Sunday, November 25, 2007

When it rains, it pours....OR....A great miracle occurred there

So, after agonizing for a week about the right project for my Classy yarn, I scrapped everything and cast on for a top-down raglan cardigan with cables on the front. It came from a Paton's pamphlet Upside Downers, and is a piece 'o cake to work on.

Then, The Hubby asks about the status of a scarf that I was going to spin and knit as a donation for Winter Camp in February (in Minnesota). Ohhh, now I remember why I bought the Tobacco Road colorway from Crown Mountain. I'm not seeing the colorway any more on the site, however. It is a color (orange!) that's so far away from my usual purple, that I knew there was a reason for it, but couldn't remember. It's the Corriedale pencil roving and it practically spins itself! I just started a little before 2 PM yesterday and couldn't stop!

Then, to add to the insanity, The Dork, actually asked for...A Sweater! He Who Is Never Cold actually requested a hooded sweatshirt-style. I had bugged him about "doggy duty" outside and he said he'd get around to it when it was a little warmer. Hmmm, this is the child who a few years back was in 40 degree weather outside (Washington D.C.) and had to be threatened with detention to put a 2nd layer on. "Preferably in a dark green, Mom" he says. I dash to the stash and pull out a beautiful green/blue wool. "Oh, I like that." "Well, seeing as you were the one who asked me to buy it at Stitches years ago..." Now to find the Wonderful Wallaby pattern that I know is around somewhere!

I've gone from worrying about what to do next and now there are 3 things going (never mind that there are also socks on the needles)!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Hitting my head against the wall

Okay, I am such a doofus!

Turns out I have 8 skeins of the Classy , not 6 as previously stated. More than enough for Twist. Which is good because my row gauge is also way smaller than the pattern gauge!

But in looking closer at the stash, I still spend a lot of time trying to match up patterns with existing yarn. When it doesn't work the way I want (not enough yardage, can't get gauge...) then I often buy more. No wonder the stash has grown to the proportions that it has!

California Thanksgiving:

Followed by a 2 hour nap!

Pattern search continued...

Emy said in yesterday's comments:
"Pattern: Go to the Patterns tab, and under that search box, click "try the pattern browser". On that page, you can narrow down all of the patterns within Ravelry by a couple of things, including weights and categories (blanket, pullovers, shawl/wrap, etc.). You can also click multiple items in each section - lace AND DK weight, baby AND blanket, etc.)"

Thanks - that's a partial answer to what I want, and I spent some time looking through what other people have done. I think what I'd love to find is a database where you could input the gauge you're getting from your yarn & needles AND how much yarn you have (and the size you want to make) to narrow down your choices.
Example: I have 6 hanks of the Classy (1500 yards). Ballband gauge is 4.5-5 st/in. I like the fabric at 5-5.5 st/in (size 8 & 7s, respectively) I don't like it at 4.5 (size 9)- waaay too floppy for me.

I thought that Twist would look really good in the Classy. And I have enough for what the pattern calls for in my size, 1430 yards (with collar) However, my inability to get gauge (4.75) is driving me nuts. If I make the next larger size with my slightly smaller gauge, MATH says that I ought to be in my target size. HOWEVER, it will require more yarn (1650 yards) and that I don't have!

I do know that I'll save some yarn by virtue of the fact that I'm short and have short arms, and will adjust accordingly, but will it be enough? Should I chance it only to discover I need more than a few extra yards?
Then, I contemplated my stash database, which I could sort by total yardage, and in looking over my choices that have enough yardage, I realize that only 2 are worsted weight, and neither are suitable for this pattern. I guess that's what I get for buying yarn first and trying to match it to a pattern later!

Yes, I'll be at Purlescence Yarns' Pajama jammie jam sale tomorrow, but I don't want to add too much to the stash, especially not a full sweaters' worth.

Other updates:
The Dork has new shoes, found at Nordstrom Rack, similar to these these . They're flat and flexible and he liked the fit, so I bought 2 pairs.

New dishwasher is on it's way and will be delivered tomorrow! The sales clerk at Western Appliance said that the day before a major food holiday is when they get the people with unrealistic expectations. "Could you deliver and hook up my new gas stove on Thanksgiving so I can cook?" That wasn't me!

While I was shopping for the dishwasher, The Hubby ran the heater and only set the alarm off once. This morning, it was 64 degrees when I got up, and I'm not wrapped in multiple layers. Thanks sweetie!

Off to make cranberry sauce and prep the other stuff for the yummy feast tonight. Happy Turkey Day to everyone!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I'm officially on vacation for the next 5 days - woohoo! What does that really mean?

Well, clean the house so I feel reasonable about Thanksgiving dinner, even though it's just the four of us, buy a new dishwasher because the old one is not happy, get new shoes for The Dork, break down and turn on the heater, cook like a crazy woman (not really), do some grading, and figure out what to knit next!

Cleaning may mean "schlep all the yarn and patterns on the couch and throw them into the bedroom so we can sit on the couch for an evening, then move everything back". I supposed I shouldn't ignore the vacuum cleaner too much longer though. I don't have dust bunnies, but entire herds of dust buffalos. The Dog is shedding massively, getting in her winter coat, and I can't keep up with the roaming herds.

Dishwasher: out to Western Appliance and/or Sears this morning (although I doubt it can be delivered today).

Shoes: anyone got a recommendation for shoes Le Dork can use for fencing? Flattish soles, flexible and available in men's 11 wide. Fencing shoes are expensive, and they are easily destroyed, so we've been told to go find some inexpensive athletic shoes.

Heater: It was 57 degrees inside this morning at 7:45. It is now 10:15 and only 59 degrees. My fingers are cold and I can't type (liberal use of the backspace/delete key). Not everyone in the house is awake yet, so I hesitate to turn on the heater which will almost certainly set off the smoke alarms.

Cooking: Smoked turkey - in the house. Today's cooking - cranberry sauce (easy), and dessert, which I think means heading out to Marie Callenders or Bakers' Square and picking up a pie. Stuffing, green bean casserole, sauteed chard, yams - tomorrow.

Grading papers - ignore as long as possible.

Knitting - hmmm, hardest one. I'm still at a loss for what I should work on. Yes, I have 2 pairs of socks that can be worked on. The Midsummers are going just fine, thankyouverymuch, but I'm trying to save them for purse knitting. The 2differentsizedneedles socks are mostly boring stockinette, and are also purse knitting.

I'd love to make me a new cozy sweater! (The lack of heater this morning influenced me, I think). Swatched for Twist in my Dream in Color Classy, but am entirely incapable of getting 4.75 st/in.

Does anyone know of a resource by which patterns can be sorted by gauge (e.g. I only want to look at patterns that meet this gauge)?
I've spent a lot of time on Ravelry this morning, looking at other people's projects, thinking about what yarn I have in stash that might meet the stated gauge. There's so much out there, and my brain is not in a position to make decisions about what I'm capable of recalculating for my gauge with a given yarn. I suppose I could create such a sortable list, but then I wouldn't have any time for actually knitting!

Oh well, I'll keep on thinking!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I'm thankful everyday for my home and family, and all my friends - online and in person!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Someone stop me, please!

Okay, so I show you 3 things that I started earlier this week because of 2 FOs. Well, none of those things are still at the top of the list to get done right this minute.

"What!?" you say, "those were great projects!"
"Yes", I say, "but they weren't the RIGHT projects, right then". Either that, or I'm just another unfaithful yarnie.

Diamond Fantasy shawl - soft, enjoyed working on it, looking good in the SeaSilk. But my hands hurt, and the pattern is not quite intuitive for me yet. Christmas was an artificial deadline, and I don't think I can get 2 shawls/scarves done by then.

Juno Regina - great pattern, still hankering to work on it, but I've realized that I don't need another scarf/shawl right now. Also, I can't read Miriam's charts correctly (my fault, not hers)! When you're supposed to K on the right side and P on the wrong side, and you can't remember which side you're on, even though it's pretty obvious which side is in stockinette, it's a project that's not meant to be until you find the brain cells which have gone on vacation. Oh, and by the way, a O in the chart does mean "yarn over", not "stare stupidly at the symbols and try to figure out what it means..."

Spinning - okay, it's the one thing that is going well.

So, what to do? Start yet more projects!

Almost two years ago I bought YarnPlace's Vivace, a bamboo yarn. My plan then was to knit a scarf for my son's middle school choir director - their choir is called "Vivace". Got about 10 inches done, and it was set aside. But they've now changed directors, and I couldn't figure out which row I was on in a basic fishnet lace (pathetic, I know). Oh! My boss is having a birthday in a couple weeks, and I could make a scarf for her. Find the fishnet stitch pattern, start all over -- still can't deal with a YO, K2tog pattern! Try a couple things, rip them out...decide to get her a gift certificate instead! [And then decide to try another pattern with it...we'll see.]

Remember my pathetic sock story from a couple months ago with the socks on 2 different sized needles? Well, since I reclaimed the 2.5 mm from the Pink Dot socks, I'm just going to make the second sock match the first, with a slightly looser sole.

And, I started another pair of socks, this pair for The Hubby, using STR in Midsummer Night. We're going to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival next summer and "Midsummer Night's Dream" is one of the plays. I need to make his socks, mine will be in Peaseblossom, and I'm not sure what I'll make The Dork's pair in. (not the "Little Bunny Foo-foo" in the picture!) Teenage boys are so difficult!

Stay tuned to see what actually happens!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

2 FOs - and now what's next?

Have you ever started a project, only to decide that there's something else you want to also work on, and oh by the way, there's that project you need to deal with too....And then you can't decide on which you want to really devote time to, so you only spend a few minutes with each, and nothing is quite right, so you start something else entirely...

Nah, never happened to me!

I did finish the Diamond Granny square blanket, and the grandma was overjoyed. Her reaction made me feel good, even though I didn't feel like I put that much effort into it. I could have gotten it done in a week, but I got bored with the basic blanket and designed it on the fly. If the idea didn't work, it got ripped.
Diamond Granny Square Blanket (my own design - I winged it and ripped out a lot!)
Yarn: Bernat Baby Boucle in Dust of Pink, Soft Lemon, and Misty Blue
Hook size: K (6.5 mm)
Started: Nov. 2, 2007
Finished: Nov. 13, 2007

Pink Dot socks - done!
Yarn: Claudia Handpaints Fingering weight yarn, Pink Dot colorway
Needles: size 2 (2.75 mm)
Pattern: waffle stitch, toe-up
Started: Oct. 13, 2007
Finished: Nov. 15, 2007

Therefore, I can cast on for at least a couple new things, right? Okay, what would I like to work on (never mind that I'm ignoring several WIPs that are at least 75% done)? The Juno Regina shot up to the top of my list after the Knitty surprise came out last week. Guess what - I even have the called for yarn [no, I won't admit to how much Helen's Lace (Lornas Laces) I have], but I'm going to do it in Lakeview. Must knit this NOW! Just took a picture, but I'm not going to show it to you because I noticed a glaring error in my knitting!

Then I thought I should make The Dork's fencing coach a shawl for Christmas, because she admired my Kiri that I made last spring. Gee, darn, Purlescence got some Sea Silk last week, and some fell into my knitting bag. After swatching and trying out several patterns, the Diamond Fantasy shawl rose to the top. I'm going to see how far I can get with one skein. I absolutely love how soft this yarn is, but the silk doesn't "give" the way wool does, and it's been a bit hard on my wrists. Around row 40 on this one.

Never mind that I told myself that there wasn't going to be any Christmas knitting this year.

But, but, but...
I've also been really wanting to get back to some spinning. My poor wheel [hmmm, I should name it] has been very neglected since the spring. Cuteknitter delivered my share of some fantastic Crown Mountain fiber. But I've vowed not to spin any of it until I get some existing fiber done. I'd love to show you my spinning, but Blogger is choking on loading the picture of my 3/4 full bobbin. I'm not sure what kind of fiber it is, but Sandi thinks it's BFL. All I know is that it's very soft and spins like a dream, and a beautiful silver color. I got it when I got my wheel back in January. When I've filled this bobbin, then I can spin some of the new stuff.

Thank goodness for Thanksgiving week coming up. I'm off on Wednesday-Sunday; we're not going anywhere, and I'm going to sit and knit until I can't knit any more!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Another one of those weeks!

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE my job as a school librarian! It's just the little things that get in the way THE KIDS!

Kindergarten - couldn't shut up. Now, as everyone knows, I don't shut up either. But I do expect a basic level of listening skills and respect for those who are speaking. When I'm telling a story is not the time to discuss something that the story indirectly reminds you of, as kinder kids are easily distractable. Arrgh!

3rd grade -- can't follow directions to get out of a paper bag! Picture a class of 15-18 kids with worksheets on their desks. I give directions about the first, more confusing side. 25% can't figure out which side I'm talking about and keep flipping their page over, as if a huge splash of color is going to show up and indicate "THIS ONE!" The worksheet is all about following directions and identifying different parts of a library catalog record. Okay, fine - that side is finished.

"Do not turn the page over yet." Half the kids promptly turn the page over.
"I said, 'do not turn the page over'!" (sheepish looks from the kids)
I continue with the instructions, but 2 sentences later, 3 kids are looking at it again.
"Am I speaking in English?! What part of 'Do not turn the page over yet' are you not understanding?!" [Sheesh!]
"Remember, it is not a race to finish. The ones who have been finishing the fastest are the ones who are not thinking about the questions and getting them wrong." Two kids turn the page over.

Rinse, repeat 7 times - once for each section of 3rd grade.
And other teachers are saying the same things about their students this week, too, so I know it's not me, it's them!

Looked out my kitchen window to see this cheeky bugger in my 4-1/2 foot tall persimmon tree.

Guess the rest of the persimmons were ripe!

I called cuteknitter and said I needed OUT, NOW! So we went here and had a great dinner with Anna and then to Knit Night at Purlescence. Definitely what I needed - thanks everyone!

Believe it or not, there has been movement on the fiber front!
My pink dot socks are getting closer to done. On the 2nd sock, need to start the heel...but couldn't remember how to do a shortrow heel because my instructions disappeared. One of Saturday's tasks is to clear off the couch of all yarn, the stack of patterns/books/magazines so we can actually sit there again! Maybe I'll find my missing page...or maybe I'll do the easy thing, search for the directions online (because I have the pdf in a computer file that's easier to find) and completely ignore the couch.

My other project is a baby blanket for one of our admin assistants. She's a new grandma, and our book club had a "Grandma shower" for her last week. As she will be picking up her granddaughter and babysitting every afternoon for a couple hours, she needs lots of fun stuff! The blanket I was making for her wasn't done yet, so I wrapped it and put a note with it "if this is returned to me, I'll make it big enough for you to wrap the baby in..." I arrived at the party a couple hours late, as I had to take The Dork to his fencing class (and traffic...ick!) first. As I walked in, Grandma said "where's your crochet hook and the extra yarn? This needs to get done!" This weekend should do it, but I'm making it up as I go, and have had to rip out several rows because it wasn't quite right.

FYI, cuteknitter has been a very bad enabler! (or good, from your point of view...) Fiber from here is arriving and I need to find room for it in my spinning stash. Guess I do have to clear off the couch after all...

And around 11:30 last night, Dear Hubby informed me that a plumber is now needed for issues in both bathrooms and , oh by the way, there is a roof leak in the office.

Such is life...