Saturday, December 30, 2006

the sweater grows

I'm pleased as punch with my sweater. The fronts are done, and I finally get to start the sleeves... where the stitch dropping starts. Woo hoo! Hubby is home for the weekend, so I probably won't get quite as much done as I did on Thursday and Friday, but I hope to be blocking by January 1!

The origami tree at the MNH is really wonderful. There was a table with volunteers from the Origami Society of the USA (or something like that), who were demonstrating how to make simple animals. I could have filled up the camera's memory with photos of these guys.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

i lurve it already

I started my Drop-Stitch Sweater yesterday, and I'm loving it! I'm also loving just sitting around and knitting... which could get really habit-forming. The arm decreases are done, and the back should be finished this evening. I had to stop and take a picture before all natural light disappeared. It's lovely to still have light at 4:30pm!

I've upgraded to the new Blogger, and it seems that my picture is fairly cropped, among other issues. I have a lot to learn about this new version! Oh, and if you were considering going to the Museum of Natural History this week: DON'T! It's a crazy madhouse. But the origami animal tree was really cool, and I'll share pictures of that treat soon.

(ETA: Ah well, the picture thing seems to have resolved itself. Thanks Blogger!)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

quick update

So, happy holiday of your choice. We ran out of here last week and I didn't get a chance to display the picture of the Lincoln Center Christmas tree. Maybe next year... This has to be quick because I'm leaving to go to the Museum of Natural History shortly... with the nephews. Hope I have the energy!

I finished a pair of socks! These are from the Regia Bamboo purchased during our August trip to Germany. Grafting is getting much, much easier. However, the next pair of socks I cast on are going to be toe-up. I just have to figure out how.

I finished (a while ago) a little hat out of leftover bits of Polar! This might go in the Dulaan bin, or to the next baby that pops out. We'll have to see which comes first.

Speaking of babies, I took advantage of the Webs sale on Louise Harding Kimono Angora. The baby gifts are in such high demand that I thought a little stash plugging is in order.

Finally, my last yarn purchase of 2006: Brown Sheep Wildfoote sock yarn from upstate. There was one amazing yarn store Mom knew of, and I'm lucky that this was it for the purchasing.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

wednesday ramblings

I'm very sad that I missed the opportunity to eat here. I was enthralled by Calvin Trillin's profile of the place from 2002, and walked by it a number of times over the summer (I had a class nearby). Of course, I'm willing to follow Calvin Trillin just about anywhere, and eat just about anything he recommends. He has a new book out, which I'm almost sure to pick up before the end of the year.

The Trekking sock surgery went well; undoing the graft was easier than expected. I knit through the attached yarn last night and was going to proceed in attaching the skein again, but thought that I needed to be more alert to check the length. Tonight, hopefully.

On a side note, I just called to order a plant for my grandmother, who's moved out of her house and into an adult-care facility in the same small town. I placed the order, and told the florist my grandmother's name. The florist said, "And she's at East Road now, right?" and by golly, she is. Hopefully my good granddaughter deed will spread through the town as quickly as the move did. Cities have the same small town deal, just condensed and less personal. The coffee cart guy and Starbucks folks knows my order before I arrive at the register, but they certainly don't know my name. The same, but different.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

finished socks!

My nasal issues are staging a comeback, so this might be even more disjointed than usual.

I wanted to use up every last bit of time off from the office, and since we are closing for the year on Thursday, I had to get moving and take my 3/4 of a personal day today. I chose to spend my personal time grafting up some socks. I really dislike grafting, but will admit that it's getting easier. Below are my two success stories; koigu and regia.

I started out the afternoon by finishing the toe to my second Trekking Jaywalker. Yay! Only 14 stitches to graft for these!

And they look pretty good here, huh? Except...

I seem to have stopped about two inches short on the foot for the second sock. Tonight's mission is to pick apart the grafting, and frog back to the pattern. It could be worse, of course.

Hubby just handed me a glass of wine. I can't smell a thing, but know that it's red.

Monday, December 18, 2006

10 days?

Wow, I didn't realize that I hadn't posted in so long. Sorry, readers! I was seriously distracted with finishing up the semester (only one more to go!) and working lots and lots, as it is the busiest season of the year at work. The combo always leads to very little holiday spirit on my part.

But, I have been knitting and gifting. This little hat was gifted to my little September baby friend. Mom, baby and I had lunch recently, and I was concerned about the heftiness of his current hat. This is made from the all-naturally dyed Jamie Harmon merino/angora yarn (purchased from Rhinebeck 2006). The little guy was not impressed with the mittens, but they were just too cute to not make. He seemed fine with the hat!

In other news, I was jolted awake yesterday by a migraine (after feeling crappy the previous two days). It took a while for me to realize what it was, because it had been so long since I'd had the pleasure. Since I was asleep, I didn't catch the aura warning signs and was thus really confused for a while. I figured out what it was after I started thinking that lopping off my head would be preferable to the pain. Happily, my migraines are usually only a couple of hours long, so I did make it to the two previously scheduled Sunday parties... ;)

Friday, December 08, 2006

finished object friday

In time for the coldest day, I finished my hat! It's a Rhinebeck 2006 purchase: Briar Rose Fibers Collette, 85% wool & 15% mohair, 190 yards. And it was only $15! There's enough left over for a little pair of mitten, too. I saw a hat with a big braid in the Briar Rose booth, and went searching for the pattern. Not finding anything, I branched out and didn't follow a pattern to the letter. The bottom is the Loose Five Rib Braid with Abby added border from Barbara G. Walker's Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns, and I just picked up about 70 stitches and started knitting the top part. It worked out really well, and will be even better when the wind isn't blowing at 30 mph.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

dulaan finale (for now)

It's the first really cold week we've had in New York this season, so I think it's time to unveil my collection of Dulaan items. Four hats, one scarf, and one neckwarmer. This is the ultimate good-for-the-soul knitting. I loved holding the thick wool and stitching up warmth destined for chilly Mongolians. Most items are kid-sized, but the red hat is pretty large. I have a very significant circumference, and it fits me just fine.

Everything was knit in either Lamb's Pride Bulky, or Valley Yarns' Berkshire. I had all of this in my stash from a year or so ago, when I thought that felting was my new knitting technique. It finally hit me that I didn't want felted bags, and so the yarn has been hanging out in the stash. I'm very happy that it was repurposed for such a good cause!

All of the hats have double-thickness at the base to protect foreheads and ears. I used Ann Budd's basic hat pattern for the technique (one purl row to encourage the first two inches to fold up). I'm going to do a couple more items before the end of the year, including some mittens with more Lamb's Pride Bulky that is a dark gray-blue - perfect for hand coverings, because a little grubbiness won't show!

Thank you, Ryan, for coordinating this project.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

comfort knitting

I was sick on and off for many weeks this fall. One day, when my head was really stuffy and I couldn't breathe, and couldn't function at work, I came home and settled in for an afternoon on the couch. In assessing my knitting options for the sick day, I knew that I wanted yarn thicker than all of the socks I've been doing, and also thought that something destined for a very hot water bath was an equally good idea (given that I was a germ factory). Burp cloths came to mind, and I settled in with my cotton and Addi Turbos. It was so nice to work with fun colors, and see the fast production that come with size 6 needles. The ultimate in comfort knitting, from Ann and Kay of Mason-Dixon Knitting.

On a different topic, isn't Studio 60 getting better? I did replay the bit when Danny (Bradley Whitford) popped out from behind the screen to say, "We're having a baby?!" about a dozen times. It was so silly, and hilarious. BW needs to get a character that gets out of the office more, though; it's his second ill-advised workplace relationship in a row! Find a nice girl at Starbucks or the Coffee Beanery or something. (What is the name of the LA coffee place/chain that I've heard about? The name is related to coffee or tea... can't remember.)

Monday, December 04, 2006

one more warm baby head

Apologies for the ickiness of the picture; it looked just fine on the camera's screen! One more baby gift was handed over to the post office over the weekend. The baby hat from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, presented here in the called-for yarn, Mission Falls cotton. I like the little tie, which I hope keeps little ones from ripping off the hat and tossing it down onto the subway tracks.

It is suddenly really cold in New York, and I'm working on a hat for me now! Pictures of the completed hat (hopefully) later in the week.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

my kind of town, chicago is

Hubby and I had the pleasure of visiting Chicago over Thanksgiving, where we got to check out Clairest's new digs, and new city.

Chicago is super-cool because there's public art everywhere, and lots of space to stand around and discuss what you see.

Big shiny beans are very popular.

As are serene, giant video screens that display either babbling brooks or massive faces.

Chicago seems to be all about juxtaposing architecture, art, and tradition. Here, we've got all three: the Chase building, a Picasso sculpture that dismayed/scared the crap out of the city when it was unveiled, and the German Christmas fair (with real German vendors).

But the old and the new coexist very happily.

On our next trip, hang the expense, we are going on a Segway tour. They just look like too much fun.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

lilly's sweater

And so: the backlog is attacked.

Here we have the little Baby Kimono, from Mason-Dixon Knitting (everyone's favorite 2006 knitting book release! Well, mine, at least.) This version is done in Cascade's Pima Tencel, which is conveniently machine washable (I think I forgot to add that, Melinda). I made it 25% larger than written in the pattern, because I was late in getting the gift started. It's really soft, and I think that I like babies in dark colors, just for something different. The front pieces have a little decorative yarn-over to soften up the edges.

It's a fun pattern, and the very little finishing required gives it a big thumbs-up from me. So how about sharing some shots with Lilly modeling it, huh? We haven't gotten a picture email in quite a while. ;)

Friday, December 01, 2006

still around...

I think that I need to try and find this bar, wherever it might be. If I saw this sign, I would totally go inside. The real problem is that I haven't seen the camels out and about in the morning since before Thanksgiving. I miss them; the trailer is outside of Radio City, and they aren't inside... so where are they? Life is a mystery.

This is, um, weird.

But Gilmore Girls cracked me up this week.

I haven't been home when there was daylight in a long time, but tomorrow should offer the opportunity to take some pictures of my recent knitting. And winter weather will finally have arrived! Yippee!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

dulaan #2

A scarf this time! More Lamb's Pride, and suitable for a single-digit child, size-wise.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

dulaan #1

Hat #1 for a little to mid kid. It's super stretchy, so there are possibiilities. The brim is double thick to protect little ears (I used the trick of purling a row to get it to fold over nice and easy, and then reversed the ribbing to it would fit together. It's Lamb's Pride Bulky in periwinkle and amethyst. They must know wind out there in the prairie.

More to come tomorrow!

Friday, November 17, 2006

a quiet friday

Isn't this just the cutest? Slate is running a global warming-awareness series, and this is the graphic for the article about greening up your clothing.

To countdown to Thanksgiving next week, starting tomorrow I"ll be unveiling my five Dulaan items day by day. After focusing on socks for so long, I found myself going kind of crazy with thick wool and big needles. By Wednesday, I'll be done with all five of the promised wooly items. But I'm not stopping there! I'm going to keep knitting until I've used up the three skeins of Brown Sheep Bulky and two skeins of Webs' Berkshire. I should be able to get a pair of mittens and at least one more hat out of the leftovers. It's been very rewarding to repurpose the yarn I got for making felted bags into much-needed cold weather gear for Mongolia.

Of course, the way the globe keeps warming, Mongolia won't need wooly hats much longer.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

it's in the mail!

I'll share pictures of what's inside once I hear that the package has made it to Illinois safely. It's wrapped in red for good luck!

...which I'll need tomorrow night for my exam. I kinda sorta think that I'm ready, but who knows, really?

Finally, this is post #150! Woo hoo!

Monday, November 13, 2006

since my last update

I saw the arrival of the Rockefeller Christmas tree. And the camels are back! I saw them on their morning constitutional on Thursday morning, which is always a treat. Didn't see them when I had the camera the next day, but I'll take lots of pictures of them through the end of December. Have no fear. There will be lots of Camels in the City shots.

Democrats: good job. I still can't quite believe it, though. I'm now just waiting for the party to screw everything up, cause really: that's our MO.

I turned in the paper from hell; my exam is just about 48 hours away. I have too much confidence in the formulas sheet that we are allowed to bring into the exam. Anything we want can be on it, but I don't know if magnifiying glasses are allowed. If I knock the font size down anymore, I'm going to need one to read anything on it.

I have been knitting to take the edge off. I knit some burp cloths. My Dulaan items are coming right along. I'm going to draw those out though, because I haven't been very prolific lately, and I don't think my readership could take anymore sock in progress pictures.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

happy election day!

The scene on my way to work during the 2004 Republican National Convention.

Go kick some Republican arse: VOTE!

Monday, November 06, 2006

my life, of late

I've been working on an assignment for my stats/policy research class that I have found to be next to impossible. Really. I'm a smart cookie, but I've spent the last three days sitting in that empty space in front of the computer "desk". What do you need to get through this mess?

-A Kiri shawl (shown hanging off the futon) to ward off the chills.
-Every sheet of paper used in this class since the beginning of September.
-Multiple phones for making frantic calls to stats-savvy cousin for help. (Thanks, Marni!)
-Box of tissues for dealing with lingering, awful allergy issues; and for when you break down on the phone with Hubby and start crying that you want to quit school.
-Inhaler for when you hyperventilate after crying.

There is a little knitting over in the corner, but I really haven't touched it. When I'm falling into bed, I knit a couple of rows on some burp cloths. It's pitiful!

Thankfully the assignment must be finished on Wednesday, so then panic about the only exam in this class can start (exam on November 15). Cheers!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

fessing up

Last night I realized that I hadn't admitted to another yarn binge. I was going to be in the area of Downtown Yarns, had a gift certificate (thank you Katie!), and had just been through a spectacularly horrible class. So I bought yarn. It's better than eating or chain smoking, right?

I unearthed this very pretty skein of Trekking from the sock yarn shelf. I had just started the Jaywalkers and decided to try to springy colors for the next pair.

I went to DY for Sea Silk. It was sold out, but I just loved the colors of their Silk Maiden, so decided to get something close to my goal. I can't wait to use this.

The real splurge were these two little skeins. I have no idea what to do with them, but the colors were so fantastic that I couldn't leave them on the shelf.

Finally, happy birthday Hubby! I hope that the 60mph wind gusts blew in the start to another lovely year.

Friday, October 27, 2006

since the last time i wrote about actual knitting

...not a heck of a lot has been done. I had to go back and check the last sock update! So: one Trekking Jaywalker is done. The other, as shown here, is started. I also started a new pair (this would be October's) in some of the vacation-purchased Regia Silk. It's very soft and lurvely. Inspired by the blankie I did in July, I'm doing little eyelets in the sock, just to keep things fun. Jumping back and forth between that and the Trekking doesn't do any favors for the Trekking. The needles are Knit Picks 2.0mm, which are significantly smaller than the Addi 2.0mms. For a while I thought that they were just flimsy, because snapping seemed possible. But when comparing the two side by side, it's clear that they are just smaller. I hope the sock fits.

That horrible thought just occurred to me for the first time.

And Melinda, if you are still there, I haven't forgotten about you. The wee one's gift will be mailed on Monday, even if I have to pull an all-nighter to get it done.

Monday, October 23, 2006

rhinebeck roundup

Hello, sheep! What a lovely welcome to the 2006 New York State Sheep and Wool Festival. I don't remember the first time that I went to Rhinebeck, but the fest is growing and growing. Knitting is very cool, I take it. My strategy this year was to go through all of the barns and vendors before buying anything, make some decisions, and then start buying. We were there on Sunday, so I knew that it was going to be more relaxed, but I was surprised that I couldn't gete into some booths at first. Pretty wild.

My first purchase was from Jamie Harmon, who has always been at Rhinebeck, but I've never purchased anything from her before. The yarn is angora/wool, and dyed with all-natural elements. With the baby parade, I had to get some stash for hats and booties. It's going to be really fun to knit up.

The next stop was Briar Rose Fibers (sponsor of Cast On). I really liked the colors of the Morehouse/Malabrigo skein, and just got it for a little hat. But the real star was 2500 yards of laceweight something (the fiber content isn't on the tag; interesting). That is more than a mile of yarn, right? Flower Basket shawl?

Of course, there were sock yarn purchases. I've never tried Cherry Tree Hill, and even though I said no more varigated yarn, I couldn't resist. These colors are mild enough that I think even a little pooling won't bother me. The purple is superwash wool from Sliver Moon Farm. I think that it was their first year at the fair, and I really liked the layered color. I think that a nice simple cable and rib will show this off best.

One of my final purchases was 900 yards of a black silk/merino blend. Can you make out the price tag on one of the skeins? That's right; $4.99 each. Wowie... I hope that it's nice to knit with, because the price is certainly right. I believe that this will become the IK Icarus shawl.

Poor Hubby. All that wool and knitting really tuckered him out. He passed out in the corner of the lounge at Sheep's Clothing (Morehouse). I even drove home, because I wasn't sure that his eyes could stay open.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

melody's shawl

Started just before vacation, I'm done with Melody before Rhinebeck. This was one of my purchases last year, and I really wanted to have at least one item knit out of the yarn I purchased in 2005. With only a week to go, I'm not going to get anything else finished, unfortunately.

See the "steek" here, running vertically where the needle is clinging to 16 stitches? You have to pull the needle, and then unravel all of the stitches from the bind off to the cast on edge. It's scary. The Morehouse laceweight is a pretty grabby yarn, and it actually takes longer to unravel than you might think. It gives me hope that the steek will hold.

Hubby holds out the shawl with the unraveling completed. Now is the moment of truth; the time to undo the Mobious loop I created accidently. It's time for the scissors.

When we moved into this apartment, my mother did some slipcovering for us. She was pretty horrified at my scissors, and said that I needed proper sewing shears. I don't really sew, and told her so... but look what appeared under the Christmas tree a few months later! They worked really well, though.

A quick model, pre-blocked. The loopy fringe made me pretty happy, but I know that it will hang out eventually.

Jump to Saturday morning. Hubby walked by the kitchen and asked what I was marinating in the big bowl. I didn't soap the water at all, mainly because I didn't have any woolwash...oh. Except for the Woolite. Whoops.

And finally, the shawl. It blocked out to the specified measurments very easily (16" by 80"), and I didn't even need pins. It was very well behaved, through the whole process.

To celebrate, I ordered a new coat. It should arrive in time for Rhinebeck next weekend. Last year I didn't wear any handknits, and I'm going to be looking for compliments this year.