Thursday, July 24, 2008

Reflections on Alki

I mentioned in my last post that a few of my recent knitting efforts looked somewhat less than lovely.  So that others will not repeat my mistakes, I feel it is my knitterly duty to share some of them.

I started with an absolutely marvelous yarn:

Hazel Knits Artisan Sock Yarn in the Alki Reflections colorway.  Now let me explain, I take full blame for the events that followed.  None of this is the yarn's fault.  It certainly cannot be held responsible for my inability to cope with its stunning array of colors.

I'd heard that slipped stitch patterns were good for breaking up the potential "stripeyness" of variegated yarns and thought that Crusoe would do the job nicely.  I was wrong.

What you can see in the two side by side pics above is how great the colors look in the  2x2 ribbing of the cuff.  You can also see that once the stitch pattern starts, the colors begin to stack up into definite pools.  Now, I'm not one of those knitters who abhors pooling, I think that can be quite interesting and fun.  But this just made all those wonderful pretty colors look, well...not so pretty.  I showed it to Wendee during the Hazel Knits Trunk Show at Strands & Stitches in Laguna and we discussed the possibility that maybe this was just one of those colorways that showed best in a simple rib or stockinette sock.  But when I got home I looked at it again and realized that I just didn't have it in me to knit not just one, but two whole socks in plain 2x2 ribbing, or god forbid - stockinette. Zzzzzzzzz.....

So I sat down with my sock guru and our trusty copies of Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks and More Sensational Knitted Socks and selected another pattern, Waving Ribbing:

It never got much further than this because as you are currently saying to yourself, "Pattern? What pattern? There's a pattern there?"  Yeah, that'd sum up the problem nicely.  FYI - I am also not one of those people who is willing to go to the effort of knitting a whole sock, not to mention a pair of socks, in a stitch pattern that no one can even see. 'Cause yeah, I'm just that into pointless endeavors - not. So, back to the books.  Literally.

And the third time's the charm:

Taaa-dahh!  This one is a keeper.  It's Vertical Waffle, from More Sensational Knitted Socks. All I can say is thank god and little fishies, because I wasn't sure I could continue torturing this yarn any longer.  If my third try hadn't panned out, I think I would have tucked the yarn back into the stash for a well-deserved rest and gone off to knit a few miles of worsted in garter stitch. Kind of like a knitter's penance.  Or maybe just a Doctor Who scarf!

Monday, July 21, 2008

And ten days later...

All sorts of interesting things have happened.

There's been knitting.  Unfortunately, a fairly large amount of which looked like ass and had to be frogged.  But at least one project was completed and turned out quite well:

My Blue Green Broadripples.  I love the way the colors striped one way on the leg, pooled up into interesting patterns on the heels, and then striped up differently on the feet.  They fit great and are very comfy.  Definitely a pattern I'd recommend.

There was a trip overtown to take an exam:

Which turned out equally well!  Literacy in Elementary Education is over and done with, 6 upper level credits added, two semester's worth in 6 months.  I think my Psych final is up next on the list, then another Stat exam.  That one really gives me the weeblies.

Oh, and did I also make it overtown to see Wendee at the Hazel Knits Trunk Show?


Most of the rogue colorways were gone by the time I got there, but there was still plenty of soft, delicious yarn.

You could even taste it!

Look at all those yummy little cakes!  Set up with pre-labeled cards so each visitor could make their own personal take-home color card.  Great fun, marvelously useful, and absolutely zero calories!  Could you ask for more?

Well, actually...these two followed me home:

On the left is "Equinox" one of Wendee's new colors and the one on the right is a very bright, cheery yellow rogue.  I don't know what I'm going to do with them yet, but based on the length of my Ravelry queue there's plenty of possibilities.  I'm always open to more suggestions though!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Kinda like Christmas in July

When you don't pick up your mail for a week or more.  (Side note: there is NO mail delivery here, you have to pick it up from your box at the post office.)  Catalogs, magazines, paychecks, packages - all sorts of fun stuff.  'Course two of the packages were Traveling Scarves, those I don't get to keep, just knit on and send back out into the world. (Which is still mucho fun.) But one nifty little surprise item I do get to keep!

This pretty little row counter bracelet, handmade and sent to me by one of the participants in my Traveling Scarf Group! Wow - what a sweet thing to do and totally unexpected!  I've heard of row counter bracelets of course, but I've never had one before so this is going to be fun.  I wasn't able to take a decent shot of it on myself, so I found someone else to model it for me:

This is most undignified and certainly not in my contract.
You'll be hearing from my attorney tomorrow.

I think I've been doing a fairly good job with the turnaround time on these traveling scarves so far, they usually head out to their next destination within about a week.  So I'm going to let these two rest for a couple days while I finish up one sock project and start on another one. Not necessarily in that order of course!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

N is for Nyquil

How do I love thee?  Oh let me count the ways...

The day after the 4th I woke up in the wee hours of the morning practically drowning in my own phlegm.  Nice, very nice.  I haven't had a head cold in ages so I guess I was due.

I've already told the nice lady from the Twenty-Six Miles Casting Office that I'm out for the week, re-scheduled the exam I had planned to take, and have just given up and given in to the idea that this is my sick week.  I have one single goal - a light at the end of the tunnel.

The Hazel Knits Trunk Show in Laguna.  Yep, that's right.  This Saturday, Wendee Shulsen-Wienker will be bringing her fabulous yarn to Strands & Stitches in Laguna Beach.  Where you can oohh and aahh and squeeeze and squish to your heart's content.  (The yarn, I mean.  You can oohh and aahh Wendee, but don't squish her please.)  Wendee's promised us some more of her one-of-a-kind "Rogue" skeins, some brand new colorways, and the debut of a special "Laguna" colorway.

So I am determined to kick this thing and make it over there.  I think I've got a darn good chance too, it's only Tuesday now and I've already made a fair amount of errr...."progress".  But if I don't?  Be prepared for some truly epic whining!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Don't you just love a parade?

Marching bands, patriotic costumes, and oh yeah - lots of golf carts!

Hope you had a good 4th!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Unfinished Business

As knitters, we talk about the unfinished objects we just can't seem to get back to and joke about "Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy".  About once every six months to a year, someone tells a story of a thrift shop or rummage sale yarn bonanza, due to the untimely death of knitter.

In May, my old friend D. was back on the island for a week.  During her visit she brought me an interesting bag of goodies.  Her mother had passed away a few years earlier and left behind an assortment of pattern books, needles, and other miscellaneous tools common to all knitters.   Nothing fancy or excessive, all very practical and put to good use. No massive stash of expensive or exotic yarns, just what was needed to accomplish each project. Unfortunately, she also left a few partially completed items.

Looking at them there is a definite theme.  As D. explained, her mother loved cables, and favored knitting complex aran sweaters or afghans constructed of long panels sewn together, and always of very practical, washable acrylic in shades of cream, ecru, off-white. Although not a knitter herself, D. knew there had to be a way to finish off each piece of knitting so the needles could be pulled out and her mother's work preserved. She asked for my help and I was happy to tell her that yes, I could just take each piece and bind off the edges neatly.

D. showed me her mother's pattern books and I don't know, perhaps it was the drool on my chin, or I may have let out an involuntary little squee, but she asked me if I'd like to keep them.

Yes, as a matter of fact, that is a copy of Barbara Walker's "The Craft of Cable Stitch Knitting" peeping out from underneath Mon Tricot's "Knitting Encyclopedia 1800 Patterns".  (Do you need to take a moment?  That's fine, I did too.)  D. also asked if when I was done, I'd mind sending the needles and leftover yarn to Interim House.  I think that's a fine idea and I'm betting her mother would approve.

But of all the bits and bobs in the D. brought me, I can't stop thinking about this: 

Detailed, handwritten notes on index cards, carefully clipped together.  A sweater for one person, an afghan for another, it's all there.  I've stumbled a bit on the unfamiliar handwriting, the words "repeat the bobble" first came across to me as "respect the bobble".  (I do, I swear!) And I can see from one of her projects that she successfully executed a cable that has been giving me problems.  I'd so much rather she could show me herself, but the solution is on one of those cards, I'm sure of it.  And I know who I'll have to thank for it.

Before I forget - a little piece of my own unfinished business.  Yesterday was the deadline for the contest I posted on June 15th, my ten year anniversary of giving up my life on the mainland to move over to the island.  I asked for descriptions of where you were ten years ago and from what I could tell, most folks were happy with where life had taken them in ten years time.  I have to agree.  Of those who commented and entered the contest, the random number generator selected Happy College Knitter as the winner. So go visit her blog, wish her congrats, and maybe ask what she plans to do with the scrumptious red yarn she'll be getting sometime next week!