Thursday, July 30, 2009

I could be SO cranky...

..but I'm not. But I could be. Because of the following:

1. Still hot (but cooled down a bit, reducing crankiness)
2. Dropped a stitch (sort of cranky) on mohair sweater (more sort of cranky)
3. Disturbed a hornets' next last night (highly cranky hornets), but was only stung about six times (which, from what I can tell, should make me grateful, thus reducing crankiness).
4. The knowledge that two sock yarns now cost $30 per skein (Wollmeise and Yarntini). I know it's all about supply and demand: economics=cranky.
5. The fact that it takes a KnitPicks order 10 days to travel about 200 miles (very very cranky. I'm waiting for blocking wires for Hanami).

And you? Cranky now?

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Next Time You See Hanami:

Originally uploaded by kbshee
-it will be bound off.
-it will be on blocking wires
-it will have a found a place to rest at my house while it is drying.
-it will be drying pretty quickly because it is supposed to be 100 degrees here...100 degrees!!...for most of this week...most of this week!!!

So many unusual things happening. All of a sudden, I'm six rows away from finishing Hanami! And it goes out with a bang...for the last inch or two, you double the number of stitches so the shawl ends in a ruffle*. So that's what I'm on now, so it is a little slower going than before but I'm pretty sure it will be done today.

I sort of can't believe it. The second half went soooo much faster than the first half, but the second hal of this pattern was much less, shall we say, strict in terms of if one (I) makes an error it can be rescued pretty quickly.

I'm looking forward to seeing it blocked...and then of course, casting on for something new.

*One of my readers (and you know who you are Kim) commented that it seemed like my knitting always had to have written explanations. And I guess she's right.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Originally uploaded by kbshee
My knitting is boring.

Not boring to me, really, but just not a lot of visual interest. I'm not working on a sock right now (there is one in my knitting bag, but it is lace and I can only handle one lace project at a time). So that leaves me with two long rectangles and one tube.

Here is one of the rectangles...the little Debbie Bliss top that is two long rectangles folded over (the fold will be my shoulder, and this is...obviously...only one rectangle). The two get joined with colorful buttons (and I found some online today, whoot!) and it is quite cute. The first rectangle is finished and the second one is on the needles, so look out!

Originally uploaded by kbshee
This morning, we went to the annual Coburg Quilt Show. I was looking for some knitting inspiration and really didn't find any (just one quilt, loo for it in the days ahead) but this one quilt really enchanted me...lots of cute little quirky cats. Please click on the image and take a look at it, there are so many beautiful details...the checkerboard treatment on the frames of the cats, the tiny little quilts where horizontal and diagonal pieces cross..just great little details. I took a few close ups which I'll post soon, they do make one happy.

We're glad we went early because it was already 80 degrees at 11:30...way too hot for us here in the Pac Northwest!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A bit of frustration

So, slight rant coming, but honestly I'm not sure who to rant against.

Earlier in the spring, I saw an ad for Classic Elite that had a knit sweater over a really, really cute green summer dress. I emailed Classic Elite asking where the dress was from. They called me back (hello? Good customer service? Thy name is Classic Elite) and explained that the dress was from Urban Outfitters, but it was from the previous summer so it probably wouldn't be available in stores. I checked. It wasn't.

Yesterday the new Rowan came (Rowan 46) and there's a pattern called Bourne which is a knit kidsilk haze top thing (vest just doesn't do it justice) worn over the most gorgeous sheer beaded black top. I'm going to a black tie event in November and have a skirt but I've been thinking about what top to wear. And this top would be great! So I emailed Rowan. And got a lovely Reply via email from a lovely Rowan worker who said the top would have been bought a year ago and so wasn't probably still available. And the lady who bought it wasn't in the office just then.

So I get that photographs have to be done far in advance of them getting into my hot knitting hands. But what sort of surprises me is that yarn companies apparently have to get the 'other' clothes off the racks...just like mere mortals! And so by the time the ads/mags for the yarn companies come out, the yarns and patterns are 'a la mode' but the clothes are 'old' and 'out of date' (not really, but you know what I can't shop the photos in a yarn mag for the clothes worn by the models).

It is a bit frustrating to me!

And then I I the only one who notices the clothes when I should be noticing the knitting?

And then I wonder...would it kill them to credit the clothes?

And then I wonder....oh, never mind.

Monday, July 20, 2009

It's either this, or a long pink rectangle

Originally uploaded by kbshee
My knitting isn't too photogenic these days, and for this I apologize.

But I'm nearing the home stretch on Hanami...this was taken before a marathon knitting session Saturday night. Have you seen the HBO show In Treatment? Well, we're watching it on DVD (season 1) and it is perfect for lace knitting. Because, basically, the premise is that a bunch of people go to this shrink for analysis. So they're just talking. Very little action. Which makes it perfect for lace knitting.

Great if hot weekend. Took our morning walk on Saturday, followed by home made blueberry pancakes on the grill outside, which we've never done before and it worked out deliciously. I think I knit and read for much of Saturday. Yesterday we hit the road early to drive up to a mountain-ish lake for some paddling. We managed a good hour without any major wind, and then the wind picked up which was a challenge, but in a good way. Usually we have some 'issues' with lakes because speed boaters can be annoying, but we hit the lake on a good day and, I guess, early enough that the obnoxious people weren't out yet.

The sort of magical thing about the paddle was that there were dozens of newts/salamanders in the water, just hanging out. They didn't seem to mind our presence, although they did seem to play dead when we paddled by.

Today, Juneau dog is getting her teeth cleaned and a small perianal mass removed (ouch). We're hoping it is benign; she's a young dog and it is too early to start with worrisome problems. Please hold a good thought for her.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Because it is 90 degrees outside...

Originally uploaded by kbshee
...I'm knitting a mohair sweater.

I needed a 'mindless' project, and this fits the bill...a bulky weight sweater in the round with a light-as-air mohair yarn (Le Gran by Classic Elite in the natural color).

I've knit quite a bit more since this photo was taken, and it is still the same weight as a little dandelion puff ball. It is somewhat enchanting in that way.

Busy day. Ish. I gave a keynote speech at the kickoff breakfast for a great charity event: the American Diabetes Association walk a thon.

I did OK. You know that old theater adage about sharing the stage with kids? It is correct. Especially if the kids have diabetes! They were great kids; my speech on Corporate Social Responsibility really paled next to Rylie's new insulin pump. Anyway..I hope they raise a lot of money!

Then this afternoon after a noneventful conference call i donned goggles and helped Tim cut wood strips. Not to be outdone in the creativity department, Tim is building a kayak. By himself. Out of wood. Strips of wood. So today we made some of the strips. Which basically involved me making sure I didn't cut my fingers off on the whirling blade of the saw.

Good, good times.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Summer Phenomenon

Originally uploaded by kbshee
This happens every summer: I don't know where the time goes.

Now, during the 10 months of year that I"m 'working' (ie at my academic job where I receive a paycheck), I am very organized and can handle my job, a variety of household tasks, and knitting very easily. Yet in the summer, remove the 'real job' and I'm wondering how, how, how I get everything done in the regular year.

And of course I know how. In the 'regular' (non-summer) year, I don't take time to train the new wisteria plants around the arbor Tim built last summer. I don't go to the farmer's market (twice in two days). I don't make blueberry muffins (twice in three days). I don't pull a few stray weeds here and there. I don't clean out my tshirt drawer.

I love summer. I just sometimes feel it is otherworldly.

These socks are done, and I'm taking a wee sock hiatus of 'basic socks' (I have a lacy pair where one is done, and the other is just uninteresting). I'm doing a mindless sweater instead.

Oh, and I'm destashing some stuff on Rav.

Let me know you visit the blog and I'll give you 10% off any yarn in my destash.!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In which I frighten myself by getting stuff done

I've been getting stuff done!

I'm not sure where this little burst of energy came from, but here is what I've done over the past few days:

1. Cleaned my kitchen (ok doesn't sound like a big deal, but it is).
2. Done two major power walks with Tim.
3. Met with my former PhD student Kati and plotted out a research project that will result in five possible publications.
4. Went to the farmer's market AND the grocery store.
5. Made blueberry muffins. From Scratch. People.
6. Photographed 10 skeins of yarn and put them on sale on Ravelry (here is the link: linky and 10% off for blog readers!
7. Did half of a human subjects protocol.
8. Cast on for a new sweater....
9.....after knitting a swatch.

I reserve the right to edit to add other things that I've remember I've done.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hanami Pt. Gazillion

Originally uploaded by kbshee
So on and on with the Hanami stole. I think I've finished 90 out of 200 or so of the 'second half' which is, obviously, a lot simpler than the first half. Where the first half was acomplex basetweave pattern, the second half is basically making a bunch of little holes in the stole.

I can do that.

I've been keeping up with a minimum of four rows every day, most days I do about 10 rows on this. So I think I will be finished in a few weeks, which is nice. I can feel that the end is, well, if not near, then relatively close.

The yarn is more purple than blue, which doesn't quite show up here.

I'm ready to be done with this.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Alpaca Prep

Originally uploaded by kbshee
I knew that I wanted to process Brownie's fleece myself...but wasn't quite sure the best way to do it. i've taken a class in drum carding and certainly would be happy to drum card it, but unfortunately drum carders are pricey and they don't come up for sale used very often. I have a set of hand cards so I was thinking I could do rolags. I have to admit, though, using hand cards sort of bores me. There's a lot of back and forth, back and forth, and it can get a bit tedious. In fact, a lot of spinners teach their kids to hand card so they don't have to. But lacking in the kid department, that doesn't make sense for me.

Then I read that alpaca takes to flick carding very well, so I decided to do that. It's fast and easy. Basically, here is a lock of Brownie's fleece (the lighter brown at the top, which I'm holding, is the 'outside' tip and is that color due to amniotic fluid.

Originally uploaded by kbshee
Basically, flick carding involves holding the lock on your knee (you'll see I"m using a decorative holiday placemat to keep the sharp needles of the flick card from penetrating my skin...guess how you learn that?).

You rest the flick carder on the tips, and bounce the flick card up and down to open up the tips a little bit. Then you flip the lock over and do the other side. It takes less than a minute to do a lock.

The flick carder looks like a dog comb...maybe 2" by 6" with a handle and very, very sharp teeth. The little teeth work to open up the tips so you end up with a nice lock of fiber to spin. The lock doesn't look that much different than the first lock, it just is a little more opened up with more loft.
Obviously, this is not the fastest way to prep fiber for spinning, but it is a great way to get to know an animal's fleece and to get some practice in this craft.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Pink Rectangle

Originally uploaded by kbshee
Not too exciting, this pink rectangle, but let me tell you about it.

1. It is not a scarf.

2. It is knit in Calmer.

3. It is a nice ribbed pattern: knit on the RS, p2 k1 on the WS

4. It is a top.

5. Really. The idea is that I knit TWO rectangles, each about 50 inches long, and then on THIS rectangle (in the picture) I sew on multiple colored buttons and on the OTHER rectangle I make a button hole band.

6. And you leave some buttons open at the top.

7. Designed by Debbie Bliss, who does wonderfully innovative construction. From her design book that just came out. (Edited to fix my geometric shape challenged boo boo).

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Reality > Photo

Originally uploaded by kbshee
This sock yarn is so rich and saturated, and it breaks my heart that this doesn't show up on the screen.

OK it doens't break my heart. But I'd like it to show up better on the screen. The yarn is purple, magenta-y-purple, and light blue...a dark robin's egg blue, I guess it is periwinkle, and it makes a stunning, stunning sock.

DiCentra Designs, Nova Sock, Colorway #7 I think.

Lack of sleep is catching up with me...Juneau can't settle down at night becuase of fireworks and for some reason I've been up at 5:30 each morning.

Saturday, July 04, 2009


Originally uploaded by kbshee
As loyal blog readers know, I'm the proud owner of an alpaca named Brownie who lives at Silk Creeks Alpacas , owned by my friends Bil and Julia. They've owned the farm for a little over a year, and it is absolutely amazing to see all the farminess that is happening out there.

Yes, farminess is a word.

Yesterday my friend Sterling and I went out to see the new crias that have been born in the last two weeks. Three crias in the last few weeks, with one due in about a month. The beautiful girl in this picture was born 7/3, and her name is Opal. She is so cute! The other two cria are also girls, and are also white or nearly white.

Which is like winning the trifecta!

Originally uploaded by kbshee
This is my newest crush....a handsome guy named Jett that came to Silk Creek Alpacas in a trade. He's just about the friendliest alpaca you'd ever want to meet. Anyway, we're thinking about buying him...I wouldn't mind owning a few more.

In addition to the alpaca, Bil and Julia have all kinds of fowl. Now, I'm not a big fan of chickens or turkeys but it is quite fascinating to watch the chickens running around with the alpacas. They all seem to enjoy each other's company, if such a thing is possible in the animal world.

They're also thinking about goats, but unfortunately my cashmere goat suggestion has not made the final list (I guess cashmere goats don't give good milk. As if that matters).

Originally uploaded by kbshee
I still need to weave in the ends but this top is done. I like it but obviously I haven't worn it yet, but I will. This has nice shaping and I like the yoke detail a lot. Believe me, it will look better with the ends woven in.

Cody is doing better, but he's still not 100%. We took a walk around the block last night and he handled that well, and this morning I cooked up some salmon for him which he pretty much inhaled (but other than that, he hasn't been very interested in food). His eye twitching has slowed down a lot so he should be in better shape tomorrow.

We tried some valium-like substance on juneau last night (she is scared horribly of fireworks) and it was just like the movies...about 50 minutes after the dosage she just slumped on the floor into a good sleep in the midst of lots of fireworks going off. That's a nice change.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Deep sigh of relief

Originally uploaded by kbshee
Cody is fine...or he will be in a couple of days. He has a condition called vestibulopathy which is like an inner ear infection which makes him feel like he's seasick...hence the lurching around and the vomiting (I guess I didn't share that with you). He should be ok in a couple of days...he's drinking water on his own and will eat selective things (grilled tuna, for example) and seems to have figured out how to make himself comfortable. He's on seasick drugs !!!! and now we just wait it out. Needless to say, this is an enormous relief to us.

We have a wonderful and caring vet (although I think they all are, don't you?) who loves Cody and is so glad it isn't serious also.

In knitting news...I have finished the first half of Hanami...the basketweave part is complete! It looks good. The rest of the piece is a lot of k2togs and ssks and yos which I think I can handle. I'm glad this is moving toward completion!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Good thoughts please

Cody has lost a lot of strength in his back is particularly bad this evening. He can still walk, but he wobbles and can't keep his balance. We're not sure if this is a manifestation of his cancer, or old age, or something totally different, but our plan is to make him comfortable and keep him happy. He has a big doggy smile so we think he isn't feeling poorly (which is good, because he can't tolerate the pain meds we have for him). His med choices are limited because many steroids stress the liver, and that's where his cancer is right now. So please send good thoughts to my little guy and he'll send them right back to you in his own puppy way. Thanks!