have much to answer for — I am now a knitter who knits with beads, and the world may never be the same! (I first typo’d ‘never be the sane’, which may be true also!)

After caressing and ogling the beads and checking them out with the yarn (Tomorrow! Tomorrow! you’ll see them Tomorrow! It’s only a day away!) , I turned to the other boxes. What’s this box? Not something I ordered? What could it be?

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It’s a wonderful prize package from Susan of kitkatknit for guessing the identity of Unlucky, the unlucky rabbit’s foot!

It sure isn’t for the not-quite-immortal poetry and country song lyrics I wrote….

Read the whole sad story here, if you dare (as she says, warning, not for the faint of heart):

But first, look at this!
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Okay, I am cherishing each bit of bounty, so you are gonna get subjected to all of it!

First, some AWESOME hand-dyed hand-spun 2-ply yarn from Kitty Grrlz Knitz & Spinz! in “Bejeweled” colorway! I was instantly full of ideas about what this yarn wanted to be; we’ll see what it ends up telling me. Enjoying its company are two rubber ducks with character (the one on the left has a grass hula skirt on!) I’m also pondering on their names.

Then: the sovereign cure for a headache

(heck, this’ll cure about anything that ails you!):

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Click to enlarge and see the magic words: Chocolate. DARK Chocolate. Truffle. Espresso. Seattle Chocolates. And All Natural, to boot. OK, I’ve forgotten about the headache by now. And, not to be left out:

inventory-card.jpg A needle inventory card. No lie — last night I just said to myself, “Self,” I said, “I didn’t know I had two pairs of size 5 24″ Addi Turbos — I really have to start keeping track better!” And lo, what should come to me as if by fate!

Thank you, Susan! Talk about a lucky “Unlucky” guess!

Now, my plan HAD been to post about Mystery Stole 3 beads and yarn, to start a weekly tradition of “Mystery Stole Monday” (we get our clues on Fridays, starting THIS Friday, so I’ll show off the weekend’s progress on Mondays) , but that plan had to take second place to my lovely prizes! So it’ll keep till tomorrow.

Off to hide the chocolate from my family until I can enjoy it properly….

Fine and mellow…

…Sunday, that is.

A little knitting — started TWO new projects this weekend, which I certainly needed! (NOT!) I’ll have pics tomorrow, when I expect more tangible progress.

A little gardening, which WAS certainly needed! Weeds like the rain and warmth as well as my flowers do!

Plus the Gothlet had planted flower seeds in school, which Badly needed to be transplanted (hint — school’s been out for two weeks!).

And a little laundry and all those necessary things.

So here’s a quick flower fix — more tomorrow! (I have a work meeting out of town and I’m not driving! Hooray! Prime knitting time!)

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Mystery Stole 3 PreSeason Edition

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I’ve been swatching —

and I am rather allergic to swatching, being a ‘let’s knit that and see what happens’ kinda knitter! I usually figure that, unless it’s sweater-sized, I will just rip out the project if it’s wrong — like a sock. I mean, by the time you do a circular swatch, you could just as soon have started the sock!

Anyway, a swatch was part of preparation for MS3, and when considering something as large and intricate as a lace stole — yeah, swatching makes sense! Especially as I was deciding what yarn to use.

So without further ado, here are swatches:

knitpicks-lace-weight-small.jpg:

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Now, neither of these is actually the color that I’m going to knit the stole in! The suggested colors are black or white, or related colors (cream, gray, etc.). But the yarns are the ones I’m strongly considering.

The first swatch is KnitPick merino lace, which I had previously hand-dyed (Kool-Aid, anyone?). I ordered the same yarn except “Bare”, undyed, so an off-white. But I didn’t have it yet when I swatched, so this is the same yarn, same weight, etc, just multicolored. I knit this swatch on size 4 vintage plastic circs, which worked amazingly well — not slippery and with a reasonable point, which has a little ‘give’, very comfortable! If you look closely at the swatch picture, you will see that it’s still on the circular needle — that’s because after I practiced beading on this, I liked it enough that I’m going to make it into a scarf! I’ll use only simple lace stitches due to the variegation, but I think it’s going to be cool. For the MS3 stole, I am still awaiting the beads coming for this yarn in the natural color (my ? LBS ? –Local Bead Store– didn’t have beads I liked with off-white, and I ordered some that are more pearly from an eBay store). This swatch measures 6 1/4 inches in width.

The second swatch is Cherry Tree Hill Supersock merino yarn. I am unexpectedly very pleased with this! This is fingering weight, not lace weight, and the swatch measures 7 5/8 “. However, it’s very easy to knit and I like the look. It will take more yardage of yarn, and I may have to take advantage of an opportunity to shorten the stole as it will be proportionately longer, but I really like how it blocked, and it will go faster, I think, than the lace weight. I started the first pattern repeat with size 3 needles, but quickly realized that that would be great for lace socks, but not for a stole. I then used Addi Turbos size 6 for the rest of the swatch, which worked fine, though I may try the Addi Laces in size 5. The 8-0 beads were harder to put on the fingering weight yarn, but not too bad. I would be knitting the stole actually with Black Supersock, which is also coming from an eBay purchase, and the 8-0 beads I have on hand and in mind (from my LBS) are a very dark metallic  purplish-black, almost gunmetal. I also have some 6-0 beads coming with my bead order which I can also use if I like the look; those will be easier to place on fingering weight yarn. This would be more a wrap than a stole (basically a rectangular shawl).

So I like both of these, so I have a decision to make, and you know what? I may do both!! One may be my primary focus, but they will have very different characters and rather different sizes; my thought right now, sight unseen, is that I would keep the black one as a wrap, and give the other as a gift. But we will see what all my plans come to!

It’s been fun planning and reading the thousands of posts on the MS3 Yahoo Group! What a concept, to be knitting with over 2000 knitters from around the world! You can still sign up, up to July 6, if you are interested.

A few garden pictures; particularly pretty tonight after some rain earlier this week, and now a lovely afternoon and sunset:

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Eye Candy Friday

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Echinacea.

I confess…

…that I am in bondage to yarn and cannot free myself.

(Sorry, Pastor Mark!)

I swore I was NOT going to cast on for another pair of socks until I finished one of the three pairs I have on the needles!

But —

Here’s my rationalization: All three of the sock WIPs are wool; one almost-done pair is hiding (I’m knitting them two at a time, and suspect that they are trying to avoid their imminent separation), one second skein of yarn (for the second sock) is misplaced, and the third pair is barely started and also . . . wool.

I wanted to knit a pair of socks that could get worn before October. And I had some nice Panda Cotton yarn from Loopy Yarns. The rest is history. The history of giving in to temptation. (And believe me, there’s a lot of that history!)

Here it is, in colorway “Fern”:

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And, as I photographed the sock overlooking the garden, after the evening thunderstorm, it struck me that the garden contained some of the same colors:
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Pretty close!

I agree with Wendy that the Panda Cotton is sometimes splitty/a little hard to work; mostly when I’m knitting the lace stitches. It’s bamboo/cotton/elastane, but it doesn’t really feel obviously stretchy, not like Cascade Fixation. However, it’s not seeming to be as tough on my hands as pure cotton would be, and it feels GREAT knit up. This is for The Preteen, whose favorite color has been green for at least 6 months! The lace pattern is variously referred to as Horseshoe and Fishtail, apparently, and is in the swatch pattern for Melanie’s Mystery Stole 3 (not that it will be in the pattern necessarily, but who knows!) I’ll post my swatches tomorrow, perhaps. They have been fun, though I have not made a final decision as to yarn, and in fact may make one black and one white stole. We’ll see! Sign-ups close July 6th, and the first clue comes out June 29th, so if you might be interested, check it out soonest!

So, in other knitting news, I knitted a few more ruffles (getting the hang of that technique pretty well now, but I still won’t finish in Steph’s 2 hours!) And I’m working on a generic leftover Lion Brand Homespun scarf that is hanging out at work for when I have a minute but not much concentration ability. (Leftover from the Prayer Shawl.) That stuff is annoying to knit, but soft, I admit.