Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Lazarus, Come Forth!

No, not quite. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus was alive to start with. My shawl was not alive. And it's still not alive.

BUT, thanks to the encouragement of friends, I have a wearable shawl. My (and Denise's) most heartfelt thanks go to Cindy the Super Shawl Saver. Cindy gave me permission to do what no knitter ever should, and what I had never even considered (because I'm such a proper knitter, y'know), and because of that, I could tackle the holes.

Eight of them. Yes, I know I said 5 or 6 ... but eight holes got mended. The cause, near as I can figure, was wetting, blocking, wetting, and .... whoosh ... 16 strands parted like roving while getting gently squeezed. ('Scuse me while I go put my newly mended shawl into a colander so it can safely drip damp).

Here are today's repair photos. Before on the left, and after on the right. The ruler is in there for scale -- one fixed hole is above, and one fixed hole is below.

This hole, to the left, was the first one I saw in the shawl, and the first one I tackled with my Arsenal of Tools. See the tiny needle? See the thread through it? No --that's my yarn. It's tiny too. See the nassssty severed ends? My fix isn't invisible, but I think it will do.

And the last hole. The second hole I saw. The one that looked Miserable. The one that was miserable. It's not all better, but it's a rough representation of what the pattern is supposed to be. I am quite content to live with it.

The shawl is laying upstairs to dry now. I am not blocking this under tension, ever. I saw plenty of roving-esque spots that are holding together by neighborly love and kindness, and I have no wish to go through the past 48 hours again.

It's done.

Snooping around my house

While a friend and I were chatting the other day, we discovered that one of the things we most love about photos on blogs is seeing what books who has. And one of the most frustrating things is when one can't make out the titles. I am going to remedy this (hopefully) by taking systematic photos of my bookshelves and sharing them. My first three shelves are the top three of the eight shelves one is greeted with when walking into the living room. They are, in order from top to bottom, The Shelf We Can't Reach/Theology, The Theology We Really Want To Read, and Classics, Part I (of IV).

Zoomom was so kind as to share her sock yarn stash photos. I am stunned. Bona fide stunned. To encourage others (this is you, Penny) to show and tell as well, I am sharing photos of my sock yarn stash as well, and even my Whole Stash (with a few exceptions, noted.)

First, we have the sock yarns. The center tub is actuall sport weight yarns, and includes all my sport weight stuff ... primarily leftover Parade, Shine Sport, and Cotlin. The sock yarns are all leftovers from other pairs.

Next comes a profile shot of my stash. On the left, top-down, we have Sock Yarns, Fingering Weight (one of every Palette, mostly, Worsted Weight, DK weight, and on the bottom, Miscellaneous (I believe it's mostly miscellaneous fingering weight. I acquired someone else's stash BC (before children) and it was mostly fingering weight. The right stack contains Short Acrylic Worsted Leftovers, Coned Weaving Yarns, and Laceweight yarns.

Other yarns in the house, not covered here, include my daughter's stash (one box), one or two boxes of acrylic (gained from Freecycle), a box-worth of miscellaneous novelty yarns given to me 'in case I can use them' and some pre-yarn (ie, wool batts.)

Then, there is my knitting box. The sock at the bottom center is Filia's ... she'll wonder where it went when she finishes off its mate. The pale pink is Elann's Espirit, thinking about becoming baby socks. The rest has been blogged about recently.

For pictures of my Shetland Triangle, check out Journey to A Shawl. It's got my newest K'Nex yarn toy too.

Last night I spent plotting and planning for school. I think I've got a vague enough plan to last, and a concrete enough plan to get something done. I also splurged and got desks for my children, so they have their own working space. A 6x2 ft table doesn't quite work fo rus.

I'm plugging away on Martin Chuzzlewit. The book has actually gotten quite good, and I am having to pull myself away to get other things done. Like socks (finished Sunday) for the fair (entries Thursday). Hard Times is an easier read, but Martin has grown on me.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Death of a Shawl

It is with great sadness, and a good dose of bemusement, that I write this. My Alpine Lace shawl has died. The cause of death is unknown. I do know that today I spent an hour running a thread around the edges so I could block it smoothly, gave it a warm bath while I wove in the ends on the Molly Pitcher socks, squeezed it gently to remove excess water, and spread it out to block.

And found five holes, involving multiple strands of broken yarn. My shawl is not going to the State Fair. It probably won't go to the county fair in 5 days. And it's never even been worn.

I'm not ready to bury it yet.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A change of plans

God has plans for us. Sometimes those plans are similar to what we were thinking of, and other times, His plans are an abrupt change from ours. In the past week, I've seen changes of great and serious magnitude (not first-hand) and small magnitude(first and second-hand).

For the second-hand small, let me just say that Denise has a juicy blog post to write, and I won't spoil her surprise. And for first-hand small, there's the tooth my husband just broke off (actually, I suppose that's second-hand too, since it is his tooth and not mine), and the knitting project sitting in front of me.

I got a lovely skein of Mega Boot Stretch at The Yarnery earlier this summer to make mom a pair of Padded Footlets. The gauge was 7 sts/", and the suggested needle size was US 0. I laughed and reached for my 2s, since I always use 2s for socks. I generally get 8-9 spi as well, but I wasn't too concerned about that. The stitch count looked good for my usual, so I forged ahead.

After some charitable muttering about the instructions for working the padded sole, the sock and I made our peace and I knit away. When I got to the point pictured, I tried on said sock. It fit wonderfully ... but the padding only covered the middle half of my sole. And my feet are narrower than my mom's. So, it was out with the ruler. The gauge on the padded part was 10 spi. On 3.0 mm needles nonetheless (I switched to metal from my favorite wooden 2.75 mms, just in case) Some serious rethinking was obviously necessary. What needles would I use to get 7 spi with sock yarn? The gauge on the unpadded part was 8 1/2 spi ... my normal. Why was the padded part tighter? Very likely, the k1 sl1 pattern done for 2 out of every 3 rows. Did I want to re-engineer the footlet? (No. I don't like the padding. It's not circular.) Did I want to knit a normal sock, and knit some padding to go on later? (Not particularly.) How attached was my mom to the Padded Footlets? (Not very.)

And so, yesterday at our very first town Craft Group meeting (attended by just my daughter and I, standing outside of a locked community Room on a 90 degree, humid day) I frogged the footlet. Completely and unequivocally. (We had relocated the meeting back to our home at that time). And now, the Mega Boot Stretch, nee Padded Footlets, looks like the photo at right. Isn't it lovely? No nasty gauge issues at all, and all worked beautifully in the round. During a baseball game, no less.

The baseball season is over. We were around 500, with two ties. I got oodles of knitting done, but am not sorry to have the busy-ness pass. The garden is starting to kick in with produce -- namely, cucumbers. Here's a picture of our very first, surrounded by some Stash Socks for Small Feet. Isn't he cute? Filius is lobbhing for dill pickles, which I loathe (having teethed on the critters). But I have cukes, and I have dill .. so why not? I've also got some zucchini, so perhaps I'll try some zuke pickles as well. I'll make sweet pickles for me, too, of course.

In serious matters, I have discovered Dickens. (Or Thingyens, as one message board filter terms him.) I'd read A Tale of Two Cities decades ago, and remember nothing but the opening sentence. I'd slogged through David Copperfield, over a 7 year period, and found it nice, but nothing that made me want to revisit it any time soon. And then, I read Hard Times. (Saturday and Sunday, to be precise.) It was funny. It was deep. It had some thought-provoking ideas. And so I declared it to be our next Read-Aloud, and checked out Martin Chuzzlewit for my next book. So far, Filii are enjoying the book ... and they don't even know how it ends!

I have also discovered (Thanks, Molly!) that my Christening Gown came from Dale's Book #40, which has been discontinued. But ... thanks to a fabulous knitting network, I have the book on my desk this very instant, on loan. No such luck with the blanket. It can't have been from Treasures in Needlwork, since I have all six issues. Was it Threads? Was it Threadneedle Street? Shall I ever know? I will probably settle for recreating one from the original (my original, at least) and Sharon Milller's Heirloom Lace book.

And that means I need to order more yarn.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Another week, another shopping trip

This time, we had a slightly longer doctor visit, but compensated for it by visiting Three yarn stores, one book store, one gallery, one library, and a few other necessary places (food, anyone?)

At Yarnzilla, I fell in love with the Misti Alpaca Lace, which has been calling my name for some time. The Panda Cotton seemed perfect for a pair of toddler/baby socks, so I got that too.

Coldwater Collaborative was a spot on our map marked "Yarn Store" in Excelsior. It was almost on our route to the bookstore (our official first stop) but we decided to detour and see if we could spot it. We had no name, no address ... just a circle around "Water Street". Wouldn't you know - the last block had a store saying "The Yarn Store You've Been Looking For" What was there to do but park and head on in? They had lots of yummy yarn, including the Regia above, and Mom saw some books she had to have as well. She exercised great restraint in not getting a Koigu book and enough yarn for me to make a cardigan.

Then we made it to the bookstore. Here's our loot - with a few books from the last trip. Book at this house do not stay on the bookshelf. They WANDER from room to room, and out to the van, and off to the front porch.

On the way home, we stopped off at The Tangled Skein for some Brittany needles, but they were OUT so I am still stuck with just 5 sock needles, which is really putting a bind on my traveling/home project, since socks are on the list for both. Maybe I should start spinning for my shawl? (What shawl, you ask? I don't know yet.)

Theresa correctly guessed that my mystery project was from Victorian Lace Today. But no one even thought about guessing which project it was! It was Victorian Ruby, and all is done but the blocking.

Now, some pics of old projects (ca 1995) and some questions. Does anyone know which issue of Treasures in Needlework had this baby blanket pattern? Or where else it might be? I made 3, but feel like I should make some more. Not for me ... Puella got the cream, Puer got the blue, my maid of honor's daughter got the pink ... but just for general principles.

And here's a Dale of Norway Christening Gown. Dale has discontinued all their old booklets (drat) but does anyone know which one this gown came from? I can't imagine where my booklet went to.

The baby stuff is coming out as I've been asked to knit up some things for a baby show this November. Puella is thinking of knitting some socks for it as well. And I may have found a goldsmith to make some lovely shawl pins, so I could knit shawls to my heart's content, and sell them in her gallery with matching pins.

My current WIP looks, at this moment, very much like a sock cuff. How's everyone doing on the summer knitting?

And did anyone actually get a book they wanted at the Interweave Press Hurt Book sale? I started browsing around the site at 10:04 Mountain Time and by the time I got to the right pages (running 7 tabs at a time) all 6 books that looked good were Gone.

Like I needed more knitting books.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


An excellent musical, and one perfectly suited to the day. I've learned more about the Declaration of Independence from this musical than I did in my scholastic career. It's pretty accurate, too (although I do believe that Ben Franklin refusing to write politics is a fiction.) And since I can look at "Our Country's Founders" and identify all the men sketched on the front, make-up must have done a good job.

Rosemary, the next two pictures are for you. Our separated-at-birth pups (separated by a few years, if I remember aright) look alike, and are both blanket hogs. Filius wandered into the kitchen one morning to see what was for breakfast. By the time he got his question out, his blanket was occupied. And Terry does not take kindly to having his 'bed' moved. That may have something to do with why he was missing most of his front teeth when we got him (age 6, 2 years ago).

Terry is also a laundry hog. Filii are in charge of sorting the laundry, and then putting their own away. Canis Terribilis does not like having to move so somene else can get his chores done. Warm laundry, fresh from the dryer, is his favorite.

Last Friday, we had to go shopping in St. Paul. A short-but-necessary 10 minute medical appointment necessitated the shopping trip. I won't share the book stack with you (but I did get an abridged version of Johnson, and it looks READABLE! Filius got a book of The Best of Dick Tracy, among other things.) I was also hunting for sock yarn, having finished off my contribution to Becca's destashing efforts. We raided The Yarnery, a new-to-us yarn store. It was accessible, and withstood our onslaught fairly well.

Isn't this a lovely picture? You see some previously bought Koigu (the blue and purple) which came along so I could find them appropriate company for that lovely pink/blue tesselated sock in More Sensational Knitted Socks. That's the Louet Gems light tan. Behind that is Regia Bamboo, a most lovely, cushy, squishy yarn. I'm 3" into the second sock for that. (Our town's parade is 3" long ) . The tropical colors and pink Pony pearls are for Filia, who is aboutt 5: into her sock with them. The Meilinweit is destined for the Padded Footlets (which, along with the Bamboo, are, for my mom). The two pewter buttons are a representative of the 7 that will go on my Spinnery Jacket, the sheep is a Lantern Moon tape measure which Filia fell in love with. She talked grandma into getting it for her, so she won't have to borrow mine. Except, it's more a case of 'not having to return mine.' The question is ... will she ever be able to find her own? And lastly, some lovely Rowan Kid Silk Haze in a Pewter-with-a-hint-of-lavender shade. It's on the needles right now ... any guesses as to what it will become?

I buckled down last week after finishing these child's socks, and wove in the ends for 4 pair of socks. Tis done. And now, it's time to go work with some KSH and watch some men in wigs sing their way through the signing of the declaration.