Monday, August 28, 2006

Tea Cozy!

I think I remember now why large needles and fat yarn exist ... they make for fast projects. This cozy has been on my 'to do' list since January of this year, and I've even had the yarn for it since... since... since August 15th, and it didn't even get on the needles until yesterday.

Then again, starting a project within 12 days of getting yarn for it isn't too bad. That particular yarn order had yarn for 4 projects, one swatch, and two socks in it. Three of the four projects are done, one was attemped and discovered to be UnWorkable, and so demoted to 'swatch yarn', and I'm sreiously thinking about swatching with the remaining yarn today. It'll either be that, or gluing myself to the Sock That Wouldn't Get Worked On so I can get it out of my travelling bag.

Anywho... yesterday afternoon I cast on some bulky yarn onto size 13 needles, and set to work. Before bedtime, I had this!

One unfelted tea cozy in Sky and Bare bulky. For scale, you can see the teapot and the book.

The cozy is a bit big, and in obvious need of felting. So today, I supplied it, and before the breakfast dishes were done, I had a slightly-smaller-than-I-hoped-for tea cozy.

My daughter has asked for one for her first tea pot.

Other things do happen in this household besides knitting. In front of me at this very moment is the New Elementary Mathematics Syllabus D text. I am going to plan out what an insane pace would be (ie, completing it in less than a year) and try to go somewhat slower than that. Editing, laundry, and preparing shopping lists are also on the plan d'jour. Later this week I'll pull together the rest of my school planning, which is admittedly not much. I do so tend towards the 'do the next thing' in school. Very likely, that is why I gravitate to math and Latin. They have a next thing, right there on the next page of the text. But for literature, history, and science, the next thing is not so clear. This year I'm hoping to add science and literature to our official list of things studied ... we shall see how it goes.

This past month, a friend and I have been reading Merchant of Venice. We had some problems with Portia's character once we got to the discussion questions. She was seeing a much more, shall we say earthy?, character in Portia. After some back and forthing, and request for specific quotes, we learned what the problem was. My 1917 text had been ... EDITED ... to remove the earthier parts. Imagine that? Censorship, back in 1917. And of Shakespeare! The scene in question had 20 or so lines removed. Just zapped. With no note or explanation.

I wonder if we'll have that problem with our next read, Pride and Prejudice?

I leave you with a picture of the view late last week out our schoolroom window., looking up 30 ft or so.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Hats! Hats! Hats!

Hats in worsted weight yarn with a simple pattern are wondrously quick to make. I have finished two using KnitPick's Swish Superwash and a serious variation of the Mushroom Cap pattern from Homespun, Handknit. I like how they came out, and the yarn is very nice to work with. Come spring, I'll have an idea how it will stand up to a Minnesota winter. I'm not sure if the hats I made for the boys will last that long ... they're still being enjoyed as summer hats.

This past week, we went to the State Fair. It was supposed to be a State Fair / doctor visit, but when I called from the fairgrounds to double-check our appointment time, I discovered that I had the right day and time, but the wrong month. So we had some extra time at the fair. We skipped the whole parking mess by using a Park and Ride lot -- one the fair had so thoughtfully equipped with accessible busses. My daughter got her Very First (second, third, and fourth) rides on a power lift. She definitely prefers it to scooting up bus steps - not typically ranked among the cleaner surfaces in the world - on her rear. I think it even ranked at the top of her Favorite Fair Experiences. Since we skipped the Kidway, and pretty much went in, explored the Creative Activities building, and meandered out with brief stops at food stands and the DNR Fish pond, it's not too surprising.

The DNR Fish pond is pretty amazing. They have 25 species of Minnesota fish swimming around in a huge outdoor pond, all clearly visible. I learned that sturgeon grow to be twice as old as humans. Can you imagine catching the same sturgeon that your great-great-grandfather caught back in 1870? It's possible. Unless he ate it.

Next to the Creative Activities / Education building, there was a lovely little gazebo / bridge/ pond / stream / horticultural exhibit. The sort of thing I'd love to have in my yard, so long as it was maintenance-free, which of course, it can't possibly be. It was thoroughly explored by my son, lurking among the tall grasses.

My favorite place at the fair is, of course, the Creative Activities building. I should have taken pictures of the entire knitting display so I could look back for inspiration, but I didn't. I did take a picture of my entry into the Handknit, Adult Pullover, Patterned category.
It would have been really something if the model had been wearing the cabled cap I also entered, but it isn't. My Latvian Sampler Mittens also took a first in their category, with my shawl and cap taking second and third, respectively. The quality of entries is excellent at the fair. I think - but am not positive - that the greenish shawl on the table in the photo was in the same category as my shawl. The knitting on that shawl is excellent!

Lady Eleanor has been set aside for the time being, as our weather has started acting like a Minnesota August and it's too hot to have a wool blanket in progress. Stay tuned to see what's going on my needles next!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Lady Sandra is begun

The Lady Sandra, you ask? What or who is that? She (most definitely a she) is close kin to the Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole from ScarfStyle. As you may guess, she is destined for a person named Sandra. And on Tuesday of last week, we went yarn shopping for The Perfect Yarn for her. It's important to have a perfect yarn when one is thinking of making over 250 little knit rectangles, using a technique that one was fairly certain one would never do again after completing a required swatch. Perfect Yarn goes a long way towards overcoming attachment disorders involving knitting techniques. Without Perfect Yarn, there is no incentive to pick up the project. But with it --- ah, that's another story. So, on the way home from entering some items in the Minnesota State Fair, we stopped at Borealis Yarns. We never made it to the second yarn store in the area. Why bother? We hit the jackpot.

Our next stop was HalfPrice Books, and
a good time was had by all there as well. My son found not one, but TWO Asterix books, and spoke on their educational value so convincingly that they were purchased not as comics, but as Historical Fiction. I also received a KnitPicks order in the mail, and promptly cast on for the Brioche Cap with Telemark. Unfortunately, I can't imagine getting the projected gauge for the project with Telemark (at least in blue ... sometimes blue yarns are thicker than any other color in a given style), so when I'd gotten far enough into the pattern to realize it was going to not fit a 1-2 year old, as projected, but someone with a 24" head circumference ... it was quietly frogged. All is not lost, though. I have two samples of Telemark, and every expectation that I will make several things from it in the future.

I also have yarn for my TEA COZY!
I was all set to cast on for it on Wednesday, but came up against two problems. First, my ball winder was a dozen miles away and the yarn was in hanks. And second, it called for size 13 dpns. Size 13 British, I have. Size 13 US, I don't. So I set that aside for another day. But at least I have the yarn! And yarn for a pair of merino/silk socks, and yarn to swatch for a cardigan from the latest Interweave Knits, and yarn for another pair of socks, and yarn for some more hats, and and and.

Hats, you know, can be a rewarding thing to make. Worked in worsted, they don't take long. And made for children, they're small. And if you saw some children wearing woolen hats in August, riding their bikes back and forth in the driveway, with an embarassed-looking father watching in perplexity ... that would be the hats I made. One hat stayed on through bathtime, even. Now that's appreciation.

And to leave you with something to appreciate ... I leave you with the beginnings of the Lady Sandra, worked in Noro Silk Garden color 239.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

How did it get to be mid-August?

The socks that started off as little bitty wraps on toothpick-sized needles ended up looking like socks made for a pair of stilts. Here they are ... observe what happens when you don't purchase enough of the same dyelot to complete a project!

The next pair of socks OTN will look like two of this picture. The ripple pattern is the Ridged Feather from Sensational Knitted Socks.

I decided to do some gauge checking, since my standard sock pattern threw me for such a loop with the new KP needles. The pink socks, knit on size 2.5 mm needles, have a gauge of 10 spi in stockinette. The other pair has a gauge of 8.5 spi with 3.0 mm needles. My Brittany birch needles are 2.75 mm, and they give me a gauge of 9 something (and that's after wearing and many washes.) Save time, take time to check gauge. Or have a wide variety of feet available to fit whatever size sock comes off the needle.

Many blue ribbons were earned at the County Fair this year. My children got their first blue ribbons. The ferris wheel is an original design, and the poncho is an adaptation of Rosemary's Poncho to a sportweight yarn and a toddler size. I think the only part we didn't adapt was the shaping.

I got a Box of Yarn in the mail yesterday. Since I am suffering slightly from an abundance of sock yarn, I decided to take a short break from that and knit some hats. At a church outing in the evening, I finished off a Packer Hat and a Vikings Hat. And today, I made a Hat for Small Boy with No Football Affiliation Yet.

But socks, despite my current malaise, are quite nifty and neat. I got some sock yarn this last week in a swap. I'm looking forward to working it up, after I make some more non-sock items. Really, what I need is a Home Project. I haven't had one for a while, so socks have been my home AND travelling project. There are a few projects in the works, but nothing that's ready to cast on yet. That may change this week, since we're heading up St. Paul to enter some of my knitting in the State Fair. There are two yarn stores that we've never laid eyes on, right on the way home from the fair. And there's a bookstore along the way too. I wonder -- how long will it take us to get home?

Friday, August 04, 2006


First, the project report on the Moebius: Done. The yarn is Sock Garden Morning Glory from Knitpicks ... I am not sure if they kept the color in their new Memories line. Terry isn't the greatest model in the world, but he did hold still.

I haven't done *much* with the craft room, but I did reorganize the piles of 'stuff' so that I can get in and out of it without fear of breaking a wrist. I can also find my yarn and knitting needles ... very important abilities for a knitter.

And I cast on a sock. Isn't it cute? Doesn't it look as much unlike knitting as you can easily imagine? It's the toe of a sock (Knitpicks Dancing yarn, size 2.75 mm Brittany dpns) after casting on and working one row. I used Bluebell Lace from Sensational Socks for the pattern, and switched to my 2.5 mm KP needles for the lace part. Metal needles aren't the greatest for starting socks, but for lace, they're excellent. The only problem was that my Gauge Changed. Even on the part with Brittany needles. For the past year, I've gotten a gauge of 8 spi with Brittany size 2.75, KnitPicks sock yarn, and stockinette stitch. For this pair, the gauge decided to change to 9 spi. Even On The Part With Brittany Needles. (Always knit a sample swatch. I was warned.)

Fortunately, I was making these socks for a smaller foot than mine, and the smaller gauge makes them excellent for my daughter, or for someone of daintier foot. As I wear an 8 1/2, that's not difficult to find. So, the second sock is on the needle, and moving slowly along.

That's not the plotting part, however. The plotting comes in when dd starts hunting for a halter top pattern to knit. I have no experience with knit halter tops, but all I have to do is look at the pictures in magazines to see some problem areas. We did a good bit of looking, measuring, and contemplating how embarassing certain situations could be. The halter top project has been delayed until KP releases their spring yarns, or later.

But while that was going on, I was covertly noticing all sorts of nifty projects that I had forgotten about, and that would be fun to knit. Two pages in my knitting notebook are now covered with potential projects. Some time in the next week, I will down and order yarn for some of them. I *was* going to get some yarn locally, but couldn't find WoolEase in worsted weight at any of my four stops in town ... so it's off to the web I shall have to go.

Time to go to the county fair, and see how my projects did. And my dcs projects. And not get too hot. Thank goodness the fair is this weekend and not last weekend!