Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I got my medal!

Hey, folks, look at this! A real Olympic discus-of-yarn thrower medal!

Ducks and stuff

This guy, Mr Wood Duck, has been spotted on the river by our bridge the last few days. Not native, they tell me -- likely an escaper from a farm, they tell me. Anyways, he's beautiful, isn't he? And lucky me, I had my camera today!

The usual ducks have been behaving oddly. Today I saw some ducks just hanging around, when suddenly Boy Duck #1 starts flappin' and quackin' and chasin' Girl Duck all around the water, then the other boy ducks get in on the action and they're all just flappin' and quackin' all over the place! And then they just settle down again. I also saw two ducks swimming around in circles, flapping at each other with one wing, around and around for quite a while. Ridiculous... Mr Wood Duck is always dignified, plus there are no lady wood ducks around, to my knowledge....
Here, for spring, are some snowdrops. Yes, it's a flash picture, because they are under a bush on the shady side of the garden. Apparently, I am destined to have shady yards. Other people have daffodils, we're still working on the snowdrops... There are other green things poking up, and I'll get my daffs in good time, I think. It's funny having a garden you know nothing about! I know what it looked like last July, but the spring things are all pleasant surprises.

Should we go into the lessons learned from the Knitting Olympics? Just a few: Things go really fast on 6.5 mm needles. Children's clothes are lots smaller than adult clothes. One should really think a bit carefully before just jumping in to knit something. If you pay attention to one project for 2 weeks, it's amazing how much you can get done. And best of all, it's fun to be part of a great big gang, even if the gang never actually meets up!

And now I just have to graft the few stitches on Arthur's sock, and I have to finish the circular Maya thingy, which means making an edging all around it. I know Elizabeth Zimmermann said you should have neither a cast-on nor cast-off edge on a shawl, because they are too unyeilding, so I am doing the sideways-garter-connect-around edge -- I'll get some pictures tomorrow to show you what I mean....

Oh, hey! It's my big brother John's birthday today! John used to live far away from me, and then last summer moved to not-that-far-away, and then we left town for a year. So in a few months, we shall see more of each other, I hope! John once won a prize for taking this picture, and I hope to knit these icicles one day (I like that the scientists in my family study things like icicles and pretty swirls and heaps of sand and stuff). Happy birthday to youououo.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The gold, and now what?

I have done the Olympic knitting! All ends sewn in, and a couple of extra scarves to boot. I think I love the scrappy garter stitch scarf the best. Gold medal for me!!

Now, I want to finish the Maya circle, one of Arthur's orange socks (That pic was taken in November, and now I just have the toe to do, and then I'll save the second sock for April, orange month of Project Spectrum).

And then (Arthur is writing stories at school, and the teacher has banned the words "and then" from any story) I guess I shall make something pink and TSTMMS (The sweater that makes me sneeze!).

My pink project was going to be a scarf, but I seem to have lost my wonderful mittens, so now maybe I'll use the pink to make a pair of ladylike gloves.
(But wait, looky here! I could knit a pink square and send it off to Denmark to cover an old tank! That sounds like crazy fun!)
(Oh, I also was going to knit a breast for these people!)
(Ack, I'm overwhelmed!)

First I need to find Dick and Bob and have a final hot chocolate in the Olympic chalet, and then I need to tidy up my room (clean laundry, yarn and Paris papers are all strewn together on my dresser) and then I will figure out what to knit next!

Hooray for all the Olympic finishers and contenders and cheerers-on! It's been a blast!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Olympic knitting news

Hooray! I think I've just about done it... I have an armband and neck to do on this, and then a few ends to sew in, and we're done.

I've made a curly scarf to go with it: cast on a lot of stitches, knit a row or two, increase in each stitch, knit a row or two, increase in each stitch, and when you have too many stitches on your long circular needle, cast off. The scarf is very cool, coz it can all roll up into a nice solid cylinder for mailing.

And, I still have a bit of yarn left, and I don't really want a bit of yarn left, so I will make a big, messy, no-order garter stitch scarf with all the bits and it'll look just like something you'd get at the Gap, and I'll give it to the 16-year-old brother of the vest recipient. He is, I hear, a chick magnet... But if you are his mother or is aunt or his grandmother, ssshhhhh until I send it!

I'm still wallowing under tons of laundry... And it's sort of snowing and I can't find my mittens... so I have a touch of housework to do, I suppose, and then deal with finishing this off. The gold medal is certainly within reach!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Paris continued!

Ah, more Paris. I will try to be brief....

Saturday we went to a big science centre, with the family we were staying with. They have a "tween-age" daughter and a 7-year-old boy who were both great entertainment for our kids, and had a playroom, to boot. And they knew all the cool stuff at the kids' part of the science centre. Like you can crawl around an ant farm and stick your head up a plastic bubble to watch the little critters!

The funny thing about this place is that it recommended certain parts of the musuem for kids, and had lots of parts wherein they didn't cater to the little ones, which is unusual for science centres, isn't it? To think that an adult might be interested in a rocket ship! Or optics, or math!? Heavens... How European, or something...

We started off in the kids' part, with Arthur in the 5-12-year-old section and Elaine in the 3-5 section, which she enjoyed immensely, but had a big meltdown when she realised she was in the little kids' part and she could have been in the big kids' part. Here she is bringing wheat up an Archimedes screw, I believe! She also had to deal with water, sand, building blocks with cranes and train cars and all sorts of cool stuff.

We also saw an Ariane rocket engine, chess-playing computers, sound demonstrations, an exhibit on plants... and outside was a big slide for that all-important kid-steam-release part of the day!

Here we are up on the second floor, looking down on the large photo-map of Paris. This is the pre-Google Earth way to find your house, or the Eiffel Tower, or that park you played in yesterday. It was quite the hoot, and a great rendez-vous point, too!

And perhaps the highlight of the day was when we left our kids with their young friend and our hosts' au pair, and the parents and the older daughter (and a grandma) all went out to dinner in an actual restaurant and had icky stuff like sauce on our fish, and we had wine, and not whine! It was all very civilised and grown-up! And because the portions are not enormous, we had room at the end for dessert. I shall tell you, we shared ravioli a langoustines and some salmon appetizers, then I had tuna steak and Stephen had pork with gingery sauce, and he had cheese for after and I had a lemon mousse with crispy crackers and raspberry sauce. Delish! And the kids were asleep when we got back!

The next day was Elaine's birthday, and we all got up in a lazy sort of way and had pancakes and strawberries for breakfast. The menfolk then went off to fix the dishwasher. This was a big project involving voltmeters and wires and guy-talk. In the end, I think it was decided that they needed to buy a new part. I knit some, and helpfully washed the breakfast dishes, and was almost done when I broke the great big pancake mixing bowl... Disaster! I was reassured, though, that it was just an Ikea bowl, and not a special one like the one another visitor broke... After that, I mainly dealt with the plastic drinking glasses...

For our last tourist experience, we headed off to the Louvre. There were signs in some parts asking you not to take pictures, and we were told not to worry, there are 35,000 works up on the webpage. You might recognise this one.

One reason given for the no-photograph rule was congestion! It's so crowded in front of the Big Ones that you can't get a decent shot anyways! Here, for example, is the famous Naked Lady with No Arms, or the Venus de Milo.

The kids varied from minute to minute -- I'm tired, this is boring; what's this, lookit this, Dad; can't we get a drink; wait, slow down, I have to look at this!

This is wearing on the adults... Stephen tried carrying Elaine on his shoulders, but this is not permitted in the galleries, sir.

I took pictures of floors. This is all stone! I love the quilt-ish-ness of them, and of course think of getting some Felted Tweed and whipping up a blanket in these patterns!

We got back in time for dinner, and were wondering what to do
when our host started making sushi with smoked salmon, and we nipped up the street to get some Chinese noodles and other little things. And chocolate cake with ice cream for dessert! What a day...

And then Monday we got the train, and you know the rest. Now I must pop off to knit and eat lunch, and will bring you Olympic results tomorrow. I can tell you that I've almost finished the vest, and have yarn left over with which I have made a curly scarf, and I think I can get a hat out of it, too. The kids counted my yarn again last night, and I'm down to 99 balls! I'm almost done one of Arthur's socks, too! Great progress, Bob.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Home at last

1. We're home and the kids are off to school.
2. We have no laundry soap.
3. Somehow Elaine got to school with no lunch. Whose fault is that?
4. I remembered on the way to school that I'd left the coffee machine on.
5. Must drink coffee, turn machine off, take lunch to school, buy laundry soap, find the CD with the Paris pictures from Stephen's camera on it. Then regular blogging and laundry can recommence.
6. Oh, and the Olympic knitting thing, too...

Several hours later:

Okay, I think we're set. The washer is humming away, there is food in the fridge and I don't have to go get the kids for a couple of hours.

I just downloaded a bunch of photos from a CD we'd made in France -- it's the two-camera, two-city, two-computer problem, you know. Anyways, it shocked me to find 980 pictures being downloaded, but for some reason there are two or three copies of most of the pics on the disc. Dunno why. It makes things verrrry complicated, especially since there's picture 1, picture 1, 2, 3, 4, then 1 again... But I think we're sorted out enough so that I can show you a few snaps!

For those just tuning in, we are now home in Cambridge after our week in Paris... The kids and I came back on the Eurostar train, efficiently got across London on the tube, had time for a burger in the station before getting the non-stop train to Cambridge, got off the train and hopped on a bus, bought a pizza and a loaf of bread at Marks and Spencers, and home safe and sound. All very neat and easy! Stephen will return in a week or so, after chit-chatting with some French physicists.

Let's see, where did I leave you? Ah, we were off to Versailles, the palace to beat all palaces!

It is huge, and gilded in every way you can think of, and the whole thing is beyond reason.... Here, for example, is a ceiling. (Click to get the big picture!) The walls were covered in enormous paintings, or with silk. The floors were works of art in stone (but I say, not as great as the Louvre's floors). The gardens are immense. It would be great in the summer, or even a month from now, when they are full of flowers. Now there are big swathes of grass, and some trees trimmed to cool cone shapes, but it wasn't much fun for running around outside, and some of us would rather run around than look at more gilded candleholders.

The rooms are enormous, and since the solid silver furnishings were once melted down to fund a war, and there've been a few political upheavals in France in the past few hundred years, there is not much furniture. There was the king's bed, where he would hold court upon waking up in the morning. One wonders when he did the royal pee and the royal splash of water on the face... And did he get to put his big wig on before greeting guests?

And here, another ceiling, with the barenaked and scantily clad ladies of France striding over the world as if they owned the place.

Anyways, I would have liked a tour of the kitchen and laundry facilities -- how many ovens do you need to have a meal for the whole dang court? But that was not included. Whatever, I will not quibble. It was pretty cool.

When we got back to Paris after Versailles, we realised we had an hour or two to kill, and the Arc de Triomphe was only a metro stop or two away, so we went and climbed up it. Elaine ran around and around, and we looked at the Eiffel Tower and other things. There was an exhibit there of things Napoleon took with him on campaign, like his camping dishes and his case for his big hat!

I think that must have been Thursday, and Friday we hit the big tower itself. My Tricoteuses sans Frontieres bag, full of all the things that Mom has to carry on such a trip, enjoyed itself as we approached. The tower was pretty crowded, and one wonders what whiny kids do in August when they have to wait in lines twice as long!

And the obligatory view from the top. Note the shadow of the tower on the left.

We were charged with taking care of Elaine's class bear on this trip, so we have a few pictures of him in exciting places. Bear up Eiffel Tower, for example.

From up here we also noticed a playground down below, and took the kids to play in the sand for a bit. All this culture is just too exhausting, you know. Mom and Dad got to sit down and the kids played in the sand (lucky us, there was even a puddle!).

We also discovered at this point the steps! See, in this picture below, which was taken from some hundred meters up, I think, there's the long fountain, the plaza above, and the long diagonal staircases in between? You know what you can do on them?? We saw people come zooming along the top level on rollerblades, spin around at the top of the steps and then bumpbumpbump down the steps backwards on their blades. (That pic is not in Paris, and that guy looks like he's not going very fast.) I was, indeed, gobsmacked. You could really hurt yourself doing that, I thought to myself! Much safer to play in a sandbox... You can see other pics of the steps here, here (a closer view from the tower, the fountain looks like grass), and here are some skateboarders on a smaller set of steps at the same location.

And we'll end today's long tale with the mailbox set-up at the top of the steps, on the other side of the plaza. Is this not the archetypal mailbox-Metro station-moped picture?

We got into the Metro station, took the train to the Louvre (wait a minute, I thought we were at the end of this tale -- almost!) where we were admiring the glass pyramids, when it started to hail! So we dashed inside and admired the spiral staircase with the cool elevator/platform that goes up the middle of it, and I almost wished I had a stroller so I could use it, and the cool gift shop, and we decided that we could make the kids go through one more giant musuem/palace. But we'll save that story for another day...

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Happy Birthday, Elaine!

Today is Elaine's 6th birthday! She is now quite the accomplished traveller, and cute as a button, too. Not to mention smart as a whip and sharp as a tack.

This is her, running around at the top of the Arc de Triomphe the other day after we got back to town from Versailles. As fast as lightning, too!

Note the Eiffel Tower...

One more day of Paris, probably a trip to the Louvre. More later.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Bonjour, mes amis

Bonjour from Paris. I have a brief moment here before heading off to Versailles.

Our day of travelling did not go too badly, although there was a barfing incident, which we will gloss over. The olympic knitting has been worked on, and has been carried around town, but has not been photographed at all! Must remedy that, and here's a picture to show that I am still thinking of knitting stuff -- a wine shop with cut-out pictures of balls of yarn as their price tags, and it says above the big knitted bottle "Collection Hiver 2006." I don't quite understand, but I like it anyways. I'll put in my other wool-related stories here, too. I did find a Phildar shop, but it was closed one evening when everything else was open, around 7 pm, and it was also closed the next morning at 10, so I'm thinkin' there's something fishy with that shop. Will try again, but I'm not hopeful. I also went to La Drogerie, which was beautiful and crowded and I wanted everything but got nothing. I did get chastised for taking a picture.... and I wish I'd seen that page before going, as the "how to buy yarn" thing was a bit confusing.

Tuesday we went to Notre Dame. Big old church, subtly different from English big old churches. We went up the tower, 422 steps or some such, and got a good view, but the day was a bit grey and so our pictures are no more spectacular than anyone else's! Being a tourist at almost-46 is different than being a tourist at 24! Ho hum, the skyline of Paris in the grey.... I was pleased that Elaine consented to
make the trek to the top, and she liked seeing the gargoyles and all that.

Here the kids are being saints in niches. Saint Arthur of the Green Guide and Saint Elaine of the bread. Just above them was some poor fellow holding his head!

After Notre Dame, we went to the Centre Pompidou, which was closed for the day. There was a slight incident in which some tourist had all the cash removed from his wallet, but we will gloss over the fact that it was my husband.... (It was mainly in pounds, and we think it was not a huge amount, but still it's a big nuisance and makes one feel a tad stupid.)

Wednesday Stephen gave a talk to some physicists, so the kids and I went back to Pompidou and it was really quite fun. We went up the giant escalator and Arthur got out his sketch book and drew the Eiffel Tower and Sacre Coeur. There was a cool display for kids about heads (Tete a Tete), and an expensive cafe. The kids are pretty good about traipsing around, and it helps that we all know about using subways and so on, but they do get tired out and grumpy after a while. We'll see how today goes, since the guidebook say that a proper tour of Versailles takes 2 days, and it's almost 10 am and we're still eating croissants....

Monday, February 13, 2006

Getting back up

Oh, I had a bit of a problem, but I think I'm back on track. I have switched to making a vest in a ribby lace pattern for a young lady of my acquaintance, who doesn't know yet that she really needs a nice woolly vest. It looks rather (ok, very) bulky, but on a wee nymphette it will look cool, I'm sure.

The challenges of my new choice are: I have to count 123;12;123;12... Don't laugh till you've tried it... And every 6th row I have to do yarnovers between purls and knits. And, I have to make something that will fit someone I haven't seen since 2001 and who lives thousands of miles from here. I'm not sure how sticky the Team Canada rules are about finishing what you said you would make, but I told the Harlot that I was making a lacy vest, and so I am, although the details are changed. I'll get that gold medal, I must! (I'm not sure that's what Eddie the Eagle would have said, but it's what I'm saying today.)

Now, if you check here, you can see that in the sporty Olympics, Canada is doing quite well. We have a gold and a bronze. Yay sporty Olympians!

I hope to keep up with both the sporty stuff and the knitting stuff over the next week, while I am away in Paris! But I'm not sure what the computer situation will be. If you don't hear from me, don't worry! I'll be knitting, and taking pictures of the knitting and the Eiffel Tower, the knitting and the Louvre, and maybe even the knitting at a yarn shop or two...

We're going on the train under the Channel, so that's a new and exciting adventure. A bit creepy, if you ask me, but I'm sure we'll manage, if there's no enormous earthquake.... which I'm sure there won't be.... Right?

Well, see you later, off we gooooooooo!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

At the Olympic bobsled track


"Dick! We've come to the bobsled track to catch up with our favourite Olympic athlete, Mary de B. It seems there's been a bit of an accident here, Dick."

"Bob, she took that first turn a bit fast and wobbled, worried that she would run out of yarn. She seemed to recover from that, but now she's skillfully stopped the sled altogether and is just sitting on the track with her head between her knees! Something's wrong here, Bob."

"Dick, I think we'd better go see what's up.... Mary, you're stopped."

"Oh, Bob, Dick... I took a bit of a spill. I think I might just be out of the running for a medal here. I can't go on with this..."

"What seems to be the trouble? Is it the amount of yarn?"

"Well, Bob. There are a number of factors. First, I guess my training had some gaps in it, and I think now I should have researched my options for a lace pattern a bit better, because, well, this isn't working. I have the flattering vertical lines, but because of the shortage of yarn, I have to use all my colours, and that means putting in the Charlie Brown horizontal stripes. And it's not going to fit right, and in order to change sizes in a pattern like this, I'd have to add a whole 13-stitch panel to each side, which would not just add a bit of extra room, but 6 inches, and not to mention the extra yarn."

"But, is there nothing you can do? You were zooming along pretty well, can't you just... do something?"

"Well, Bob. I really wanted an all-green, flattering vertical lines, round necked thing, and that just won't come to be. I've thought of everything -- keep going, then steadily decrease at the top like for a hat, turn it upside down, felt it, and get a bag! Or increase up the side seams, but I just don't want the coloured stripes. I thought of changing the whole design, but the fact remains that the yardage is skimpy. My latest idea is to embrace Eddie the Eagle, and continue to make something as excellently as I can, but it just won't be the same thing as I said I'd make. I have a smaller person in mind, and I could make a nice knitted vest for her, or I might keep my zigzaggy lines and make a shawl. I just need a moment...."

"Well, Mary, let's get up off this icy track and get you back to the chalet for a hot chocolate with kahlua, and you'll be able to think more clearly then. ... We'll bring you more news from Mary, if she ever makes up her mind, folks."

"She needs a lucky loonie, Bob!"

Saturday, February 11, 2006

And they're off!

I did manage to cast on at 2 pm, and get enough done before going to pick up the kids to start panicking that I would run out of yarn... A 50-m ball on 6 mm needles does knit up pretty fast, and at this rate I'll be out of wool in 6 or 8 days, with one of those midriff-baring tops that 20-year-olds wear. We shall overcome, however. Somehow. It may involve buying more yarn, although I bet this colour was on sale half-price because it was the end of the dye lot or the end of the whole colour or something. Never mind, I'll just carry on and make a really deep neck and we'll see. A short, deep-necked, warm snuggly wool pullover... The rules don't say you can't frog the whole thing after the games are over and make a child's sweater!

I did make it to the pub last night, as did several others. We got the TV turned on and all, and watched the mega-production, flame-and-colour-and-sparkle and, toward the end, totally incomprehensible, opening ceremonies. I had my Canadian flag, but it's full-size and a bit big to wave around, so it spent the evening draped over a chair, and then scrumpled in a bag... Here you can see Liz, Bekki, Anne, Scarlet peeking out behind me, me, and Rosie bent over her work! Scarlet has no blog, and is doing something very exciting, so I will tell you all about it... She has made scarves and is almost finished her first sweater, a bolero in flaming red super fluffy yarn. So she can do knitting and purling and increasing and decreasing and all that stuff, but for the Olympics she switched to tiny circular needles and finer yarn to make Odessa. She had a bit of trouble in the dark pub, and I think left with the first row cast on for the second time, but I'm confident she'll meet her challenge!

And here's what I was left with at the end of the evening. Now, birthday party today, must make cake...

ps. Don't you just hate it when Blogger tells you to republish your blog in ten minutes, for about 3 hours?

Friday, February 10, 2006

Last pre-Olympic post

This morning did not go smoothly. Elaine woke up cheerful and not so dribbly as yesterday, and was determined to go to school. Great, good, wonderful. First things first... I put the kids in their new sweaters and made them sit on the couch for a photo shoot. Photographing two children at once is always twice as hard as just one...

Then things got complicated... I haven't been grocery shopping lately (I love the milkman!) and had no bread (Elaine is quite particular about what goes in her lunchbag) so I told her I'd bring her her lunch in time, but I had to go shopping while she went to school. Then, I was in the shower and I realized that Arthur had set off without his swimming things, and it was swimming day! So I got clean, got dressed, got the swim stuff, the shopping list, the empty lunch bag (with a knife to spread the jam on the bread, but alas, without the jam!) and was not long out the door before I realized that Stephen had gone off with all the money!
I know the route he takes between dropping the kids at school and heading out to the university, so I attempted to catch him, but alas again, I saw him turn the corner and ride off, and I hollered and ran for a bit, but couldn't catch him... Eventually I did, I think, get everything sorted out. Went to the bank for some cash, got the swim stuff to the school, got the groceries, made the lunch, dropped off the lunch, came home with the rest of the stuff.

What I'd wanted to do this morning, besides make the house spic and span for Elaine's birthday party tomorrow, was play with my new yarn! Yes, I know I have projects on the go, and yes, I know I have to start something new and mega-thrilling this afternoon, but lemme tell you what happened yesterday! I dragged Elaine off her sickbed and we went to pick Arthur up after school. We were walking home down a road which is home to several charity shops, and usually we walk right past, but as we came to the Cancer Research shop, I just had a whim to go in. I thought we'd look at some buttons, of which they usually have a box at the back. Then, um, no money, so we'll just look, okay, kids?
Then, ohmygod, ohmygod, what's that over there!? That's not buttons, that's a laundry basket full of yarn! I grabbed all the lovely Rowan tweed I could find, casting aside the mohair fluff and the unlabeled cotton whatever! Of course, I had to run to the bank and get money (this is a recurring theme this week!) and the fellow at the desk kindly held the yarn for me, and when I got back we checked the price on the basket -- 50p a piece! That's a buck. I got 6 skeins of Rowan (one is not tweedy, and one has no label, one says Chunky and the rest are Aran) and a ball of Lopi Light-ish wool I can put in the Sweater that Makes Me Sneeze, all for 3 pounds 50. I'm feeling chuffed, for sure, and now that I've recovered from my morning's exertions, I think I'll just clean the bathroom, swatch up the seafoam green stuff, and get lunch all before casting on for the Big O at 2 pm. What do you think? Oh, and if anyone recognises the age of the Rowan labels let me know! Are they vintage, retro, antique or just a couple of years old?
See ya at the pub tonight, and we'll raise a glass to knitting Olympians the world over!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Friends, don't try this at home

Ah, almost finished my Weasley knitting. I spent some time today reswatching my Olympic knitting and writing a few things down, and I've been dallying with my Maya big octagon thing, shown here on a longer needle, so it's able to spread out. Unfortunately, the needle is the wrong size to knit with, so I had to cram it back on the shorter 6 mm needle, but I wanted to see how it looked flattened out.

But, back to sewing the last seams on the last Weasley. It's hard to capture in a photograph what happens when you sew the two sides together, taking care to twist one piece before doing so! I promise, promise, that this dang "A" Weasley will be sewn together before the Olympics start, and it'll be straight and all the ends will be sewn in. I'm all set to go, Olympics-wise, except I've got Kid #2 home sick now! Since she has spent most of the day so far conked out on the couch, she's not much trouble, but it's just another thing to worry about! Lucky for me my Olympic project will be knit in the round, requiring only a 3-needle bind off on the shoulders!

Okay, deep breath, take out the bit of seam, start again...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Team Cambridge has a button

Liz has made us a Team Cambridge button, and set up a page, Knitcambridge. It's still in what we'd call its infancy, but stay tuned! And look what I just found! A button for the cheerleaders, too! I found it at Jan's blog, Life is a Banquet.

And, some of this was spotted at Sew Creative. It's lovely, but they seem to have only one skein of every colour, and it's only 50 meters/skein. It'd make a hat, I suppose, but I passed on it this time.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Hare and the Tortoise

Elaine is all Weasley'd up! Arthur's is coming along. (The sleeve you can't see is actually completed!) But you know the story of the Hare and the Tortoise? They are racing, and the hare gets almost to the finish line, miles ahead of the tortoise, and decides to have a little nap under the hedge, and get to the finish line in a while. Well, I am sort of doing that with these sweaters. I know they'll both be finished shortly, and I'm sick of acres of dark wool tweed stocking stitch, so I just cast on a little soft pink wool to try out a pattern for a scarf (supposed to be my March Project Spectrum project), and then, after reading about the possibility of Manos pilling and felting itself at Alison's, I had an uncontrollable urge to cast on my Debbie Bliss Maya, which is the same stuff as Manos, isn't it?
First it was going to be the circular bottom of a bag I would felt, and then it was the circular side of a bag, kinda like this one, and then I decided I just had to make it as big as I can, so it's a lap-rug. And really, it's an octagon, not a circle. I have 3 skeins, two dark green and this one, so we'll see how big it will end up! What you see here is about half the first green skein -- there was a knot in the wool, so I figured it was a fine place to change colours.
Olympic news: I was too early with my Weasley sweaters! If only I'd waited and made them for the Olympics, I could have joined these guys.
The first task is knitting!
Yarnguy 716 made these buttons for Team Potter.
You can find out all about the various sub-groups at Kat with a K's page.

And here's the schedule for my opening Olympic weekend:
2 pm Friday, cast on. 3 pm, go get the kids from school, make dinner etc. 7 pm, pub knitting.
Saturday -- have a kid birthday party, knitting in between rounds of pass the parcel.
Sunday -- realise we are going away for a week the next day. Pack, with bits of knitting here and there.
Monday, ride a few trains, knitting as I go... Then, who knows...
I think I will have to take the Tortoise's method here, and just plug away slowly and steadily, like for 15 minutes at 3 am each day!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Those wacky Knitting Olympians!

Check this out! Of course we're famous, since there's so many of us...

A day of playing in the park and going to the library, with no groceries purchased, no laundry done, and very little knitting done.

Friday, February 03, 2006

One down!

I've got Elaine's Weasley done! and she's actually wearing it to school! and yesterday I took a picture or two of her and it! But... the cable to download the pictures from the camera to the computer is still out and about somewhere, so no pics for you! Grr.
And I got a cool comment about Stephen's chaotic sweater. If we can get organized and get a page up about it, physicists will be flocking to make data sweaters. And flocking physicists, that'd be a sight to see. Flocking, knitting physicists... Makes you dizzy, doesn't it?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

My 100th post!

And second today!

I noticed that I have written 99 posts thus far, so this must be number 100. And so it is nice that it is about meeting people and doing something in the real world with knitters, most of whom I wouldn't have met if I hadn't had the blog (and sat at the computer reading other knitting blogs...).

So here's my plan: You can start your Olympic knitting Friday Feb 10 at 2 pm, or whenever thereafter you find it convenient! But we shall all get together at the Fort St George around 7 for the official Cambridge Olympic parade of colours... or whatever. (Maybe I'll check to see if they even have a TV...) Their non-smoking room is quite nice, by the river, well-enough lit and not too noisy.

I hope to see all y'all there, knitters, cheerleaders and dealers in chocolate....

The scarf!

Arthur spent all day yesterday and the day before at home with a cold, and knitting on his scarf. He started this before Christmas, but it was going very slowly. The first day, he decided he would drop a stitch, just like I did in my Clapotis. Then he tried a bobble, then a cable... Then, oh my! He made a thing... This is what he did. He isolated 5 stitches and knit just them. Then, instead of turning the work, he worked backwards, making stocking stitch. He did a few rows back and forth like this, then continued on the main row. He later asked me if one could make the heel of a sock like this, since it sort of bumped out of the main work! First, inventing knitting back backwards, and then inventing (sort of) the short row heel! What a guy. Here's the bobble. This is rather hard to photograph, and the pictures of him with the scarf all include that nasty habit of his of sticking his tongue out or otherwise looking ridiculous... But here's one anyways... I got several like this, where he dropped the scarf just as I pushed the shutter.
And you will notice a bit of white fluff on the other end. That is the Big Wool Tuft we got at the yarn swap. I wish I hadn't been so moderate, and we'd taken the lot, because a) one ball doesn't go very far and b) it's soooo soft and nice! Might have to invest in some of this, but it would take a good 5 or 6 balls to make a nice soft squishy scarf for an adult. That's about 25 pounds, or 50 bucks for a scarf!

He used about 105 meters of yarn (1 ball of Big Wool at 80m and the Tuft at 25m) and got a scarf of about 115 cm. I've never done that sort of calculation before, and it's sure eye-opening for me! It's knit on 15 mm needles.

I've told Elaine she'll have her Weasley by the weekend, and I think I'll have Arthur's done by then too. (I'd give you pictures, but I didn't take any last night, and now the camera has gone back to the lab to take pictures of experiments!) Just have another sleeve to go. Oh, and the sewing up... And then what will I do?? A spare week before the Olympics! Hmmmmmm.