Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Gone on Vacation

Just a little note to say that early tomorrow morning, I am leaving for my first trip alone since S was born six years ago. I'm going up to Massachusetts for my fifteenth (gulp!) college reunion. I won't be back until late on Monday. I shudder to think what my Bloglines will look like.

Now, for the crucial part of the vacation preparations--deciding what to take to knit.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Cheap Thrills

Here it is, a pathetic attempt to distract you from the fact that I haven't finished the Roundabout Leaf Tank. Ta-da...Mason-Dixon warshcloths in May-June Project Spectrum colors. Rachel wondered why the knitblog universe has gone crazy for washcloths. It's all about cheap thrill. If your local crafty big-box store carries decent colors of dishcloth cotton, you can go on a major color binge for practically no money. Plus, they are quick FOs, and we all know the satisfaction of finishing something, even if it's just a square. The yarn here is Sugar and Cream, in color names I cannot remember. (This is not Peaches and Creme, which for some reason, I cannot find anywhere. Maybe it has a different name in the Midwest, like Hellman's is called Best Mayonnaise west of the Rockies?) Anyway, I think the variegated one should be called Neon Brazil -- it's super-bright versions of the colors of the Brazilian flag.

Speaking of dishcloth cotton, have you seen the new Knit.1?* I actually enjoy this magazine, even if I wouldn't or couldn't wear a lot of the garments therein. This issue is the "Art Issue" and among the projects are some winners. I like the Frida Kahlo-inspired stuff, especially the dolls for Dia de Los Muertos. Those look fun. There are also patterns for a basic camisole, shell, and 3/4 length sleeved sweater that are nice.

It being summer and the magazine being practically underwritten by Lion Brand, a number of the garments are knit in Lion Cotton. I'm sorry, I really don't want to be a fiber snob. But I cannot imagine knitting a garment in this yarn. To me, it's still "Kitchen Cotton." My experience is that these cottons don't hold up after being washed. Kay and Ann may call it "vintagey" but I call it "faded." That's OK for a dishcloth, but not so great for a tank top. Fortunately, you can knit these same garments at the same gauge in Cotton-Ease, if you happen to have hoarded some. (Why in the name of everything good and holy did they discontinue Cotton-Ease? It is so nice!) If you've had a good experience knitting a garment in kitchen cotton, let me know. I am willing to keep an open mind.

*Aaggh! The Google description describes it as a "knitting magazine targetting hip 18-35 year old knitters." This is the first time I've had my nose rubbed in the fact that I am older than the target "hip" audience. OK, I'm over it.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Round and Round

First off, thanks everyone for the nice comments about my hosta photos! I'm no Cara, that's for sure, but I thought they were nice "green pictures."

As promised, progress on the Roundabout Leaf Tank. It really does look ginormous in this picture, doesn't it? The other night, I started to get a little panicky about the size and blathered about it here. I've measured and remeasured and I think it's going to be between 35 and 36 inches around. That means that, on me, it will hang straight, skimming at the bust and hips. We'll see how it looks. I decided not to frog and alter the pattern to make it smaller, although that wouldn't be hard to do. I'm afraid that tightness and the horizontal lines might not be very flattering.

If it doesn't fit absolutely perfectly, at least it will have been a fun knit. It was a bit tedious until I started joining the body. After that, it's been entertaining. Maybe I'm a little simple, but the way this is all coming together strikes me as very cool. Also, for some reason, I find making little knitted leaves highly satisfying. I'm about two-thirds of the way through the main part of the body, and then I start some decreases to level off the top of the tank. Finally, the wide shoulder straps are added and shaped with short rows. It's going to need some serious, though not severe, blocking to flatten the inevitable rolling. If you've blocked Knit Picks Main Line or a similar cotton-wool blend and have any advice or tips, I'd be happy to hear them.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I Heart Hostas

Some people might find them boring, but I love hostas. Mostly because I hate gardening and you could hardly kill a hosta if you tried, but also because I love all the different greens.

Coming soon ... a progress report on the Roundabout Leaf Tank.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Tinking, and Taking Stock

Like Coleen, I've been feeling a little overwhelmed by my projects lately. In an effort to regain a little control, I decided last night to catch up on my tivo'd TV shows and work very diligently on my Roundabout Leaf Tank.* Perhaps it was seeing that Grumperina is almost finished with her Pentagon Pullover that gave me a kick in the you-know-where. So, I really did work away, and made astounding progress ... when I realized that I had somehow managed to lose two stitches. Flippin' gnomes! This morning, I frogged back almost everything I accomplished last night. Sigh. I've also frogged the Trellis Scarf. I got to those "Knit 7 togethers" and realized that my needles were just not up to that task. Sigh some more.

Oh well, it's not as though I don't have plenty of things to work on. Let's take a little inventory.

1. The Roundabout Leaf Tank. Tale of Woe related above.
2. The Dishcloths. Well, these are done, and in Project Spectrum Green. Bad weather for photos lately, though.
3. Audrey. The other day, my mother asked how this project was going. I bought the yarn with birthday money from my aunts, and I think this has made Mom especially interested in this sweater. I was actually a little embarrassed to admit that I'm not working on it right now. I really need to start this again.
4. The Blue-Green striped socks. I'm about halfway to the heel on the first sock.
5. The Irish Hiking Scarf. Only pulled out in moments of extreme anxiety, or if I am dwelling on a problem. It sort of clears the head. I may always keep one of these on the needles, for emergencies. Whether I finish it or not is irrelevant. It's pure process knitting.
6. The Turbulence U-Neck Pullover. Aha! I snuck one in there! I actually swatched for this right after getting Knitting Nature, because I have yarn for this in the stash. I put it aside when I got my yarn for the Leaf Tank. Maybe I should start this, though. It takes me for-flippin-ever to finish a sweater, and it would be nice to wear it this year.
7. My Amazing Lace Teammate. As I mentioned, due to equipment failure, Trellis Scarf had to be thrown off the team. I'm looking for a replacement. Candidates are the Flower Basket Shawl, going back to the Adamas Shawl, the Shetland Triangle from WrapStyle, possibly Kiri, the Mountain Stream Scarf.** I could work any of them from my stash. Scouting reports on these potential teammates, anyone?

* By the way, Monday's episode of "How I Met Your Mother" was possibly the funniest yet. Comments, Jessalu?
** Sampler Stole? What Sampler Stole? Seriously, I think I need to tackle something a little simpler first.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Things I Love From England...

The Oxford English Dictionary, compact edition ... yes, those are Jane Austen and P.G. Wodehouse novels in the background ... and my new Broadripples, arrived from Liverpool today!

These socks, which are smashing and wonderful and perfect in every respect, were knit by the multi-talented Anna from Finally Waking Up. (Click on that link and see her recent sewing projects!) Honestly, they could not fit any better. They're made of Sock It to Me and are so nicely stretchy. The colors are excellent. How about another picture of the heel, which is absofreakinglutely stunning? Did I mention how well they fit?

Now that I have intimate knowledge of Broadripples, I really want to knit a pair myself. I love the ribs between the bias/double decreased sections, and the garter stitch at the cuff. Also, I really like the way the toes are shaped. I like the way the decreases are spaced apart. (You can sort of see it in the small picture.) Anna did such an amazing job with these that I really had to look closely, and then look again, to tell whether she did a Turkish cast-on or grafted the toe. I'm still not totally sure.

Anna, they will get lots of wear, I assure you. Thank you so, so much! I'm really looking forward to the next Sock Swap. It was such fun!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

In Which the Mojo Returns ...

It's back, baybee! And I have Project Spectrum to thank for it, really. Because, I love green. So, I've got a number of green things on the needles, and that just makes me happy. I started some socks, which really does help get the knitting enthusiasm going.

And of course, there's the Roundabout Leaf Tank. A very sedate, gray-green, but green nonetheless. As you can see from the sidebar, I decided to join the Knitting Nature Knitalong. I am so much more successful at meeting my KAL obligations if I sign up after I cast on for the project. In that spirit, since I've already started the Trellis Scarf, I also joined The Amazing Lace, hosted by the fabulous Theresa and Rachel. Check it out if you'll be knitting lace this summer ... it looks like big fun.

Also, inspired by flipping through Mason-Dixon Knitting (another recent purchase because you knitbloggers cannot stop talking about how great it is), I went to the craft store and bought dishcloth cotton. Kay and Ann -- they'll get you all excited about dishcloth cotton.

Finally, I have to say "thank you" to my April Postcard Pal, Dee. She sent me these April-May stitch markers as a completely unneccessary, but very much appreciated, gesture. Aren't they lovely?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Lost: Knitting Mojo

I'm having a little trouble getting my knitting groove on. After finishing the sock pal socks, realizing that the two sweaters I had going both needed starting over, and deciding that I am not really enjoying the Pansy Jaywalkers, I sort of lost some steam. There are plenty of things that I want to knit, I just can't get excited about starting them right now. Maybe this is because everything I want to knit is going to be a relatively long-term project. The Roundabout Leaf Tank is going well, but it's not the most exciting knitting, to be honest.

Last night, I started something else -- the Trellis Scarf from the Spring 2006 IK. Hardly a quick-to-knit project, especially since this is my first time working with laceweight. I also had this romantic notion that I could be knitting this lovely scarf and visualizing wonderful "future memories" (thanks, Brenda Dayne). But, let's face it, while I'm knitting this, all I can do is count. Nonetheless, it's very pretty, and maybe by the time I get to the final 23rd center lace repeat, I will be able to think lovely thoughts whilst knitting it. Plus, it's a great Project Spectrum Green May project. (In case you were wondering, the yarn is Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud in Tide Pool. I swear, not all my lace scarves will be blue-green.)

Yep, my knitting mojo is MIA. I can't believe I'm saying this, but maybe I need to cast on some new socks.