Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spring is ... where?

It's a lovely spring day today,and the forecast is calling for 2-6" of white stuff in the next 24 hours. I couldn't be happier. Filius, however, has decided the time for sledding and snowmen is past, and he's ready to be tree climbing and reading in cozy places several feet up. He is hoping the forecast is wrong, and it's a bit on the skimpy side (earlier this morning, it was for 4-8". Even better.) I do realize it will melt shortly after falling, and that will lead to Mud, the fifth season ... but that's the good thing about being a homebody. If there's a good roof on, and a wood floor, the mud isn't much of an issue.

Leave the shoes on the porch please.

The Sampler Stole is going along swimmingly. I ordered a pair of pointy needles yesterday, in the hopes that the knitting will go faster with the proper tools. Working with non-lace Addis can be rather like trying to use a ballpoint pen to push a thread through the eye of a needle. Futility. It is also the only excuse for the decrease known as KSP that I have come across. Can't get that fat needle through two loops for a K2tog? Regroup and KSP. Knit the first stitch, slip it back to the left needle, pass the second stitch over the first stitch, and pass that back to the right needle. Incredibly fiddly (and don't change the stitch orientation!), but fiddly is better than frustration. I'm on the 6th repeat, and have learned that 6 hours of knitting gives me a stiff neck. Should have worked on a sock somewhere in there, right? Percentage-wise, I'm around 25%, if my calculations are correct. Two more repeats--roughly 90 rows--and I get to start a border pattern! Joy, joy, joy.

I'm almost finished with The Godly Man's Picture, by Thomas Watson. One sentence struck me in my reading today: "Men, for a little smoke, will quench a great deal of light; God, for a great deal of smoke, will not quench a little light. .... this is our nature, to aggravate a little fault and diminish a great deal of virtue..."

I'm so glad knitting is good for thinking.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Knitting merrily away

This past week saw:

My first knitting class. I had four students, and in two hours of class time we got the first 6 or so rows done of a sample Latvian mitten. After the fringe, everyone agreed that the braid was a piece of cake. Here are my 'Scottish Latvian Mittens' that I started during the class. The main color is leftover from my tourniquet sock, and the other colors were bought in Minnigap, right around the corner from Newton Stewart, Scotland, back on vacation in 1991. Definitely a pair of stash mittens.

Next Thursday in class I'll talk about mitten closures and thumb treatments. Since I remembered the existence of the thumb several rows past it's proper location, both these mittens will be excellent examples of an afterthought thumb.

Next on the agenda was finishing off Anu. I cast on late Saturday (had to get the Latvian mittens finished first, didn't I?), got a few rows done, and finished off the second glove on Sunday. They're still not blocked, but they're done!

On Monday, my husband popped over to the post office and brought me a stack of mail. The bottom three items took up more of my time than the rest. I love getting boxes in the mail! (Even if I just get to look at the contents and then mail them off again.)

Still, a knitter must knit. My mitten-knitting quota for this month has been met, so I hearkened to the call of the Sampler Stole and cast on. One hour later, I had 0.6% of the stole completed.

You're not impressed? I'm thrilled. It's going to be lovely. I can hardly wait to get started on it tonight. In an ideal world, I will get it finshed by Mother's Day Weekend so I can start in on the Sanquhar gloves as soon as I get the yarn for them. There are about 1720 rows of edging to knit on this thing ... so we'll see how close things are to 'ideal' after I get a chunk of edging done. And the edging comes after over 600 rows of non-body.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The votes are in, and the winner is ....

Cast on Saturday, finished on Sunday. Now, to make the second one.

Also on Saturday, I finished a second pair of socks for Renee. The yarn for two more pairs is sitting in my knitting basket, but I haven't cast on yet. I'm experiencing a small (VERY small) project crunch.

Tomorrow night, I'll be casting on for a pair of Latvian mittens. It's my first night of class! So that will be one project. The baby blanket is is my only project on the needles at the moment, and it doubles as traveling project AND home project. Such flexibility! It's also almost done.

I need to do some thinking in print to figure out which needles go where. Anu, obviously, gets the same needles that the first glove got. 3.0 mm? Whatever is out. The socks get 2.75 mm needles. So the Latvian mittens will get the 2.5 mm set. And may I be very, very careful if I get the 5th needles from those three projects in close, unused proximity to one another. I should probably measure the needles carefully before I store them, too.

Sanquhar, I am sad to say, has been bumped from April. I didn't have a good feeling about working gloves in laceweight alpaca, so I am going to be making them in wool. Since I have no appropriate white/cream wool, and since I think KnitPicks is about to come out with some new yarns (which makes it unwise to order from them at the moment, lest the new catalog arrive the next day), I will save my laceweight wool hunting for the Shepherd's Harvest Sheep and Wool-type festival in May, and then make the gloves in June.

April, then, will be open for the Sampler Stole!

I love planning things out. It promotes such a feeling of competency.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A Glovely Dilemma - please vote!

I am in the midst of a dilemma.

I don't know what to knit next.

No, it's not THAT bad. I do have two projects on the needles, and two pair of socks waiting to be knit after the current sock is finished. And all for the same person, in the same perfect-for-traveling stockinette pattern. But, I have determined to knit the Sanquhar gloves in April. And I bethought myself that it might behoove me to knit a glove in something other than laceweight before attempting the Sanquhar gloves.

But I don't know which ones to make. Here are my choices:

1) Anu's Christmas Gloves. More pictures are at Ravlery if you can get there. I'd make them in gray and white Palette.
2) Merike's Gloves. And at Ravlery as well.
3) Vanalinn Gloves Ravelry photos

(ps - do you see why knitters like Ravelry? Everything is there!)

I just noticed that all three of these are by Nancy Bush. That 'splains that. But, Which One should I make?

All my class knitting is finished. I'm also compiling a nice batch of mitten-shaped gauge swatches, using Palette on size 2.0, 2.25, 2.5, 2.75, and 3.0 mm needles. There's a jump of 8 stitches per inch from 2.0 to 2.25, so I suspect one of them is blocked and the other not blocked, or some other thing went seriously awry there. Otherwise, the gauge jumps about two stitches per four inches per quarter millimeter.

First, we have the finished St. Patrick's Day Latvian Mittens. They really are this green, if not a bit greener. I thought the grass green in the fringe would be the most obnoxious color, and so assigned it to the least used color. The mint then took grass's place as Most Insidiously Green Color Ever Invented. If you look at it long enough, the next mittens will start to have green undertones as well.

The second pair of mittens was knit to show how my two-color mitten will work, for those who do not wish to tackle Latvian fringe, braid, stranding, AND oodles of ends to weave in. I spaced the lice a bit further apart (how do you say 'lice' in Latvian?) Those mittens are gray and Blue Note Heather, one of my favorite KP heathers in Palette. They knit up nicely in about a day each. After doing three pair of fringed mittens this year, I think I'm ready to teach fringe. The handouts are written, ready to be copied ... and class starts in one week. Do you think I'll have any enthusiasm to impart?

The rest of my life:

Reading: The Godly Man's Picture is moving along nicely. It is an excellent book, and I'd be hard pressed to know whether I like it or The Bruised Reed better. The Hounds of the Morrigan is moving along excellently, and will probably go down as the Fastest Readalong Ever Done. We're getting about 40 pages done a day, and no one wants to miss it. We did read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe in one sitting about 9 years ago ... but that was sitting in the bathroom while someone had a seriously misbehaving GI tract, so I don't think that counts. THotM has just the sort of humor that appeals to my children. Nawnchalonkly? Or Napoleon Barmy Potty? tee hee. However, it's probably not the best book for families that are avoiding Irish mythology.

The National Latin Exam is happening next week. I'm not expecting any perfect papers, but perhaps we'd be in the running for Fastest Time. I think they took the practice test in about 3 minutes today, with another 2 spent looking over the answers. Now, to spend the next few days working on Testing Skills. Ack.

Fountain Pens: I have discovered my favorite color of ink -- Noodler's Pasternak. It's a lovely lavender blue, and works well in my pens. It makes me happy to write with it. And if I dump my hot tea on my knitting notebook, I won't lose anything I've written because it's waterproof! (bulletproof, actually ... anything that stops short of destroying the paper will not disturb the ink.)

Stay tuned for Which Gloves End Up on the Needles!

(ps - I'm thinking of making the Sanquhar gloves in Alpaca laceweight. Anyone had bad experiences with that? I know about the slippery knitting bit, but wonder about the elasticity of the gloves)