28 August 2006

another one bites the dust

After putting in six hours of knitting yesterday and easily another four today, I can finally say that I have finished Cozy. What a relief. It is done well ahead of the deadline (6 September) I set for myself two weeks ago, which thankfully leaves me an extra two weeks to work on the agfhan that I hope to have done in time for Thanksgiving (even more ideally, the middle of October---however, that is unrealistic at this point).

Expect another update in the next few days with modeled photos and project notes.

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20 August 2006

green thumb

The true focus of the blog, of course, is to chronicle, mainly for my own reference, my failures and successes in the world of knitting. But if you really want to know what's been grabbing my attention lately, it's gardening---or at least, as much gardening as one can do without an actual garden. There are no weeds to pull, no beds to tidy, no bugs to watch crawl around, but it's been enjoyable all the same. I'd like to have a real garden some day, I think; for now, though, I've been re-potting my spider plant and philodendron, and I bought an arabian jasmine and some other unknown plant species (tropical, I think) to take their place in the smaller pots. Here they are sitting in the kitchen, their temporary home until the A/C is removed from my bedroom window so that the light can shine back in.

There's something amazing about waking each morning and seeing what new leaves have sprouted, what old leaves have grown---as if I could have had some part in this magic. Truly, it is stunning. A few pots, some soil, and a little fertilizer mixed in water---such tiny contributions from myself, and all this beauty.

"My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant's point of view." ---H. Fred Ale

All this reminds me, inevitably, of a book by Louise Glück, The Wild Iris. If you will forgive this deversion a little longer, do read one of my favorites.

The White Rose

This is the earth? Then
I don't belong here.

Who are you in the lighted window,
shadowed now by the flickering leaves
of the wayfarer tree?
Can you survive where I won't last
beyond the first summer?

All night the slender branches of the tree
shift and rustle at the bright window.
Explain my life to me, you who make no sign,

though I call out to you in the night:
I am not like you, I have only
my body for a voice; I can't
disappear into silence---

And in the cold morning
over the dark surface of the earth
echoes of my voice drift,
whiteness steadily absorbed into darkness

as though you were making a sign after all
to convince me that you too couldn't survive here

or to show me you are not the light I called to
but the blackness behind it.

18 August 2006

i-cords and wet blocking, oh my

I might have promised myself that I'f finally finish the stole before classes start, but that didn't stop me from adding one more project to my list. Really, though, it was an item of necessity. I went to work one day in an outfit without pockets, nowhere to store my iPod. Keeping my sanity while roaming around through the quiet of all those books pretty much requires some sort of music, and since I'd rather not have to plan my wardrove around my entertaining accessories, I set about modifying the cozy I had made months ago. This is what I came up with:

It hangs just a touch lower than I thought, but if I reattach the i-cord a little further down in the pouch, it will be perfect. For now, it certainly does the job, and now I can say that I know how to knit up an i-cord. For this one obviously I double-stranded the yarn (mainly for aesthetic reasons, but it keeps it nice and sturdy, as well), and worked it on US size 6 DPNs.

That beind said, I have been working on the stole. I'm five balls through now, and since it's been getting reasonably long, I decided to block it today to see how much more work I have ahead of me, if any. The pattern seems to stretch better width-wise rather than length-wise, so I might put another ball in just for the sake of doing it right. That still leaves me with two skeins of silk that I have no use for, however.

It's an imperfect blocking, but it's just a test run. Whether or not I add the extra ball, I still have a few rows of garter stitch to add. Next time I'll make sure it's nice and even. Also, I'm not sure if it's a property of silk yarns in general, or just this brand, but it really does smell sort of funny when it gets wet. Thank goodness I always have plenty of incense lying around.

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11 August 2006


I'm not a huge Harry Potter fan. I've seen all the movies, but never read any of the books. That being said, I'm glad to have finally gotten my second HP knitting project behind me. Also knit in Lion Brand Wool-Ease, I changed things up this time, casting on less stitches (I don't recall how many), and going up to US size 9 needles. This made the project go quicker, and the fabric knit up much softer on the larger needles.

After finishing it, this scarf was promptly mailed off to A in Florida, where I doubt it will get much practical use, but will still be quite loved.

I've been knocking off projects left and right recently, and it feels really good to be getting them done and handed off. I still have three things on the needles and one more important project planned for Christmas, but with a little discipline and a lot of patience, I think I can pull it off.


06 August 2006


When I got back from work Tuesday afternoon, something lovely awaited me on my doorstep! It was a total shock for my yarn to have arrived that soon---the FedEx tracker was predicting arrival on the 4th (later they changed it to the 3rd), so I wasn't expecting it for two days. It was a beautiful thing, and here's the lot of it:

A decent-sized order by my standards, at any rate. Clockwise on the outer ring starting on the very left: size 0, 1, and 2 circular needles in 32", two boxes of pins (50 each), and The Knitter's Companion: Expanded and Updated from Interweave Press.

First off, let me just say that I have fallen in love with the needles. I've always gone back and forth with how I feel about metal versus bamboo, but for circs I have been a fast convert---metal all the way. These needles are gorgeous. The cord is wonderfully flexible, the needles quite slippery and amazingly sharp. Exactly what I wanted.

The book, on the other hand, was a slight disappointment. I suppose I had hoped it went into more detail about more things I knew nothing about; as it stands, I'm already familiar with most of the techniques it uses. Still, it's a very handy thing to have in the case that I am ever away from the internet---in fact, it will prove pretty invaluable that way, I suspect. In any case, onto the yarn!

Top to bottom, left to right (two skeins/hanks of each): Dancing in Square Dance, Essential in Fawn, Dusk, and Burgundy, and Memories in Yukon and Cape Cod. All of these yarns are quite lovely, though I'm particularly intrigued to see how the Dancing will work up. I have since started my first sock in the Cape Cod flavor of the Memories line, but more on that fiasco at a later date.


02 August 2006

hiking in the land of Éire

I finally knuckled down (buckled down, did it, did it, did it---10 points to anyone who gets that) and finished the Irish Hiking Scarf last week. I had been trying to decide at some point if I wanted it to be any longer, got distracted by other projects and nicer yarns. One row, a bind-off, and some end-weaving later (read: twenty minutes), the scarf was done.

I still don't know if I'm going to gift it or keep it for myself. It was originally supposed to be for me, made from Lion Brand Wool-Ease in a subdued but textured brown color. I bought this yarn fairly early in my knitting career, and for this scarf in particular because I wanted something that was mainly acrylic, something I wouldn't mind bounding through the snow with. I guess over the past few months I've had a change of heart---so who knows what will become of this scarf. I can say, however, that despite having a very simple design (perfect for my first attempt at cables), it really does look lovely. The pattern is beautiful in that simplicity, and comes highly recommended to anyone looking for a first cabling project.

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