Friday, November 28, 2008

The end is nigh

We are approaching the end of November, and neither my NoBlo-whatever nor my NaKni-whatever was a roaring success. I did post quite a bit in November, but sometimes things just happen that distract one from blogging, you know? Next year, hahaha.

And the sweater? Still much the same. You see, I had my bus knitting, and was just merrily going round and round with yet more leftover Lite Lopi (first I made the big sweater, then I made a scarf and a hat and some bits I was going to felt...) to make a child's vest for charity.

But eventually one has to think and make armholes and neck openings, which I like to do at home where I can count and hem and haw. So I got distracted from my denim cardigan... But have no fear, it's still in the middle of my living room floor, so I'll have to get back to it sometime soon!

I have used all the little bits of Lopi, but I still have 2 balls of the white, some of which will be used in the top bits of this vest, and half a ball of pink. One more project after this, and I will have no more!

Oh, and my little Christmas cactus is blooming for the first time in years!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

One front completed

You know, if I plug away, I might just get this done cardigan in November! Wouldn't that be nice!

You can have the picture with flash...

or without...

We have a bunch of patterns here, and a two-tone sort-of stripe situation. I hope the lumps in the centre line don't look too strange on an actual body. The whole thing will get washed in hot water and shrunk a bit, so all gauge issues will be sorted out in that process, won't they!? This way of designing is called, "winging it."

Because of my desire to avoid seaming, I am keeping the stitches live at the shoulder and will knit the back down from the two shoulders, so the body will be all in one piece. At least, that is the current plan. It just occurred to me that I could graft the shoulders or do a 3-needle bind off. This will have to wait till I'm closer to making the back!

The second front will be a bit more unified (since I'm drowning in the darkest blue with mere tidbits of the others). I'll have a cable up the inside edge, and this house from yet another pattern as the main attraction. This is from VK Fall 1994. I've always kind of liked it, but perhaps not for a whole giant-sized sweater. When I get to the top of this chart, then I guess it will be decision time again, but for now I can just knit and not have to think too much!

Ooh, so exciting...

Ack, I just looked at the date, November 25th! The 25th, folks... just one more month till ..., you know!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh, no, like, don't read any more

blog readability test

GenderAnalyzer says: We have strong indicators that is written by a woman (97%). Well, at least they got that right.

I got to both of these via Slaw, which a law librarian friend sent me to.

Slaw's reading level is "genius," something I must aim for, I suppose. And I suppose it is things like "I suppose" that bring me down to Junior High. Even in high school I was told my writing was "chatty." Jeez, it's just not fair. {pouts and stamps foot}

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Saturday dessert

Michaela at the Stash Basket often shows us a picture of something scrummy that she made for Saturday pudding. Some of hers are works of art, like a cheesecake with raspberries and Maltesers on!

I have admired a picture of a pear upside-down spice cake in a magazine for some time, and yesterday finally made one, so I will show you my dessert, too.

My pear slices didn't make themselves into a nice spoke-like arrangement, but I think it looks quite okay anyways. I didn't actually get to eat any, since my kids got bored at the party we took it to, and I had to bring them home. Oh well, fewer calories that way.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The denim continues

I find work on this sweater goes rather slowly, but have figured out I do a few funny things.
  1. I take a long time to decide, "Should I keep on with this pattern or put a new one in?
  2. When I finally do decide what to do, I stop to admire my work rather often.
  3. I wonder about gauge, and stretch things sideways a lot.
  4. Then I look through every pattern book I have to find new ideas.
  5. I stop and count my remaining yarn and wonder if I will have enough.
  6. I wonder what I will do on the back and other front piece.
  7. I hold this up to various sweaters I own to see how I am doing.
  8. I debate the neckline shape.
  9. I take the odd picture in bad light conditions.
With flash,

and without.

And of course, I wonder if I will get it done in the next 9 days, since it is supposed to be a NaKniSweMo project!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

One day a week for UFOs

I've joined a group on Ravelry called One Day a Week for UFOs. You pick a day on which to work on UFOs, so you don't feel like you're abandoning your "real" projects, yet you get something done on those old things in bags in the closet.

This thing has been in a bag for a long long time!

I started these squares in England in 2005!

All sewn together in February of this year.

And today I picked up stitches along one side and will knit a bit of garter stitch, before tackling another side... and another.... and another! (Don't ask how much time it took for me to find a 4mm circular needle!)

I toyed with various other edging ideas.

My recent adventures with crochet, though marvellously quick and efficient, made me realise that my crochet is not good enough for this job. I thought of a knitted-on edge, which I've done before and like, but the idea of flipping this thing every 12 or 15 stitches, all around 4 corners and all, just didn't appeal either. I could knit the border and then sew it on, but that seems like making one job into two, and that wasn't going to work!

So, despite the fact that some squares have their cast-on edges out, some have their cast-off edges out and some their sides, I picked up an approximately correct number of stitches on each square and will make a garter stitch edge with a bunch of the colours in the blanket.

How many Wednesdays will it take??

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

They just keep coming

I don't even know if I told you I'd started this, but now I'm finished.

A quick hat, called 3AM, and since I knit it mostly on buses and streetcars, it's called 3AM on the TTC.

The yarn is some nice but a bit tough stuff given to me long ago by someone who was destashing in a major way. It's not super soft, but it'll keep someone's head warm.

And you have to have this goofy picture, because it's all I could get when I told her to put the hat on! I can't believe it was picture day at school yesterday and this little rascal smiled sweetly for the photographer! (She told me he told her to say "stinky cheese" so she said "Stilton." Right.)

And what am I going to knit on the bus now?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Another FO

Amazing but true: I've finished the Kool-Aid dyed moth-eaten boucle blanket.

I attribute this success to the art of crochet. Did you know that one can border a whole wee blanket in two rounds of crochet in a morning? Zip zip zip.

Of course, my crochet is not excellent, and I would be more careful with knitting a border to avoid those ripply bits, but the crochet fabric seems completely forgiving and if I tell it to lie flat, it does.

Onward and upward!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I have been knitting

Once again, I have proof that if you knit it, it will get finished; if you wish it were done, if you imagine yourself knitting it, if you talk a lot about knitting it, it won't.

The second grey mitt is finito. I seem to have started these at the end of May 2007! I finished one January of this year! And then I more or less did nothing.

I wish that a year ago I had written down just what I did with the first one, because I know that one is longer than the other, but both are fine. And the weather is nippy in the mornings, making a pair of light mitts essential.

And now I can cross that line off my list! The grey mitts are done!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Not much of a decision

My daily routine has been kinda lax lately, but this week things began to get busy, and my time at home is rather more constrained. I thought I would not continue with Nablopomo, but my first idea was to write a post about that. So, maybe tomorrow you won't get a post, but today you get a post saying I'm not keen on daily posting.

And since it is Remembrance Day, I can only send to you the London Daily Photo today. Follow the links to learn a lot about a wonderful memorial commemorating the Battle of Britain.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I dashed down to Romni's basement sale room this morning, described the yarn I wanted to the woman who runs the joint, and she found exactly what I needed. Phew.

Now the denim cardi will be much darker overall than previously thought, but at least it will have two sleeves, a back and two fronts of the appropriate size.

Now if I could just sit still to knit, that'd be fine, but I'm dashing off all over the place today. Maybe tonight!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

More denim; not enough denim?

First question: Why didn't I move that strand of yarn before taking this picture?

Answer: No idea.

Oh well, one photo shoot on the back porch in my jammies is enough for one day, and you get the idea.

This is one part of the front of my denim cardigan. On your left, a snazzy knit-and-purl combo (I now think I prefer the reverse side of this, so you might see it inside-out on another part of the sweater). On your right, the Lacing Cable from the Learn to Knit Afghan Book, my latest go-to book for stitch ideas.

The only problem here: Ack, not enough yarn, I'm going to be showing my navel in this thing! I have enough yarn to use about 3.5 balls per front. This is 7 inches long, unwashed, and I have finished a ball of the darker blue. The pale will run out in a few rows, maybe another inch or two. That leaves... not enough.

If I hadn't knit the sleeves first, I'd be seriously thinking of a vest. I may end up thinking of a vest anyways!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Arthur is a creative genius, too

Arthur was home from school for a bit, and one day we were out for a walk and discovered a lamp that someone was getting rid of. Very sleek and stylish, with a brushed metal stand and a dark shade. He picked it up to bring home.

When we got here, he went to the basement and started dismantling it! He threw most of it away, but kept the shade and the doohickey that the bulb screws into (and the snazzy pull chain). Then he rummaged around for a piece of wood, got the little hand-held saw, a drill, some lamp cord, a touch of paint...

And now we have a seasonal lamp, with a lovely 3-D carrot nose (which artfully covers the hole he had to drill to get the cord out the back of the snowman).

He got the idea out of a book called Boy Craft, a reprint of an old project book which often calls for cigar boxes and other esoteric materials. Our copy has been well-thumbed, and I think must have got wet at some point as well!

This pattern especially instructs the crafter to get the "new" kind of plug, which you can see in the picture... must have been new before I was born, I think. It also suggests covering the shade frame with gingham and a ruffled edge -- maybe Mom or big sister would help with that! Or you could recycle your neighbours' discards.

To avoid any problems with bunny ears getting in the way (since we didn't have a 4" piece of brass pipe), he totally changed the whole design.

Kinda like his mom and knitting patterns...

Friday, November 07, 2008

Back to the denim sweater

I now have two sleeves done of my denim sweater, each a different blue, but with the same stitch pattern.

I started off thinking about this sweater along the lines of Narvik (Ravelry) but that really wasn't doing it for me for a variety of reasons. So I flipped through a few old magazines and came up with this from VK Fall 1994.

The charts take up eight pages, along with the two pages of written instruction. I'd like to see that in Vogue Knitting these days!

Of course, it's the wrong gauge, I've already knit the sleeves differently, the size large in 1994 was something like 54 inches... But, I shall use bits of the charts, that's the main thing! I'll likely stick my leafy panel in somewhere, as well.

I think I will make the colour changes in vertical stripes, but I am now trying to arrange my finite selection of yarn to optimally use the colours.
I wish I knew for a fact that I had enough yarn to make it as long as I want... I know there are a few small balls of the very dark blue left in the sale pile, but I took all there was of the two lighter blues.

I will wash the sleeves and see what sort of shrinkage I get, and then just jump in, I suppose!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Book meme

I found this on Alison's blog and thought it would be fun:

  • Grab the nearest book.
  • Open the book to page 56.
  • Find the fifth sentence.
  • Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
  • Don't dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST

"Then the photograph shows the paths of a few individual particles, that is, their path lines."

From Fluid Mechanics, by Kundu and Cohen.

Yes, this really is Stephen's desk, and he keeps his books here.

Perhaps we'll have sweater news for tomorrow; now you can have a picture of some crazy vegetable I saw on my way to the dentist's office yesterday. This was just growin' out of the ground, all wild pink and orange!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What I did on election night

I made a dishcloth while flipping channels. The evening was too action-packed for anything more challenging, though I did knit 4 inches of a scarf before realising I didn't like the colours.

Luckily I had taken two knitting projects along with me -- hey, I was away from home for 5 hours; I needed two projects!

But seriously, folks, well done, America!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

We interrupt this nail-biting election day...

I just found a package in my mailbox! My real mailbox, not my e-mail box.

I won a contest over at Michaela's blog -- I guessed how much money she had spent on yarn at Ally Pally! So she sent me a pretty package...

containing some pretty things...

Some note cards, a soap shaped like a bear, a postcard with a bunny angel... oh, yes, and some cashmere sock yarn! Ooh, la, I don't think one should make socks out of that, do you? A shawl (there's plenty of yardage) or perhaps a scarf and mitts? It's very soft and lovely!

Thank you so much, Michaela!

It's November 4th

Well, I certainly have something to say today, at least to my American readers:


Eight years ago, we lived in Austin, TX, home of then governor Bush. Elaine was a baby and Arthur was three. We went to a friend's house and watched the results come in, then took the little ones home, once Florida was called for Gore and all seemed safe. Stephen went downtown to watch Bush concede... and with a load of other people stood around by the governor's mansion and the state legislature building till the wee hours of the morning, but nothing happened! Finally it started raining and everyone went home. And then great sagas unfolded.... (Wikipedia does note that the neutrality of that article is questionable.)

Four years ago, we went to a friend's house to watch the results, but it turned out their TV service wasn't very good. Lucky for us, the people there were all big nerds, who just hauled out their laptops and hooked into the wireless network. We had all the big news outlets, and we had way too many cosmopolitans to drown our sorrows. Remember how badly people felt? (Wow, they even made a book!)

So tonight, I'm going out with more nerds, naturally -- and I'm taking my knitting, naturally -- and I hope we're not drowning our sorrows again. I really really really really hope so.

I think this is the only picture I have of an American flag. It was taken a year ago yesterday (!) in Grand Central Station in New York.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Starting sleeve two

I'm simply jumping in with this denim sweater and doing it as it occurs to my brain.

And so, I'm now making the second sleeve. I had the idea to use another panel pattern, but thought that just using another colour would be odd enough. And there's gauge issues -- one would like one's sleeves about the same width.

Still pondering the body. I originally meant to knit the whole thing wrist to wrist, because then one gets vertical stripes by just changing colours horizontally, and there would be less shaping and figuring and seaming. But most of the textural patterns I want to use look better up and down so I am stymied.

Who knows what will happen after this sleeve is done?

How much yarn do I really need? Can I make the body long enough?

What about the mysterious shrinking of the denim -- Rowan denim shrinks quite a bit, but this stuff says 5% shrinkage.

Tune in tomorrow!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Two small whines and a big one

Has anyone noticed that the Friends' Blogs feature on Ravelry hasn't picked up anything new in a day or so? I'm reduced to finding new posts on my own!

I do wish that NaBloPoMo didn't start on a weekend. I really have other things to do, but more important, perhaps, there are three other people in the house wanting the computer.

So, I will quickly show you a picture of my denim sweater, my big project. Except that I haven't knit a stitch on it in months.

I made the sleeve, very fine. Then, I had ideas and notions that I can't quite retrace, and I started in the middle of the front. I have spent sleepless nights trying to figure out how to slip around the sleeve -- it would involve huge bits of grafting, or 3-needle bind-offs or something more terrible. One of my guiding principles here was supposed to be seam avoidance!

Also, as you can plainly see, this front is way too short!

I was thinking this project might call for a swatch or two, since I plan to mix my textural patterns all up. Maybe that should be my knitting-while-watching-swimming-lessons chore for the day. And then a bit of frogging?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

We'll start off with a question

Arthur and I were out and about last week, and found this electric wall clock. The case is painted metal. So, how old do we think it is?

The ceramic mask on the left was made by Arthur several years ago. I believe it is a bear.