Friday, March 31, 2006

So, what got worked on last evening?

The moebius for the first Saturday in June. And I'm pleased with the progress. By the time I got done blogging and a bit of tidying, the Big Easy (Dennis Quaid, Ellen Barkin) was into its second half. Cajun background music, easy garter, color blocks of 15 1/2 ridges, lets get to it. Himself out at Symphony so the couch to myself. The Audible CDs burning.

I'm thinking of taking the May office baby sweater to work on for the weekend, since that has the most definite (but still far out there) deadline for finishing. And I'll take Ambrose and the April office baby sweater. Everything else is stuff I want to do, but don't have a huff, puff, coming up fast deadline.

Time to start packing.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Serious startitis

First off, a couple pictures of things that are (mostly) finished. Ambrose the amorphous kitten was given shape by Lucy last night at knitting group. And I managed to finish (the knitting at least) the April office baby sweater. Ambrose is shown in a pre-felted state on a known reference work for scale. Given that one of my housemates is moving out this weekend and in doing so has mostly barricaded the dryer I use for felting, that part of the process will be delayed by a couple days.

And when I say the April office baby sweater is finished, it is, as usual, finished except for the sewing in ends, taking off of markers, sewing on of buttons, that kind of thing. The pattern is Lucy's top-down Raglan Baby Sweater, done in Sockotta on size 4s.

Things that got started yesterday include:

1. Moebius scarf, which is needed for the 1st Saturday in June when I will use it as teaching material at the Granite State Knit-In at Loon Mountain, in my class on I-cord. It will be striped in the blue and red, with twisted I-cord going around the edge, useful to hide all the ends and rather impressing looking if I do think so myself.

2. The FiberTrends felted chicken pattern, in Pastaza. Because I want to and Consuelo the Flamingo is done. I just want to.

3. The Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann in J&S Jumper Weight. Having gotten over my 15 year hang-up and used about a total ounce or two to make the Olympic Tam, I'm now going to put the pounds of it I have left to good use, play with the colors, practice my spit splice and make a number of Baby Surprise Jackets over the next year or so for Afghans for Afghans, who could use some good wool baby sweaters. This is the start of the first.

4. Back in the States and nearer to home, this is the start of the May office baby sweater, a baby Nalgar (reverse raglan). Shopped from the stash, I have no recollection of how I came to have this yarn, but there are two packages of it so I hope that's enough. Machine washable wool it says and that's good enough for me. I don't recall seeing it advertised anywhere.

5. Friends of Himself have had a diagnosis no one wants recently, so I'm starting a FiberTrends Butterfly Shawl with two colors of Jaggerspun Zephyr, daffodil and ice blue worked together. The shawl as written is a square worked from the center out, with the garter accomplished by purling every other round. I prefer my shawls to be one layer, and purling every other round on how many hundred stitches midway through if you don't have to doesn't sound like a very good time, so I'm cutting the square in half to a triangle and knitting every other row back.

Things not started that are still on the list are the sweater for Himself

-- Wondrous Woven Cabling from the Fall 2000 Knitters, done in dark blue-black Green Mountain Spinnery that finally got here after being on backorder for 3 months.

-- Flamingo for the cousin having triplets in July in Florida. That one may wait.

-- Who knows what else.

There was a post and something ate it

I had about 5 pictures and text for them and something in Mozilla just failed and ate the post. So, better posting tonight and the comment that Lucy is one of the bestest friends ever for ending my angsting about sewing up the kitten by just taking it and doing it herself.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Another night, lost to low

I was 255 leaving work yesterday at 5, headed to a massage/acupuncture session with Par, so took just a 1 unit correction which should have brought me down to only 200, and instead, by the time I got home at 7:50 I was 60 and loopy. Many thanks to Himself for "walking" me home over the cellphone, because I was in the highly easily distracted mode and thought I might be low (but how could I be low? I was supposed to be around 200, plenty of margin to go before loopy). I had called him to make sure I stayed on getting home rather than wander off to look at things in stores.

And when I got home I ate the world.

So, new sewing up and no further progress on the April baby sweater. Which does not change that the new moon occurred an hour and a quarter ago and it's now time to cast on all those projects over the next couple days.

Actually, the May baby sweater will have to wait for the April baby sweater to be done first, since it, too, needs the 16 inch size 4s. I'm not sure where the other's I'm sure exist are, but the Kulch has them and is not giving them up right now.

Maybe the kitten will be finished over the weekend. Maybe.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Almost done, kitten and April baby sweater

The baby sweater out of Sockotta just needs its button band and ends sewn in. This means finding 5 markers before it gets all picked up and scrunched on the needle to mark 5 spots where buttonholes will go on the appropriate row. Well, there's one here on the desk in the study for no apparent reason, four more to find.

The kitten has had all of its knitting done. Now comes the sewing up. We're into real FOMU (fear of messing up) territory here. Don't know why this twist in the project road should inspire any more worry than the rest of the pattern, but it does. Okay, as near as I can tell there are only 4 legs on this critter and they seem to go at the appropriate angles to each other, but......

I'm not eager to work with eyelash yarn again, certainly not in an all-over-the-project way.

For those who have been making comments about the Flamingos in the comments, thanks very much. They're so cute, I'm thinking of making one for the counsin in Florida's triplets due in July. As a summary, the pattern is Fiber Trends #221X, and I use Lamb's Pride Worsted, or its variant, Steadfast Fibers Wonderful Wool, and I find I use about 2 1/2 skeins of the main color, rather than just 350 yards as the pattern says.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Nine months till Christmas

Just sayin'.

Friday, March 24, 2006

This time with photos

1. Kitten. Still an amorphous mass, but since this was taken it has progress to a knitted head, and one (separate) ear done. Still to come, second ear and tail Then, figuring out how it fits together and sewing.

2. The cute couple #1.

3. The cute couple #2, closeup on eyes. Windsor button supplies eyes for me. Stanley's eyes are "shoe button" and wound up sewn really too far back on his head. Her eyes are fancy regular buttons with patterning that look like eyes.

4. Last night, Himself was in the "waiting for my turn with the computer chair" in my study with the two birds.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Finished Birds Flocking Together (no photos yet)

Okay, Blogger seems to be having trouble uploading photos (again), but Consuelo has had her eyes put on an been stuffed. She and Stanley look lovely together.

The kitten is making progress and I'm about halfway through its head.

I'm done with my taxes, federal and state.

Other than that, Charlie Brown, we await an improvement in the situation WRT pictures.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Happy Equinox!

I've been noticing lately that I don't have to turn the light on when I get up in the morning and that just makes the process so much easier. It feels like you're meant to be up when it's already somewhat light.

The next new moon is March 29th. Our local village witch says that new moons are for starting project and full moons are for finishing them. So, with the next full moon, I have a hankering to start:
1. The sweater for Himself that we ordered the yarn for on December 8th, and it showed up about March 8th (Green Mountain Spinnery has been backordered)
2. The sweater for the May office baby
3. Flamingo for the cousin in Florida's triplets due in July
4. Sweaters for same (still thinking on these -- maybe hold off till the April new moon)
5. Moebius to replace the one that came in 2nd in last year's Knit-Out contest -- the I-cord edging on this will be teaching material early in June, so I need to have the whole thing finished and about a foot or more of twisted I-cord worked already.
6. Felted Chicken from Fibertrends
7. More J&S jumperweight baby sweaters for charity -- need to start using this stuff up.

Yes, I have eyes bigger than my hands.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

It's hard to make progress

When you realize you've brought everything except the directions for the kitten.

On the other hand, much progress was made on the April office baby's sweater -- finished the body and one of the sleeves. Yarn is Sockotta, need to check my gauge at some point for future reference -- I'm of the give the parent's a sweater and it will fit sometime school. The Sockotta is being nice to work with and I'm liking how the colors are all there but no one thing dominates.

It's the Mind's Eye pattern for top-down raglan, so there 's the second sleeve to do, pick up and the button/neck band all around, then sew in a few ends, sew on buttons and done. No seams.

Off to the Patience sing

Friends of ours are having a sing-through of Patience this afternoon. Himself has been practicing his Colonel, while I can sort of warble along as a love-sick maiden.

Not much kitten progress. The flamingo (still unstuffed) is trying out the name Consuelo. Consuelo and Stanley...... are they a couple?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Kitten talk

The good news is, after much staring at and turning and a bit of looking sequentially through the directions and counting off the parts already accomplished, I determined I needed to start the right back leg.

Black yarn and black eyelash yarn do not contribute to visual clarity when trying to determine the fine details of a piece of work.

It's going to be a busy weekend, we'll how much further gets done on this.

In the meantime, there is hankering for other projects. I'm realizing how many things I have piled up "ready to be knit" and need to prioritize what I'm doing. Next new moon, things are getting cast on.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

This time with pictures?

Here's the new (unnamed) flamingo out of the dryer. At the moment it's sitting up and lightly stuffed with bar towels to help form the shape as it dries. At the back is the bag of fiberfill I'm hoping is big enough to stuff this bird. It will probably take a few more days to dry thoroughly so I'm picturing stuffing it Sunday evening with Himself. You really don't want mold inside a stuffed animal, do you?

And since I mentioned the kitten, here's how it was last left, an amorphous mass at the end of December. I think it's at the point of starting the second rear leg, the question is, where are these reference points the pattern refers to? I always mean to leave myself a note whenever I put this down for more than a trip to the bathroom, but do I?

But for tonight, the baby sweater is going to knitting group.

One hour and 35 minutes of dryer time later

Blogger won't upload photos this morning (You Knit What seems to be having the same issue), but the new flamingo spent just over an hour and a half in the dryer last night with a couple really old towels and came out much smaller and firmer. It needed a couple of resoakings in the course of the process, working on the theory that wetness really helps the felting process. Dryer setting on highest, checks along the away.

The Wonderful Wool had a bit of dye transfer issues when subjected to abuse. The (warm to hot) water in the sink turned pinkish as the items soaked, the white perle cotton thread holding the belly closed until it's stuffed turned pinkish, and the bar towels in the bird that are lightly stuffing it while it dries are also getting some dye transfer. Not a big problem, but something to be aware of.

This will probably take a couple days to dry fully, then I can sew in the eyes and stuff it for real. Naming will probably happen after that, unless something inspirational happens.

Back to the kitten?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

We're not sure just what Stanley is feeling now

But that dryer should be running tonight!

And I *can* do my own sewing up.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Sew long

I am not a fast finisher. I don't handsew well. What we have here is a knit but unfelted flamingo with:
0. (ends finished in)
1. 2 legs, back seams sewn and feet "sculpted."
2. Beak sewn black to black.
3. Body sewn to mid-way down the chest.

Still to go:
Body sewn to point where "tummy panel" gets added to make a 3-dimensional belly, the tail sewn and shaped and the legs attached. I have a hard time picking just which bit of fiber to run the needle under to make the stitches. Sewing the long leg seams took about 45 minutes each for me if that gives you an idea of the scope of the problem.

This bird is still a ways away from that ride in the hot dryer with the sopping wet towels.

In the meantime, I'm realizing that that office baby due sometime in April will be here shortly, so I'm using the baby sweater I started last Wednesday as "around town" knitting. Lucy's pattern is a raglan from the top down and I've gotten just past all the increases and into the stretch of stockinette stitch straight body. I haven't measured what gauge I'm getting yet, being more of the "it'll fit sometime" school when it comes to baby sizing garments. It's Sockotta on size 4s and I'll measure when I'm done.

And now, I've got a supper to eat and a bird to continue working on before I lose momentum and get hung up on seaming.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Time for the seamy side of life

The knitting of the flamingo was finished this morning, and now I have to renew my acquaintence with seaming technique to bring this bird together. Now pictures, since I don't have my camera with me.
The flamingo has taken about a third to a half of the third skein of main color, so I don't know where they got their 250 yards of main color, where each skein is 190 yards.
It's fussy at the turning head portion with all the wrap and turns, but that's a matter of being able to concentrate and pay attention.
For now, we're off to get exercise before the rain comes with a hike through Mt. Auburn Cemetary.
Depending on my sewing skills, this bird may get the magic ride through the hot dryer with the sopping wet towels tonight.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Let's all be really quiet now

The flamingo is at the point of "Turning Head", where you get some rows that have the instruction "W&T" (wrap and turn, i.e, K so many, slip next stitch to right needle, bring wool to front, turn work around, slip end stitch back to right needle and knit back the other side, with the stitch on the end having a half a loop sideways around it) 18 times, with the exception of the row in which it appears 19 times. This accomplishes short-row shaping, but will not defend itself well against Wednesday night knitting group chatter.

So I started a sweater for the baby of the co-worker due in April. Socketta, size 4 needle, we'll see what gauge comes out, and it's the baby raglan pattern Lucy wrote for Mind's Eye Yarns when she needed a simple baby sweater for people.

Many were the counting issues tonight, but there were finally 66 stitches in the cast on row. Some day I will learn to put the markers from the first row into the cast on so that there will be the correct number on the needle from the start, rather than working the first row and coming up short.

I did my federal taxes last night and came out owing the government only $27 more than what they've already had over the course of the year. Turning the savings bond into a CD and getting hundreds of dollars of interest from the bond realized was probably what did it. I'm not sure about these people who want large refunds. Do they realize that $1,000 divided by 12 months is roughly $84 a month they could have had the use of? Even $42 a month would come in handy sometimes ......

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Three Halves of a Tail Later

This is our bird this far. It's Fiber Trends Flamingo Beach Party, #221X, being done in Wonderful Wool colorway Athena on size 11 needles. The pattern calls for 350 yards of main color, but I wound up using way more last time, getting into a third skein on Lamb's Pride Worsted, which runs 190 yards to the skein. I'm not sure if knitting at a tighter gauge was the issue.

The legs require double strands, so unlike last time (Stanley) when I ran out and needed to buy more to finish the legs, I decided to start with the two legs and get them done first. So far, so good. Then I went back to the beginning of the pattern and cast on for the tail, which is done in two halves mirroring each other, with various markers for later construction placed along the way, and then joined together. Except when you realize your second half has the markers along then same edge where your first half had markers along opposite edges. And you read the further directions about the long edge of the tail (once joined) without markers. and realize you goofed somewhere.

The directions aren't that difficult, but skill set needed for this project would include:
1. knowing what your prior wrap and turn in garter stitch looks like so you can tell where you are in the row.
2. At various points, there will be a series of:
row X and row x +2, knit and do something at the second to last stitch,
row x +1, knit.
The key thing to remember here when you come to row x+3, is not to do the row x+1 instruction just because it visually comes after from row x + 2 (duh). That's just careful reading.

I know from having made this before that later on there will be single rows where you're told to wrap and turn multiple times within that row. Again, reading your knitting as a double check to where you are is invaluable.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Striped Mittens

Though, first off, I'm happy with the medal Franklin made for Olympic finishers. He says he's had a couple complainers but, ya know, they don't have to put it up. Offending their local Christian community indeed.

In other news, over the weekend I worked on the second mitten of the pair I started here and finished the first one here, and on Tuesday night I added thumbs. Details -- knit with Wonderful Wool Athena (pink) carried in the left hand and Brown Sheeep Worsted black carried in the right using most of a skein of each. Gauge (can't believe I got this) 8 stitches to the inch on Crystal Palace size 4 doublepoints. Pattern is originally published in Foxes Geese & Fences, this iteration is in Robin Hansen's Favorite Mittens, which is a combination of the first and Flying Geese and Partridge Feet, each out of print for many years. This view shows the exterior on the right and interior on the left. The mittens are warm, partly from the wool and also from the effect of having the two colors forming a second layer within.

The Favorite Mittens pattern has a different top decrease for hand and thumb. I think I like it better since it makes a more amidexterous mitten -- this from someone who will switch hands on my original mittens if it turns out I've put them on the wrong hands to have the decreases frame the back of the hand.

I've made the cuff slightly longer than called for, but I like a long cuff. The gauge is about as even as I'll get, but you can see how the stripes waver when one strand is looser or tighter than usual. I'm happy with it and have started a companion for Stanley with more Athena. I'm interested to see how the subtle pinks and purples of the Athena colorway work as a bird when felted.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Blogger didn't cooperate this morning

Pictures and story later today. Mittens.

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