Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Heart to Heart Progress

So far, so good! I know I've said it before, but this pattern knits wonderfully. Everyone in the Rav Embrace the Lace group keeps raving about this kit. I'm half afraid to see what Jen picks to follow this one!

By the time I knit a second scarf for myself, I have to have a scale. My friend bought hers at Wegmans (grocery) and I've heard Bed, Bath & Beyond carries them. I don't think I'll run out of yarn. But when I do the next one, it would be nice to know if I could have knit more plain repeats. As it is, I knit the 14 increase sections, three plain (no increase/no decrease) sections, and I'm heading down the decrease sections.

Monday, June 29, 2009

It's not only swatches that lie!

I have two skeins of laceweight alpaca that I bought in a ravelry destash. The original color was a pale yellow-green. Not exactly my favorite color. The first to be overdyed I showed a couple of weeks ago (I think!). And today was dyeing day for the second skein.

For whatever reason, I decided I wanted a dark blue. But going back to the pale yellow, I was a bit concerned that I would end up with green. So I wound off a bit and dyed it in dark blue Wilton's dye.

Exhibit A:

Definately not green! I have no idea how blue dye and yellow yarn equal purple, but I'll take it! It's a great dusty purple and I really like this color. So I make more dye bath, soak the skein of alpaca in water and then plop it into the dye bath then into the microwave for a quick nuke.

Exhibit B:

At first, it was turning into the expected green. So I took the yarn out, added a bunch more blue, put the yarn back in and then heated a bit longer. Fortunately, the extra dye saved the day! It rather looks like a peacock to me. I can't wait to see what this looks like after it has dried. And then the knitting should be great! At least I'm sure hoping this looks wonderful.

In order to remind everyone of the differences in colors, I present Exhibit C:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Living Dangerously!

I've had to rip back once and tink back a couple of times. And this delicate laceweight cashmere is holding up wonderfully. The kit contains a 50 gm ball of yarn. One of the pattern notes reminds us to weigh the yarn after 14 repeats. If we're near 25 gms, then skip the one repeat without any increases and head straight into the decreases.

Well, I borrowed a friend's scale at knitting the other night. And after my 14 repeats, I actually had 33 gms of yarn left. And while I do know that each repeat uses a different amount of yarn because the stitch count differs, I still averaged it out. Each repeat used 1.21 gms of yarn. And here is where I decided to live dangerously! (cue ominous music here - theme from Jaws maybe?) I am taking a chance and knitting three repeats even before I start the decreases. Going on the assumption that math is my friend..... 1.25 gms of yarn per repeat x 33 repeats = 41.25 gms. Hopefully that is enough to give me a slightly larger scarf and not run out of yarn one repeat before binding off!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Embrace the Lace Club

I joined Wool Girl's Embrace the Lace club. I haven't done anything with the first kit yet. Poor Bob is getting really tired of everything that comes in the mail being green, and the first kit was very green! But while in the green tone, this second kit didn't sit around long.

First of all, everything that you might hear about Wool Girl's packages is correct. She packs every shipment to the gills with fun and delight.

The fun project pouch on the left already saw duty as I carried Beach Glass around in it. The pouch is nice. It is designed for lace projects. It has metal grommets on two sides for you to run the ends of your circular needle through so the needle tips don't get tangled in your knitting! Rather clever.

This month's pattern was designed by Sivia Harding who is probably the queen of lace knitting with beads. This design is no exception. And then the yarn is cashmere!

The scarf is quite ingenious. You knit a three stitch rounded edge, the garter stitch "scarf" portion, then the beaded heart border. The center garter stitch part is gradually increasing - and then of course decreasing - throughout the scarf. Sivia has quite a decrease to make the point of the heart which you then top off with a bead! I really need sharper points on my needles. I'm using the crochet hook to pull the yarn through most of the decreases. Addi turbos just don't cut it, that's for sure!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Beach Glass

Susan Lawrence's new pattern is named Beach Glass. As much as I love the water, how could I resist? I had the yarn on hand even if I didn't know what it was! After going up to a larger needle because I was using fingering, things progressed rapidly.

It's currently gently pinned out onto my bed drying. I made no attempt to stretch it much. Gently pinned out the curves along the feather and fan edge and that was it. You start at the long edge and work yourself down to about 20 stitches. It's all garter lace and each section is done so fast, you don't have a chance to get bored.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Boy does one thing lead to another!

For some unknown reason, I decided that today I would take down the mini-blinds and clean them. With all the dust around here (woodshop that pays our bills in the basement), dusting off the blinds only goes so far. So down they come to get scrubbed one at a time in the bathtub.

Well, if the blinds are down, I might as well take out the windows and clean both sides of the glass. If the windows are out, I might as well clean the window frames really well. Which leads to washing the mouldings. Down the walls, and before I knew what happened, I was on my knees washing the floor!

Of course, once all the blinds are clean, the tub will need scrubbed. Might as well get the rest of the bathroom since the tub is so shiny. Hmm...the floor in there needs washed too of course.

Beware of washing the mini-blinds! You never know where that will lead!

The Potholders are Here!

The potholder swap was great fun. So much so, that I didn't take a single picture of the ones I made! Like many other people in the swap, I hadn't crocheted in quite awhile. It felt very good to get my hooks out again. I still have to make at least one for my own kitchen. But these are the potholders I received in the swap:

I was in such a hurry to mail mine off in time, I forgot to tag mine too.

Clockwise from top left, my potholders were made by: Debbie C (white, blue and green), Marissa made the ruffled one that looks like it was a bunch of work!, the yellow and white one didn't have a name, the pink rosebud was made by Nannette, and the square in the middle was made by Leila. Nannette even made stitch markers!My only regret is that it was not remotely possible to swap a potholder with everyone participating. This swap has elevated the potholder to art!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Not a Saturday Sky

We've had rain. And for a change, some rain. Not interesting sky pictures. But before all the rain, I had a couple of flowers. We're gone so much, I can't even put in flowers anymore. But when Bob moved in, he brought these Irises with him. They are so very lovely and when warm, they actually smell like root beer!

Summer before last - when we didn't travel quite as much and I still had a dog, I found this iris. Marley and I were walking by the lake and thrown down into a heap were a bunch of irises. I didn't get a decent picture of the little yellow flag irises, but these purple and white ones were also part of my free flowers!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

That's Two!

And I'm afraid to find out what #3 is going to be! You know the expression trouble always comes in threes? Well, last night was number one.

Someone broke into my car and stole my mp3 player and the car adapter! I've lived here five years - and I don't think I've ever locked my car. Heck, at least half of the time, I don't remember to lock the house door. Obviously that has changed. In the "we were blessed, it could have been worse" category - nothing else was taken from the car. I am really ticked off about this! I try not to jump to conclusions....but new people moved in on the cross street with a bunch of kids that are playing in the street all the time. I had a bunch of audio books on there, podcasts, etc. Granted, all those are replaceable without much effort. But I'm about as broke as I can be, so there is no way that is being replaced anytime soon. Car trips have just gotten a lot worse! I'm filing a police report so that hopefully they will start patrolling my area more often.

Today, number two. Walk in the house and find out my roof leaked! Slight damage to the ceiling drywall. Once again, in the "we were blessed" category - the damaged area isn't a "finished" part of the house. And after attic inspection, we think the water was blown in through the roof vent and happened to drip right there. We've had a bunch of rain and high winds - and there is absolutely no other damage.

Dinner is in the crock pot and I'm going knitting tonight. There is still a lot of room for potential disaster left in my day. Cross your fingers for me!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Gauge swatch? Why no, why do you ask?

I'm inside and my camera is (I think) out in the car. In other words, no pictures even though I took some!

I have two skeins of this mystery two strand (I thought) lace weight yarn in the stash. Quietly sitting there next to a skein of saketelli (sp?) laceweight. Plain off white/natural color. So I experimented with some Wilton's frosting colors and overdye the yarn. I was hoping for a nice pale aqua. But Wilton's dyes sometimes separate - which happened here. Started turning green. So I try adding some navy to offset. And got some cool small purple areas. But of course even though they were in the same pot, the two skeins were slightly different colors. And being mystery skeins, of unknown yardage. So I'm happily knitting away on Susan Lawrence's new pattern Beach Glass (rav link). Using the recommended size 5 needles and I'm being a good knitter and alternating the two skeins. Unknown yardage and different colors again.

The pattern has two repeats of the feather and fan section followed by eight repeats of the top garter lace section. I'm about section four when the little voice in my head starts talking. You know that voice. The one that starts out whispering but gradually get louder. This isn't working! The size isn't right - you better do something about this! The voice that tells us to stop knitting way before we've knit a sweater that 15 people can wear at the same time. About section five I finally stretched out the knitting to measure gauge. The pattern gauge is 22 stitches per 4 inches. My gauge? 26 stitches per 4 inches. No wonder this was looking scarf size and not shawl size - I started out five inches smaller than the pattern!

So a brief ripping and rewinding session happens. Since I alternated skeins, I was very careful to rewind as I ripped. So it worked out really well. And now I've gone out on the second limb. I had knit about 75% of the shawl and used maybe 50% of the yarn. I'm living dangerously here, but I'm trying this using only one skein. Wish me luck!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Duluth, MN

So here we are in Duluth, MN. Haven't ever been to Duluth. I've been to Minneapolis before, so I've been to Minnesota. But Duluth is a lot further north - which would obviously impact the weather.

Here it is the (practically) middle of June. It's relatively cool here! I think the high temps have been in the 60's. Which for me is really bizarre. The convention center is across the street from Lake Superior. Yep, literally across the street! Well it may be the inner harbor or something like that, but Lake Superior is right there. Rather awesome.

If you are ever in Duluth, I recommend you eat at the Duluth Grill on 27th st. I don't know if there are other locations, but I can recommend the 27th St location. We ate breakfast and dinner there. They have a large selection of vegetarian items (with the note that the vegetarian options are cooked in the same kitchen with the other menu items. Considerate but I would have thought that would be obvious.) plus another section on the menu of gluten free items!

So for breakfast I had an omelet (egg white option available) made with roasted red peppers, pesto and feta cheese, fresh fruit and red flannel hash. The fruit was real fruit! A large strawberry, slice of pineapple, half a banana and a half slice of canteloupe. And the hash? Chopped sweet potato, carrot and beets.

And maybe it's the downtown/next to the lake location, but there were a lot of people enjoying the outdoor weather Wed afternoon as we were setting up our booth! A lot of walkers, some joggers, boats out on the lake, etc.

And while I thought I had free wifi for the rest of the week and could catch up with some blog posts, that may not be true. Radio silence may resume tomorrow. There seems to be some confusion at the hotel and they think they are moving me to another room tomorrow. I don't understand their end of the problem, but I have no idea what room I'll be in tomorrow night! Go figure.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thank You

Thanks to those who have sent emails and comments about my cousin. His sister sent me the funeral bulletin and it's lovely. Truly a celebration of life.