Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Something old, something new,

...something from the garden, and something blue.

Not much knitting this week - it's all the time I spend thinking up clever word play, you see...

Actually I have another dissertation meeting with my advisor, and I feel very close to a topic AND very confused at the same time, so I'm actually doing lots of reading (like I'm supposed to!). I'm also working on semi-secret (read: lumpy and experimental) knitting on something, perhaps an octopus, to hold the rings for Claire's wedding. I'm sure it'll be awesome when it's done, but right now it looks sort of like a potato, so I'm not going to show any pictures.

I will show you some tomatoes from the garden and my finished Charades:

Pretty (my first eye of partridge heel!), and look how bright in the sun!:

This is a nice pattern for variegated yarn - it's a nice, simple pattern, and the herringbone stitches make cool criss-crosses of color (I tried 5 times for a close-up of how cool they look, but my camera is just not up for it.). I got sort of bored with the pattern by sock #2 since it's only a 2 row repeat (I'm so jaded), but the finished look is great. As Carole noted in my comments, it does use up a good deal of yarn - I used most of a skein of Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 (355 yards), which may not seem like a lot, but I have really small feet! - and it makes a bit of a thicker sock than fingering weight usually does. Oh yes, and Beth (aka Baseball Knitter) asked about its stretchiness - it's quite stretchy indeed, with a lot of give in the herringbone bits, but they aren't baggy or inclined to flop at all.

My mom got her Hidcote shawl in the mail on Saturday, and she loves it so much she's wearing it in Kentucky in the scorching heat (I'm assuming only inside in air-conditioning - love only goes so far). No pictures yet though. While I'm being on top of things: Peaknit asked how much of the SeaSilk I used for the shawl. Answer: enough I'm almost embarrassed to say! (It's ok to drown in luxury when you're knitting something you give away, right?) The shawl took 2 skeins of Seasilk, in their (I think temporary) 150 gram skein. Gulp!

Finally, the something old, something blue of my opening line:

It's the first shawl I ever made! I pulled it out to air it, and the sun and shade looked so cool, I thought I'd post it. It's the Feather and Fan shawl from A Gathering of Lace, and the same cone of yarn that made this, made Claire's wedding shawl too.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Keeping it simple

Dang! I really intended to post this weekend, but then the Baudelaires were so close to being finished, and there were chores, and well, it's Thursday again. Sigh.

On the upside, the Baudelaires are done, and I love them:

Pattern: Baudelaire by Cookie A, in medium with large instep modifications
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Navy
Needles: my handy bamboo dpns in US size 2

I love the socks, but I especially love learning a new technique, as I did with the toe-up heel flap. I'm sure I'll be trying all the alternative toe-up heel flaps now, but I do like this one: it looks and feels great:
Also finished, my mom's Hidcote Garden Shawl for her trip to China this fall:

I'm sorry that I don't have any good pictures of the whole thing - I wanted to get it sent off to my mom, so I couldn't wait for the BikeJerk to get home. I hope my mom will send me some of her wearing it that I can post. Trust me, it's gorgeous. ;)

Pattern: Hidcote Garden Shawl by Miriam Felton
Yarn: HandMaiden Seasilk in Forest
Needles: AddiTurbo LACE (yes!!!) needles, size 3.

I loved the pattern and the yarn. I haven't seen anyone else knit it in a variegated yarn, but I think it worked out nicely. It's not distracting in the body, and makes a neat wavy pattern in the final section.

Finally - handspun merino singles that I dyed myself:

It's on its way to being something gorgeous, I'm sure. I love how vivid the colors are. They remind me of the beach, or a meadow, or something natural anyway.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

This is your brain on...

...I don't know quite what, but it's crazy!

I know it's no excuse for not posting for a week, but last week was a real bummer for me, and it took me a while to snap out of it. Last Tuesday the water main going into our house burst, which was stressful, but ultimately not too big a problem, since the city's lead pipe replacement program fixed it for pretty cheap.

Then it was jury duty for three days. Which was both good and scarring. It was good because our deliberations gave me the tiniest speck of hope for humanity - I truly was amazed and pleased that 12 people of such different backgrounds, biases, and (let's be honest) intelligence levels, could manage not only to talk their way through some vague and complicated evidence and law, but do it in a polite and respectful manner. Still, it was scarring. Not only because of the long days and lengthy periods of enforced boredom where we had to be attentive but had nothing to be attentive to - that was painful, but in a familiar way that I can deal with. But the burden that comes with taking someone's fate in your hands, even as one of 12, is a heavy one. Our deliberations took as long as all the rest of the trial because, I think, we were aware both that the evidence was meagre to be making any sort of decision on and that our decision would affect the life of a young man who really did just seem to have made a mistake, and one that didn't hurt anyone in the end. We did eventually declare him guilty, which was the right outcome, but it still felt bad to be responsible for someone else's punishment. It wasn't such a huge case, but I still think about it. I feel a little silly about that, but there it is.

Oh, and I almost forgot: then, on Saturday, the basement half flooded because the guys doing the waterpipe repairs randomly and for no reason disconnected the washing machine discharge, so that soapy water poured everywhere. Awesome!

Things are better now (how could they not be?!), but my knitting/spinning life is still reflecting the madness that was last week. I just couldn't stop. First, a laceweight yarn I just finished plying up a few days ago:

This is the merino/tencel singles that I spun a while back (from The Sheep Shed at Mountain View Farm, Midnight colorway), which I plied with some tussah silk that I died a light blue. I was afraid I was going to be really disappointed because I really loved the merino/tencel singles, but had some trouble getting used to the silk, but I think it actually turned out pretty well. It came out at about 520 yards, so there's definitely enough for a lace scarf.

Here's my finished Shedir (pdf!) (sorry for not modelling it!):

It's for my mom's boyfriend, as I mentioned before. Which is a little weird, since I've never met him (they live 1000 miles away!), but my mom seems to like him, and hey - I'm a knitter! I'm not going to pass up the opportunity to knit a pattern I'm interested in just because I don't know the person who's getting it! Sheesh.

You might be thinking by now: this doesn't seem that crazy. Sure, she knit a hat in a week - who doesn't do that?
And the Baudelaire is progressing - no surprise, right? Btw, Cookie A isn't kidding - that lace isn't very stretchy! Mine is worked with the modifications she provides for the 'high instep', and it fits totally fine (and looks lovely, no?), but I could not have made it even one repeat longer, it just would have been too tight. Btw2, I love this heel for toe-up socks - it may be the new standby. A few more steps than the short-row heel, but it makes a real heel flap and fits great (pictures next time).

For whatever reason, the Charade socks are progressing slowly:

I think they look good - and feel good too, but this is as far as I've gotten on the whole pair. Why, you might ask?

Because I felt compelled, out of sheer perversity, to cast on for the River Rapid sock. Obviously. It was the yarn that made me do it! Anyone know what it is? This isn't a contest, I'll tell you next time...

And that's not all! I also cast on for this:

Which seemingly doesn't photograph at all well. It's from the Elizabeth 1 collection by JoLene M. Treace (which I think I got through KnitPicks, but heck if I can remember). I'm using the laceweight merino I got from Spunky Eclectic in the colorway Soylent. I haven't gotten to use my 'it's people line' but I will. I know it in my heart. I never was made consciously aware of how given to bad puns I am until I started blogging. Sigh.

Of course, on top of all this I'm working on my mom's shawl AND designing what may be an octopus for Claire AND spinning some really pretty roving I dyed myself (pictures later this week!). Oh, and now I'm obsessed with Jodi Picoult - whose Simple Truth I bought during the trial because I remembered a certain knit-blogger raved about her - so even though it's reading, I still say it counts as part of my knitting spree!

So, sorry for the long post...

[edited: The Jodi Picoult book is _Plain_ Truth, not Simple Truth. Sometimes you just need to look at the bookshelf!]

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Law and bored-er

Ugh. I hate myself for that title. Not enough to right the wrong I've done though!

This ghastly title refers to the fact that I have just been seated on a jury for a 2-3 day criminal trial. It's my first time having jury duty at all, so it's pretty interesting watching all the ceremony and lack thereof (as well as the ways in which it doesn't match up with my Law and Order watching experience!), but let me tell you, jury duty, like many of my previous jobs, consists mainly of being very bored while looking attentive. There are just a lot more gaps than they show on TV where they aren't doing anything that involves the jury, and yet the jury isn't allowed to pull out their knitting and relax. Oh, the humanity!

Anyway, I'm not sequestered at least.

I thought I'd give my Summer of Socks update while I was thinking about it (and before the media get ahold of me. Ha!). I've finished the Parashoots for the BikeJerk:

I think this is my fifth pair finished for the Summer of Socks. Not too bad, though I know there are people who are making at least a pair a week. Ah well. As I've said before, these are modified from a Charlene Schurch pattern. The modifications are on my last post, and I'm too hot and surly to repeat them, or even, apparently, link to them. Scroll down, my friends, if you're interested!

And this is my Shedir that I'm making for my mom's boyfriend:

It's made with the suggested yarn - Rowan Calmer - and it feels great! I'm close to being done, and the pattern has been fun.

I'm sure I have more to say, but my brain has been fried by the Suffolk County Superior Court!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Yes, it's my final answer

Thank you so much to all of you for your input on my Baudelaire dilemma! I feel like I would have gone on for ages knitting one repeat and staring at the sock for 20 minutes, if all your comments didn't help me to crystallize what my problem with the sock was: it looked _cool_ with the Fleece Artist yarn, but (as Peaknits put it), I felt like I was gyping the pattern. After thinking about it for another day and reading comments, I decided I needed to knit a bit of the pattern in a solid color and then compare. I pulled out some Lorna's Laces and knit 3.5 repeats while waiting for the bus (which is much more a comment on the lateness of the bus than on my knitting speed!):

The amount of texture that shows up in the solid color made my decision easier. I just don't think I'd be happy with that lovely pattern being so obscured.

But the Fleece Artist start will not go to waste!

I'm pretty pleased with how it looks in the (now toe-up) Charade pattern. I _think_ it'll stay in this pattern! ;)