Friday, November 23, 2007

Holy Knitting, Batman! It's Ravelry!

You know how everyone's been raving about Ravelry? In fact, I bet you're on Ravelry. I came rather late to the party, but man! what a party it is! You can find me as StarrySkyKnits.

Real blog content will resume as soon as I extricate myself from Ravelry...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Oh, the Irony!

So, clearly I'm over-ambitious when it comes to setting goals. My apologies for my long absence. But I'm very nearly done with the work on my condo, and down to just a few boxes still to unpack. In fact, *whispers* I think I'm done enough that I'll be back to blogging rather more frequently, like once or twice a week.

Since I last blogged, I've made some slight progress on the Hawaii Jaywalker sock. It's the first of the pair, and so close to done that it's embarrassing that I didn't finish it before starting on the next thing that caught my eye. (And please, say nothing about second sock syndrome...)

There's a particular yarn, in a particular colorway, that I've been coveting for months. I didn't order it online because of the moving chaos, but every time I've been in a yarn shop, I've looked for it. So, then a bit over a week ago, my sister came to visit, and I took her to the LYS so she could pick out a sock yarn that I would make into socks for her for Christmas. This particular shop has many shelves full of sock yarn. My sister walked to these shelves, looked for about 30 seconds, and pulled out a hank, announcing that she had found the yarn she wanted. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, as the hank she pulled out was the very yarn, in the very colorway, that I've been longing for. And, of course, they only had one hank. But I do try to be a good sister, so I got it for her and got a different colorway for myself.

Fleece Artist Merino Sock in Cornflower (hank, mine) and Polar Sea (ball, my sister's).

She also picked out a pattern for her socks, and I couldn't have been more pleased with her choice, since it's a pattern I've been eying for some time: Monkey Socks!

It turns out that this yarn is completely delightful to work with, in addition to being beautifully dyed. So I think I'm still coveting...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Juggling alligators

I've been thinking for about a week now that I really should get back to blogging. I even got so far as to consider (although not decide) what my first post back should contain. The problem is that I haven't got much to report, at least not knitting-wise. So I kept putting it off. Then I saw Lynne's comment on my last post and knew I shouldn't put it off any longer.

Lynne is right - I am back from my business travels. Here's the quick version of the last two months: When I last blogged (back at the beginning of August), I had a week of school left. I finished up school, watched movers pack all of my stuff up, as well as all of my roommates' stuff - somehow we managed to keep it mostly separate and mostly going to the right person. Then I loaded what little I'd kept into my car and left Pittsburgh. I dropped some of my stuff off in a friend's garage in DC and kept going to Newport News. I spent three weeks there, except for coming back to DC on weekends to work on (painting, and such) my new place. Then it was a week in Idaho, and back to DC to start work. I had the movers deliver the rest of my stuff, did a little unpacking, and then took a vacation! I spent three fantastic days in San Diego on the beach, and another three days in Albuquerque, where I got what I hope is a year's supply of frozen green chile. I was back at work last week and back down in Norfolk for the beginning of this week. And now, I'm back in DC and not going anywhere for at least a month.

I'm embarrassed to admit how little knitting I got done in all that time. I started a new sock:

And I made some pretty good progress on my Print O' the Wave stole. It turns out that the stole is good airplane knitting.

On the other hand, it isn't as if I don't have knitting to show because I've been sitting around twiddling my thumbs. I think Lynne's suggestion of juggling alligators is apt, given that this is the more-or-less current state of my condo:

Working only on weekends and evenings, I've so far managed to paint the dining room, living room and hall, and part of the second bedroom (currently a storage disaster, planned to be an office). The gray on the walls just had to go, and the purple really makes me happy. The master bedroom will by the end of this weekend be a lovely blue and have all the proper furniture back in it (and not in the dining room or living room). At the pace I'm going, I expect to get everything - painting, unpacking, decorating, and some new furniture - by November.

I'll do my best to blog once a week, but it may be less often than that. I'm not abandoning you, I promise. It's just that I'm still juggling alligators :)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Four finished objects and a funeral

Well, that depends on how you count socks. If you count by pairs, than it's only two finished objects.

I finished my Tour de France knitting:

And a picture on the foot (although less keeping with the theme of the KAL):

I'm really super pleased with the way these socks came out. I thoroughly enjoyed the patter, and I really love knitting with Trekking XXL.

I also finished my Pomatomus socks:

These are knit out of Anne, by Schaefer. While I really liked the colorway, especially with this pattern, I'm not a huge fan of the yarn in general. It isn't a very smooth wool, so it tends to shed a bit during knitting and I don't think it's as comfortable to wear as, say, Trekking XXL.

The funeral:

I started this glove just about a year and a half ago, just as I was becoming a Knitter. The yarn is Falk, and came from stash diving in my mother's stash. The pattern is based on Meg Swanson's i-cord finger gloves, the patterning was my own. I found this as I was cleaning out my stash drawer (yes, that's singular; no, that isn't all of my stash: the rest lives in shoe boxes under my bed), getting ready for moving. Pulling it out, I realized that while I still like the snowflake on the back of the hand, I like absolutely nothing else about it anymore. I didn't like the white as the base color, my attaching of the fingers to the palm was terrible, I didn't like the patterning I did across the palm, my stranded knitting was puckering horribly, and somehow (something to do with it being 90 degrees and humid here) the glove was too small. I took a picture and then unceremoniously dumped it in the trash. Next time I decide to knit gloves, I think I'll use Baby Ull...

I've also been working on my Mystery Stole, although at rather a slower pace than I would have liked. School's been a bit intense (in the five days left, I have five tests to take and two reports to finish), so the knitting has been slower. I've also come to realize that when I get really stressed, I don't knit to decompress, I read. So that also explains some of the lack of progress.

This was the state of the stole mid-way through last weekend. I'm now about forty rows further along, but still a long way from finishing clue 4, so clearly, having it done by the time clue 5 comes out tomorrow isn't going to happen. Oh well, at least I know I'll have knitting to take with me on my month of business travel...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Still breathing

I've taken the advice of last post, and Cheryl's advice not to breathe fire. My life continues to be a whirl wind of school, homework, paperwork, and general craziness, but I have managed to get some knitting done.

I'm so close to being done with the Coupling socks (my TdF project) that I can almost feel them on my feet. I just have to bind off and weave in ends on one sock, and then I'm done!

This weekend was a road trip to Allentown, PA (by way of Intercourse and Blue Ball), and since I didn't have to drive, I made some progress on one of my WIP's - my Pomatomus socks, actually. (I would have made a lot more progress, but I finally got my hands on a copy of Harry Potter Saturday afternoon and so did pretty much zero knitting between then and Monday night when I finished the book.)

I've also been making progress on the mystery stole - I'm part way through clue 3. I think my chances of catching up by clue 5 are pretty good.

And now, I'm off to do more paperwork. And hopefully a little knitting.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Just keep breathing...

Sorry I've been AWOL the past week or so. Things have been just a bit crazy, and show no signs of lightening up before, say, the middle of September. You may remember that I've been looking at condos; well, I found one I liked, made an offer and accepted the seller's counter offer. Closing is in a month. In the mean time, I have 14 more days of school left, and the movers are coming for all of my stuff in 20. Before then, I need to do some sorting and weeding of my belongings, not to mention pack enough clothes to get me through a month of business travel. I also have to take care of all the other things that go with moving - forward my mail, get all the utilities turned off, that sort of thing. If all goes well, my stuff and I will be moving into my new condo September 10th, or so. Until then, I'm just trying to remember that as long as I keep breathing, everything will sort itself out somehow. And I'll do my best to blog somewhat more frequently, but I make no guarantees.

I have been doing some knitting though! (Knitting is good for the sanity. What I'd really, really, really like right now is about three days in which I can knit, read, sleep, and eat at my leisure without any requirements to do anything else.)

I've got not quite a pair of Coupling Socks (my TdF project). I finished the first sock and am nearly through turning the heel on the second.

I've also been making some pretty good progress on the Mystery Stole:

The picture was taken earlier tonight, about 1/3 the way through Clue 2. I'm now about 20 rows further along. I'd like to catch up to the group by the time Clue 5 comes out (two weeks from now), but given the somewhat crazy state of my life right now, and the release of the final Harry Potter book, that might not happen. I'm just going to keep breathing (and knitting) and see what happens...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Change of plans

The way today was supposed to work: go to class, do homework, come home, go running, eat dinner, clean room, balance the checkbook, maybe do a little knitting and TdF-watching.

The way today actually worked (so far): go to class, spend a very long time at school, come home, discover that my Misti Alpaca lace arrived, eat dinner, blog. I expect the rest of my evening to go something like this: wind yarn while watching Tour de France, pick up clothes and balance the checkbook to give my hands a chance to recover (I don't have a swift or ballwinder, so it'll be 400m of lace weight wound by hand), cast on and start knitting on MS3.

The Misti Alpaca is delightfully soft in the hank, and I've heard that it knits up beautifully. I ordered both clear and smoky silver beads, since I wasn't sure which would go better, but I think I'm going to go with the smoky silver (the beads on the right).

In other knitting news, the Coupling socks (my TdF knitting) are coming along nicely. I got the heel turned and a few inches of leg done.

I think I'm going to knit another inch or so of pattern before adding an inch to inch and a half of ribbing for the cuff. I really like the pattern. I enjoyed doing the short row toe and am pleased with the way it turned out. I really like the neatness, too, of the gusset heel, and am thrilled that it fit right on the first try. And have I mentioned that I like the way the pattern and the yarn work together to look like foamy waves?

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have some yarn to wind.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Not too bad...

As I expected, Monday and Tuesday weren't too bad on the knitting front.

I finished the set of lilac and black wash cloths. This is easily the most time I've had between finishing a gift and the event for which it is intended. I have a whole 10 days to spare!

On the Tour de France knitting front, good progress has been made. I frogged the original toe that was too wide, and started again, but following the pattern this time. I've just started the increases for the gussets. The pattern is easy to follow, and I really like the way it looks with this yarn. Despite the crappiness of the picture (it was late last night when I took it), I hope that you can see how the sort of stripey/mottled tealness goes with the stitch pattern to look like the foamy soupy water just after a wave has broken. By the way, do you see the cycling connection now?

Unfortunately, I have to be out the door and on my way to class in about ten minutes, so I've got to keep this short. The latest Harry Potter movie was quite good (I got most of a blanket square done) and totally worth the likelihood that I'll false asleep in class... :)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Sunday Travel Section: London

In honor of the Tour de France prologue being in London, that's where we travel this Sunday.

If you watched (or saw pictures of) the prologue, you will quickly realize that London is a much prettier city in July than January (which is when I was there). Still, it's quite a neat city. I think - but I'm not positive, so don't hold me to it - that the picture was taken from the top of the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral.

The Tour de France is one of my favorite sporting events. I really like to ride (when I lived in DC I commuted to work by bike and will again when I move back), I really like to watch cycling (especially on TV, since the English-speaking commentators are usually British), and, to be perfectly honest, I really, really like to watch the cyclists. For me, watching cycling is like watching swimming, except that in cycling I have some interest in the techniques and strategies.

Anyway, at the urging of my chief enabler, I joined the Tour de France Knit Along. I'm knitting for the green jersey. I was originally thinking I'd make cycling socks (winter riding makes for cold feet), but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that even if I did make cycling socks, I probably wouldn't wear them cycling, because I really like my athletic socks to be snug and elastic, and I haven't figured out yet how to knit socks like that. So, that left two questions - what pattern to knit and how to relate it to cycling.

The answer to the first was surprisingly easy. One of the first places I looked for interesting sock patterns was Knitty. As it turns out, the current summer issue has a pattern that 1) looked like a lot of fun, 2) would require me to learn some new techniques, and 3) would go well with the yarn I'd picked out. The answer to the second took me a bit longer to come up with, and hasn't quite been executed yet, so I'll leave you in suspense. I hope it isn't too much to bear.

In the meantime, here's my false start.

The pattern said that the sock should be 56 stitches in circumference. I have another pair of socks of the same yarn that are 70 stitches around and fit snugly, so I thought surely the author was joking. No, I'm pretty sure she wasn't. This, my first start, is 70 stitches around for the foot and seems pretty much too big, so I'll be starting over. Fortunately, tomorrow's classes are less than thrilling, so it should be a good knitting day.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Independence Day!

I celebrated last night by taking the knitting (a mitered square) out to a baseball game, which was followed by a concert and fireworks. The game was good, the concert was good, and the fireworks were good.

Today, since it was a federal holiday, there was no school, so we grilled kabobs and watched the crazy fireworks that our neighbors were (and still are) setting off.

And tomorrow it's back to work, but at least it was a good day off.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sunday Travel Section: North to Alaska

Portage Pass, between Whittier and Portage, AK.

This is where I wish I was right now. Truthfully, I'd settle for just about anywhere not here, but a sunny day in Alaska summer would be fantastic. Since I can't simply drop everything and put myself on a flight to Anchorage to see if there is, in fact, any sun or summer this year, I'm going to do the next best thing: knit wash cloths - with purple yarn! See?

2 of 4 wash cloths to be, as a set, a wedding gift for friends who are doing their kitchen in black, and her favorite color is lilac.

Monday, June 25, 2007


So, no travel section this week, sorry. I think the travel section of my paper must have gotten swapped for the real estate section this week...

I spent the weekend in DC. This is how I packed:

This is how much knitting I actually did (I decided to frog and reknit the heel - and see how it fits this time?):

My reason for going to DC was to look at condos. After two whole days (total of about 12 hours) of looking at condos (I'd show pictures, but really, one unfurnished condo looks pretty much like any other unfurnished condo when you aren't there, and they're mostly a blur in my mind anyway), I'm pretty much wiped out. On the plus side, I found a couple of serious possibilities and may be making an offer soon.

When I got back, I found all of this waiting for me (in boxes) on the front porch:

It's lots of Peaches and Creme cotton (for washcloths), and some Mission Falls 1824 Wool (destined for the miter blanket). There's only one problem. See the pink yarn on the left? That was supposed to be purple. It was supposed to be going into washcloths to be gifts for someone whose favorite color is lilac and whose kitchen appliances are black (think washrags a la Mason Dixon in purple and black). That yarn, despite being named lilac, is definitely pink. Oh well, I've ordered some Mission Falls 1824 Cotton, that I know is lilac.

And tonight, I had more things that I should have been doing than I really want to admit, but a weekend of very little relaxation and not much more sleep plus a long day at school meant that I did this, instead:

It made me feel a little better, so it's ok, right?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

In my defense...

Recently, there have been some questions as to whether I've actually done any knitting. There may even have been some suggestion that the Sunday Travel Section is no more than a ploy on my part to distract you from the lack of knitting by showing you pretty pictures of far away places. While I know it doesn't seem like there's been much knitting (funny how things go so slowly when you're actively (more or less) working on 6 different things), I really have been knitting.

Exhibit A: My blog post from last Friday/Saturday. I still haven't decided what to do about the lack of fitting...

Exhibit B: One finished Bayerische sock

I haven't started the second one yet, and I think there'll be a touch of SSS here. While I really like the pattern, I should have used a lighter yarn - the Patons Kroy 4 ply is too thick for the needles I'm using and this pattern. Plus, the sock is slightly bigger than I really like...

Exhibit C: Picovoli

This isn't actually the current state of Picovoli. I've made further progress (I'm about three rounds from starting the waist increases) this week, but I haven't been able to get any good pictures.

Exhibit D: The second Pomatomus sock

Progress has been slow here, but there has been progress. I'm now about half a pattern repeat (11 rounds) from starting the heel. (The tomato plant is my roommate's. I thought some of you might enjoy the picture for more than just the sock.)

So you see? I have been knitting.

P.S. I'm traveling this weekend, so the Sunday Travel Section might not get posted until Monday.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sunday Travel Section: Edinburgh

This Sunday we go to Edinburgh, Scotland. I went there a few years ago with a group of friends, and we had a fantastic time, despite it being the middle of January and quite cold. We hiked up Arthur's Seat, which afforded a spectacular view of Holyrood Palace and the Scottish Parliament (as well as the rest of the city).

Walking around the city, we encountered this quartet:

I don't think I noticed at the time, but now I'm rather intrigued by their socks. Especially the bobbles on the cuffs...

Friday, June 15, 2007

On Socks

Last time, I wrote that maybe I'm starting to understand how Wendy can knit socks so quickly. Wendy knits lots of plain socks, and this is my first pair of really plain socks. This is also my first pair of toe-up socks, which has nothing to do with their going relatively quickly.

I started the toe-up socks for two reasons: the summer IK has a guide to toe-up socks, and I thought I should learn some new techniques to expand my knitting repertoire. I started the toe with an eastern (aka Turkish) cast on of sixteen stitches (much pointier than I make toes on top-down socks, but much wider than the recommended 8). I found the cast on to be fiddly and frustrating, and the toe maddening to knit until I got to the point where I started the ribbing. The foot went fine, and a couple nights ago, I turned the heel.

I did a short row heel, something else it turns out I'm not really a fan of. I thought it was much more awkward to work than a flap heel, and a bit harder to size than a flap heel. Compared to the balls of my feet, my heels are relatively narrow, so I worked the heel down to fewer stitches than recommended. I think I could have gone down two more stitches and gotten a better fit, but what I got was pretty good. Of course, working down to fewer stitches meant the heel would be longer than the guidelines, and I thought I'd compensated by going with a shorter than recommended foot, but I guess I didn't compensate enough.

Do you see the problem?

Trying the sock on after I turned the heel gave me a false sense of security, since apparently, I should have started the heel about four rows earlier. So now I can either frog back to before the heel (I don't really feel like knitting the heel again, though - if I didn't like it the first time, I'm not sure why I would the second) or shorten the toe by picking out the cast on, frogging a few rows and then grafting it shut (the problem is that I like the way the unribbed area of the toe looks now). What do you think?

In the meantime, I took this sock out to frolic in the garden.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Guilt free

I did cast on something else, and so far, it's coming along swimmingly. See? No guilt here.

I've also been making pretty good progress on the purple club socks. They're quite basic, and despite my winging it without a pattern, they're going really quickly. I'm beginning to see how Wendy can knit socks so quickly.

I think Lorraine is right - I do need more needles (and not just sock needles). I haven't been a Knitter for very long, and I've had an income for even less time, so my collection of needles and notions is quite small. As I discover I need something for a project, I buy it, and so slowly add to the collection.

Thank you for the nice comments about the vegetation in the pictures. The greenery that my knitting likes to frolic about in is my roommates' garden and potted plant collection. As someone who grew up in the Southwest, which is beautiful but not known for being green, I have an intense fascination with green vegetation, especially if it grows without being watered by a person.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sunday Travel Section: Shenandoah

Last summer, I drove my car from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Boston, Massachusetts. (The route is not quite the one we followed, but it's close). I was driving with a friend, and we saw lots of fun and interesting things. One of the prettiest places we saw, though, was Shenandoah National Park. Skyline Drive was full of scenic overlooks, and even the road itself was pretty:

And in knitting, the latest sock had a pretty good time at a barbecue last night and is enjoying the sun and flowers today.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Accidental casting on...

One night this week (I don't remember which; it's been one of those weeks), I was doing the grocery shopping. Going from the bread aisle to the checkout, I passed by the magazines, and saw the Summer Interweave Knits. Even if the cover pattern were the only one in the magazine I'd knit, it would have been worth getting, but there are no fewer than seven patterns that I'd like to knit.

The only problem is that I've been feeling a little bad about having so many works in progress, some of which I haven't even looked at, much less knit on, since last summer. Fortunately, the sweater I really want to knit is wool, and that doesn't mix so well with temperatures in the high 80s accompanied by humidity. So that one will probably wait until this fall. Still, there might have been a bit an accident...

But it's only a sock, right? And since I made some really good progress on the pomatomus socks, it's ok that I have three socks on the needles right now, right? Even if it means I'm using every size 1 dpn I own...

Pomatomus progress: first sock finished, and halfway done with the leg of the second.

I think I'm going to go knit. If I finish something, maybe I can start this without feeling too bad...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sunday Travel, plus Knitting

When I last wrote, I promised some proof that I've been knitting, so I'll start with that and get to the travel at the end.

My class-time knitting, Pomatomus, has been coming along nicely:

My collection of mitered squares for the blanket is still small, but it is twice as big as it was:

I even did some knitting on the Print o' the Wave stole:

For this week's travel, we're staying in Pittsburgh. As a city, Pittsburgh offers a quite pretty skyline and a very nice ball park. I'm especially fond of the ball park, since I went to the Padres/Pirates game there Wednesday night, had a great seat and a great time watching the Padres win. So, there are two reasons for going to PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

For baseball fans, this is the sort of view you can get for less than standing room only in some parks.

For the non-baseball inclined, this is the view of the city from the cheap seats (which also have a good view of the field, convenient for groups whose interest in the game is mixed).

And now I'm off to face another week of classes and homework. If I'm lucky and get to do any interesting knitting, I'll post mid-week. Otherwise, I'll see you next time for the Sunday Travel Section.