November 2004 Archives

I am the Lorax...

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...and I speak for the trees. Does anyone else remember this jewel from Theodor Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss)? It was always a favorite of mine when I was younger. At the time I didn't completely appreciate how political it was, or what context to put it in. Now that I am older, it has become more meaningful. I believe that there need to be more Loraxes in the world. And not just to speak for the trees. But also to speak for the atmosphere, the sick, the homeless, the poor and our waterways. We should all speak out about what we care for.

It has never seemed to me that a knitting blog is the place for me to discuss politics. I've always seen my blog as a peaceful place, a controversy and negativity-free zone. Discussions of politics are usually not done without the risk of disrupting the peace and introducing negativity. I don't make any attempt to hide my general leanings, but since I've never wanted to offend anyone or make politics a part of my blogging experience, I've generally stayed away from making my feelings public.

But since November 2nd is tomorrow, and I do believe that a great deal hinges on this election, the time has come to put myself out there and take a risk. The time has come for me to speak for my personal trees. To anyone this offends, I'm sorry. Tomorrow I'll be back to my regularly scheduled, politics-free knitting content.

I think I can express myself best by telling you something of who I am.

I was raised to believe that I could be anything and do anything I could dream -- that my gender should not be a barrier to accomplishment. I am an avid supporter of women's and minority rights, in particular, the right of women and minorities to have equal opportunities in the work place.

I was raised Catholic, with a healthy dose of skepticism. I believe strongly that we must respect and forgive and be honest with other people and that we must teach these values to our children. But I also believe that we must think about and question the "dictates" we hear in our churches -- or from any place that is trying to teach us morality. We may be part of the flock, but we should not simply act as sheep. I am pro-choice and pro-birth control and I believe that devoted same sex couples should have the same rights as my husband and I do.

I am the child of two people who were amongst the first in their families to go to college. I am married to a man who broke through barriers and paid his own way to pursue his own schooling. I believe strongly in the value of education and feel one of the greatest priorities in this country should be the education of all children. Knowledge is power that everyone should have, not just an elite few.

I am a scientist. I believe in making decisions based on data not on what I want to be true. I am pro-stem cell research and I believe that future advances in science will improve health and lead to longer lifespans. I believe that a country with the incredible technological horsepower found in this country should be able to make sure that everyone in this country has access to affordable and regular health care. I also believe that we must discover ways to have a more positive impact on our planet. We must find cleaner and more sustaining sources of fuel. We should research ways to avoid polluting and abusing our environment. I feel very strongly that we should find ways to reduce greenhouse gasses and slow global warming. I want the planet to be someplace that the children I have not had yet will want to live.

I am an American. I love my country and have always considered myself lucky to be born here. I am proud of it's many accomplishments and the vision of hopefulness that is part of its founding and constitution. I believe in my right, and the right of others -- even those who disagree with me -- to speak and gather freely.

I am very embarrassed by my country's leadership, and saddended by the image it has created of the place that I love. It is a leadership that is fostering fear, a leadership that wants to erode freedoms that so many have fought to protect. A leadership that has no problems supporting policies that damage our environment and has no vision for how to provide affordable healthcare to all Americans. A leadership that seems to believe that the United States should be seen as a great bully instead of a role model. A leadership that time and time again has misled the American people.

I believe it is time for a change. On Tuesday morning I will be casting my vote for John Kerry and John Edwards.

Butterfly Home Stretch

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I'd like to say thank you to everyone who left me comments or sent me email about yesterday's post. I am very touched by your kind words about my writing and my sentiments. It has also encouraged me to think about branching out beyond knitting more often.

But, as promised, today I return to knitting. Over the weekend, while the husband was getting our new toy (an X-box*) installed and playing nicely with our home theatre, I worked on Clapotis and Butterfly's second sleeve.

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Victory on Sleeve Island

I'm now perilously close to a sweater. I'll be letting these block overnight and getting started on the assembly process while watching the election returns come in. Here's to hoping that Butterfly is my lucky sweater.

*you may wonder why two people with 6 computers between them need another gaming system. I can't completely explain why -- maybe because there are more console games that actually allow two people to play at the same time. But I surprised myself by actually sort of liking the fighting game that we rented. Although I must say, that I am sill not sure that my mind can fully wrap around Aerosmith's "Dream On" as the music behind the introductory anime video that set's the scene for Dead or Alive Ultimate

Chicago Election -- Retaining Judges

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One of the most complicated things (I think) about voting in Chicago (and probably in Illinois) is dealing with the retention of judges. It's part of our voting process here. One of the things I will be taking with me this morning to the polls is The Chicago Council of Lawyers Judge Evaluations (you can find the full report here and the short version to take to the polls here).

While the presidential election is definitely important, this judicial retention vote should be taken seriously, too. Judges need to receive 60% of the vote to be retained. And there are some people who definitely don't deserve to be retained (Like Dorothy Jones, who impeded the adoption process for two same-sex couples because she doesn't believe in adoption for same-sex couples, and it is perfectly legal in Illinois for same sex couples to adopt.)

The Chicago Bar Association also has a recommendation list. You can find it here

Just One Word

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UNLESS

Butterfly Emerges

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It's been such a long couple of days. It's only Wednesday, but it feels like it should be Friday. I just gotta say that keeping my hands busy with a knitting project did help keep my blood pressure somewhat under control (it didn't stop the bruising from banging my head against the wall, however). It was probably a good thing that I picked up all the stitches before CBS confirmed Florida to be in the wrong camp (at least by my definition). Otherwise, who knows what counting problems could have ensued....

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The Collar that Ate A Whole Skein of Yarn

I got a suggestion from Julie that instead of leaving the center stitches on the back free to knit accross, that I should actually bind them off and pick up stitches on the bound off edge. This might seem strange, but Julie felt that much of her extra arm length might have come from extra stretching across the back of the sweater. By binding off those stitches, some structure is enforced. So I bound those stitches off before picking up the 150 or so stitches needed for the collar. We'll see how it works out when I get a little farther.

In case it isn't obvious, this is a big, honkin' collar (being bunched up on a circular needle like that hides it's super-sized quality). I've gone through a whole skein of Kureyon and there's still and inch or more to go. This will mean that Butterfly will weigh in right about the 12 skein mark -- exactly as predicted by the pattern for my size. I really do like it when yardage is properly estimated.

If you are working on this pattern, be sure that you check out Jane Ellison's errata page for Noro Knits. There's a correction to the knitting of the collar that is critical for making it work out correctly.

Butterfly didn't turn out to be my lucky election sweater, but she's close to being finished now. So she still has a chance at being my new wardrobe addition for the weekend sweater.

Collared

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Pinning Down Butterfly's Collar

I finally finished the collar. What a slog! It wouldn't have been so bad except for having to move all the fabric back and forth. But now I feel nearer to victory. I decided to block the collar out before attaching the sleeves, thinking it might be easier to do while there is less structure in the garment (and that it might take less time to dry, since I like to wet/cold block) -- and because there just isn't enough time for me to attach the sleeves tonight before I head off to bed.

Hopefully this weekend will prove to be a fruitful one. I love Chicago's version of The Daily Candy. Very handy when you're lazy and looking for interesting things to do or buy in Chicagoland. This weekend there's a big sample sale at the Merchandise Mart. I've never actually been in the Mart before -- it's supposed to be the largest commercial building in the world. Even if we don't buy anything, the trip itself will be an interesting adventure.

And last but not least, I have finally recovered the email from my unhappy desktop computer -- so I can announce a winner for my Where in the World contest. I got around 25 entries and 5 of them had the right answers -- a big round of applause for Holly (1) , Ursula (2), Anna (3) , Danielle (4) and Jorun (5). Since I don't have yarn to give to everyone (I wish I did). I have to pick someone at random. So I numbered the correct guessers (see the numbers in parentheses next to their names above) and I asked my husband (without telling him why) to pick a random number between one and five. John's selection was 4, so I'll be sending Danielle the sock yarn.

Thanks again to everyone who played along. This was definitely a lot of fun, and I will have to come up with another contest some time in the future!

Butterfly Set Free

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Finished Butterfly

Butterfly hit the "completely finished" point at about 3 pm this afternoon -- including hook and eye clasp. I'm rather pleased with the result. Especially the back of the collar, which laid perfectly after another round of blocking (this time I laid the collar flat on the board without any sweater underneath it and pinned it down gently so that I could get the blue edge to sit properly) that I did following getting the sleeves sewn in.

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Butterfly from the Back

I think that it is really the collar that makes this sweater -- gives Butterfly her serious wings. I also like the effect of all the different stripe widths in the different pieces. The back, fronts, sleeves and collar are all different widths, thus, the striping varies. And I made no real attempt to match the sleeves or the fronts, I just let the pieces start where they started.

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Butterfly from the Side

Even with an inch less length than called for in the pattern, the sleeves are still pretty long. Probably I should have shortened it by two inches before the cap shaping. Not a problem, really, though, since I took another page out of Julie's book and decided to cuff the bottom of the sleeves.

Overall, I like this project a great deal. I took the sweater out for a test wearing this evening and it did well. I do wish it had a little shaping in the waist area, but I am not sure it could be done without disrupting the other lines of the sweater. The jury is still out on the hook and eye. It does seem to be the right size fastener for the job, but it remains to be seen as to how well it will stay put.

What did I learn?

  • Binding off all the stitches at the neckline of the back provided a lot of nice structural sweater stability.
  • Noro Kureyon grows a little bit after you soak it.
  • It's not always necessary to match all my stripes.
  • I really like the look of seed stitch borders

If you're considering Butterfly, it's not a hard project. There's very little shaping to speak of, the assembly is not terribly complex and aside from picking up stitches for the collar, there's almost no finishing beyond seaming. It looks equally lovely in stripes or solid (see Claudia's lovely Butterfly for an example.)

Now it's time to start knocking off a few more projects on my unfinished list (my sweetie definitely deserves a new pair of socks and a sweater for winter) and to get started on a couple of holiday presents. And my 4th skein of Lion and Lamb for Clapotis arrived from Lansing on Friday (thanks, Rob!) so Clapotis is going to be back in rotation as well. The only real question looming right now is whether or not I will give into my desire to order yarn for a Ribby Cardi. Stay tuned...

About Time

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John's Third Pair of Socks

I'm rather pleased with how productive I was this weekend. Not only did I finish up Butterfly (thank you to everyone who left me nice comments -- after wearing her for a whole day at work, I just have to report that I am still in love, and definitely encourage anyone out there who likes her to add your own copy to your wardrobe) but I also got everything but the heel of John's second Pin Strip sock completed as well. Tonight, while listening to the news I got the heel taken care of and they were ready for him when he got home from work. I'm afraid black and grey striped socks don't model very well.

I was a little worried that he might not like them because they are mostly fraternal. But we had a discussion of hand-dyed yarn on Sunday, and that seemed to help the acceptance process -- that and the fact that they are nice and soft and warm at a time when the weather is getting a little colder here in Chicago. I'm not sure why, but it gives me such great satisfaction to see John try on his socks. Hopefully these will wear as well as the Opal and Bearfoot socks that I made him last year.

My goal is to make it so that John has a pair of socks for every day of the week. This is his third pair, so I've got 4 more to go! I brought out all my "manly" sock yarn (I think I've found almost every grey sock yarn on the market!) and let him pick out what he wanted next. I got a pleasant surprise when he picked this skein:

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Trekking XXL, Color 90

This may not seem like a big deal, but the presence of orange, green and brown all in the same sock yarn (that might actually stripe) is a radical departure for John. It also, by some magical co-incidence, was the skein I was hoping he would pick since I am very curious as to how it will knit up.

I am not quite sure what pattern I am going to use for John's next pair of socks. I'm thinking of going back to a sock with a Dutch heel, since that seemed to fit his foot better than the afterthought heel does (which is not to say that the afterthought doesn't fit well, just that it doesn't seem as snug on his heel as the Dutch heel on the pair of Opal socks). I'm also going back down to a tighter gauge. The fabric of these new socks seems just a bit too slack for me, and I am worried that they won't hold up as well as they could -- a real concern, because if he wears them like he wears his other two pair, they'll get worn at least once a week for some time to come.

On The Road Again

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I'm leaving for the western part of the United States tomorrow for a short business trip. On the plus side, I should get to see lovely golden Larch trees and snow capped mountains, on the minus side, it's not going to be particularly warm. But as business trips go, it should be a good one, so aside from a lot of airplane time (which will hopefully be productive from a sock-knitting perspective), I'm actually looking forward to it.

But getting ready to go hasn't left a lot of time for me to do much knitting tonight. So instead of displaying what will appear to be infintesimal progress on Clapotis, I will talk about the next project I want to do for me...I know, I was talking about Christmas presents yesterday, and now I'm talking about me. But with only so many cold weather months in which to wear sweaters, a girl has to do a lot of strategic planning to make sure she doesn't miss out on a great wardrobe addition -- or worse, finish a great wardrobe addition just in time for the wrong season to begin.

Have you seen Bonne Marie's wonderful Ribby Cardi? How cool is it that this awesome pattern is the featured design at Elann? I know, this is old news to most of you, but it wasn't until this weekend that I finally got to do a little surfing and see all the great color combinations that people are putting together (Bonne Marrie has put together a page of good ones if you want to check them out).

I spent a long time thinking about whether I wanted a two-toned or solid colored sweater, and in the end I opted for just one color. I think I will get more wear out of the sweater that way. I also opted for a color that I thought I would get a lot of wear out of, even though I kept getting drawn back to those bright purples, greens, blues and reds (I like these colors, but I know that I need to add a bit more subtlety to my wardrobe).

So what did I pick?

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Mid Indigo Heather

This denimy shade grabbed me and just wouldn't let go. I think it will do well at both work and play and go with a lot of my winter wardrobe of turtlenecks. And I'm still blown away by the fact that I'll get a whole sweater for about $30.

Picking yarn for this sweater has also left me with a new favorite pastime -- checking Elann to see which colors are still left. For some reason, I'm finding it fascinating to see which colors people like the best. Wanna place bets on which colors will be the last to go?

P.S. Because of my travel schedule, this is likely to be my last post for the week. But I'll be back on Monday!

Almost Clapotis

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I got back from my trip late Friday night. Aside from a little knitting that I did on the plane trip out (which was of great interest -- in a good way -- to the flight attendants who saw it), I got very little done. I also had my first "knitting related airport security encounter". Apparently, the little nail clippers that I carry with me to cut yarn with have a little nail file with a point that is in the unacceptable category (I should point out that this dangerous weapon did go back and forth to Europe with me without any real problems). They were rendered acceptable when the nail file was broken off, and so managed to make it back to Chicago with me. The security screener was incredibly polite and very gentle with the knitted item in my bag -- he didn't want to hurt the project I was working on.

When I got back, I decided that with Butterfly done, it was time to make some headway on Clapotis.

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Almost a Scarf

My fears of not quite having enough yarn for Clapotis appear to have come true. Here she is at the end of three skeins. She's looking a bit out of sorts, I know, but a little bit of blocking should do wonders for her disposition once she's finished (only 5 intervals left to go).

Since there is no way for me to avoid skeining up the last hank of Lion and Lamb that I have, I'm trying to figure out, how, beyond the final corner, I might best use the yarn. One idea I had was to give Clapotis a fringe. However, she's already quite large. Will a fringe be overkill? Will it make her too shawl/stole-like? I'd like her to have an elegant quality, but I also would like her to be the sort of scarf that wouldn't mind going to work with me on a semi-regular basis.

Alternatively, I'm thinking of taking my left overs (I think there should be at least 100 yards when I'm done) and making this lovely Bow Knot Scarf designed by Katherine Burgess, for when I want a little luxury without all the bulk of Clapotis.

Opinions, anyone?


P.S. to my dear friend Judy -- Congratulations on your engagement! I am so excited for you. You can't go wrong with a good computer guy!

P.P.S. Happy 32nd Birthday to my Little Brother. I know, he never reads my blog, but at least I should get points for trying!

Finding My Outer Goddess

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I really do always go into yarn stores with the best intentions to not enhance my stash.

Really, I do.

But, inevitably, something happens -- some confluence of random magical fibery forces -- and I find myself, like some kind of addict, trying to convince myself that just one more little purchase really won't hurt. It will be quick to knit. It will be the perfect wardrobe addition. And I really don't have that much yarn waiting in my stash closet at home.

What is my excuse this time, you might ask? It's a simple equation, my friends, as shown below:

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+

ruhamaslogo.jpg

=

20041115_GoddessPhoebe.jpg

Take one part sweater design I have been ogling for some time, mix it with one of the few yarn stores in the country that sells the Goddess yarn line, add it the good company of a great friend, wave over the mix with my magic Visa card, et voila! -- another yarn purchase.

But not just any yarn purchase. No, this yarn, Phoebe (by Goddess Yarns), is 100% Baby Alpaca in the kind of color that my skin was meant to be placed next to. This yarn is the softest yarn I have ever fondled, with a hand like an angel. And best of all... it knits up 18 stitches/4 inches, making the capelet that is my current heart's desire almost a quick knit

Clapotis Complete

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If a scarf could speak, Clapotis would want you to know that she appreciates all the efforts on her behalf to help dissuade her maker that fringing might be a good idea. She much prefers to be fringeless, and not to bear an uncanny resemblance to a gaudy table runner. She might also like to be blocked, but that is still in negotiation.

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Clapotis as Scarf

A little sunlight would have helped these shots with regards to making the details of Clapotis stand out, but given my current schedule and that of my photographer, I'm lucky to get pictures in whenever I can. Clapotis is a nice garment as she is very multifunctional. Not only can she be a warm, soft, glimmery scarf, but she can also pull double-duty as a shawl.

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Clapotis as Shawl

There's not much to add to my "what did I learn" list on this project -- she's a relatively simple scarf, though not quite as mindless to knit as I would have liked because of all the knitting through the back of the loop that is done to set up the dropped stitch areas. I have developed a definite devotion to Lion and Lamb, however, and I now know how to go about knitting a scarf on the bias. I used more yarn than called for by the pattern, but that can probably be chalked up to me not doing a gauge swatch before I got started.

One thing to point out about this scarf -- she's not a lightweight. With just over 3 skeins of Lion and Lamb, she weighs in at 300g. But it would be relatively trivial to modify the pattern to make something narrower and a bit lighter weight.

The pattern for Clapotis is well written and easy to follow. I think the author's extra instructions for lengthening or widening are a nice touch. It's also one of those patterns that would work well in a wide variety of yarn types and weights, depending on the desired effect.

Of Guage and Alpaca

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Aren't you proud of me? I've managed to go three whole days without acquiring any new yarn. Not only that, I've started my next project out of yarn from my stash -- granted, it it's yarn that's been in my stash for only three days, but I think it should count.

To be honest, I had to cast some Phoebe on to my needles almost instants after getting it home. Because I didn't want to waste any of this luscious yarn, I swatched and then ripped it out. On size 8 (5.0 mm) needles, the pattern calls for a gauge of 18 stitches and 22 rows to 4" square. My swatch worked out, so I cast on the zillion stitches requred and got started.

And then I discovered that my swatch had lied to me. I wasn't completely off, but my 4.5 stitches/inch had become more like 5 and my 5.5 rows/inch had become more like 6. This was after I had knit through my entire first skein and part of the second. The piece stretched to the correct dimensions, but I started to get worried about yardage and decided that I needed to test out another swatch on the next needle size up (US 9). This resulted in 4 stitches/inch and 5.5 rows/inch. Right row gauge, wrong stitch gauge. Sigh. My swatches weren't going to give me any easy answers.

So I set the piece aside and worked on Clapotis while I considered what to do next. The thought of ripping the whole thing out and starting over didn't appeal to me, but I figured the wrong row gauge would result in a yarn shortage. And by now everyone should know that if there is one thing I don't do well, it's deal with a yarn shortage.

In the end, I decided that maybe my original swatch hadn't lied to me -- maybe my fingers had. rather than rip, I decided that I'd consciously force myself to knit more loosely and see if I could achieve my original gauge.

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The Beginning of A Capelet

To my very pleasant surprise, thinking loosey-goosey worked. This is just after starting my third skein of Phoebe. And here's an up close look at the difference in my stitches:

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Loosening Up

Can you see the difference? It's small, but real. It feels a little strange to knit this way, but I think in the long run it might be a good exercise to keep me from choking up on my needles.

This yarn is absolutely delightful to knit with. The plies, however, have a tendency not to want to stick together, so it is very easy to knit through a stitch and split the yarn, meaning that it doesn't make for completely mindless knitting. But it's still a pretty good option for working on while my boy indulges in a little Half Life 2.

Geek Tweak

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No new knitting to talk about because four the last 24 hours I've been spending most of my free time trying to figure out how to get BookQueueToo installed properly with MT.

I've always been a little jealous of those TypePad folks who can easily post their current reading list. SixApart obviously does a lot of nice things for the bloggers they host. I like to read Six Apart's Professional Network blog to help me keep up with new widgets, ideas and interesting plugins for MT. And there was BookQueueToo -- my opportunity to add a book list to my blog site.

Of course, nothing comes without a little pain. I've had to ask my webhost (AddAction.com) to add a Perl module (which they did within 15 minutes of my request -- how's that for good service?). I've had to install some Perl modules in my local MT libraries (I have not quite been able to finish this to my satisfaction yet, but it's coming) and I had to find a problem in my MT config that I didn't know was a problem until today. I also had to register for some things at Amazon.com in order to be able to use their book search services.

Then I had to figure out how to add books to the list (very easy, very cool, all based on Amazon searching) and add the right tags to my template so that the books I am now reading can be seen (you can see it in the far right column, above my list of current projects, complete with pictures of the books).

I feel like I've had a tech-y victory. And you know, I didn't want to go to bed early anyway.

P.S. I'm off to see my brother in Texas (yes, a Red State, I know, but he's employed and happily married, and makes a mean creme brulee, so one has to make a few sacrifices) for the week of Thanksgiving. Not sure how regular my posting will be next week...

Closer to My Goddess

What was my big push over the weekend? Getting both side panels of my Goddess Capelet finished. By the time I had gotten both of them finished, I had one full skein and most of a second left, but with my yarn shortage paranoia running high, I made a quick phone call to Ruhama's to see if they had another skein in the same dyelot that they could send me.

Credit cards are a good thing. By the time I get home from Texas, the last skein should be waiting for me and I can get on to knitting the fun parts of this project.

The side panels aren't really much to look at, but to provide proof of completion (mostly to myself -- even on size 8 needles this knitting was a little bit of a slog), here's a picture of the project.

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Two Sides of the Same Goddess

One thing that I couldn't capture well on digital film was the subtle differences in color in the skeins. This is not to say that Phoebe is like Arucania Nature Wool or something like that. If you look at the skeins they are most definitely solidly the same color. This is just enough variation to give the fabric a little depth, without screaming incompletely dyed. Either that or it is just a trick of the light in the room with my blocking board. I'll try to get natural light pictures when I get back from Texas.

Now that I have gotten the lion's share of the knitting done on this project, I feel like it's a good time to talk more about this yarn. On the overall, I like it a great deal. It is incredibly soft to the touch, has the most phenomenal hand and makes for a truly blissful knitting experience.

However, this yarn did make me crazy in one very specific way -- it splits like nobody's business. I suspect that this is related to it being alpaca, but I haven't knit with enough alpaca yarns to be sure. I don't want to tell how many times I would look down the fabric to realize that of the 6 or so strands that are plied together to make this yarn, on a stitch 10 rows down, I had caught only 4 of the plies and there were two extra ones swinging in the breeze. I did the "drop a stitch and re-knit back up" routine so many times I thought I was working on an alpaca version of Clapotis! Obviously, this is my fault, not the yarn's, but what this means is that I had to pay attention to this project more than I would have expected to for a long stockinette slog.

Speaking of long slogs... I have an airline story that fits that bill as well. But I'll save that for tomorrow.

Cruel to my Tools

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My flight to Houston and the subsequent drive to Corpus Christi proved to be quite an adventure. Take one airplane and one rental car, mix liberally with bad weather, et voila! an adventure guaranteed to help you get more knitting done than you really wanted to.

We left Chicago at 11:45 -- about half an hour later than we were supposed to because of bad weather in Houston, where the plane was coming from. Continental did an admirable job of getting things turned around and getting us off the ground quickly, so we were still supposed to arrive close to our original arrival time, around 2:30 pm.

Around 2, the pilot came on the microphone to tell us that because of bad weather in Houston, we would be a little delayed getting on the ground because there were a bunch of planes queued up waiting to get on the ground. Next announcement, some planes had tried coming in, but there was bad wind shear, the planes hadn't been able to land. Then the weather deteriorated even further and they shut Houston down to all landings. No problem, we had fuel to circle for a while. And circle we did, until about 3:45, at which point the airport still wasn't open and we now needed more fuel. We were diverted to Baton Rouge where we sat until almost 5 pm. Once again, we had clearance to land at Houston. Once again, there were delays due to other planes, followed by wind shear delays. By the time we got on the ground, it was 6:30pm -- we'd been on one 737 for almost 7 hours -- and we still had a three and a half hour drive through terrible rainy conditions befor we got to our final destination.

Is it any wonder that my poor double pointed sock needles looked like this by the end of the trip?

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Poor Bent Double Points

Actually, I probably can't blame this plane ride for the curvature in my needles. I had no idea bamboo was so easy to shape! I guess this is more evidence that I am something of a tight knitter.

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Crenellated Sock Number 1

All that time in the air meant that I actually got the first of two Crenellated Socks a la Lucy Neatby done (including weaving in all the ends) right as we were landing in Baton Rouge. I followed her pattern almost exactly: Bosnian toe, Turkish heel, garter stitch cuff with picot cast off edge. I finished this sock with just a couple of yards of yarn to spare. Good thing the ultimate recipient doesn't have very big feet!

I'm so smitten with that little picot edging, that I just have to post a close up. How cute is this?

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Crenellated Sock Top

I like the toe and the cuff on this sock a great deal -- the garter stitch gives it a little extra stretchiness just where it needs to be. I modified her heel instructions -- I didn't want to graft, so I just decreased down to 6 stitches and whipped the yarn through them all to close the hole.

And I'm feeling quite proud of myself. I've already got the toe for it's (hopefully) identical twin underway and am starting on the trip up the instep. Hopefully I can keep that forward momentum going for the rest of my vacation and my trip home.

Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone Celebrating the Holiday!

Crenellated Socks Completed

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Happy Dancin' Socks

Fortunately, my trip back to Chicago was less eventful than our trip to Houston. Even so, I was able to achieve the one goal I set for myself for the trip: completion of the crenellated stripey socks. I am not sure whether these socks count as identical or fraternal. I thought they were going to be pretty close to identical until I got to the top of the sock. The measurements are all the same, but there must have been enough variation in the yarn (or my tension) to shift the colors a bit. Nonetheless, I still think they are pretty adorable.

These socks were made out of Steinbach Wolle Strapaz Ringel Color (on clearance at KnitPicks right now) in colorway #4 (no longer available from KnitPicks...I checked). They are worked at 8 stitches/inch on size 0 needles. The fabric is pretty dense, but it should loosen a bit when washed, and the density will provide better durability. The pattern is Lucy Neatby's Crenellated Sock pattern from her Cool Socks, Warm Feet book. This pattern is a toe-up pattern, which was a perfect fit with this yarn, since I just barely had enough to do this pair of socks with two skeins of yarn.

This was also my first full pair of socks knit on double points, and I gotta say, in fact, I am surprised to find myself saying, that I think I like my little double points better than I like either knitting in the round on either one or two needles. I haven't been able to quite put my finger on why. Perhaps it is because the project is more portable without one or more big circular needles flopping around? Maybe it's the nice warm feel of the bamboo instead of metal. It could be that I don't have to deal with sliding loops over the circular needle joins. I'm really not sure.

What I do know is that the first set of needles I grabbed when getting ready to start my husband's next pair of socks was that set of warped little size 0 double points. It must be love.

Shimmering

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I was going to put up a picture of another little project I finished while I was in Corpus Christi. But then this arrived at my door today...

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Shimmer 5 in Marble

...and I decided that I just had to show it off. The little picture really doesn't this luminous yarn justice. So I also took a close up that better represents the Shimmer in Shimmer 5.

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Shimmer 5 Up Close

For whatever reason, I have never been a big fan of Point 5. Something about it just didn't grab me, even though I loved the big, saturated colors that it came in. The Shimmer 5 isn't terribly different from a texture perspective, but the sheen really does make a difference. It seems a little more sophisticated to me. Either that, or it's just my inner crow (lover of all things shiny and metallic) asserting itself. The yarn is 50% wool, 50% viscose blend. It seems a little more tightly spun than the Point 5 I have encountered before as well. And I'm pretty sure that it is soft enough to be worn against the skin (this is hard for me to judge until I actually wear it against my skin for a while).

This color palette is a somewhat unusual one for me given the whites and pinks and greys. The idea of winter pastels really appeals to me for a big shimmery sweater. So the only real question that remains is what sweater to make?

I bought the yarn with Giselle in mind -- a big tunic with a notched neck that looks both cozy and sexy -- at least on the model (yes, yes, I know, never judge a sweater by the model). But now I am also feeling attracted to Margot, a cardigan that actually has a little shaping going on.

I would probably get more use out of the cardigan, but I feel very drawn to the tunic. The real question is will the completed tunic just look like a shimmery sack on me or will it have the comfy/sexy (is that a clothing oxymoron?) qualities that I really want it to have, especially if paired with the right skirt or slim pants? Would it make it better or worse if I took the shaping from the cardigan (which is almost exactly the same circumference and length) and applied it to the tunic to make it a little shaplier.

I very much want to dive into knitting with this yarn (I, very conveniently, still have the 12 mm AddiTurbo needle on indefinitely loan from Rob that is the recommended needle size), but for once in my knitting life it has occurred to me that some heavy thinking might be in order if this project is to have the finished result I want it to have. As always, I am interested in any opinions that anyone might want to share.

And once again I have to say a very hearty thank you to the best blog-ring neighbor a knitter could ask for, Emma -- the arrival of this yarn is the result of her help and a little trading action.

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