Sunday, February 26, 2006

Crash & Burn

My Knitting Olympics project is still living in a bag. I've frogged back second time now, and am ready to try a third time on the raglan armholes. I'm hoping they'll fit this time. I've gone down a pattern size & also a needle size, so we'll see how this works. Robin has been busy with school & tonight was her first chance this week to get over for a fitting. The sweater will fit when it's done, and that's my priority, even if I missed out on the Olympics time frame. I did, however, manage to finish a WIP - Estonian Lace scarf, and also figured out the cast-on for the Moebius scarf. Well, I suppose I should correct that comment - it's not that I *understand* it, so much as I was able to follow the directions & get it on the needles & in progress.

It was great fun to knit along with the athletes in the Olympics. I found myself cheering just as much for our Canadian friends as for our own. Their talent & determination was great to see.

Well, back to my knitting. . .

Friday, February 24, 2006

Janice & the Giant Moebius

I guess I'm not the only one who got *just a bit* carried away with size on my knitting project. Janice's Knitting Olympics project was a moebius scarf, using some gorgeous handspun, hand-dyed Corriedale. As you can see from the photo, the moebius is very forgiving, and looks just fine if wound around enough times. She finished her project several days ago.

Goodness, gracious, great balls of fiber. . .

I, on the other hand, discovered that Robin's sweater was waaaaay too big. It's amazing how much more you can tell after getting button bands on. . . no more curling of the edges, everything lies flat & reveals its true size. Big. The sweater went to live in the freezer overnight (did you know that it's easier to frog a frozen sweater?) and yesterday I frogged. I had very carefully spit grafted all of the yarn together as I began each new ball. So what I have now, after frogging, is a ball of yarn approximately bowling ball-size. I've picked up at the yoke & am knitting down again. (The hood was perfect.)

Even at three stitches/inch, I don't think I'll make it. In the overall scheme of things, I decided it was more important for Robin to have a sweater that *actually fit her* than for me to complete the task by the end of the Olympics. Knitting on. . .

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Pardon Me While I Go Bang My Head For Awhile

I have this sinking feeling that the sweater I'm knitting for Robin (Olympic Knitting project) is turning out too big. Maybe it's because when I slipped it on this morning to check the sleeve length, it nearly fit *me*. If it fits *me*, she's likely to fall through & hang herself.

She's had it on before, but that was before I added button bands, which increased the sweater's width. And of course, it's hard to tell, what with edges curling, etc. how things will block out. . . then there's shrinkage. This brand of wool has shrunk on me before.

I've started knitting the first sleeve. This is a top-down raglan. If I catch it now, I'll only need to rip out & reknit, say 6" of one sleeve, about 18" of body, and . . . good grief. But in the greater scheme of things, I'd rather that Robin have a sweater that actually fits *her*. I hope she can scoot over for a minute to try it on.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Knitting Olympics Update

I'm making great progress on the sweater. At this point, I'm figuring that I'm about 65% done. Maybe more. The body of the sweater has been cast off, and I'm over halfway done with the hood now. There is no shaping whatsoever to the hood, other than at the very end (top). This pattern is sooooo simple. If I like the fit when it's done, I'll probably use it again soon. If I don't like the hood, I'll alter the pattern *next time* when I'm not knitting it as an Olympic event. :-)

If I had thought of it earlier, I'd have made a "downhill" category button, since I'm working top-down. It only seems appropriate. As it is, I'm on the Curling team, by virtue of my naturally wavy hair. . .

The combination of Misti Alpaca sportweight & Harrisville Knitting yarn (heavier than their Shetland) is wonderful. I usually am not fond of Harrisville. . . it breaks so easily & feels to me that maybe they haven't used the best of fibers. But perhaps it's because I've been spoiled by handspun. I'm picky about the fibers I spin, and my handspun is much stronger by comparison to the Harrisville. (I have had some problems with my handspun pilling - I think as a result of using lamb fleeces a lot. Love the softness, but Geez Louise, it can pill.)

Knitting on. . .

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Knitting Olympics Update & Tina Shawl Stall

The Olympics project is well under way now. I'm figuring I'm over 1/3 done. I've passed the halfway mark on the body, & am adding some short rows across the back for comfort (I don't like sweaters that creep up). The photos I just took of the sweater in progress are so dark that I'll need to get some better light on the subject later.

The Tina Shawl KAL is on hold for now. The photo is from a gathering last week at Janice's house. Janice is using some gorgeous yarn from Blackberry, which she likes because it's a bit heavier than many other laceweights & very easy knitting (plus, the color, a deep cobalt blue, is truly stunning). D2 is working with laceweight alpaca, which she hand-dyed in a warm mocha color. Mmmmmmm. The slight variations in color are working up beautifully. There are four other knitters working on this KAL, at Knit Night at Northwest Handspun Yarns in Bellingham. Their website: (I teach spinning there.) We're all using different yarns/colors & it will be fun to see the finished projects. :-)

The other photos are from our trip last weekend. We took our new trailer out for a shakedown cruise, to Whidbey Island. We enjoyed perfect weather, a gorgeous campsite, great winter sunset, and hints of coming spring.

p.s. Miss Pupper says "Hi"

Monday, February 13, 2006

Let the Olympics Begin

Well, actually, they did a few days ago. At the Friday 2 p.m. cast-on time, I was driving to a mammogram appointment. (Routine, thank you, it's just that I'm way overdue. Yes, I do realize that it's an important test . . . I'm not particularly fond of having my itty bitty pieces smooshed . . . yes, I'll try to keep on top of my schedule better next year.) So the beginning of my Knitting Olympics project didn't happen until later in the day.

I thought I was well prepared, but unfortunately, the ball-winding fairy had forgotten to stop by my house to poof my skeins into tidy little balls. This oversight taken care of, I plunged in to my chosen event later in the day. I am working on Knitting Pure & Simple's Bulky Neckdown Cardigan for Women, pattern #252, using a strand of Harrisville Knitting Yarn (which I'm normally not all that fond of. . . but it worked with the. . .) Misti Alpaca Sport Weight. . . yummmmm. I'm *right on gauge*. Can you believe it? This *never* happens. Well, rarely. Anyway, this sweater will be for Robin, my son's girlfriend. I am slightly modifying the pattern to lengthen the raglan armholes a bit (in the pattern's photo, doesn't it look a bit snug to you???) and will be making button bands for the front, instead of putting in a zipper. If Robin wants, she'll get pockets, too. And I'll do seed stitch for the cuffs & bands. I like seed stitch.

At this writing, I'm about halfway done with the body. Not bad. We've had the weekend away, & I've had some extra knitting time while on the road. I'm on my third (of seven) ball of alpaca, and second (of six) of wool. Hooray!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Knitting Olympics Begin Soon

I have been trying to figure out how to get this little button onto my sidebar, and don't think I'm having much success. I'm guessing just from my limited experience, that it'll wind up with the text. I'll see soon. It's supposed to link to so we'll see if that happens, too. If not, just copy & paste to your internet browser to see what it's all about (but then come back). Or, sign up yourself! :-) At this point, the knitters participating in the Knitting Olympics outnumber the regular Olympic athletes.

I have committed to knit a sweater for my son's girlfriend as my Olympic challenge, and the yarn is on its way. I swatched a couple of weeks ago, and will be using a strand of Misti Alpaca carried along with a strand of Harrisville Knitting yarn. Absolutely yummy. I went through my circular needles yesterday and located everything that needed to go into the bag. I've finished training by knitting myself a similar pattern, and at the moment I'm just cooling down for a bit by knitting the Tina Shawl. Which brings me to my point: WHAT WAS I THINKING?????

On February 1, I started a KAL with some friends from the local shop where I go to Knit Night on Tuesdays. See for the shop in downtown Bellingham. Great place. Lots of friends there. Getting back to the KAL, when D2 & I talked about knitting this, we decided to invite the other Knit Nighters to join in the fun. Now there are seven of us working on this pattern, with different yarns & colors. I'm on the third pattern repeat now and love it. It'll be hard to put that down to begin the sweater, but it is going to happen. As I've said to everybody at KN, this KAL is not a race. But I am concerned that the Tina will be calling to me, as sparks fly from my needles during the Olympic challenge, begging for just another row, just another pattern repeat. (And you know that knitting lace is addicting. . . to see the pattern emerge from a tangle of yarn that resembles, well, an egg carton, is truly amazing.)

Wish me luck.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Two Best Kept Secrets in Bellingham

I've been meaning to post these bits of information for quite awhile now. Today seems to be the day. Hang with me friends, it's not all serious stuff. :-) Oh, and the iris has been blooming in my garden since last month. Just thought you might enjoy seeing it.

First of all, I have "a thing" about our dependence on foreign oil. Without getting too political here, it concerns me that we have come to rely so heavily on a resource that we cannot provide in adequate amounts within our own shores, and that the American public seems to care so little about this problem. This is a great country. If we can get a man on the Moon & back again, it seems to me that it could not be much more difficult to develop alternative sources of energy to power our vehicles & heat our homes. I will spare any readers who might be out there my usual tirade, and simply state that in Bellingham (Best Kept Secret #1), we are fortunate to have BIODIESEL available. It is produced from waste cooking oil. I drive a VW New Beetle Diesel, and my car (Eduardo, just in case you didn't know his name) purrs on biodiesel. Smells better, too, rather like waffles or french fries. If you're interested to learn more check out In the cooler winter temperatures, I do use a small percentage of regular diesel along with the bio, as recommended by Justin The Biodiesel Guy. I get >40 mpg, and Eduardo did not need any special modifications to run on biodiesel. He gets his regular tuneups & checkups, just as he normally would.

The Second Best Kept Secret in Bellingham is The Upfront Theater It is a small comedy club in downtown Bellingham, on Bay Street. I discovered this theater because my son-in-law's friend has been taking classes there from Ryan Stiles (Whose Line is it Anyway). Good, Bad & Ugly night is Thursday at 8 p.m. Admission is (get this!) $5. Thursday performances are newer comedians & material, but we've always been pleased & have had some good laughs there. If you really want to splurge, for $10, the Friday & Saturday shows (7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.) are the regular shows. Check their website for details.

Tending to my Knitting

The Tina shawl is progressing, but at this point (working on the center square) I feel like I'm knitting an egg carton. The piece is very, ummmm, three-dimensional, which I'm gathering will block out when that time comes. Gauge????? Well heck, it's a shawl. I'm living on the edge here. I didn't do a swatch.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Tina Shawl Cast-on Day

Today is cast-on day for the Tina shawl, pattern from Fiddlesticks Knitting. My friend, Dee Dee and I had both decided to knit this beautiful Shetland-style shawl. She is a very experienced knitter. I am gaining experience and up for a bit of a challenge. We decided to do a KAL together, and then shared the idea with our friends from Knit Night in Bellingham. Now, several of our fellow Knit Nighters have decided to join in the fun. Thank goodness Nan had already ordered more patterns. . . I hope she has enough. Of course, there's plenty of laceweight yarn to go around, and we're looking forward to seeing the shawls as they progress, in all the different colors/yarns that folks have chosen. I'm working in plain vanilla laceweight Merino from Knitpicks, which, after two rows, I like very much. It's got enough substance that on the size 6 needles I feel pretty comfortable, and it's lofty. I think it'll make a lovely shawl. Some of the other gals have chosen Misti Alpaca laceweight which should be delicious as well.

In a flurry of knitting, I was able to finish the Top-Down Raglan Hooded Sweater from Knitting Pure & Simple, in Lamb's Pride worsted weight. Purple. Very purple. I bought the yarn long ago, and when I finally got around to knitting this sweater, I was wondering what in the world possessed me to buy *this* color. . . but you know how it is. . . you have ten skeins of it & you might as well just make peace with the color. It actually looks pretty good on.

Now off to the shop for a row counter. . .