October 2004 Archives

Back Again!

I'm back from my great and grand journey. I only had an internet connection on Monday, and then I managed to leave my laptop cable behind somewhere, so it wasn't possible to start my little travel contest.

But I did manage to take some pictures (though I will probably have to supplement those pictures with some I find on the internet) so I will still be able to have my little contest. More on Monday when I will put up the first of the pictures, some hints and show off what you can get from playing along.

After a nice weekend enjoying my own home and some beautiful fall Chicago weather, I am all ready to start my little trip contest. I'll post a new photo or set of photos each day this week and try to provide a few useful clues. Everyone will have until October 15th (a week from this coming Friday) to send me an email with all your guesses. The person with the most correct answers will win. In the event of a tie, I will have a random drawing. You don't have to be in the US to play along. What can you win?

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Contest Prizes

Since it's fall, and my thoughts are turning to Christmas gifts and thinking about how to keep warm, I thought I would reach into my sock yarn stash. The yarn on the left is Meilenweit Cotton Fantasy, a wool/cotton blend that makes for lovely socks (check my gallery for an example). The yarn on the right is a no longer available Opal colorway. Opal is a wool blend yarn that makes fabulously durable socks and comes with great yardage. These skeins look a little bright. They are a little more subtle in person.

The First Stop

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Where Was I on Sunday? Click on the Picture for Another Clue

Hint: According to my frequent flier report, I flew 4342 miles from Chicago to get to this place.

Some Actual Knitting

When I got back from my trip this weekend, guess what was waiting on my doorstep?

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Noro Shinano #9

John's manly colored Shinano has finally arrived. I need to start another project like I need a hole in the head, but since I don't really have a mindless stockinette project, I decided that it wouldn't hurt to swatch and get started with Fitzgerald.

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A Swatch and A Ribby Section
Click for Swatch Closeup

So far, so good. The Shinano is a little rough to knit with, but it feels better when knit up and softens up nicely when soaked. The colors are still man-approved (shhh! no one tell him about that little bit of greyish purple that snuck in there) and I think they will be wonderful for fall. I like the rustic quality of the yarn a great deal. It adds a lot of texture, and creates visual interest even beyond the stripes.

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The Second Stop on My Tour

I got a number of email comments telling me that my first entry was too easy. Don't worry, I plan to get a little bit more obscure as we go a long. Mostly I just wanted to get everyone on the right continent.

The picture above is of a train station. It was in front of the hotel I stayed in Sunday night. This train station is interesting because it is shared by two countries and contains actual border patrol representatives from one of them.

The town surrounding this train station is very picturesque (see the photo out of my hotel room below) and is considered a tourist destination. It has a lovely waterfront and was about 4 hours away from where I arrived.

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The View out My Window

To anyone who might not have seen the rules in yesterday's post, send me your answers by email. I'd prefer to receive all your answers for the week in one email after I've posted all the destinations. That way you can be sure that I won't lose any of your guesses.

As to knitting progress, I am plugging away at my earthy Fitzgerald (I'm about 2/3rds of the way through with the second skein). I've also tried on Audrey and come to the conclusion that I need to remove the neckline, remove one of the lace units and re-attach the lace. Sigh. Audrey seems destined never to reach completion. But I also know that I won't wear her if the neckline doesn't look right.

I crossed the border from yesterday's location and stepped into a country of panoramic vistas. Panoramic vistas and cows just about everywhere I looked. You just don't expect to be in a modern city and find cows grazing near a gas station. This picture was stolen from a tourist website for the area (when the contest is over it will be properly cited).

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Monday Afternoon's Destination

The city is known for a variety of things, but also happens to be the home of the International Olympic Committee. It's about 180 miles from my previous stop. If you can't figure out the name of the city, at least tell me what significant geographic feature(s) are in view in the photograph and what country I was travelling in.

I managed to finish my second skein of Shinano this evening. All I can say at this point is that men are large. I feel like I've been knitting on this piece for quite some time without making much progress.

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Up the Back of Fitzgerald

I think my chair is doing a lovely job of modeling -- and the colors are actually pretty true to real life. Not colors I'd choose for myself, but I think they do have an harmonious earthy quality.

Now I have to decide whether to switch back to Butterfly or keep going another skein on Fitzgerald. Decisions... decisions...

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Images from My 4th Stop

Yes, I know, I'm very late getting a post up today. John and I finally got a PVR for our cable connection and we have taken to hiding in the basement to watch every episode of What Not to Wear and Clean Sweep that the machine can find on our cable network. I still get a lot of knitting done, but last night it was well past my bedtime when I realized I still hadn't gotten some blogging done. Expect a late post tomorrow, too, since we will be travelling to visit my parents tonight and I don't know when exactly I will get back in front of a computer.

Once again I have had to resort to misappropriating photos from a city tourist site. My next stop was in a city 280 miles north of my last stop (yes, I spent a great deal of time in a car) and involved crossing back over the border. This city is on the Rhine (or perhaps Rhein) River and has a very industrial reputation. It's also home to a an enormous multi-national company whose slogan is simply "The Chemical Company".

Butterfly did get to see some knitting action again yesterday (actually, Fitzgerald did too, because knitting in the dark while watching Clean Sweep and What Not to Wear requires low brain-involvement knitting like straight stockinette). I'm still moving up the back of this sweater. One thing I can say about knitting with the Shinano, it makes the Kureyon seem baby-soft by comparison.

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The Back of Butterfly Proceeds

While knitting with this Kureyon, I can't help but feel that I have reached into Emma's closet and stolen some of her favorite colored yarn -- rich, saturated purples and fuscias speckled with green and turquoise.

Well, here we are at the end of the week and at almost the end of my trip. After another three to four hour drive on Tuesday, and an hotel with a very strange 70's decorating style, I woke up in my 3rd country of the trip. Here are a few of the photos I took while I was there...

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The Final Stop

These pictures were taken in the center of town of a beautiful little city of about 60,000 people that is roughly centrally located in the country to which it belongs. The castle is from the 17th century (it was meant to be a small replica of the castle at Versaille) but the town may have been founded as early (or earlier) as 838 AD

(To those who are curious about what the street sign says in the photo from my past entry... it's Kaiser Wilhelm Strasse).

No knitting tonight. I took a short nap in the car on my way to Ann Arbor. But this long weekend for me should be filled with good knitting time. Hopefully I will make good progress on a few of the things I am working on. And get to see

Butterfly Basking in the Morning Sun

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The Back of Butterfly in the Morning Sun

I had a wonderful weekend in Michigan where the color season is really just beginning to move into full swing. I spent most of my time in Ann Arbor, but also got in the car for a little road trip to Lansing (pictures tomorrow). I didn't put a post together last night because we got into Chicago very late and because I was/am feeling a little bit under the weather. I think the back of Butterfly looks better in the sunlight anyway, so the wait was probably a net positive, even though my sore throat is still lingering.

I did get a good deal of knitting done. I finished the back of Butterfly, got past the armhole decreases on Fitzgerald, worked a bit on the second of John's stripey socks (until I discovered a mistake I couldn't easily fix in the car. Of course, some stash enhancing also occurred on Friday (of course pictures will ensue tomorrow), which meant that I had the fibery resources to get yet another project started.

While I was gone, there were a number of busy Audrey-a-longers -- I've got some new states to mark in on the map and some labels to get in the mail.

And for my little contest -- you have until the end of the week to send me your answers. Let me know where you think I've been!

Side Trip to Lansing

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One of the very nice side effects of Rob and Matt moving to Lansing is that it is not so hard to pay them a visit whenever I am in Ann Arbor. Last Friday afternoon, my Mom played hookie from work and while my Dad and John trolled electronics stores, Mom and I paid a visit to the new ThreadBear location. The store is really looking great and there's almost too much yarn to really take it all in.

While I was there, I got to model one of their most recent Dale sweater arrivals:

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Y'All Know I Didn't Knit This... Right?

That sweater is in one of the new Dale books (don't ask me which one). It's almost enough to make a girl want to get serious about doing some two color knitting. I even liked the scary little flowery hat.

While I did do some stash enhancing, I think I was actually pretty good. I came there wanting to find yarn for Rogue (I've decided the All Seasons Cotton is just going to be too heavy), socks in U of M colors for my Dad, and a couple of scarves worth of yarn for myself. And I pretty much kept to my list.

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Top Left: Bartlett Yarns, 2-ply in Larkspur, Top Right: Diakeito Diadomina, Color #301, Bottom Left: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in UMich, Bottom Right: Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb in Tahoe

The Bartlett yarn is a wonderful purply-blue heather with flecks of pink that I hope will make up a beautiful Rogue. Not only is this yarn lovely and wonderful, but it's very affordable, too! A whole hooded sweatshirt for less than $40! The Diadomina hopped into my basket, inspired by Julie's version of Karen Baumer's scarf.

For anyone from Ann Arbor, I don't need to even explain the reason why my Dad, the U of M College of Engineering Alum needs a pair of maize and blue striped socks (I never went to a Division 1 football powerhouse school, so I still consider Michigan to be my alma mater when it comes to watching college football -- Go Blue!). And the Lion and Lamb? Well, in the interests of full disclosure, I have to admit that there is actually one more skein -- I just couldn't keep my hands off the stuff (it's a wool/silk blend and I am a complete sucker for silk yarns) and got Clapotis started on Saturday night.

All in all, I think I was pretty good. But I really am going to have to get serious about knitting some of the yarn I've been stashing lately. Good thing it looks like Butterfly is going to be a relatively fast knit!

Fitzgerald Almost Backed Up

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An Inch and A Half From Completion

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- Men are big and man sweaters are bigger. The back of Fitzgerald may not look that large, but what you see there represents about 4 skeins of Shinano. I stopped short of completion tonight so that I could give my arms a rest -- the Shinano is not only a little rough, but it also doesn't have much give, and I find my wrists getting a little sore after I knit with it for a while.

Not spending all evening on Fitzgerald also gave me a chance to keep working on the first of my Butterfly fronts and on Clapotis. Knitting Clapotis is surprisingly addictive. And I'm only two repeat intervals away from the fun part that involves dropping all those stitches.

Butterfly Gets Her First Wing

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Butterfly, Left Front

The longer I knit with this colorway, the more I like it. Unfortunately, it isn't terribly amenable to being photographed well. Here's my second piece of Butterfly all knit up. I really like the wider bands of color.

I'll probably tackle one of the sleeves next. I can't head off to sleeve island* and stay there for very long. I plan to break up my visit with an excursion to the right front continent. The real question for me with regards to the sleeves: to match or not to match? I'm thinking of throwing care to the wind and just letting the stripes fall where they may. There's something wonderful, I think, about just letting the Noro do it's own thing.


*Exclusive trademark of Ms. Fluffa

It Doesn't Seem Like Much....

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This picture is really going to seem like a cheat. It looks almost the same as the last picture of Fitzgerald. In fact, it is almost the same, except for the inch at the top and the bind off. But it was such a large expanse of knitting, I just have to document meeting the back completion milestone.

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Finished Back of Fitzgerald

Will I set sail for Sleeve Island next? Maybe. It depends on how many kir royale are waiting for me when I get there with Butterfly.

I seem to be in one of those moods where I just can't keep myself from starting new projects. As a gesture of appreciation to all those who understand my strange need to show that I got that extra inch of Fitzgerald finished, I thought I would show off the other projects that I've been working on.

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Clapotis in Tahoe and a Multidirectional Scarf in Diadomina

I've been in a scarfy mood lately. I'm about 6 rows away from letting those stitches drop in my Clapotis. Knitting with the Lion and Lamb really does make me a happy knitting camper. So incredibly soft. And no unpleasant color pooling yet. It's a little disturbing how much I am looking forward to letting those stitches drop out. The acts of both creation and destruction in one garment.

I think the Diadomina is going to give some of my Noro yarn a run for its money. It is so incredibly soft and I love the subtle sparkly shimmer in the yarn. It wasn't until I put it next to Clapotis that I realized that I have an unnatural attraction to purple, blue and green lately.

Today is the last day to send me answers to my "Where in the World..." contest. Don't miss out on your chance to snag some fun sock yarn!

I Didn't Get to Rhinebeck

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...but that doesn't mean that I didn't get to spend the weekend with some sheep! John and I were out doing a little shopping this weekend and one of our stops was at the Expo Design Center where I found these little guys on sale:

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Weekend Sheepies

Normally I'm pretty good at saying no to things that need to be dusted, but I just couldn't resist these pudgy ceramic sheep. So now they will be sitting on my night stand helping to ensure pleasant fibery dreams.

And speaking of fiber, I did get a little knitting done as well. I should have been working on trying to get off sleeve island, but those Margaritas that Becky brought over (how did she know that margaritas are my greatest weakness!) left me unable to do much but lay on the beach and soak up the sun.

While on Sleeve Island, I've also been monitoring the Chicago weather report. The news for October? Cold weather has arrived -- but not weather so cold that I need the arctic insulation of a heavy wool sweater. Instead, it's perfect fancy scarf with my denim jacket weather. So it was Clapotis and my mulit-directional scarf that got the most attention. In fact, I actually made it to the point in Clapotis where I got to start dropping stitches. Take a look:

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Clapotis Soaking Up the Chicago Afternoon Sun
Click Here to See The Dropped Stitches Up Close

I think Clapotis is going to be something of a big, bulky girl, but divinely soft. The Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb is too soft for words -- and not the least bit itchy when I put it near my skin. My only complaint? She's still quite a bit of knitting from completion. I'm still early in the second skein. And all the twisted stitches in the knit row slow me down a great deal.

I was hoping to announce the winners of my "Where in the World?" contest, but over the weekend my trusty home desktop computer decided that it did not like the new graphics card my husband was trying to install for me so I could have a better experience with Myst IV Revelation. The motherboard more or less up and died. Fortunately, the harddrives are fine (we think). Unfortunately, I can't tell you who's getting that sock yarn in the mail, because I don't have all the entries on my lap top. I can tell you that there definitely were a couple of people who got all the answers right, I just can't tell you exactly who they are right now.

So just where in the world was I?

Well, those of you living in Europe definitely had an advantage in this contest! My trip started in Frankfurt, Germany, courtesy of Lufthansa. After a bit of a drive, I ended up in Constance (Konstanz), Germany -- just on the border of Germany and Switzerland. This area was a lovely location, but the grey cloudy weather meant I didn't get to see it's real beauty. The next day I spent the afternoon in Lausanne, Switzerland (the Lake Geneva area is truly magnificent) before driving back to Germany so that I could be in Ludwigshafen am Rhein in the morning. I added a third country to my European tour by spending the night in Zeist in the Netherlands. I also got a short trip through Cologne before arriving back in Frankfurt for my return flight home.

It was a really lovely trip -- even though I was there on business, it was hard for me not to fall in love with Germany (Swizterland and the Netherlands were lovely, too, but I wasn't in either one of them long enough to form too much of an opinion beyond enjoying the scenery). Certainly it made me wish I could rememeber some of my German from high school.

The terrain in the part of the company that I drove through reminded me a great deal of Michigan and Wisconsin. I think it goes without saying that I drank my share of excellent beer as part of the trip. No yarn stores, though. As you might imagine from my description, I spent most of my time in the car. Would I go back again? Absolutely! I'd really like to see Berlin and Munich and go back to the German wine country when the weather was a little nicer.

Tschüss!

Diadomina Multidirectional Scarf

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Diadomina Multidirectional Scarf in Colorway #301
Click for a Close Up

After finishing my first skein of Diakeito Diadomina I decided that this lovely soft colorway deserved its own post. Diadomina is a blend yarn -- 50% wool, 21% mohair and 29% nylon. There is a central fiber that is wrapped with a finer thread. The color is carried on both the core fiber and the wrapped fiber. When knitted, this results in something of a heathery effect (click on the link below the image to get a closeup). The skeins have pretty decent yardage, too -- they are 40 g and 122 yards and I definitely got over 24" towards my scarf on the first skein. Diadomina is definitely not a budget yarn -- but at least you can get a scarf out of a reasonable number of skeins.

My first attempt and Karen Baumer's pattern involved Noro Silk Garden. I got through the first skein and a little bit into the second skein when I just didn't like the way it was turning out. Some of this had to do with a mis-executed SSK decrease, but the primary reason that the project got abandoned was because I just couldn't see myself wanting to wear that scarf against my skin.

The Diadomina is much softer. I'm knitting it on US 7 (4.5 mm) and the scarf is about 5" wide. Its perfect knitting for relaxing -- it doesn't take much brain power to do and the yarn is soft and easy to work, so it doesn't max out my elbow and wrist joints like my Kureyon and Shinano projects (I don't know why, but I am finding these yarns to be a lot harder on my joints than I would have expected.). Best of all, I am looking forward to wearing it -- the colors fit with my existing wardrobe and the Diadomina should be very skin friendly.

Escape from Sleeve Island

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Which Way to Shore?

Well, not really. It's more like a swim out in the lagoon in search of the nearest land, while the cabana boy isn't looking since I'm only finished with Butterfly's first sleeve. But I've been playing a lot of Myst IV Revelation the past couple of days, and that's got my brain fixated on adventure games new and old. I've been playing adventure games since the first text-based Zork games were available for the Apple II+ (want to play them again? Just click here). Another set of adventure games that I really had fun with were the Lucas Arts Monkey Island series. Anyone remember "Escape from Monkey Island"? Consider this post a little tribute to Guybrush and Elaine.

Not too much to say about this sleeve. After heeding all the warnings of too much sleeve length (and noting that my swatch did relax just a tiny bit after I soaked it) I decided to shorten the sleeve by an inch. I like longer sleeves on my sweaters, but I don't like too much fabric getting in the way of my hands when I type, so it seemed like a reasonable compromise.

And now back to indulging in some electronic escapism...

New Magazines and Little Knitting

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You know your day is not starting like you planned it when your husband reaches over in the morning, taps you on the shoulder and say "Hey, Treese, did you know it's after 10?". Not that you're surprised, mind you, you do remember hitting the snooze alarm on your clock radio about 47 times. But you don't really remember telling yourself that you were allowed to sleep for an extra 2 and a half hours. (Lest you think my husband was doing any better, I must disclose that he was as neck deep in the covers as I was when he helped me to realize what time it was).

Fortunately, the rest of the day got better -- at least from a being on time and getting things done perspective. But because I was busy trying to make up for lost time, the knitting perspective didn't get much attention before John and I set out on our weekly date. While our trip to Tommy Nevin's in Evanston was pretty disappointing (sad for us, since Nevin's was one of the places John and I went on the night that we met in person for the first time) my little trip into the local Borders proved more fruitful.

I picked up three knitting/crochet to look through at my leisure at home: the IK special Crochet Issue(it's been out for a while, but it's been a while since I've been in a bookstore -- what sold me was a pillow design by Valentina Devine), InKnitters (which has a nice article on short rows and modular knitting and, unusually enough, even a couple of patterns for garments that I might actually wear) and Vogue Knitting. I almost didn't pick up the VK because the cover looked so un-knitterly that I thought it was some other fiber fashion magazine and actually ignored the title (which is also in a different font than my last copy of VK) until my brain reminded me that it would be strange for a non-knitting mag to be placed right next to a stack of Interweave Knits.

I haven't looked through any of them in detail yet, but I have high hopes for all three of them at this point -- and I've heard rumors that there are good things in the winter IK.

But what am I most excited about right now? For the first time in a month I'm going to be able to go KIP at Letizia's tonight. I feel like it's been almost forever since I last went.

P.S. UPS just left us a nice note to say that my new laptop hard drive is here... soon soon soon I will have access to the things on my desktop computer and be able to get all the emails from people who sent me entries for the Where in the World Contest. It makes me crazy when I have computer problems... but this one should be resolved very soon.

Your Regularly Scheduled Blog Post

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will return on Monday. Yesterday was devoted to a lot of things at work and followed up by great problems trying to install new Symantec software on my computer (no, it shouldn't have been a problem, but it certainly turned out to be... sometimes I wonder what these software companies are thinking.... I have somebody who really knows what he is doing and we still had a hard time repairing the situation. I hate to think what it would have been like if I'd been on my own..).

Thus, I didn't get to KIP and I didn't get to blog at my normal time. Fortunately I did make time to do some therapy knitting, and I am getting closer to having a new scarf to add to my wardrobe.

All should be back to normal on Monday. Happy Weekend to everyone!

MultiDirectional Scarf Takes the Stage

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Is my weekend over already? It hardly seems possible! But yet it is. Good thing it was a good weekend over all. It started with some very good vibes. Diva made her first appearance at work and received a number of very nice comments -- even from people who don't usually notice my knitwear. She came off immediately after I got home (knitted lace + cats = too many possible bad outcomes), but she'll be coming out soon again. John and I see our first opera of the season, Aida, this coming Friday. Diva's already got her ticket and will be paired with a nice black skirt.

It's been a long time since I've been to the Lyric. The last time I went was during graduate school. Three of us scraped together some cash and treated ourselves to an opera series. It was a nice excuse to get dressed up and immerse ourselves completely in something entirely different from our day-to-day lives. This weekend, while cleaning out an old jewelry box, I came across a ticket from the Lyric from the last time I saw Aida in 1995. Ticket price? $17. Location? Nosebleed section. This year I will be on the main floor, near the back but towards the center. It's going to be a real treat for me going there for the first time with John.

I was computerless most of Saturday as John worked to help get my new laptop in place as my primary computer. This involved a great deal of drive juggling, software installing and a little bit of cursing, but by Sunday morning I was in business. I took advantage of my computer-free time to get my MultiDirectional Scarf in Diakeito Diadomina #301 finished. Here's the result:


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Diadominated Multidirectional Scarf
Click Here for a Fringe Closeup

Julie and I were shopping today and it was from her (via the Gap) that I learned that "icy pastels" are the hot thing for winter. If that is the case, then I have inadvertantly created myself a fashionable scarf. Of course, this weekend the weather was fabulous and absolutely not scarfy, so I didn't get to try it out properly, but I have no doubt that it won't be too long until I do. I'm particularly proud of my little fringing expedition. I don't normally like to fringe things, but in this case the scarf seemed a little naked without it.

I probably would have blocked it, but, well, ultimately it's a garter stitch scarf. To paraphrase and subtly modify the immortal words of my father "Blocking? We don't need no steenking blocking!"

This scarf, knit on US 7's/4.5mm AddiTurbos, took almost exactly 3 skeins of Diadomina, including the fringe, and was about 6' long before the fringe was added. It's nice and soft to the touch, though I probably won't be able to wear it directly against my skin (I love the mohair, but it doesn't love me). This is a great project if you are interested in learning how short rows work -- a subject also covered in this quarter's INKnitters (which, by the way, I would highly recommend for the technique articles alone, and the cover sweater isn't too bad, either). Not only that, it's also an easy project, and one that is easy to modify to suit your personal tastes. Except for the first and last triangles, you don't have to look at the instructions at all and you can make your scarf to any width and pretty much use almost any yarn or combination of yarns that you like.

Socks Soar on 4 Double Pointed Needles

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If there's one thing you've heard me whine about probably more than anything else on this blog it is my utter aversion to knitting in the round on double pointed needles. My first ever attempt at sock knitting involved double points. It wasn't a very successful experience (ladders, ladders everywhere) and after discovering first socks on two circs I decided that I would probably never purchase a set of double points again in my life. More than that, I decided that I would say disparaging things about double pointed needles at every possible future opportunity.

Ahem.

Never diss an innocent tool, Ladies and Gentlemen, unless you actually know how to use the tool.

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Toe Up Sock on 4 Double Points

Here to present you with my current serving of humble pie, is the toe of a new sock project. My problem with double points seems to come primarily from one thing: I wasn't using enough of them.

You see, my first sock project was worked on three needles. This one is worked on four. I know the picture isn't close-up for you to see, but there is no laddering going on here, my friends. None whatsoever.

What prompted me to go back in search of my inner double pointed sock knitter? Lucy Neatby. The quest for a beautiful short-row heel. And the nagging feeling that perhaps I had left an important tool out of my sock knitting arsenal. But mostly it was Lucy Neatby.

If you like socks, and you love to read about technique, then Cool Socks, Warm Feet really should already be in your library. I constantly find myself being drawn back to it. And not just for the patterns, but also for her excellent explanations of the hows an whys of sock knitting. The book is geared towards making nifty socks in self-patterning sock yarn, but most of what she describes can be applied to any pair socks. But all her instructions are geared to those who are happiest with double points.

And I am terribly lazy when it comes to converting pattern instructions.

So when this lovely tutti-fruiti neopolitan sock yarn arrived from Knit Picks recently, the first thing I did was pick up the book and look at all the patterns. I wanted to try something new, but not something too hard that required a lot of attention. The Crenellated Toe Up Socks seemed like a good option: I've never made toe up socks before and the picot edging on the cuff combined with the Bosnian toe and a Turkish (Afterthought) heel seemed like the right combination. I picked up a set of size 0's and got to work.

And while I won't admit to being completely in love (it's still early yet, and I haven't quite mastered the process of maneuvering 4 needles and the yarn), I will admit that double pointed needles are acceptable sock knitting tools. Watch out world bamboo stocks...

My Newest Infatuation

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Yes, I know about the drawbacks of big yarn without much twist (both from a fashion and maintenance perspective). But I really really really want to make this in the Marble colorway (or perhaps I should say colourway, since it's from Colinette). I should probably know better (this sweater certainly wouldn't be popular with Stacy and Clinton or Trinny and Susannah), but I love the tunic shaping and the neckline.

I have never really been drawn to Point 5, but ever since first seeing Shimmer 5 on Marie's Blog, I have to admit I've started stalking the Internet for the stuff.

Yarn stalker. Yep, that's me.

You can see the lovely Shimmer 5 colorways here

And the other designs in from the Shimmer 5 pattern book here.

For pictures of the sweaters with yardage requirements described click here (link added on 10/28/04)

(Actually, Colinette seems to have had a small explosion of new pattern books recently... you can find some of them here)

Pinning Down a Butterfly

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And Then There Were Two

Funny how putting something in front of the camera can change my whole perspective on a project. Looking at these two fronts, you might almost think that I knit them from different Kureyon colorways. I wish now that I had started the first front piece (the one on the left) with just a little bit of a dark color leading into a lighter color. I really like how it creates a striking edge to the bottom of the garment.

The last time I posted about Butterfly, Amy (be sure to scroll down and see her lovely Karalund) asked if I was having problems with the tips of the chevrons curving upwards after I blocked the pieces. In case anyone else is interested in the answer, blocking does seem to cure most of my curling problems. Another thing that helped was casting on the second front piece very loosely. This resulted in a lot less curling before I pinned the piece down on my board. If you cast on tightly, cast on over two needles held together. That will help create a nice loose edge.

You can't really tell from looking at this picture, but I did make a small modification to the fronts -- what would be the button bands if this sweater had buttons is supposed to be done in garter stitch. I followed a suggestion provided by Claudia (scroll down to her October 13th entry) while she was making her incredible Butterfly (out of her own handspun, no less!) and used a seed stitch edging.

Now I have to set sail again for Sleeve Island. Hopefully I can find an open chair next to an umbrella when I get to the beach.

There's Something About Clapotis

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I do so love hand dyed yarn. But sometimes it does gives you surprises. Once again, my camera tells a story that my eyes didn't see.

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The Joys of Hand-Dyed Yarn
Can You Spot the Second Problem?

Yup. The second skein is darker than the first skein. I'm not really all that disturbed by this, because when this scarf knit on the bias is wrapped around my neck it's not going to be so easy to see.

Can you spot her second problem? This one has nothing to do with yarn and everything to do with my ability to count. One of those stockinette regions between the dropped stitches is composed of 6 stitches instead of 5. I didn't notice this problem until I got to the decreasing across this region and realized that I needed one more decrease than I should have needed to get to the point where I was dropping a stitch. To fix it I would have had to rip back almost to the beginning. Um, Sorry, No. Not for something that curves around on itself. I'm invoking the galloping horse rule here and moving on.

There's one final problem -- one that you probably won't be able to see from the picture. The first skein of yarn got me through the increases and about 2 intervals of straight knitting. The second skein got me almost through 7 more intervals. The problem? I have 4 more straight intervals to go before the decreasing component -- in other words, I'm short by about 2 intervals. This is a little surprising since my gauge is pretty close. Even after I changed from the grippy bamboo needles to the nice slick Inox that I stole from Fitzgerald.

BummerBummerBummer. What's a girl to do?

Send off a quick email to her favorite fiber enabler, of course, and cross her fingers and hope she's built up some good karma. And then wait.

I lucked out completely this time -- ThreadBear had one last skein of this dye lot lurking in their bins. I won't be finishing Clapotis this weekend, but at least I'll be able to get her finished. I'm a very happy camper!

What will I do with all that extra yarn? Well, I'm beginning to wonder what Clapotis might look like if she had some fringe...now that I've done my multi-directional scarf, I think I have fringe on the brain.

Want to see another Clapotis in progress with a different kind of yarn? Silvia's doing her "Clapper" in a Morehouse Merino lace weight yarn. Completely different look, completely lovely.

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