Sunday, October 26, 2008

Status dump, with photos

The women's ministry at my church sponsors many fellowship outings, and recently we went to Claytime Cafe, one of those paint-your-own pottery things. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to me. One of the events that we do every year is an ornament exchange. I have always brought a handmade ornament for the ornament exchange. Some have been more successful than others. I painted one (nothing fancy, just some swirls of clear varnish on a matte ornament), I did a papercraft one (I don't think that looked very good), and last year I beaded one. As soon as I got to Claytime I started scoping out the options for Christmas ornaments, and voila.

Before firing:



After firing:



The last few years, I've done an altered luncbox as the gift box. I may switch things up a bit - I think I saw some containers at Michaels that were made to be covered. Just so I can do something besides the lunchbox. Like a little hatbox type shape or something.

We went to a wedding yesterday that was a couple hours away. Car knitting time! I mostly worked on a pair of plain socks for the SO's mom and the scarf for my mother.



I knew I needed the sock because the battery was dead in the little earclip light I use to knit in the dark, so I needed something I could work on without seeing. I had just cast on the second sock of the pair, so on the way their I got through the cuff and then put it aside to work on during the drive home. Then I went to work on the scarf for my mom's stocking. I'm having more trouble memorizing the pattern than I would really prefer, but I don't think this is the pattern's fault. It is going quite quickly, though, especially considering that the pattern is written for sock weight yarn and I am using laceweight. I have somewhere between four and six inches done. By the time we got home, I'd finished the leg of the sock. Yarn is KnitPicks Gloss Lace for the scarf and KnitPicks Essential Riverbed Multi for the socks (I think it's discontinued).

Still working on the Caledonian Mist socks in Casbah Peacock.


Almost ready to start the heel - I think I have another four or five pattern repeats to go.

I haven't worked on Whispering Pines at all this week, but I am planning to get moving on it this evening.


The SO and I have been dating 9 years as of last Thursday so he bought me a present. The present is this, but right now it looks like this:


Valley Yarns Colrain in Grape Jelly. I'm excited! But I put it away until the Christmas knitting is done. Most of it. I'm keeping a skein out where I can see and pet it, just to keep me motivated.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Plugging along

It's like I can feel the rows getting longer and longer. I really think it's an illusion - it's just because the pattern repeats right now are so short. I'm in the area I think of as the "snow field" between the big snowflakes and the pine trees. The pattern repeat is 8 stitches. I have markers every 16, just to keep myself from going crazy. Also...because I don't have enough Hide & Sheep markers to keep up with even every 16 stitches, and I am starting to be biased against the rubber ring markers - the Hide and Sheep ones are prettier and thinner and just more pleasant to work with. I've bought 3 sets of the snowflake obsidian markers at this point. I've got the set with the one star marker, the set with the one black marker, and in the set I just bought, I asked for all snowflake obsidian since I really didn't need another row marker, and the folks at Hide & Sheep kindly accomodated me. even so, I have a couple of rubber ring markers still on my shawl. Woe. I'll have to add a couple more for the next chart. Incidentally, I use the star marker as the first marker on the needles when I work a right side row, and the black marker as the first marker on the needles when I work a wrong side row, because I am not always smart enough to remember which one I am working, and coming to that visual reminder stops me before I get too far working the wrong row. ANYWAY. I am on the last row of the second chart for the snowfield, and then I think there is one more chart of snowfield before I get to the pine trees.

When I hit the pine trees I will be, visually speaking, halfway done. However, since every row gets longer - it's definately not halfway done. Still, I am encouraged that I will have this done in plenty of time for Christmas. If I can finish it by the end of November, I will be ecstatic.

Some time ago I mentioned wanting to find a snowflake themed pin to give along with the shawl, but at the time I couldn't find anything. Since it was the middle of summer I resolved to wait until a little closer to the right season before I resorted to making a pin myself. Sure enough, I found one on Etsy and ordered it. It's in the style of a kilt pin and has little snowflake charms hanging from it. Now, looking at it, I know exactly how it was made and I know I could have done it myself. But, I reasoned, of all the crafts I have tried, jewelry-making has been the least interesting to me and it is the one in which I have the least experience. Also, it's really difficult to be cost effective if you are only making one item. So, I went ahead and bought it. I do have one concern, which is that it's a kilt pin style so there is a small circle at the base of the pin that could, conceivably, catch in the knitting...but I think it'll be okay. I'm going to look at it when I get it and see what I think. It may be that I will go back and search for some kind of stick type pin instead, but I'm not sure. I'm reasonably sure that quite a bit of care will be taken by the recipient, so unless it looks like it is just asking for trouble, I will go ahead with what I've got. I'll post pictures of progress when I get the pin so you can see both. I may have to move the shawl onto a longer cable, though, it really can't be spread out anymore on the 24 inch. This is fine because I need the 24 inch cable. I'm actually out! Somehow, all of my 24 inch cables are in use.

I had several cables pop their join on me last weekend. I'm not sure what's up with that - I guess I just got a bad batch. Most of the time I don't have a problem, but every once in a while I get a cable that pops within minutes. I admit, I'm rough on them, so I shouldn't be surprised, but it's kind of vexing. The most annoying part is - I had just receveived a KnitPicks order! I was casting on a scarf in Gloss lace that I had just gotten in the mail! If I had only checked, I could've ordered more cables and been fine! argh! I had the problems with the cables when I went to put it on the 32 inch - I think two 32 inch cables from the same package popped their joins before I pulled out my second set of 32 inch cables, which worked fine. I know I could probably go to knitpicks and have them replace the faulty cables, but I don't really feel the need.

Anyway, if I switch the cables, I can put the 24 cable on the needles I am using for the scarf, and put the shawl on the 32 so that I have more length. After all, it is only going to get bigger (hold me while I weep for a minute).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Decision Made

Yesterday I put away MS4 and picked up Whispering Pines (eventually - there was a slightly panicked search when I could not find the ziplock it was in, but the SO came to the rescue, finding it in the craft room before I had time to work up into a real fit about it).

I'm on Chart C on Whispering Pines and when I looked at the picture and mapped where I was to the picture of the finished shawls - I have kind of a lot of work to do. It was definitely the right decision to pick it up.

I have to say in the interests of full blog disclosure - the last couple charts of MS4 made it not so hard to put it down. There's nothing wrong with them, per se...I'm just not sure I want to knit them as is. The designer's theme, now revealed, is "Serendipity" and it seems that the stole does not represent anything in particular, so much as the element of surprise, which...seems to me to be kind of redundant in a mystery stole. I'm a little disappointed - I love to knit things with a story, which is one of the reason I like so many of Pink Lemon Twist's patterns, they are always well thought out and representative of the story she is trying to tell, and that appeals to my romantic English major self. (also, my pedantic nature wants to point out that 'serendipity' and 'surprise' do not mean the same thing, but that is petty and I will not give in to it)

However, I do really like the pattern up through chart 5 - to me it looks like campfires in the woods with mountains in the background, and I really love it. But, I'm thinking about changing the last couple of charts to fit with my idea. I think this would basically consist of taking out the diamonds. I think I can convince myself that the flower-type motif in the very center of the shawl is the sun (I need to look at a few more knitted pictures), but the diamonds just don't really work for me. I'm considering leaving the small ones on chart 5, but the big ones in the middle just don't quite do it for me.

I bought two skeins of KP Gloss lace in Sterling and the KnitSpot pattern Tudor Grace to make a scarf for my mom for Christmas. I want a pattern I can memorize and carry around (so that it won't compete for knitting time with Whispering Pines) and that one seems like it will fit the bill. The pattern is written for sock weight yarn, but I want it to be small and filmy, since I'm intending it more for an accent with clothing than for warmth or anything like that, so I bought laceweight yarn. My mom lives in Texas and doesn't generally have to wear a scarf for warmth anymore, but she likes them with clothes. I'm hoping the grey will go with some of her things. And if it's not done by December, it can be my airplane knitting!

Monday, October 13, 2008


I beg forgiveness for the long blog silence. I am, generally speaking, kind of embarassed to blog without photos, so I tend to not blog when I don't have any. But! Look what we have today!


Caledonian Mist in Handmaiden Casbah Peacock. This photo is actually a little old and out of date, as this sock is finished - but the second sock looks basically the same, so - pretend. Except the second sock is not nearly this long yet. So...I'm both behind, and ahead with this picture?

Regardless, just try to tell me that isn't stunning. It's all I can do not to go buy all the Casbah I can get my hands on.

Next up, MS4.


I am woefully behind. This is about halfway through Clue 3. I am a failure of a mystery stoler. Have a detail shot.


I admit I have been ignoring the community aspect of this project almost entirely. I haven't looked at any pictures or any discussion, so forgive me if I'm stating the obvious, but - the yarnover motifs look like campfires or burning incense to me. Interesting.

I have a condition, which may be universal or may be universal to new knitters, or it may be just me, but generally speaking, when I look at a chart full of yarnovers...that's all I see. I can't see the picture until I have actually done the knitting. Hmm, now that I look at it, the beads look like they could be pine trees. So, maybe I am right on the camping theme?

I personally hate camping, but that's okay, I think I can forgive the stole, since it is in fact really pretty. Not really sure where the mass of yarnovers that are clues 4 and 5 will go, though. But, that is the fun, isn't it?

Here's a closer look at the top:


I need to try to remember to crop my photos tighter.

The color in these photos isn't bad; I took it upstairs and photographed it without a flash by an open window, and then when I got it on the computer I adjusted it until the color of the cloth I was using for a background was close to correct. However, I am kind of thinking that if there really is a camping theme, I'd have liked to use a green yarn instead of this marine blue - but oh well, that's the Mystery, isn't it?

Anyway, I'm enjoying the project, except one problem - I've got two other lace projects of about the same level of complexity that are in process. This was a mistake. I don't really get anxiety over multiple projects if they are different types of projects, because different projects are appropriate for different kinds of knitting time. However, I do get nervous when I have multiple projects competing for the same type of knitting time. I have 3 lace projects going now that require about the same amount of attention - Moonlight Sonata, Whispering Pines, and MS4. I have worked on MS4 exclusively and I would, I think, be okay with that, except that Whispering Pines is a Christmas present and I fear that I won't finish it in time. I thought I would be okay because MS4 ends in October and then I would have all of November and most of December to do Whispering Pines, but I am starting to worry, especially since I am so far behind on MS4. I am considering two options:

1 - Work on MS4 until the knitalong is over, and then stop wherever I am on it and pick up Whispering Pines as I intended.

2 - Accept that I am not going to catch up anyway, and put down MS4 now until Whispering Pines is finished. Download and store all the clues until I am ready to pick it up again.

I'm leaning toward option 1 at this point.

I do have one other project for Christmas, a pair of fingerless mitts for a friend. I have the yarn, Little Knits Indie II in Burgandy, but I haven't started yet. In fact I don't think I have checked to see whether I have the right size needles either - note to self, do that.

I am not too worried about getting those done, but if the pattern is correct I should have enough yarn for 2 pair, and I would like to make the second for another friend.

I am resisting the urge to mentally commit to other presents, just in case. I'd like to make a pair of socks for my mom, and I'd like to make a hat for my dad, to go in their stockings (my mom stuffs the stockings so I especially like to stick a little something in for her when she is not looking), but I have not bought yarn so that I don't end up overcommitting (although I am really quite sure I could make a pair of plain socks for my mom, I mean really now, surely I can handle a pair of simple stockinette socks in two and a half months - although a lacy silky scarf would be kind of neat to put in her stocking as well and I do have a bunch of KP Gloss in the stash...).

I am totally doomed, aren't I?