Sunday, March 27, 2011

Winging it sweater

IMG_3702.JPG by kbshee
IMG_3702.JPG, a photo by kbshee on Flickr.

This is a project that I'm sort of making up as I go along.
It's a top down raglan, with a V neck, and there's about a gazillion patterns for that floating around on line. I'm making it in stripes, using two colors of Elann Den-M-Nit, the poor man's (or woman's) version of Rowan Denim. A couple things about this yarn and project:
-it shrinks and fades, like jeans. Somewhere between 10 and 15% on length. So it is knit a bit loose and it will shrink up.
-it will be big, since I want a big baggy summer sweater for the beach.
-I will have to keep knitting and knitting to make it long enough, given the shrinkage.
-that's ok. It's as mindless as a sock.
-and no seams!

Spring break is over and it has been great. I teach at 8:30 on Mondays and Wednesdays so it will be a pretty tough re-entry but should be fine. I'm as ready as I'm going to be!

OH and will you check out the Stash Knit Down totals? I'm only 400 yards away from my end-of-March goal. Probably won't get there (although if I keep focused on just one project for four days, I might. But I also have stuff to do in the evenings this week, which will cut into knitting time. But I'm pretty proud of my knit down status!).

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Astor!!!

IMG_3709.JPG by kbshee
IMG_3709.JPG, a photo by kbshee on Flickr.

I finally found a way to photograph Astor so you can see the windowpane pattern. The way this sweater works is that it is a long stockinette cardy with this windowpane pattern on the right and left sides of the front. And the windowpanes go around the neck to form sort of a shawl collar. I'm almost done with the left side, and will probably start onthe right side tomorrow.

Really enjoying this one!

Interesting discovery: I found a pair of socks that I had knitted yesterday in the yarn room (found them in the yarn room. Obviously they were knitted somewhere else). They're about an inch too short in the foot. But. I can't find any additional yarn (they were knit top down, so conceivably I could open them up and add more toe) (key word=conceivably) so what should I do? Make a mess and open them up and see if I can add a toe in a different yarn? Get 'em wet and stretch the bejeezus out of them? any other ideas?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Smiles

The red sweater I knit that I shipped out on Wednesday? The baby for which it is intended, Isabella, was born yesterday to my friends Joy and Dale. I'm so happy for them! And happy I had the sweater out of the house before she decided to join the world!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Things. Done.

IMG_3701.JPG by kbshee
IMG_3701.JPG, a photo by kbshee on Flickr.

So my spring break of getting things done is going well. Yesterday I cleaned the third of the dead zones and got about 90% of the taxes done (refund. yes.).

These socks are for Tim...Zauberball Crazy...and he likes them so a big success all around.

Yesterday I worked on those gloves I told you about and also on the Astor sweater. I'm rethinking my comment that gloves are the new socks. Fingers are fiddly. I'm not a big 'mitt' fan but I might have to be just to avoid doing finger after finger.

And while I wear a pair of socks almost all day every day October-June, I wear gloves for about half an hour a day (tops) a few days a week from November-March. Thus. Having 40 pairs of gloves may be excessive.

However, I reserve the right to change my mind, again, on this.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gloves are the New Socks

IMG_3698.JPG by kbshee
IMG_3698.JPG a photo by kbshee on Flickr.

You heard it here first.

I'm now sort of addicted to gloves. These are the Sivia Harding Fluency gloves, which I love. You can see the beads here too. I also cast on for another pair from the new Knit Circus , the Blue Lupine Mitts on page 76. However, I will probably knit these as gloves and not in blue. I cast on with some leftover Debbie Bliss Rialto in purple and I think I'll have enough for gloves with what I have.

And now, a bit of editorial commentary. Knit Circus is an online magazine that I've looked at but never been that impressed with. In the new issue, though, I saw at least two patterns I wanted to knit (and a third I want to as well, only it is a kid's top, not one for adults). Anyway, I was having the 'is it worth is' conversation and went to see how much the patterns cost, and you get ALL the patterns, downloaded, for $7.95. That's a good deal...the patterns I want are both worth $4 for me. Kudos, Knit Circus!

Contrast that to an email I received from an unnamed yarn store selling patterns from an unnamed (here) designer that I REALLY like and that I've knit patterns from before. The patterns cost $8 each! I'm not sure if they were downloadable but if there is a mailing cost..argh! Now I know it is only double of what I paid for Knit Circus, but for that I got a slew of patterns instead of just one.

I do want to support designers, and I appreciate all the work that many designers put into their designs, and I know stores need to make a profit as well. But $8? Really??

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Break-ing

IMG_3693.JPG by kbshee
IMG_3693.JPG a photo by kbshee on Flickr.

This week is spring break, a lovely week with no classes. Tim is busy working on his thesis, the weather is cold and drizzly, and I'm spending time doing a few things: 1. organizing 2. working 3. knitting and 4. reading.

On the organization front, I've told myself to spend half an hour straightening up one of the three "organizational dead zones" in our house: the guest/yarn room, my desk in the office, and my dresser. Yesterday was the guest/yarn room, and I got it pretty well organized (at least now you can SEE the bed and all the yarn is put away). And. New projects were placed in project bags and put in their own cubbyhole. The downside is I have four new projects planned. In addition to the rest of the WIPs. Oh well.

On the working front, trying to get a jump on my classes for next term. One new prep and one falrly new prep (i've switched up 80% of the cases I'm using). I've sort of been on autopilot for teaching this year and I'd like to be a bit better this term.

Knitting: I'm finishing stuff (good, since there is more stuff to knit) and I THINK I have a good picture of the Astor sweater in progress. Look carefully: you can see the 'windowpane' pattern on the left side of the photo. I really can't believe how fast this sweater is going. If you want instant gratification, truly, try this sweater.

Reading: I've read Allison Pearson's "I think I love you" about a crush on David Cassidy (but so much more) and now I'm reading "Wits End" by Karen Jay Fowler. Allison Pearson's book got me thinking that even though I was sort of the age for a David Cassidy/Donny Osmond/Bobby Sherman/Greg fromthe Brady Bunch crush, I didn't have one. If you were a teen in the early 70s, did you have a teenybopper crush? I think I recall a crush on Peter from the Monkees. But not the 'cut out his picture' from Tiger Beat crush. How about you?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Little Sweater

IMG_3688.JPG by kbshee
IMG_3688.JPG a photo by kbshee on Flickr.

The buttons ARE even, honestly! It's just the angle of the photo.

And the fact that the buttonholes are a little loose so I have to tighten them up.

But. Here's the little sweater for little Isabella, who is due to enter the world any day now. The sweater heads North to Alaska, where a cotton sweater (which this is) will probably be fairly useful to a little baby and her parents, Joy and Dale.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Today!

It's the equinox, it's my nephew Jason's birthday, and it's the day that we walked with Juneau probably for about two miles. A good good day!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Um, yeah

IMG_3686.JPG by kbshee
IMG_3686.JPG a photo by kbshee on Flickr.

I was so excited to show you the basketweave section of the Aster sweater (Aster? Astor? Not sure) but alas, knitting in black wool and a grey day do not make a very compelling photograph.

Sorry!

But I finished the entire back and I've started on one of the fronts, and the basketweave is a good tv-knitting pattern...interesting enough during somewhat dull shows, but not so intense that I lose a plot line. A good knit!

I just wish you could see it too!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Crazy

IMG_3660.JPG by kbshee
IMG_3660.JPG a photo by kbshee on Flickr.

This one is already finished, and I've started on the second of these socks for Tim. The yarn is Zauberball Crazy which is a thin yet fun yarn to knit with. The colors that are on my monitor are pretty close to true.

Mostly I've been working on Astor, and I'm almost done with the back (and this is a LONG sweater, which I like). tt is now too big to work on while reading so that's a bit of a challenge!

I read a good 'mystery' over the weekend: "Winter Ghosts" by Kate Mosse. It's really more of a novella...it's fairly short, and if you've read anything else by Kate Mosse or are fascinated by Catharism you'll figure out the mystery fairly quickly, even so this is a well written little story that I enjoyed.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Astor!

IMG_3663.JPG by kbshee
IMG_3663.JPG a photo by kbshee on Flickr.

One thing I love about reading other people's blogs is seeing what they're knitting. If I like what they've knitted before, and they've started knitting something I've never heard of, I'll check it out and see if I want to knit it too. This tends to clog up the WIP pipeline but hey. That's life!

SO this weekend I cast on for Astor (Rav linky, sorry if you're not on there) that I read about on Rachel's blog . Rachel is a terrific knitter and even though she's not that far along I glommed on to it because of the color and the words 'instant gratification'. So I started it using some yarn in stash...not chunky, but Aran yarn from the Irish Ewe that has been in the stash forever, it is black with lots of multicolored flecks and it is going great.

I've knit 350 yards so far (YES! Stash knit down!) and I"m maybe 1/3 of the way through the back. It's a long sweater. And I'm going to adjust the pattern and knit it long sleeved. And do my first pockets!

Thanks Rachel for pointing me to this sweater! I guess I'm unofficially in the KAL with you and your mom now, huh?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

First Fluency

IMG_3661.JPG by kbshee
IMG_3661.JPG a photo by kbshee on Flickr.

This is the first Fluency glove that I finished...I had knitted up to the thumb when I ran out of yarn, so after much internet searching I found an online store with a skein (the yarn is discontinued, Elsebeth Lavold Angora which is a great choice for these gloves). So the new skein arrived the other day, and even though it's not a great match with the two skeins I have, it looks fine knit up for the thumb. I even knit a bit longer index finger with the same yarn.

Fun pattern, with beads in between some of the ribs (if you notice a little sparkly something, they are beads). And this goes really fast, it is simply a rib pattern with a few knit two togethers to get the wavy motion of the pattern in there. I'm about 1/4 of the way through the second glove.

Although now we are having spring in Oregon...it is rain and windy and probably sixty degrees or so. We got the dogs out for a good walk (uphill, and Juneau did not lag one bit...she is doing GREAT!) and now we're hunkered down for the rest of the day. Knitting and reading for me.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Happy Dance

We just received from very good blood test results for Juneau. No one is quite sure what is working, but something is working!! Thanks for all your good thoughts about our girl.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Big Blob of Yarn

IMG_3657.JPG by kbshee
IMG_3657.JPG a photo by kbshee on Flickr.

This is another WIP...the Kusha Kusha scarf. It's a scarf made me with stainless steel yarn from Habu, and after it is knit, you felt it and apparently then you can bend it into interesting scarfy shapes.

I haven't done much on it, mostly because even though it is stockinette it isn't the mindless stockinette that is easy to do while reading, etc. Mostly because there are two strands of very thin yarn used (one white, one red) and because the red yarn is a bit fiddly.

But it's fun.

Tim is home and life is back to normal-ish. Last week of the term but since I am only teaching half a class not as crazy as usual. I do have to focus on getting prepped for next term though!

Monday, March 07, 2011

So Guess What?

IMG_3656.JPG by kbshee
IMG_3656.JPG a photo by kbshee on Flickr.

91 yards is not enough for those gloves. I got to the thumb...the THUMB...and ran out of yarn. Granted, the fingers were really short and tight and I was hoping it would stretch out but...damn.

BUT I did find a skein online..finally...so I'll see how that works out. It won't be the same dyelot so hopefully I can use it on a hidden part of the second glove and that will be fine.

Tim gets home tonight. Thank god. I look forward to sleeping past 5:30 am.

How are you?These are socks in Marianne Dashwood. They feel terrific.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

WIP it

IMG_3651.JPG by kbshee
IMG_3651.JPG a photo by kbshee on Flickr.
I am at a new high WIP point in my kntting career. And. I cast on for three more in the last week.

Before I recount the WIPs, here is one of my new favorite projects: Sivia Harding's Fluency gloves. I'm making these with Elsebeth Lavold Angora yarn. Before I tell you about these, please note:
1. Sivia's name is Sivia, not Silvia.
2. Elsebeth's name is Elsebeth, not Elisabeth.
Ah knitters.
Anyway, I found two skeins of angora in the stash and there gloves are going to be lovely. Except. The pattern calls for about 110 yards per glove, and I only have 91. The yarn is discontinued, and I can't find more anywhere. Oh well. Sivia (no L) gives us a Mitt option on these gloves, so we'll see if I make mitts instead of gloves.
And my other WIP count is:
-2 pairs of socks: one for me and one for Tim
-3 scarves, including the one I just cast on, the knit-of-the-moment Kusha Kusha
-3 sweaters, but not yet the top I want to cast on.

Tim has been in St. Louis since Thursday and I've been spending a lot of time with the dogs. Juneau is doing fine, although getting up both at 3am and 6am for her is not that fine for me...but I've been hitting the pillow at 9:30 each night so that's working out OK. And I think I might take a wee nap this afternoon.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Twilight for Academics

This week I read the new novel "A Discovery of Witches." I loved it.

As I plan to describe the plot, I realize that it is going to sound, um, unusual...so please don't dismiss it as another silly "I'm in love with a vampire" novel because it isn't.

An American historian finds an unusual book at the Bodleian Library at Oxford (OK who can't love it...it has ACADEMICS in ENGLAND!). It turns out the book is one being sought by a number of interested groups, groups that all think the book may hold the key to their continued existence on earth. OK, so the groups are witches (our Academic hero), Vampires and a group called Daemons (but not "Golden Compass" Daemons...these are some race of magical people with powers I"m unclear about).

In the course of her work to discover why the book is so precious, our witchy heroine Diana encounters Matthew (vampire) and Diana has to determine whether she can trust him enough in her search (because spoiler alert: vampires and witches HATE each other! Who knew? I thought all magical creatures lived happily in a Hogmeade like environment).

The book is well written, well researched, and the only weakness is that it ventures into sugary sweet romance territory just a few times too often, but soon returns to the fascinating story of magical creatures in our world. And it begs the question: why can't we all just get along?

Even better (for me) it is the first in a trilogy. And the way it ends, you really want to know what happens next. Oh well. That's what 2012 is for.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Review of Spring/Early Summer VK

VK has increased their publication schedule to six issues per year. I had sort of forgotten that, and was pleasantly surprised to find the spring/early summer issue in the mailbox this morning. The theme of the issue is Spring Sizzle! The cover is grey and white with bright (and I mean BRIGHT) orange type.

I'm not an orange person, so between the orange type and the fact that it is a spring/summer issue I wasn't expecting a lot from this issue. So let's get started.

The Good: For $6.99 you'll get 29 patterns, which is a pretty good value. The patterns are divided into 7 'stories' (although honestly, three of those 'stories' run together). The two 'stories' I like the best are "It's All White Now" and "Postcards from Rio". "It's All White Now" features...guess what? Knits in white! Which I'd never do because honestly, I'm prone to spillage. But, there's some cute things here (#1, #3, #4, #7 (the cover look) and #8). Nothing I'm going to run off and knit tomorrow, but I will go root around the stash to see if I can make #3. The 'Rio' story features bright colors and some pretty basic patterns but #21, a sleeveless wrap tunic is worth the price of admission. I love this one. Norah Gaughan's pattern, #22, is great too.

The bad: I will never knit (nor wear) a knit bikini (or bikini period) so the "So Hot it Sizzles" story is a waste of paper for me. And since I won't wear a bikini, I really don't need a knit cover up (granted, I'm from the school of thought that the perfect beach coverup is a big old t shirt and a pair of shorts). So that eliminates the "Under cover" and "Sheer Beauty" stories for me. And the lace tops on "Summertime Blues" are just kind of boring. Although THANK YOU VK for putting cute little tshirts under knits as opposed to clunky long sleeve shirts that your unnamed competitor uses.

The ugly: Sorry VK, but Setting off Sparks (scroll down) is unwearable, regardless of how cutesy it is. And VK continues its tradition of whackadoodle accessories by using huge, oversized flowers to style the "All White Now" story. And there's a really unfortunate ad on the back cover.

There you go. What do you think of this issue?