Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Filling in the Knitting Blanks

I've been doing some knitting, but haven't been too diligent about keeping the blog updated, so here goes.  It seems a little frivolous to babble about knitting when so many people have been devastated in Japan, so I'll pass on a small way to help that I learned about this morning.  I went online to the Red Cross to donate and after I did that, I visited my forums on Ravelry.  Little Knits is a yarn shop in Seattle with a large online business.  There was a thread in the group today regarding Japan, so I read it.  The owner of Little Knits announced that she would match donations for people who had no corporate matches and donate up to $10,000.  So I emailed the Red Cross with the matching information and also advised Little Knits so my donation amount could be double checked.  I know there are lots of worthy organizations to which to donate, but the Red Cross is a great one and doubling my money was a welcome opportunity.

So back to knitting.  When last we visited, I was hoping to finish my Geodesic Cardigan.  I did get it finished; there were a few issues but luckily the "problem" areas are hidden from general view, and I'm pretty pleased with how it came out.  Here's my "set the camera up and run in front of it" photo.

The sock that used to be a mitten is coming along finally.  I'm making the Vellamo Socks (Ravelry link) and they're a nice combination of colorwork and stripes.  The first sock isn't perfect; this is my first attempt at a short row heel and I also haven't made a striped sock before (without using self-striping yarn.)  I've successfully avoided the jog in the stripes, but am having a little trouble where I carry one color up behind the other.  I'm using this first sock as an experiment and hopefully will hit on a successful technique to use for the second.

I finished spinning the nummanumma fiber and am pretty happy with the way it came out.  I think it's about 500 yards and looks like I got a pretty good continuum of color.  I'm thinking about what small shawl will be best for it.

A bit of startitis has happened.  In addition to the sock, I've started a sweater and a shawl.  I spun some BFL/Silk last summer and intended to use it all along for the Tappan Zee cardigan.  I carefully three plyed the yarn to avoid striping but the way the two braids were dyed resulted in yarn that differed quite a bit in color.  So I decided to alternate skeins to mix up the colors, which of course makes it look stripey, but I'm going to knit for awhile and see how I like it.

I bought some Madelinetosh Pashmina with a gift certificate I had to The Loopy Ewe courtesy of my friend Goatlady.  For some reason I really wanted to start a project with this yarn and picked the Cedar Leaf Shawlette.  I'm enjoying working with the yarn a lot; it's really soft and pretty.  This pattern is using the dreaded wrap and turn short rows, though, and I think I've been doing them incorrectly.  I'm hoping that when I pick up the wraps it will all work out.  It's always something!

Tomorrow I'm off to Vegas with the Princess.  She's been here for a few days and I'm going back with her to see her doctor.  She's still having problems; we're hoping to get a handle on it this time.

One last thing - this morning I went out of the gate and saw the coolest flower on a vine growing up the wall outside out courtyard.  I have no idea what this it (anyone know?) but I was fascinated.



Sunday, March 6, 2011

Back in the Sun Again

Yes, I've been back here in lovely Palm Desert, CA for a week now.  It was a bit rainy and cooler when I arrived, but it quickly returned to sunbathing weather (at least for me!)  When you're used to cooler weather, you tend to get the shorts out when it gets into the 60s (F) so 70s and lower 80s is all gravy.

Knitting since I last posted:  I was sad to leave my Cassidy at home but knew I wouldn't need a worsted weight, cabled wool sweater here.  I think I wore it every day after I finished it and I like it very much.  Now I'm trying to finish up my Geodesic cardigan out of Wollmeise lacegarn in the Merlot colorway.   I should be finished in the next few days and will post a photo then.  I still like this project, but it wasn't the easiest thing to knit and working with the laceweight and following the directions given isn't always pleasant.  I do love the yarn and will plan to make a shawl out of the substantial ball of leftovers.

Since I need some outdoor knitting and have been collecting skeins of Tahki Cotton Classic to make a mitred square blanket, I decided to send a box full of skeins down here and get started.  Warning:  it is addictive.  You can make a square in a couple of hours (faster if you're not as slow as I am) and it's fun to combine the colors.  I only sent one of each color, though, and I can only get three squares out of one skein if I use it for the outside color.  Since I want to match the darker color in each set of four, I'll have to retrieve my extra yarn before I get this all finished.  Here's my favorite square so far (unblocked).

The colors aren't quite true; it's a lovely deep purple and a lime green.

You might remember that I was working on some colorwork mittens last time.  Well, they met an untimely end.  This sad ball of yarn heralded the end of the mitten project.

They were too big for me and I was having trouble with the edges puckering and the decreases looking nice.  I think I was pulling the floats on the edges too tightly because I knew the mitten was too big and it really didn't work.  I do love this yarn, though, and will turn these unfortunate mittens into a  pair of socks.

I got out my spinning wheel today and plan to finish this nummanumma fiber that I started at home.  It's 50/50 baby alpaca/merino and called "Apricots and mixed fruit".  She always has the cutest names!  I'm trying to make the colors progress from brown through purple to pink but will two ply, so it will still be somewhat mixed up, I'm sure.  I'll just try to get close and probably make a shawl.

A little eye candy:  this morning we picked a couple of grapefruit to see if they were ripe.  I've never been here in March before and whenever I tried grapefruit that looked ripe, they were really sour.  Well, the key is to let them grow until March, I guess, because this one was delicious!

And we finally had a Roadrunner visit.  I have a routine of sending a photo of the first Roadrunner I see to the Princess, so I was out in the yard chasing after this guy and trying to get his picture with my phone so I could text it to her.  After that, he was still there talking to the hummingbirds, so I got a couple of better photos with my camera.  I think they're just so cool.

All for now.  Stay warm and dry and keep knitting!