Friday, April 28, 2006

Boston Knit-Out Org. Meeting on Monday

Next meeting Monday, May 1 at 6:30pm at the Borders in Downtown Crossing.  There should be a posting to the Yahoo list, but my email is suspiciously low volume this morning, so I don't know if it was posted yet or not.

We're working on the application to get a meeting room at Wainwright bank, but it isn't done yet.

No pictures this morning since I'm in a hurry. There will be a proper posting over the weekend.

See you Monday!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Cast on new moon Thursday

Doria, our local village witch (and storyteller), will tell you that new moons are excellent for starting new projects and I try my best to start a number of things when it rolls around each month. At least things I know in advance I plan on doing that month or in the near future.

(Full moons are for finishing)

My list for this time (so far) is:
For the triplets I'm planning on using 3 related colorways of Sockotta and doing the same sweater in each colorway -- the baby Nalgar of course (Spun Out #24). They'll be good subway knitting and may temporarily replace the perpetual sock in my commute.

I've been loving the FiberTrends Flamingo Pattern as evidenced by the existance of Stanley (right) and Consuelo (left). Why shouldn't I make one as a nursery decoration/pet for Florida babies?

And I owe Himself a sweater. Back in early December I told him I would make him one. My friend Deb has The Woolery up in Wilton, NH and we placed the order for the Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair through her, which GMS backordered for 3 months. Hence the getting started now.

So, out of the last new moon entry, what's the status?
1. Moebius scarf, -- still in process, about half way through the scarf itself, then need to start the border.

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

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. Infinitesimal progress made. This may be a summer project after the Granite State Knit-Out in June.

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. Done and given to mother, who has sent a thank-you note by return of mail if you believe it!

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. Making slow but steady progress. Not many shawl knitting with 2 pound-each cones in tow opportunities lately.

Getting back to that swatch

I don't know what I ever did to him, but Himself picked a good one here. The first swatch was ripped out the other night when it failed the "can I figure out in the chart where I left off" test. Even with a marker, I couldn't be certain.

So, since the chart is one of those simple looking but easy to lose your place wonders, I went back to old methods and wrote out the rows. Note, this is much easier with readily available word processors and printers than in was in the 80s when I was getting started. Set up a table, label rows completed down one side, fill in rows in the multiple (6 - 37 in this case) in the second column, third column type in instructions for rows, copying and pasting those that repeat within the multiple, and then copy and paste the sequence down the page. Cross of rows completed as you go. Print copies for swatch, front, back and sleeves, and remember to label them at the top so you know which one you're working on (ahem).

I made much faster progress on this swatch started at 9 last night. Unfortunately, the dark blue is still difficult to see at night and doesn't photograph much better in daylight. I'm sure this will be just lovely when it's finished. Until then, turn on the floodlights.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Today is 8 months until Christmas

Just sayin'.

End that swing and on to the next

The new moon is coming up on Thursday, so it's time to think about casting on new projects. So far, the list has the series of 3 baby Nalgars in Sockotta that I'm doing for the cousin's triplets expected in July, their flamingo, and (maybe) Himself's Wonderous Woven Cables sweater from the Fall 2000 Knitters, done in navy blue Green Mountain Spinnery.

The swatch failed the can you leave it for awhile come back and know where you are test last night, and got frogged. I've instead made a row chart for myself that I can tick off the rows as completed and keep my place. Not sure I can get enough swatch done between tonight and tomorrow to make real gauge judgement by Thursday, but we'll see.

It may be cast on Friday anyway. Thursday night is going back to dancing. No, really, this year we mean it. This week Himself has Symphony tickets, but I'm going to see if a neighbor I know is going, either by car or willing to be my late-night bus buddy.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Day to feel the muscles slurp up glucose

This entry is photo heavy, and the knitting content is at the very bottom. It's the day after NEFFA, and I can just feel myself running on fumes. It was another great festival and, even though we haven't been dancing much lately, nothing really hurts suprizingly.
1st photo is Himself and me lined up in the right side of the Main Hall waiting for the 1 o'clock start for the Sunday Contra Medley. We were surprized that they did not do the traditional "drop out now if you don't know these calls" ditty. It showed when they got to the part of the medley with contra corners and a number of people didn't know how to execute the figure. Jeremy (you'll meet him later) and I had a discussion in a later dance if the ditty had been recited, would those who didn't know have had the sense to leave the set then and would it have done any good. Not a big deal, but this particular session of the schedule is marked for experienced dancers, and you come expecting a level of competence. Contra corners is one of those things that will die out if they don't start calling it more, which would be sad because it's a neat figure.

2nd photo is the left side of the hall also lining up and waiting. Yes, it's crowded. When the ditty says dance space the size of a lentil, they mean it. Dance small, folks. By the way, we were in the tent for the Saturday night Medley and there was acres of room, while the Main Hall was even more crowded than this, from what was described. Downstairs my skirt had full room to twirl.

3rd photo is the left side of the hall in motion. 4th photo is me and Himself in motion. I think we're going down the hall and turning as a couple. Jeremy is the guy with the mustache in green whose head is where the 2nd line of the arrow would be.

5th photo is Himself on the side about to catch me into a swing. Sigh. He has a lovely swing and catch, too, for that matter. Not that other guys don't, but... well, you know.....

6th photo is every giving right hands to their neighbors for (presumably) a balance and swing, since I don't remember a grand right and left in this medley. (later edit -- nope, it's everyone reaching right hands to get into long waves up and down the hall, men face out, women face in, balance right and then balance left...)

7th photo is later on in the afternoon, down in the tent. The tent was a great idea for expanding the space. The only thing that could have made it better would have been weather about 10 degrees warmer on Saturday and not raining. And matting leading to the Lower Hall from the main building so we didn't have to walk on pavement and get grit in dance shoes' soles, but I covered that already....... 8th photo is a shot of the Lower Hall, for contrast. The space tended to get crowded, especially during the Waltz Time session. It was like dancing on Storrow Drive with cars (couples) trying to each move where they want to go, not get in each others way and then avoid the couple who's trying to move out of the other couples' way, etc. and no one really having space to make those lovely twirling steps around each other.

9th photo, Himself in the tent taking a break. I found dance two, sit one worked well for me, though by Sunday afternoon I was taking longer breaks.

Where are we? Below Himself sitting down, he and I are waltzing.

And I bought my 4th pair of dance shoes. The price was right, my other flat shoes have a small split at the toe and I figured if shoes felt good and the third day of a festival, they must be comfortable. Why the two guys from NJ with colorful shirts felt I should be named Imelda, I really don't know. Now I need to make a commitment to actually go out and use them.

Lastly, I did sit down sometimes. Here we have Consuelo and Stanley posing with the current perpetual sock, started Friday night on the way to NEFFA. Most of the sock was worked on during rides to/from the parking lot and home, on the shuttle bus from the parking lot to the site (excellent service as usual), and much of the leg in Lisa Greenleaf's session on fitting music to dance figures. I found myself unconsciously knitting in time to the music, most of which is done at 120 beats per minute.

As far as the goal over the next year to either use up or not consume 35,000 calories in order to lose 10 pounds, there's all this exercise vs. sharing 4 pieces of the Lithuanian folk dance group's bake sale cakes. The scale will tell us tomorrow morning which side won.

And the chicken may have a new name. I'm thinking Petronella, in honor of a lovely older dance not called much anymore but with a figure in it referred to as the "Petronella twirl" (to be performed with or without clapping at dancer's choice), but, given that the chicken has a rounded base and balances either right or left before sliding sideways, Himself is advocating naming it Rory O'More. Dancers will get the joke.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Quick post

Wow. When the Yarn Harlot puts a link to your blog, even at the bottom of her entry, you get about 250 hits in a day. And 30 people have already been by this morning.

NEFFA is great, as usual. They have expanded Lower Hall with a tent this year and the tent is great. Only problem to get to Lower Hall you must cross pavement with grit. Grit ruins suede soles and dance floors. Bring your street shoes to get there. Let's hope they get some mats put down.

On the right, Himself in the Main Hall at about 10:30. It's not overly crowded. On the left, Lisa and the woman from Roaring Jelly who I can't remember her name, conducting the "festival orchestra' -- i.e., open to anyone who wants to bring an instrument and is familiar with the standard playbook.

And, of course, there was knitting. One perpetual sock finished, the next started on the way there.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Happy Spring weekend

Yesterday was a lovely day and today is being just as nice.

In the morning I gave the April and May office baby sweaters (sorry, pictures are on the other computer) to the respective expectant mothers at the office and then took a half vacation day.

In the afternoon, Jane of Porter Square Books and Lucy of Mind's Eye Yarns worked hard arranging for Stephanie the Yarn Harlot to come to Porter Square. At first she was going to appear at the bookstore, but when they realized the store holds about 100 people, it got moved across the street to the Masonic Temple's basement hall. The event was scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m., but folks showed up early to help out. We've been in there about 10 minutes and +/- 150 chairs are set up.

A short time later and there was a quiet presence at the back of the hall.

Lucy (on the left) had made a gift basket from local goodies. From what I remember her listing the other night, there was Burdick's chocolate, nice pens from Bob Slate Stationers, sheep imprinted purse tissues from Tags (sorry, Cantabridgians, she bought them out), and, of course, some freshly hand-dyed sock yarn of her own.

Close to show time and there's a small crowd at the back buying books and saying hello to the guest. I didn't get a shot of the hall during the show, but most of the 150 or so chairs were taken.

There's a contrast between urban and suburban knitters. I'm a regular at the Granite State Knit-In, which happens the first Saturday in June up at Loon Mountain (send me email if you wanttheir contact info, registration is happening now). The suburban knitters have cars and bring big bags of knitting for the day, since there are classes in the morning, a market, a lunch and a speaker in the afternoon. I'm used to them needing room for their stuff. The urban knitters (since I think many came by MBTA) bring far less luggage with them. I was setting up chairs with lots of space, and it really wasn't necessary. Live and learn.

Grumperina was there and several people showed her their Jaywalkers.

And with a brief introduction, the show began. Much of it was familiar from her books and blog, but it was good to hear her voice, her emphasis and tone. There's nothing like live performance to bring a work to life.

Himself came by afterwards, Stephanie took our picture with her sock (wow, she has a tight gauge on that thing -- it felt stiff) and we wound up going out to dinner. I hadn't realized (but it makes sense) that other knitters had gone on ahead to Christophers and saved seats, and we all joined them. I know I recognized faces from blog photos, but couldn't put names to people there. And then we went to the pre-NEFFA dance at Springstep.

Today I put eyes on the chicken and stuffed it. Himself is suggesting the name 'Spring' for it, and I still haven't come up with anything better.

And tonight the real dancing begins. Be back on Monday.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The chicken is retaining water

This bird was dryer felted on Sunday evening and Wednesday morning the interior of the cavity is still really wet. Last night I realized I should be taking out the plastic bags and letting the bottom and interior get some air. The roundness isn't collapsing, so I'm hoping when it's dry enough to stuff there won't be any strange concave parts. In the interests of full disclosure, on the side not shown there is a small box within the larger box to fill in and give support.

Still needs a name. Fustercluck has been considered and rejected. This was a nice pattern to make.

The May office baby sweater made more progress last night. It's a baby nalgar, one of the EPS designs by Elizabeth Zimmermann. The shoulders have been grafted together, the left arm is waiting for its sleeve and the right sleeve is in progress. I may make progress this morning before leaving for work, but it will probably be finished tonight at knitting group. I want to be able to give this and the April baby sweater to the mothers tomorrow before I take off for NEFFA for the weekend.

The butterfly shawl made progress, too and has reluctantly agreed to pose for a photo. I'm loving the yellow/blue making green impression this gives.

So, what does one bring to knit during a Yarn Harlot appearance tomorrow afternoon? My criteria would be: something you don't have to look at, something you don't mind if you don't make a lot of progress because you'll be distracted by all the excitement, something really portable in case, well, what if she's free for supper after or something. Then again, it is the pre-NEFFA dance at Springstep evening.

I'm thinking the Moebius scarf that I'm going to need for my I-cord border workshop at the Granite State Knit-In that I'd best make progress on if it's going to be ready for an I-cord border on the first Saturday in June. The brochure came out this week which means time is coming up soon. (Note to self -- do the Entrelac homework, too!)

On the other hand, what does one bring to NEFFA? Probably yet another perpetual sock. It's a big dance festival (well, there are other things on the schedule besides contradancing, but.....) and I'll be busy. Not much blogging this weekend, but this year I'll try taking pictures from the bleachers.

New moon for new projects is a week from tomorrow.... time to start thinking about May.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

There's a sign at Porter Square Books

I haven't seen email on this yet, but last night in the window of Porter Square Books there was a sign saying Stephanie would be appearing at the Masonic Temple at 1950 Massachusetts Avenue. Which is good, because it means enough people RSVP'd that it made sense to get the bigger space.

How to get there? From PSB, walk towards Massachusetts Avenue (it's the busy one on the left as you face the store). At the Dunkin Donuts on the corner, turn right. 1950 Massachusetts Avenue is kitty-corner across the street, between the Kaya restaurant and a small former bank building.

In other news, the May office baby sweater didn't make as much progress as I would have liked, but it's up to the shoulder grafting, then 2 sleeves, sewing in ends and a neck ribbing. Let's see how busy I get tonight.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Do the fuzzy chicken

The knitting of the chicken was finished Saturday night and before-seaming pictures were taken Sunday morning. On the right we see the main chicken piece, the diamond shape that will fill out the belly and the orange comb and wattle in their approximate future locations.

On the left we have the same bird folded into a more recognizable shape. As it was not on the menu for the Easter lunch at my parents', it had to be abandoned to its own devices for the day. I'll have you know this chicken did not assemble itself while we were gone. Bad bird.

Once we got home, the bird was sewn together in relatively short order, though it's surprizing how much sewing does not get done while channels are being flippitied by the sewer. Ahem.

Himself is helpfully providing a sense of scale against the background of the bush, once he grasped the concept that his hand should not be obscuring the features of the head.

After supper, the bird was put in the dryer sopping wet with two sopping wet towels. Drying went very quickly 7:20 - 8:25 with many frequent checks.

The yarn used for this chicken is Cascade's Pastaza, a 50% llama, 50% wool blend. There was much fuzz given off and the finished bird is much fuzzier than my usual projects with Lamb's Pride Worsted. The pattern calls for 350 yards of main color, so I had bought 3 skeins of Pastaza, 132 yards/100 gr., recommended gauge 4 st/inch on size 9s. That makes it a heavy worsted in my mind. Himself is demonstrating how much of the second skein I had left after sewing up.

And, finally, here's the bird in drying mode. It's propped up on a paper towel holder and fluffed out temporarily with plastic bags that newspapers come in, just to help the curves set.

No name yet.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

It's the weekend of the really lean people

Knitting is poking along, but not really enough to take pictures yet. The chicken might be ready for sewing up tonight.

I work in the Back Bay/Prudential area of Boston and it's fun this time each year to see the really lean people show up. Marathoners tend not to be overly tall, and they aren't built up muscular, but they are very lean.

The year they had the 100th running many folks came in early. I spent the week wondering why these crowds of tourists in Copley Place were all wearing relaxed fit jeans and then realized those were normal jeans and these were thinner than usual people.

It's fun to play spot the marathoner in the family of four. Usually if they've brought the kids, it's the dad.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

More chicken, please!

No pictures today because the light is just not good.

Last night there was a small group at Mind's Eye, low key for most of the evening. Progress was made on the May office baby sweater, but there's not much different to show than yesterday. It's a part (if you're familiar with the Nalgar) where it increases by a fair amount every other round, to get to the final percentage point in the pattern. So progress goes slowly but steadily. The shoulder weaving is in sight.

Then I came home and worked on the chicken. At the end of the first skein (Cascade Pastaza), I'm just into the start of the left-hand side wraps and turns to create the side of the chicken.

Three day weekend coming up. Time to start thinking what I'll work on.....

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Last night was spent ripping back all those increase rows I'd accomplished Sunday night, not tidying up the yarn (as you can see at the top of the photo), and reworking the May office baby sweater.

Did a slight change from my original plan -- when I went to join in the new yarn, I realized it was at the same point in the long repeat where the current yarn was. So instead of changing skeins on alternate rows, I'm changing after two rows instead. The color repeats are working nicely now, no more of the white building up on top of itself every round.

So I'm a fair way back to where I was, and will probably bring this to knitting group tonight. The working yarn is a mess, but it's a simple pattern (yeah, Elizabeth Zimmermann knew what she was doing!) and it goes well with conversation. It went well last night with those episodes of Whose Wedding is it Anyway? I love customer service shows, like that and Airline.

I had a surprize on the T yesterday. Working away on the perpetual sock, ready to do the toe, and my basic tool (of which I've about 4 sets of) wasn't in my briefcase. The basic tool is a nail clipper (yarn cutter) on a string with a tapestry needle. It's small and takes care of the thing I probably can't find if I have a knitting emergency when I'm out of the house. Paperclips can be stitchholders and stitch markers, things can be found to give you a (rough) measurement, but finding something to put yarn through stitches can be tough. And mine wasn't there. I know they migrate, but I thought I'd put on in there recently.

Tapestry needles cost $2.75 for a set of two at lunchtime on Newbury Street. And they have the angled tips, which I haven't used before and I'm dubious of, but they worked on the Red Line home and the next sock of the pair was cast on, which was, after all, the point of the exercise.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


I'm happy to have made progress on the chicken. I know I've got just a bunch of things going, and I'm trying not to really focus on any one. Over the weekend I managed to finish one half of tail, made the second and three-needle bound them off together. This is now ready to have 73 stitches picked up along the long edge. Note: both sides have the long edge and the pointy edge in the correct orientation and all the right sides agree. Ahem.

The yellow/blue butterfly shawl made some slow progress, but it's still shy.

The May office baby sweater moved very far forward through the yoke increases, headed for the shoulder kitchenering during Sunday night's house meeting. This is the long part of the sweater where it increases every other round, but on this small scale it goes quickly.

Then you find this (on the left): which I believe is called pooling. I'll be frogging back to the start of the increases and trying the trick of using alternate skeins on alternate rounds to break up the phenomenon. Let you know how that works in the days to come.

We had the first organizational meeting for the Boston Knit-Out 2006 last night and a grand group of new faces were there! The next meeting is May 1 at 6:30, location to be announced.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Things to do today

1. Be at Borders at 6:30 for the first organizational meeting of the Boston Knit-Out for 2006. See what needs to be done through the summer until the date. There's a Yahoo group for Boston Knit Out that has email updates for those who want to follow along and volunteer to do stuff before the event, but can't make meetings.

2. RSVP to Lucy at Mind's Eye Yarns (dot com taking out the spaces and punctuation) for the Yarn Harlot appearance on April 20th. Porter Square Books can hold about 100 people, and they're wondering if they'll need to get a larger space across the street depending on how many will show up.

If you plan to go to either event, please put these on your to do list, too.

Friday, April 07, 2006

I am a Sensei

See page 19 of this book. Porter Square Books has their copies in. Finally. I foresee no problem having this book read by April 20th at 4:30.

However, I also need to read this book more closely before Sunday at 2.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Yellow and Blue really do....

Start with one part each of Jaggerspun Zephyr --daffodil and ice blue. Combine by knitting two strands together using the FiberTrends Butterfly Garden Shawl (done as half a square), and get....... green! It's a nifty effect, because you still see yellow and blue in the stitches, but the overall effect is a light green. It's a very Springy color, helpful this week since around here we've had such gray light since the time change.

(The shawl is shy at the moment and doesn't want to stretch out and show its butterflies yet. They're there. There are six of them in each half at the moment. The shawl is reaching the bigger bounding puppy stage.)

Himself appreciates the effect, but, knowing the couple better than I do, is not sure this sort of green is a color that S. likes. We're visiting them on Saturday so can get a better sense then. This may be someone else's shawl.

The May office baby sweater is continuing. Over the weekend I realized that size 4 (shown on the right) was giving just to big and loose a gauge. Moving down to a 2 (on the left) is better, but I'm not in a hurry to get more of this yarn. It splits really easily so one thing to think of while working is making sure you've worked a whole stitch and not left split loops hanging off the fabric.

The other project that made progress over the weekend was the swatch for Himself's sweater. It's a dark blue, so while it showed up well in the morning light on the porch, it's just not that clear of a photo. Um, there's seed stitch and a few cables in there. Somewhere.

Okay, taking a few moments to play with the fill flash feature makes a slight improvement. I'm going for two vertical iterations of the pattern before measuring gauge. It's amazing how much the piece pulled in once it got to that part.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Yarn Harlot will be in my neighborhood

Walking distance! The day before NEFFA!

Porter Square Books, Thursday April 20th, 4:30 - 6 p.m. The link doesn't have her on it yet, but it should soon.

While we're pushing things at Porter Square Books, Wren Ross's book Changing Patterns is having its party on Sunday.

Back later. The kitten got stuffed.

Spam, wonderful Spam(alot)

This is Himself, guest blogging for Herself. Not much knitting occurred yesterday, since we went to see the lovely production of Spamalot, preceded by a decadent "dinner" at Finale. A good time was had by all.

This is the end of the post which ends like this.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Kitten has been felted!

Ambrose is still drying, so he's not stuffed, eyed and whiskered yet, but here are some reference pictures.

We don't know how long the dryer time was, because we weren't really paying attention yesterday morning. I think it's about an hour and a half. Several soakings worth. The fabric shrunk and condensed, but stitches are still easily discernible. We'll see what happens when he gets stuffed.

Photo for relative size pre-felting here.

Other things -- the baby Nalgar for the May office baby sweater got put down midway through the weekend when I realized a size 4 was just too big for this particular yarn. Had I brought smaller sizes of 16" circs with me? No. Restarted last night with size 2s which seem to be better, but this yarn is not going to become a new favorite for me, rather splitty and wimpish.

Himself's gauge swatch is coming along. So far I'm trying size 6 (4.25 mm) with this Mountain Mohair, but I'm not measuring until I finish at least the 2nd repeat of the pattern.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Been meaning to do this

Boston Knit-Out 2006 planning is underway! As far as I know, we're still waiting for the permit from the City, but the asked for dates are Sunday September 24 (preferred) and Sunday October 1.

There is a Yahoo group at which has the email list.

The first organizational meeting will be held Monday April 10th at 6:30 at the Borders in Downtown Crossing. If you can't make that but want to participate, send an email and someone (probably Marcie) has a list of things that will need doing between now and the end of the big day and we can find something you'ld like to do.

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