Thursday, March 29, 2007

On the sticks

Lots of knitting going on over here! I have made some decent progress on Arwen.

Arwen left front

That is the left front with the early stages of a sleeve! Go me! I might actually make a sweater!

cable panel

I must say, things got much more interesting once I started the sleeve. I actually had to pay attention! I was very careful and read the directions several times before starting the sleeve. I'm determined to keep any ripping back to a minimum. I'm usually not so good with directions, so I made some effort this time. I had some issues with the cable panel at first so I had to call The Knitting Helpline for assistance. See... I thought I knew how to read a chart, but apparantly, I only know how to read charts for knitting in the round! After Amie pointed me in the right direction, things went much better.

I decided that this is my light booth knit. Anytime I'm at work, I am knitting on this. I'm not allowing myself to bring any other projects to work with me. That way... Arwen gets some dedicated knitting time. Also, it allows me to knit on other things when I'm not at work. And then I don't feel guilty for neglecting Arwen!

So... when not in the light booth, I have been knitting this:

Waving Lace cuff

It's a Waving Lace Sock from the new Interweave book Favorite Socks. They are the socks on the front cover of the book.

I seriously LOVE this pattern. I have no worries about second sock syndrome with this - it's just too much fun to knit. I love the scalloped edging on the cuff and I'm pretty pleased with the yarn too. It's Shelridge Farm Soft Touch Ultra in Lemonlime that I picked up at MS&W last year. I've been wanting to use this yarn for a while, but I wanted the perfect pattern for it. I think I found it! Since taking this picture, I've put about another inch or so on it. I've got about 10 more rows before starting the heel. I cast on for this on Monday, so it's going fast.

I also made Archie this past weekend:


Archie is supposed to be a horse. I think he currently looks like a rat (minus the icky tail).

Archie the rat horse
Hopefully the addition of a mane and a tail will help him look a little more equine and a little less rodent! I don't think he is nearly as cute as Pepe, but he has his charm. The directions call for the use of embroidery to attach the mane. I'm not so sure about my embroidery talents, so I haven't gotten around to adding the mane yet, but I may make an attempt tomorrow.

I hope you all have a brilliant weekend. I will be in tech - Ugh. Here's a little spring picture for those of you still suffering the throes of winter.
My neighbor's magnolia tree.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Just pictures

Went to the United States Botanic Gardens in DC yesterday.





Also went to the National Arboretum


More pictures from my day here.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Wee Distractions

Moo to you too!

Sometimes, you just need to take a break from miles and miles of stockinette and make yourself a cow!
Pepe the Cow
Pepe and the crocuses

This is Pepe and I love him. Jody came into knitknite on Monday with a copy of Simply Knitting magazine. It's a British magazine and I had never seen it before. After I saw the "Farmyard Frolics" patterns, I immediately went to Border's and bought my own copy. In this month's issue, there are patterns for cows, sheep and horses. In the April issue, there will be patterns for pigs, chickens and geese. SO CUTE! I may need to make one of each animal. The cow was super easy and fast to make. He is made out of some Nature Spun I had in my stash.

Arwen continues. I am pleased to say that I am finished with the back.
Back of Arwen - finished!
I know it looks like a comforter for a queen sized bed, but it's just my gigantic sweater back. It's not nearly that orange in real life.
red stitiches

I cast on for the left front last night, but the cable panel is vexing me completely. I'm not sure what the problem was, but it has been ripped and restarted. I haven't gotten to the cable panel again yet, but hopefully it will go better the second time around.

I took another pause from Arwen earlier this week to make this:
baby sock

I seem to have a lot of leftover sock yarn, so I thought baby socks would be a good way to use some of it up. This came out a little, um, round but I think it will stretch comfortably over a baby's foot. I am almost to the heel on the second one. This will be a gift for a co-worker's baby boy who will be arriving in June (I think... maybe July...) My co-worker asked if I could make a string on the socks that goes through the baby's pants, (like you would put on a pair of mittens) because his other son lost so many socks when he was a baby. Interesting concept.... anyone else ever heard of such a thing?

And one last FO to show you...
baby kimono

It is the finally finished Baby Kimono from Mason Dixon Knitting.
The lovely and talented Jolene was kind enough to do the finishing on this for me. Despite Pepe's good looks, I am not so good with the sewing!

Came out pretty cute, huh? This is a gift for the baby of one of the trumpet players in the orchestra at the theatre. He hasn't been around in awhile, so the baby may have already arrived. Hopefully, he'll turn up soon so I can give this to him!

Babies everywhere! Boy boy boy boy!

And finally... a little hint of spring....
purple crocus

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Monkey Heaven
Completed Monkey Socks

After my post yesterday about my plethora of UFO's, I decided to hunker down and finish my Monkey Socks. I worked on it during my show last night and was ready to graft the toe by the time I got home.

Monkey Socks
Yarn: Briar Rose Sweet Freedom - a fabulous gift from Carolyn (with help from Maryse!)
Needles: well..... I started them magic loop, two at the same time on a size 2 circular, but I changed to size 1 DPNS for the heel through the toe. It was a good decision to switch needle size. They would have been too big in the foot if I had stayed on the size 2's.
Monkeyfications: I did an extra pattern repeat for a longer leg.

Monkey sock detail

I like them and I'm happy to have them done!

So, what the hell with the crazy weather yesterday??? The 70° spring weather on Thursday, gave way to this:

poodle in the snow

The Poodle loved it, but as much as I LOVE snow, I could have done without this mess! Driving to work last night was completely horrendous. I passed four cars that had slid off the road. When I got to the theatre, I found out that one of the cars I passed was one of the actors. Fortunately, he and his car were both fine, but it was scary. He said he just completely lost control and went sliding into a ditch.

The roads are much clearer today, but it is still cold and windy out. Maybe spring will come back again next week!

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Rainy Yucky Day

I don't think it could possibly be any more miserable outside today. It's COLD and rainy. Very rainy. I should mention that yesterday morning, the temperature was 7o°. Today, it is currently 35°. There are ice pebbles on my car. The stream in the back yard is a raging white water river. We're in a flood watch. Miserable. Spring came in and then apparently decided to reconsider.

On top of the miserable weather, I'm not feeling great either. I think I have a little spring cold. Coughing, runny nose, icky.

Fortunately, I don't have to be anywhere until my show tonight. So I spent the day watching movies and knitting. Always a good combination.

My knitting ADD is rearing it's ugly head again. I have way too many projects on the needles.

Monkey sock #2
Second Monkey Sock

So close to finishing. And yet, I'm stalled.

Second Anemoi Mitten
Second Anemoi Mitten

Gotta say, the rediculously warm spring weather we had been having made me less inclined to work on mittens. But I do love them and want to finish them!


I have become disenchanted with this. I just don't like it. I'm not sure if I'll rip it or what, so for now it just languishes on the needles.

Hat for Jolene
The above is a baby hat for Jolene's collection. I hate it and will rip it and start over.

So, with all these projects going.... What is this???

back of Arwen sweater

That my friends, is the back of the Cardigan for Arwen.

I've been thinking about this pattern for a long time so I finally decided to cast on. I started it on Wednesday, March 14. (Actually, I really started it on Monday, March 12 - but there was a horrible accident involving me being completely stupid, so I had to rip and start over.) I'm pretty pleased with my progress so far, though the endless stockinette is fairly mind numbing. I'm looking forward to starting the front so there will be cables to keep me interested. I really really want to finish this. I hope I can stay focused and interested. Begone knitting ADD!

I know I am a little late with this, but I wanted to give big congratulations to our pal Eunny. I am so excited for her and for all of us knitters who will benefit from this amazing news!
Hooray for you friend!

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Knit One, Zoo Too

I have started this post about 4 times now, but for some reason, I keep tripping over my words. I don't think my brain is functioning today. It is managing the basic needs, like breathing, but trying to form actual thoughts is a challenge!

It has been a slow week around here. I am currently between kid shows at the theatre, so I have had way too much time on my hands. I have managed to be productive though. I have been on a spring cleaning rage. I have finally cleaned out the "junk room" in an effort to maybe some day have a craft room. There have been many many trips to the Salvation Army and I think the garbage men probably hate me, but I am pleased to say that there is actually a floor in there now! There is still a great deal I want to accomplish in there, but I'm really pleased with the progress so far. There is something mentally cleansing about getting rid of clutter. I thought about taking before and after pictures, but really, the before picture would have been embarassing!

On Wednesday, we had a freak snow "storm" here in Maryland. It was rediculous - they canceled schools. It was barely a dusting! And both of my main stage shows got canceled. Faced with the prospect of yet another day at home, I called S. and begged him to get me out of the house. We decided that a trip to the zoo in the snow might be fun. Actually, I decided and somehow managed to convince S.
Lion in Winter
The last time I was at the zoo, back in warmer days, I got in a conversation with a volunteer at the panda pavillion. She told me that the best time to come see the pandas was when it was snowing. She said they were at there most active during a snow storm, rolling down the hill, playing in the snow and having a good time. I used this information in my efforts to persuade S.

panda with a hangover

Active? Playing in the snow? How about... Panda with a hangover?

sleepy panda
Don't bother Mommy, she has a headache.

I guess we missed the "playing in the snow" part. This panda was in a coma! The other two pandas weren't much better. They were both awake, but indoors and stuffing their faces with bamboo.

Despite the dead pandas, we had a good time. We pretty much had to the zoo to ourselves. There weren't a lot of animals out in the snow. But we wandered around and saw the animals that were hiding inside.

I had grand plans of taking a picture of my monkey sock in front of the monkeys, but we couldn't find any monkeys! We found the gorillas and they had macaques but we couldn't find any chimps or just plain old monkeys. Perhaps they were hiding somewhere to stay out of the snow, but we didn't even find empty cages.

So, the monkey sock had a photo shoot a few days later, minus an actual monkey and you will notice, minus the snow. (It's already gone.)

finished a monkey
finished monkey sock

I was doing these magic loop- two at the same time, but I ended up switching to dpns. The stitches had to be rearranged for doing the heel so as to center the pattern and I just never put it back on the circulars. So, one sock is finished and the other needs a heel, foot and toe.

one monkey finished

I also switched needle sizes when I started the heel. I started the socks on US2 circs and switched to US1 dpns. The leg of the sock was seeming a little too big. Switching down a size was definitely a good idea. It fits great.

So, here's a question.... I got myself a subscription to Vogue Knitting back in January. When I ordered it, I requested that they start the subscription with the spring issue, since I already owned the winter issue. And of course, two days ago, I got the winter issue in the mail. Has anyone had this happen to them and had any luck complaining about it? I'm not even sure who I should contact. If anyone wants a copy of the Winter VK, just let me know... I have two now!

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Monday, March 05, 2007

The Kindness of Strangers

A little over a year ago, I was lucky enough to meet an amazing group of women. In just a short year, they have become so important to me. We've shared many laughs, a few tears, several bottles of wine, and many many knitted stitches. I am truly blessed to have these people in my life. They have been there for me so many times already, it just doesn't seem possible that I've only known them a year.

And once again, they have proven that sometimes, you just have to ask for some help.

As you may remember, a few short weeks ago I was in a state because my windshield wipers were broken and the stupid mechanic wanted $388 to fix them. I was told repeatedly "the part will be in tomorrow" till finally, I had enough and told them I wanted my money back. (They made me pay for the part in advance.) I was refunded for the part, but was still out about $90 in labor charges. And I was really angry!

So, I posted to knitting board - "Does anyone know of a good, trustworthy mechanic?"

A few days later, I was knitting with the girls and Jody said "you should bring your car over to my house and see if my husband can fix it."

At this point, I was willing to try anything. Rain was in the forecast and I needed my damn wipers to work!

Can I just tell you that this wonderful man, who I had never met before, fixed my windshield wipers in less than an hour. He just popped it right back into place. In the rain. And it was really cold out. No parts needed. OHMYGOD!

Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!

I'm still overwhelemed. $300 - SAVED. Not to mention my sanity - you can lose a lot of sleep stressing about windshield wipers! And he said "I'm a firm believer in pay it forward, so now you do something nice for someone else." Jody suggested I make a baby hat for Jolene's collection. Done and done. Seriously, it's the least I can do.

Proof there are still nice, kind, generous people in the world.

As for the evil people in the world, you can bet that there is a seriously nasty letter being written to the hateful, lying, cheating, money grubbing bastards at the car repair place. Never ever ever again will I go there. Asses.

On to other things...

I am pleased to say that I finally cast on for the second Anemoi mitt.
second mitt on the needles

I cast on Saturday night and knit about 7 rows before I realized that I wasn't reading the pattern correctly. (again.) I ripped it all out and started over, and this is the result of two shows yesterday at the theatre. I have happily reached the charted part. Those purl stitches in the ribbing were killing me. I still haven't found a way to comfortably purl English style.

I decided to take a little video to show how I knit two colors. I knit continental with my left hand and English with my right.

I completely love knitting this way. I used to carry both yarns in my left hand, but I find this to be much easier. It prevents twisting the floats and I think it helps my tension.

As you can see, I decided to switch the yarn colors for this mitt. I already like it better.

The Monkey socks are still on the needles. I haven't worked on them in a few days. But I only have one more pattern repeat before I do the heels. I decided to add one more pattern repeat than is called for, so I'll have a slightly longer sock.

Hey... did you know that MD Sheep and Wool is 2 months from today? Let the excitement begin!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

One down, one to go

back of my first anemoi mitten

Finished and blocked. Soooooo many mistakes! But it still is pretty!

The palm has the most glaring mistakes.

palm view

See that mess at towards the top... where the pattern lines up vertically instead of diagonally? um... Ooops! I don't know what I did. But the mistake occurs right around a place that I had that dropped stitch to deal with, so I'm sure that had something to do with it.

The thumb is also a mess. Besides stupid knitting mistakes, it's just slightly too short. Blocking really didn't help much. But I had already ripped it back once and don't feel like ripping it back again, so it will stay as is.

I gotta say... this is an excellent knit though - despite my issues. It never gets boring. As we all know, the pattern designer is genius. And I still LOVE the two color knitting. And it's just so pretty!

Here are some gut pictures for those who like such things

palm guts
hand guts
I am having a little bit of Second Mitten Syndrome, but I will try to cast on for the second mitt soon. I am going to swap the colors and try not to make so many mistakes! I think swapping the colors may actually help that. Trying to make my brain equate the light yarn to the dark circles on the pattern was painful. I should have just kept it as written. But I think having a positive and a negative of the same mitten might be fun.

In the mean time, I am slowly knitting on the Monkey socks. Here are some very unimpressive progress shots.
monkey pattern repeat 3 or 4
monkeys on a ledge

I'm a little concerned that these may be a tad too big. (gauge? what's that?) They are very stretchy.