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Nov. 3rd, 2006

Moving House

So, for a lot of reasons, my knitting blog is moving to a new home over at Blogger. Same name, new location -- Lilac Knitting. My personal blog will stay here as ariel_in_blue. I hope I'll still get to see my friends over there.

--Kristine

Nov. 2nd, 2006

Excuse me, please, but how did this happen?

I am confused.

I drove about twenty minutes out of town to go to the yarn store I don't normally go to (and all my reasons for that were validated, but I don't want to go into that here) because they carry spinning wheels, and I thought they would either a.) Have the high speed adapter kit for the Ashford Kiwi (artemis42's pics are making me jealous, and I want to get back to spinning) or b.) be able to order it for me. I also thought (based on the logical assumption that what was on the website that said it was in the store would be in the store) that they would carry a larger selection of sock yarns that my usual LYS. I wanted a couple more skeins of Austermann Step (it's so comfy! and I love long repeating yarn) so I thought, why not. Right?

So, how, pray tell, did all of this end up at home?



For those keeping track at home, that's two skeins (2700yards) of lace weight merino in a gorgeous shade of plum, two skeins of Fortissima Socka in a pretty Burgundy (1011 is the color, I think), two skeins of Trekking XXL in color 77, a gorgeous selection of blues and turquoises (and a hint of green, but slight, so we'll let it pass), and two skeins of Fixation in a bright purpley color.

None of that is Austermann Step. There was no Austermann Step. The Step was, I think, a trick to get me in there and blind my senses so that I bought enough laceweight for the shawl I want for March (more on this in a minute), enough Trekkin XXL for Cat Bordhi's Flow Motion socks (side note: mentioned the pattern, LYSO looked bewildered...this did not build my confidence), and then the Socka and the Fixation...because, apparently.

It's just not right. I'm so bad.

Oh well. :)

So here's the deal. No casting on. No doing ANYTHING but finishing projects -- like this:



The socks for my aunt who is still sick (though doing much, much better -- thanks, in part, to AlisonH's SO THERE to her cancer)

Or this:



the Socks That Rock that I SWORE I wasn't going to cast on because all my knitting needles were busy.

Are you surprised that I found some? I wouldn't be. In fact, if you believed me, there's this bridge we need to talk about.

I need a case of finishitis to go along with my startitis. Silly K.

So, anyway, as I was saying earlier. I have to make a shawl. Rather, I want to make a shawl. for me. For a wedding. Not mine. My probably-eventually-sister-in-law's. I'm being shang-hai'd into going in formal wear. I cannot afford a new dress. I do have a very nice black velvet cocktail dress that I plan on wearing, but it needs...something. A plum colored hand knit shawl, perhaps? I think so.

I'm thinking rectangular, and I'm thinking fairly solid, though I'm open to suggestion.

Suggest, please. :)

I'm off to...finish. Something. I hope.

Nov. 1st, 2006

I'm a bad, bad girl.

Okay, so first of all, I'm intensely -- INTENSELY -- pleased with myself. Partially because my hands are cold and partially to please Douglas, I cast on the Senesdal Mittens from Folk Mittens with the very attractive pattern named "Lice" in Norwegian. Yeah, that's what those little flecks of color on Norwegian ski sweaters are called. Lice.

Anyway.

I cast on in black and grey Alpaca & Silk. I thought to myself that maybe I should take this opportunity to learn how to knit fair isle with the two handed method -- you know, where you're knitting continental with your main color, and throwing with your accent color? I've knit a decent amount of fair isle, and I usually just put both colors over my left hand, and pick up the one I need. My tension has always been decent...except for this exact pattern. What's the worst that can happen, I think, I'll have to rip it out? I decide to go for it.

Oh. My. Goodness. Look! Look at what I have wrought.



Let's get a little closer.



Look at the stitches! They're even, and not pootching anywhere. And I'm doing this on DPNs, and it fits! It's actually not excessively tight! Oh my goodness!

And the best part? I remembered to put in the thumb gusset! So there, world!

So that was what I did yesterday morning. I had to go to work at 11. Or so I thought. I got on the bus at ten, got to work, looked at the schedule, remembered that I'd had to change my schedule last week to cover some gaps, which meant I didn't have to be at work until 1, tore out of work just in time to catch the 10:45 bus, and was home at 11:10, very irritated. See, I didn't repost the main schedule because I thought -- it's my schedule. I'll remember.

HA!

So I got home, finished reading a novel I was halfway through, and then on a whim, checked the mail.

Lookee what I found.



(sorry about the graininess -- it was a very dim day yesterday). This is the new Socks That Rock skein from the BMFA Sock club. It's called Pink Granite. And it totally made my day. I love the colorway, which is surpising, because I am militantly anti-pink (reddish hair). But the interplay between the pink and the cream, in contrast to the dark black-grey granite? It really does look like pink granite, and the entire bedrock of my state is granite. So it's good. And I love it.

Now, was I a good girl? Did I admire and pat my new yarn and then set it aside for post-Christmas knitting?

Who are you kidding.

Oct. 30th, 2006

Minor successes count too

So, despite having purchased new yarn on Saturday (just enough for a pair of socks, and I was sure that the color I loved was particular to the dyelot, and I'd've CRIED if I'd gone back and it was gone), I have cast on NOTHING NEW. This is a minor miracle, suffering from KADD as I have been lately.

Last night, I noticed how awful my hands were getting -- all peely and patchy -- from the cold first thing in the morning when I go out to the car and drive in to work. By the time I leave in the afternoon and wait for the bus, it's warm enough that the eczema like condition on my hands isn't bothered, but in the morning? You wouldn't think fifteen minutes a day, three times a week, would get my skin all in a tizzy, but so goes my life.

So what's a responsible knitter to do? That's right, pull out her purple alpaca&silk and get knitting on mitten #2 from the twee Aran Mitts out of Folk Mittens.

See how far I got?



Okay, who sees the problem?

Let me give you another hint. Here is Partial Mitt along with Completed Mitt. Check out the thumb area. Check out the distance between the ribbing and the beginning of the thumb.



Do you see it now?

I was supposed to start the thumb gusset 10 rows ago.

I'm going to go lay down in the stash until my head stops spinning.

I don't know if I'm strong enough to rib back yet. I may go start the purple and white snowflake mitt. Or maybe Douglas's speckled mitt. After all, that's the only one that hasn't betrayed me.

Yet.

Spey Valley continues apace. Finished the last fancy pattern on the leg, now it's ribbing for awhile, heel flap, heel, and then home free. I love knitting for little feeted people, not foot giants like myself and my boyfriend.

And in other good news that I don't think I posted here the other day, my aunt is actually doing better. Her blast cells are low enough that the docs are considering letting her go home between chemo treatments. That would make us all much happier. She is, however, losing her hair rapidly. Mom's got the hat front covered, though, which is good, because I hate hat knitting. How weird am I?

Oct. 28th, 2006

How to put beads on your knitting, and other things.

Pat from the Sivia Harding KAL Mailing List asked about how we were all getting our Angel Pearls Scarfs all beady. I was about to post here, anyway. Ask, and you shall receive, and all that.

Pardon the slightly blurry pictures. My hands tremble for the first half of the day (no relation to caffeine addiction, actually caffeine makes it much, much worse) and my camera is a few years old and not completely and totally r0x0r at taking extreme closeups.

Anyway.

To insert beads in your knitting, start with a pattern, some beads, and an incredibly tiny crochet hook. We're talking the kind of crochet hook Grandma crocheted bedspreads with, but the only use you can see is a very slow form of impalement, when the beading doesn't work. Mine's a 14, which I *think* is a 0.6mm. Beads are crystal lined 5mm metagamas or megatamas, I seem to use them interchangeably and can't find their tube to check. The knitting in question is, of course, the Angel Pearls scarf.

Start by impaling the beads with your crochet hook. Just stick the crochet hook through the hole in the bead, like-a so.



Pick up your knitting. If you don't feel fancy, don't try and take pictures at the same time; I dropped the bead, dropped the crochet hook, dropped the knitting, and generally felt like an ass before I got myself together to take this picture:



The crochet hook is stuck through the stitch that will get a bead on it. The hooky part of the hook is facing up, ready to catch the yarn in just a second. The bead is farther back on the crochet hook than the stitch.

Lift the stitch right off the knitting needle with your crochet hook. DO NOT PANIC. The stitch is on the hook, I promise it's not going anywhere.



The bead is still further along the hook than the stitch.

From here, slowly slide the hook backwards, catching the yarn in the hook, and pulling it through the bead. I was unable to get an action photo of this, as it's still a two handed process for me. The first couple of times I tried, I would actually hook the yarn with the crochet hook, and then use my fingers to move the bead off of the hook and onto the stitch.

Then, you have a crochet hook holding up your stitch, and a stitch with a bead between the crochet hook'd top of the stitch, and the rest of the knitting (I couldn't manage an action shot of this one either. I hope this will all be clear enough in the end.)

All that's left is to deposit the stitch on your left hand needle (if you're going to purl it) or your right hand needle (if you're going to slip it anyway)



Go and have a drink and a little lie-down with a cool cloth. Then come back for more!

I hope that helps!

In other news, I'm weakening on the black sweater front. I'm designing it in my head, which is a really, really bad sign. Cables aren't manly enough (I tried the "But you're Irish, a fisherman knit sweater would be practically required!" route, but they were proclaimed "suspicious" along with most colors that aren't blue, grey, or black. Even green occasionally causes distress, apparently. Sigh.) but to keep me from expiring from complete and total boredom, I think I could work out one broad ... hold on, let me find a stitch dictionary somewhere...nevermind. It's the stitch where, instead of a cable, you get this:

/\
\/
/\
\/

Forgive the ascii art. Whatever. One of those, on either side, over ten or twelve stitches so there's no question of delicacy. And ribbed sleeves, possibly with the same pattern running up the center. And raglan shaping. And front pockets. And a zipper front. And a hood. And...

You see how much trouble I'm in?

Sigh.

Keep the faith!

Oct. 26th, 2006

Picture free

I'm not bothering to post pictures today. The KADD continues, so everything looks basically the same, but there's more of it. Another repeat on the scarf, a little more on each of the three pair of socks, does that look like someone was casting on a hat in the corner? Sssh, I'm sure if we don't mention it, they won't notice.

Yesterday was a dream, today a knitter's nightmare. Yesterday, I was working at the bookstore, and a lady and her mother came in looking for the SnB book. Now, let me say that I'm not a great fan of Debbie Stoller. I think it's great that all these girls started knitting, but I'd been knitting most of my life when I read her book, and the intro irritated me so much that I couldn't enjoy the patterns. Don't get me started on SnB Nation. Anyway. It came to pass that the mother had already given the woman a basic knitting book, and as we talked, I told her to go ahead and look at the SnB patterns, but if she didn't like *those*, the how-to directions were nothing revolutionary, and to stick with what she had. Also, because I'm that kind of fan, I recommended Stephanie Pearl McPhee's Knitting Rules which I adore, especially since it proposes that you don't need a pattern, and you can figure things out yourself, and also the word "arse" entertains me in a way "ass" never will.

It then came about that the woman wanted to learn cabled knitting, and we discussed how neither of these books would do her any good at all. We talked for about ten minutes about knitting, the knitting explosion of the past few years, and how awkward it is to be a twenty-something knitter who people think bought her pink chibi on ebay, because how long has she really been knitting (since I was six, if you care, which is twenty years ago now). When she and her mother went off into the chilly night, another woman who'd been hanging about the fringes siddled up and said "So...have you ever steeked something?"

Ah, my friend. Let me tell you a story.

Today was not a knitter's dream. A good friend of mine has been living with an MS diagnosis for years, but it turns out that the medication to control the swelling on his brain is not working well right now, or in fact at all. This is not fatal, because there will be another medication that will work, but it means he's looking forward to several months of nausea, dizziness, and general crappiness as the docs try med after med until they find something that will work to control the problem and not interact too badly with his current cocktail. He's a good man, a wonderful man, for all that he can be too New York for this VT girl, and he was too strong to hug today. The best I could do was when he asked to take the rest of the day off, say "Absolutely. Go. Get home. Stare at a wall, and let me know if there's anything I can do to help."

The long look, and the hint of a smile meant the world to me.

And as I watched him gather up his things to go, I thought about how he always wears his big black coat and his black knit cap, but no scarf. And I want to make him a scarf, but I'm still searching for something suitably...well, Richard. He's one of those men, while very affectedly gay, right down to the limpy walk and the dangling wrists, whose masculinity is never for a moment in question. Perhaps something like Grumperina's Sharfik, in Rowan cashsoft? I wish that my budget and my time were free, that I could take a week off work in some nether space and knit up our friendship, and then when I was done, knit something for my friend whose mother will pass soon due to the cancer, and finish the socks for my aunt, and knit a million hats for the Battered Women Shelter, and while I'm at it, how about I write the novel in my brain and get it published, okay? And then I'll go to work tomorrow.

I guess I just feel weighted down by the difference between who I want to be and who I have the time to be. I wanted to give Richard something warm and caring to help him through the rest of the day. But I didn't have time, the right yarn, or the ability to instantly cast on a scarf while I did cashrec.

I did the best I could by not putting up a fuss, by specifically saying that if he couldn't make it in Saturday, he wasn't to worry, just to call us, and to caringly tell him to get better, to take the time to get back on his game, get ready to fight the good fight, and all of that. By taking the time to notice that he wasn't right, and be gently persistent enough that he told me what was going on, and what he needed from me.

Until the universe invents unlimited knitting time that doesn't make me tired or take away from the rest of the day, I think I will have to hope that was enough.

Oct. 24th, 2006

I haven't died, I promise...

Although there were a couple of days there.

As an example. My couch looks like this:



Because one of my kitties got a urinary tract infection, and decided to use the couch to show Mommy that she is hurting. This really adds insult to injury, as I hate this couch. It's an antique, which as far as couches goes, means its uncomfortable and smells bad. But my mother gave it to me, so there's all kinds of baggage associated with getting rid of it. Not until I move, basically, and then I can claim it "doesn't fit into the new decor."

Since my current decor is this:



Which is what happens when I do laundry on a day when my back hurts and Robb isn't home when I get home, therefore nothing gets put away.

Even my knitting space -- I mean, the coffee table -- is a disaster.



I've also been experiencing KADD -- Knitting Attention Deficit Disorder. I'm working on this



sweater out of the new holiday VK, which I love so much I even knit a gauge swatch (!!!). I am highly suspicious of this pattern, though. Why in the world do I knit the ribbing with the larger needles, and the bulk of the sweater with the smaller ones? Anyone? It will fit (oh, yes -- it will fit) so I'm not TOO concerned, just...wondering.

Also, after a year and a half, Robb finally decided on something he would like me to knit for him.

What did he pick?

and

The first is Cascade 220, which will become a black hat in the style of a Navy Watchcap. The second is, you guessed it, black socks in Jawoll. Both of them are for work, where he has to have black everything. Security. So forth.

This is a labor of love. There's no other reason to tolerate this much black.

He asked me, if he asked me to marry him, would I make him a black sweater? I glared at him and said, "Charcoal gray."

He didn't ask. I think he's holding out for black.

But, I am doing a little bit of knitting for me in all of this (haha). I was going to skip this KAL on the Sivia Harding group, claiming I had already knit an Angel Pearls scarf (true). But I had these beads (silver lined crystal megatamas) that kept smiling at me from their container, where they were left when I finally finished the Hanging Garden. And then I went to the yarn store, and there was this chalk white Douceur et Soir...it made the Cracksilk Haze next to it just look...yellowed...

so, um...



The beads are very very subtle, which is what I want on this scarf. They add just the slightest glimmer, and then if you look closely, its like little droplets of water gleaming on the white yarn.

I love it.

That's all for today. I promise to keep in better touch. :)

Oct. 17th, 2006

Ow.

I don't have self-control today.



But some days are not for self-control.

When you find out that the aunt in the hospital is getting sicker instead of better. When you realize that you have, magically, restrained the muscles that had been sprained a few weeks back, leaving you in agony, but that your doctor had declared you medically fit to return to work, therefore you would have to reclaim Workman's Comp in order to go back, but you're moderately sure that you didn't reinjure yourself at work. When you realize for the third time that your third attempt at a great knitting project for your sister's Christmas present has failed.

These are not days for self-control.

These are days for casting on a gorgeous sweater out of the newest Vogue Knitting, in a luxurious Rowan Cashsoft DK in a rich wine color, crashing on the couch with movies, and just trying not to move too much.

Wish me luck on all fronts, please.

Oct. 16th, 2006

Strange day.

Does this:



Look like a dangerous object that one would use to wreck havoc upon an unsuspecting populace which just wanted to enjoy their busride from Burlington to Essex Jct?

No, of course it doesn't. To you, it looks like a sock on dpns. If you're really fancy, you might note that it's the Spey Valley sock from Knitting on the Road, and maybe even that the yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock (was there every any doubt??) in Desert Flower. A color which shows up on my camera and monitor as ridiculously oversaturated -- it's a vibrant colorway, but nowhere near that neon -- but anyway.

But that's because we're not all out to get the world, I guess.

Apparently, I am. I guess I'm a terrorist or some such thing, because when I went to get on the bus home tonight, I was asked by the bus driver to put away my knitting. When I asked why, all she would do was point at the dpns and say "They're dangerous."

Actually, she's not entirely wrong about that. I impaled myself on a 0000 the other night. But that's not the point, haha.

I didn't put up a fuss, because in the end, the bus drivers are the security guards of their own little worlds, and they have every right to remove anything from their environment that they feel is a danger to themselves or the other passengers. Maybe this woman suffered a traumatic knitting accident as a child. Maybe she was taught to knit continental, and was rapped on the knuckles if she tried to carry the yarn with her right hand. Maybe, if I'd had those needles out, she'd've been so overcome with stress that she would have driven us into a tree, causing those needles to be very dangerous indeed when they stuck into my stomach. If they could get through the Lopi sweater that serves as my winter coat. But anyway. If I'd thrown a hissy fit, it would have been just to promote my pro-KIPping agenda, and I'd probably have ended up waiting for the next bus. So I sat down and wasted twenty minutes, staring out the window and listening to the inane chatter of the college kids behind me. No biggie. I'm home now, and I can knit if I want to.

The real reason this got under my skin is that I called my mother just before I got on the bus, and my aunt, the one with leukemia, is not doing well. They think she's got some kind of infection, she's going down for a CATscan...and I thought, I'll knit on these socks for her, and it'll be okay. But then, I wasn't allowed to. And that seemed like some sort of cosmic message that just...stressed me out.

So I'm going to go nap now, and then sit and watch a movie, and knit my fingers to the bone. Thinking the best thoughts I can manage.

Oct. 15th, 2006

It's not fair.

It's just not fair.

Nope. Not fair.

I haven't even started the projects I was DYING for from the Fall issue, and we're not going to address the summer issue. And the Vogue patterns, and now there's a Vogue Holiday issue.

I'm going to be knitting for the rest of my natural life. Which would be more reassuring if I didn't have enough NOW to knit for the rest of my natural life.

/ rant off.

Tomorrow: swatching. I know, I'm bad.

--K

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