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

Thursday, November 29, 2007

More comfort of a different sort

Having basely abandoned my Comfort bedjacket, I am now romping down the rows of my Bigfoot Shawl from Alison Jeppson Hyde's Wrapped in Comfort knitted lace shawl book.

Ok, I haven't completely abandoned the bedjacket. It has just gotten too big and cumbersome to be my traveling knitting. The front and back are complete and I'm in the process of picking up stitches for the sleeves - something I hate doing, which may explain why it's still sitting on the couch.

I'm using that beautiful handspun merino I bought from Mary before Thanksgiving. The Bigfoot Shawl is a fan and feather variation and repetitive enough to make it my new traveling knitting. Although, apparently I have difficulty counting to eight. Or sixteen. I only had to rip it completely back and reknit the yoke three times. The third time I put in a lifeline and didn't need it (all that practice, right?). Now that I'm in the body of the thing I should be ok, since I can make sure each little section is working out right. (But I'm not taking out those lifelines 'til I'm done.)

It was just as well that I did cast on again, as the first time I didn't cast on loosely enough. Also, you're supposed to cast on with 2 strands, and the third time I went ahead and carried that second strand all the way through the first two rows. I like it even better that way.

The funny thing is when I was hunting for a perfect shawl pattern for this yarn, I did a little sketch of what I was after. After I plumped for the Big Foot, I found my little sketch (I had completely forgotten about it) and it was almost exactly the same. Not the lace pattern (I didn't go so far as what lace pattern I wanted), but the overall shape and scheme of the thing. The only difference I had was a collar. Who knows, if I have the yarn and the inclination, I may add a little collar. Or not.

I've got about 1100 yards of the merino and I'm using 5mm needles. Alison presents this shawl in two versions: a little over-the-shoulder one with about 645 yards of fingering weight on 5mm and a larger version with 1000 yards on 5.5mm needles. I suspect I'll get somewhere between the two.

By the way, I really like how this book is arranged. Each pattern has a little story about it or about the inspiration behind it, at least one picture on a model, sometimes a close-up of the pattern stitch, and one picture of the shawl laid out flat. Sometimes there's an alternate version pictured also. The pattern is given in words and in charts. She's got them all ranked for beginner, easy, intermediate and advanced. (Big Foot is ranked Easy.) All the pictures are nice and clear and give you a good idea of what you're getting into.

The Big Deal is happening today at work, so hopefully work will resume it's normal state of chaos instead of the abnormal chaos of the last few months.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Shamelessly stolen from My Middle Name is Patience, who shamelessly stole it from someone else:

Two names you go by:
1. Cynthia
2. Laura - at least that's one of my co-workers called me today. I think it was a senior moment.

Two things you are wearing right now:
1. My Circumnavigate Cardigan
2. My SAS comfy shoes

Two of your favorite things to do:
1. Reading. (great minds think alike)
2. Knitting.

Two things you want very badly at the moment:
1. The freedom to take some of that vacation I'm going to lose at the end of this year.
2. Same as number 1, but whinier.

Two favorite pets you have had/have:
1. Bonnie
2. Scamp
There are lots of pets that I miss, but I'm glad these two are here - even when I'm yelling at Scamp to get off the counter, out of the garage, out of the inside of the box springs, out from behind the dryer.... you get the idea.

Two things you ate today:
1. A banana (my day would not be complete without my banana)
2. A 'be cool' sandwich from the deli downstairs - it involves horseradish, yummy!

Two people you last talked to:
1. My boss.
2. My co-worker (we're working on a big project this week)

Two things you're doing tomorrow:
1. Working. (see above note)
2. Knitting

Two longest car rides:
1. From Wyoming to Florida.
2. ummm.... any further than that, I fly.

Two favorite holidays:
1. Holloween. I haven't really outgrown the dress-up thing.
2. Christmas.

Two favorite beverages:
1. Caffeine-free diet coke (I know, what's the point?)
2. Water with either pink lemonade or orange flavor Crystal Light

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Stalking the wild butterfly photographer in his native habitat - the Dallas Arboretum. Nothing like taking a picture of someone taking a picture! We spent a glorious day there a couple of weekends ago.

Random beautiful tree and beautiful sky at the Arboretum.
My Comfort bedjacket - the back is complete and I've started the front. I still haven't addressed the flippy border, but think I'll try taking a tuck first and seeing what that does. If it doesn't work, I'll grab the scissors and start cutting.
Gorgeous handspun from Mary at Woolen Webs. She's working on a website but doesn't have it up yet. (E-mail her at bearspinneratyahoodotcom.) She forced me to purchase this 1100 yards of fingering weight 2-ply merino wool - colorway Rose Quartz. Isn't it purty? And wonderfully soft and still smelling faintly of lanolin.

When I picked it up I immediately thought - cape. Not a wrap that falls off my shoulders. A shawl or cape that has enough fit to stay put. A little bit of lace - not much, just enough for interest.

I looked at tons of shawls, wraps and capes online for ideas. Was greatly tempted by Jackie E-S's Cascading Hearts Faroese Shawl.

I thought about E-Z's Pi R Square shawl - a good example here.

Then I found the Strawberry Pie Shawl at SpinDyeKnit. And she's got a whole book of patterns with yoked semi-circular shawls - Wrapped in Comfort. I'll be ordering the book today so we'll see...

Prestrung beads from Mary Jo at knit1beadtoo. (think it's her Earth colorway). I'm going to try her little thimble/amulet bag. She showed us how at the Dallas Handknitters Guild in October. I've had my size 0000 needles for a couple of years and never used them so here's my chance.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Links (the power of)

Finally got around to fixing some broken links and adding some new ones. I sometimes forget that when someone moves their blog to a new host my link to them goes blotto.

I had a great conversation with Jen at pieknits and Colleen (blogless) last night at our guild meeting. Jen has published patterns in MagKnits, Knitty and Interweave (quick, go get the new winter edition for her Celtic Tote pattern). (There's other stuff, too - she's got a great blog.) I was telling her how tickled I was to have 3 (gasp) people ask me for my cat's paw scarf chart. We all laughed at that and she countered with the fact that people are already sending her emails with questions about her Celtic Tote pattern and she doesn't even have her copy of the magazine yet. As her system of charting is different from Interweave's, she can't answer their questions 'til she sees what they're looking at.

What always amazes me is how people find my little blog.

Of course, then I turned it around and found the answer - how did I find other peoples' blogs? I followed links. I find a blog that's interesting and there's a list of links down the side and I start clicking. Or I'm reading comments on someone else's blog and - look! - there's a link to the commenter's blog. Sometimes I find a blog through a Google search. Or I'm on a site like Knitty and the designer's blog address is right there with the pattern.

Being in the Fair Isle Knitters Ring probably helps too. Even though my own personal Fair Isle is limited to one completed Fearless Fair Isle and two sweaters that have been in the design stage for a year, I'm still fascinated by this whole thing. (So that's how Kathleen found my blog - she's in the ring, too!)

The neat thing about all of these interconnecting links is I get to say a brief 'Hi!' to people that I would otherwise never have a chance to meet. I get to meet (virtually, at least) people that live in other parts of the country or other parts of the world. Some of those people listed down the side are practically next door and some of them are across oceans.

As my husband says - these are my pen pals! Ain't it great!


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Comfort knitting revisited

I'm still feeling the love for my 'oh, so necessary' bedjacket. It's giving me the needed elements of comfort knitting - no looking at patterns or charts, a big enough gauge to make me feel like I'm making progress, not totally mindless, and a nice soft yarn. It's also giving me something else... the dreaded flip.
See? I didn't make my garter stitch border big enough, so now it's flipping up at the bottom. This so totally my fault. I only made it about an inch wide and at the time thought that might be too small. I was right. I should have either made it at least 2 1/2 inches or used a smaller needle to tighten it up (or both).

Some options to fix this:

1. Don't fix it. Not really an option because it will drive me crazy.
2. Pretend I meant to do that and sew it into place like a hem. Will probably look goofy, but represents less work than some other options.
3. Frog it and start over. Are you kidding!? I've got almost 2 skeins into this now!
4. Cut the bottom border off and start knitting down with a smaller needle. Icky, but a pretty good way of fixing the problem.
5. Pick up the cast on row and knit down using a smaller needle and/or different stitch pattern. Again, this will probably look goofy.
6. Pick up the cast on row and crochet a bottom border. Goofy? Perhaps, but again, a viable option.
7. Get sneaky and try taking a tuck along the border from the back of the knitting to see if it will lie down better. I'm all for sneakiness if it works, so this may be what I try first.

I'm pretty sure any attempt at blocking will not help. It's synthetic fibers so I wasn't going to bother to block it anyway.

Any other ideas out there? I'm always willing to learn from my mistakes.