around n round she goes

A blog for my knitting, spinning, quilting, violin-playing, or whatever else floats my boat

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Location: Texas

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Weekend recap - a little late

Dang! I'm way behind on blogging....and commenting....and responding to comments. Oh well, time to catch up.

Thanksgiving was great - Mom and Dad came over, the food turned out good (and healthy), the house has remained clean for a whole week, and I had lost weight when I weighed in on the Friday after Thanksgiving. A success all round.

Knitting happened during the long weekend.

The Marriage Gansey was treated to about twelve rounds..... do you think it means something when your sweater can stand up by itself? Drape-y is obviously not the word you use to describe this. (Looks kind of like a corset in this shot, doesn't it?)

Don't worry, it's supposed to be like that - traditional fisher ganseys are very firmly knit. I'm probably not even approaching the really close gauge stuff they did in the past. I did manage to bend my Addi Turbos though...didn't know I had it in me. Managed to straighten them out sufficiently, so things are still going ok.

I must really like cables - I designed a heck of a lot of them into this gansey (as I'm reminded every fourth round). Cabling without a cable needle is definitely a good thing.

Swatching finally started to happen, too! I'm not real happy with this one yet - but it will be a design in progress for some time to come. This is the background for the Pictish Fair Isle. It'll probably change substantially before I settle on a final form.

And of course, frenzied gift knitting is still happening....

I'm almost to the heel of sock #2!

And I'm about a third of the way through on the Cat's Paw lace scarf!

Of course, there's still the Circumnavigate Cardigan waiting in the wings. Fortunately, I've got until our first meeting in January to get to the top of the pockets. Definitely do-able once I've finished my Christmas knitting.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Being Thankful

I'm thankful for lots of things this year.....

A loving husband
Good health for both of us (ignoring all the usual niggling things - there are no big health issues)
Good jobs (regardless of how much we may complain about them sometimes)
Family - our parents, siblings, a niece and nephew
A nice house in a good neighborhood
Enough money to buy the things we need and some of the things we want
Friends and co-workers
The ability to make beautiful and useful things
The ability to make music

I'm grateful for these things all the time but it doesn't hurt to remind myself once in awhile.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Fall Cleaning

I gave myself an instant cold this weekend (at least it felt like it) - I moved dust that had been living in my house for ages.... I sneezed, the DH sneezed, the cat sneezed, even the birds (champion producers of dander) sneezed.

Some people spring clean - I fall clean. I have this irresistable urge to dust, mop, vacuum, and throw away as soon as the weather cools down. I must do it when the urge hits me, because it goes away soon and doesn't return for another year.

So not much knitting going on this last weekend. I didn't even start swatching the Pictish Fair Isle!

I did at least plan my holiday dinner (shock! I'm actually cooking this year!). Mom and Dad are coming over (they get to see the temporarily clean house!). And since all of us have to be careful of what we eat, I've put together the healthiest menu I can manage...

Skinless turkey breast with apricot/rice stuffing (I've made this before, it's yummy)
Cranberry sauce made with Splenda
Mashed potatoes (no salt, no butter, skim milk)
Steamed broccoli and carrots
French-style green beans (no salt)
Baked parsnips (my husband's request)
Pillsbury crescent rolls (did you know they make a reduced-fat version?)
Margarine (the cholesterol-reducing kind)
Crustless lo-cal pumpkin pie (Dad's making that)

And then I get to weigh in at Weight-Watchers the next day. Nothing like giving myself incentive to be good!

I lied - some knitting did happen

Dad - Don't Look!

...and don't let Mom look either!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Happiness is...

...getting my Jamieson & Smith order! That means I can start swatching...and that means I need to make up my mind on part of my design. I've had the large figural part done for ages, but keep changing my mind on the vertical motifs.

Looks like they didn't have any color 125 done up in the 25 gram balls - I've got a 100 gram hank there that I'll need to wind up.

Even with a color card, it's hard to tell exactly what you're going to get. Should be interesting to see how all these colors are going to work together. (The reds are the background, by the way.)

Happiness is...watching Emy try to scratch her chin with a back paw, while balancing on the other three legs. It would be a lot easier if you'd sit down, Emy!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Old Shale Lace Scarf

Old Shale is a traditional Shetland lace pattern and has lots of variations. I've made this version, framed in seed stitch, in cashmere for my mother-in-law. Being in garter stitch, it looks nice on either side.

Yarn: 100% cashmere 2 ply fingering/lace weight - 400 yards (I used Jojoland cashmere in color C255)
Needles: US size 4 (3.5mm) (I used Clover bamboo straights)
Darning needle
Rust-proof pins (and blocking wires if you've got them)

The Set Up:
Cast on loosely 64 stitches. (I use a knitted-on cast-on - any stretchy cast-on will work)
Knit 3 rows (garter stitch), slipping the first stitch of every row purlwise.

The Pattern:
Row 1 - Sl1, k1, p1, k1, p1, {(K2tog) 3 times, (YO, k1) 6 times, (K2tog) 3 times} repeat 3 times, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1.
Row 2-4 - Sl1, k1, p1, k1, p1, knit across to last 5 stitches, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1.

Repeat rows 1-4 until you've got about 4 yards of yarn left, ending on row 1.
Knit 3 rows of garter stitch, slipping the first stitch of every row purlwise.
Cast off loosely.
Block. (I used blocking wires for the long edges and pins for the fans on the ends)
Weave in ends.

Unblocked, my scarf was about 8 inches wide by 41.5 inches long. After blocking, it was 10 inches wide and 43 inches long. Your mileage may vary.

The length of the scarf was dictated by the amount of yarn I had available. This fully utilitized one skein of cashmere (Ok, I lie - there was about 7 feet left).

The pattern in chart form...

Sorry that it's kind of fuzzy. I had trouble getting it to upload.

On blocking - I usually wet block. This time, however, I put my blocking wires in and pinned it out while the scarf was dry. I then sprayed it 'til very damp and adjusted my pins as necessary. I gave it a full 24 hours to make sure it was dry before unpinning.

Nice things

The nice thing about waiting over a week to post - I have more to show. The hard thing about waiting over a week to post - I have more to show....

The Old Shale scarf is finished - It's getting its own post so I can write the 'pattern' down.

Circumnavigate Cardigan is galloping along. This picture is prior to a whole lot of knitting. It's a lot longer now. The set-up for this thing looks complicated, but isn't as bad as it looks.

Scary Emy picture - I think she was mad at me for taking away 'her' Addi Naturas. I object to kitties eating my knitting needles.

Mysterious Christmas Knitting #1

My favorite heel (sounds like a '50s tv show, doesn't it?)

Mysterious Christmas Knitting #2

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I have a new mantra......

Swatching is good,
Swatching is nice,
I swatch so I won't have to knit it twice!

(This is probably not original to me, but it feels like it is, so maybe it is. If someone else yells that it's their poem - sorry about that.)

Lorraine was lucky enough to attend Ann Feitelson's color workshop and is showing off her swatch from the class. After a few comments from people who apparently don't swatch, I came up with the above bit of poetry (it doesn't happen often, which is probably just as well).

Tracey was asking me for advice about a good first Fair Isle project. Welllll, I've only done the one Fair Isle so far. WendyKnit's Fearless Fair Isle. (By the way, this is my usual modus operandi. Use a pattern for the first one, then leap into designing my own or at the very least, drastically modifying a pattern to my own specifications.) If you want to try something less drastic than a whole sweater, Anne of SheEweKnits has several hat kits that look very cute.

I also recommend Anne's Fair Isle 101 tutorial. Good step-by-step instructions. Ann Feitelson's The Art of Fair Isle Knitting is a good book for technique and color planning.

A warning though....Fair Isle is extremely addictive. (But that's ok, we need more Fair Isle addicts!)

Mysterious Christmas knitting..... (details later)

Not so mysterious Christmas knitting.... I was looking through a few stitch dictionaries this week and found this one under Feather and Fan or under Old Shale (so take your pick). I'm at 35" right now and think I may have enough for another 7 or 8". Not terribly long for a scarf, but then again my MIL is only about 5'1" so a shorter scarf will probably look pretty good.

This handsome fellow was in heaven at the local plant nursery (aka butterfly buffet) this weekend. He (she?) took full advantage of all the 'Pinks'.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Country Socks are done!

Pattern: Country Socks - Folk Socks by Nancy Bush
Needles: Brittany Birch US size 1 1/2 (2.5 mm) dpns

Changes to the pattern? I left a few more stitches in the circumference of the foot since I was making this for a man rather than a woman. I also did a flat toe instead of the star toe.

I like this pattern - not too fussy, relatively fast knitting, but not just a plain ribbed sock. (I love plain ribbed socks, by the way. I've made a bunch of them and will probably make lots more.)

Well, that takes care of one gift for far, far away.... now I need to get on the ball and finish the lacy cashmere scarf. It's still only about 1/3rd done. That's what happens when I get distracted by other projects.

Marriage gansey? What marriage gansey? Oohh, that gansey.... I'll get back on that shortly.

Fair Isle? Well, I gave up on ever seeing yarn from the previous vendor (at least she never charged my card). I've ordered directly from the source - Jamieson and Smith. Rather than one skein each of all the different colors I wanted to try for both Fair Isle designs, I went ahead and ordered all the yarn I need to make the first one (hopefully enough). Better to concentrate on one at a time. ( I ever do just one thing at a time.)

Circumnavigated Cardigan? We get to cast on next Tuesday! I've been keeping myself from casting on ahead of time - I want to do this one with the group. Besides, there are more urgent projects on the needles right now.

More Butterflies

There haven't been as many Monarchs lately, but there are still plenty of other butterflys taking advantage of the flowering bushes.

.............Clouded Sulphur............................

Tiger Swallowtail (a bit battered - I think the birds have been after him)

Gulf Fritillary - hhmm...this may the same shot I had earlier

I'm trying to talk my husband into entering some of his photos in the local contest - he doesn't seem too keen on the idea, but I'll keep working on him. Is it ethical to enter them on his behalf?