Sunday, January 27, 2008

Something is finished!

One of the disadvantages of knitting multiple items at the same time - is that it seems forever until one thing is finished! Even me - the process knitter - began to get edgy that I had so many partially done things on needles - my Embossed Leaves socks, my Southwest Philosopher's Wool Cardigan, my Mermaid, Deli (hah! I was trying to keep that one to myself), even a Dale sweater I started years and years ago and I don't have the heart to throw away.

So - I decided to drop my Southwest for awhile and concentrated on the socks. And finito! At least one.

I love them! And they fit fine. May even be a little small. I lengthened the pattern to compensate for using smaller needles. So now I know - I can even handle a 64 stitch count with smaller needles. Such a pretty pattern. And no kitchener at the end. You just pull yarn thru the last 8 stitches. My kind of toe!

But I did make a little progress on my cardigan:

I'm happy with that too.. but sometimes the stiffer yarn is hard on my fingers. Smooshy is a lot easier to handle.

So I'm back to regular work hours starting tomorrow. Good thing. Getting up at 3:15 so I can get online by 4AM was getting really old.

I don't do a lot of whining (other than about yarn) on my blog.. but I really wonder if I am the only single person with a large mortgage who doesn't understand why the tax laws seem to think that a single person only earns 50% what a married person makes? This normally hits me at tax time when I check the tax table and see what % of my salary I owe compared to a married person's %.. but this time it came last Thurs when they set the upper limits for the tax stimulus checks. The upper level for single people was 50% that for a married couple (whether or not there were two breadwinners).

I'm not implying that I need as much money as a married couple with children but I know its more than 50%. My largest expenses are the same. I own my own home with a mortgage, I need to heat it, and I need to pay significant property taxes on it. I make a good salary (after 30 years) but my married coworkers that make more money than me get the rebate and I don't. And its not all about the money. Its about fairness and discrimination. I think we need change the tax laws to deal with each household rather than the marital status of the taxpayer. Wishful thinking - huh? Well that's all I'm going to say about that!

Will have a full report on the Denver Creative Festival next week!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Sweater of Many Colors

I've made good progress on my Philosopher's Wool Southwest cardigan. I'm very pleased. I think the body is looking better than the sleeves even. Here ya go:

My only frustration.. is that - even tho I am giving the yarn a tug in the purling sections in the middle of the cross - the background color is still showing thru from the back. But lucky for me I have signed up to take the Bourgeois' seminar at the Denver Creative Festival on Feb 1st (as long as it doesn't snow like it did last year) so I will find out what I'm doing wrong.

One of the beautiful parts of a fair isle is the inside.. so I had to take a photo of that too:

The PW technique weaves every other stitch so it is a very thick fabric. There is only one steek stitch done with a double yarn purl which makes it so easy when it comes time to finish. No need to create facings. And you can see the stitch to be cut so easily from the back. And you weave all the yarn in as you go so there is really very little weaving. My kind of sweater!

And here is the small progress I've made on the Embossed Leave sock:

I'm feeling a lot more comfortable that this will fit when I'm done since the patterns pulls in a lot. I will wear them anyway. Hah! They are too pretty to give away. I'm not getting much done - since last Friday and all of this week I am working from home from 4AM to Noon to help our offshore (India) system testers. I'm not taking knitting breaks and I'm too pooped to knit when I stop. This too shall pass.

This AM.. I decided to take an inventory of my kits. Well.. if I knit 3 of them a year I have enough kits to last into my 70's. So that's that.. NO MORE KITS. And I'm not even considering the other yarn I bought without a project in mind nor the sock yarn (which is my current "crack" hit) and the lace yarn. I promised myself to pull out that inventory whenever I am tempted by blogland.

Hope you have a great week!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Much better!

My Southwest body has improved 100% since last week. I started from scratch, used a cable cast-on and I'm past the ribbing and onto the first pattern (6 rows of triangles):

But then last night, after my ribbing was done I took out the chart and tried to figure out how to center the pattern at the front since I am converting it to a cardigan. I also needed to figure out where to put the single steek (PW sweater use a single steek) The main graph pattern repeat is 11 stitches and the total number of stitches is 220. It would work fine if I was doing a pullover, but to center the repeat - would mean that I would have 5 stitches to the left of the steek, the steek stitch which would take up the center stitch of the repeat, and then 5 stitches to the right of the steek. Fine - I can do this. I took out Excel - and charted out where I would be after adding the steek stitch - and of course - now that the total number of stitches = 221 - I was no longer at a multiple of 11. I decided to do a dec in the middle of the back and like Magic - the main pattern will fit perfectly.

But what do I do about the triangles. Those repeats are a multiple of 6. Even for a pullover - there was no way I could make those fit perfectly. So - I decided to focus on the front, I centered that - and the pattern doesn't match on one side. Later - I was thinking I should have let the pattern divert equally on each side - but I don't have the patience to rip it all out again. If anyone complains - they are looking too close! Hah!

And I'm delighted with my "day" knitting.. Here is the gorgeous Embossed Leaves sock in Smooshy:

Its such a pretty pattern. I'm hoping it fits. Even if it doesn't - I've sure enjoyed knitting it!

Have a great week!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Not much accomplished this week!

Good thing I'm a process knitter. So what if I have to start something all over again.

The only thing I have to show for myself this week is the start of the Embossed Leaves cuff:

The Smooshy yarn is wonderful.. so soft and such a nice blend of blues. And the best part is that I learned something new - a 1x1 rib cast-on. It was so easy that I decided to try it for my PW body.

Hah! I had to cast on 170 stitches.. and of course something interrupted me and I ended up making mistakes (I ended up with the wrong type of stitch at stitch 170). So I decided to just do a long tail cast-on.. and then spent the last two days working on the ribbing. I was at the last stripe just awhile ago, looked down, and realized I hated the cast-on.. it was way too loose for a sweater - with big loops hanging down. Sigh.. I really need to evaluate my knitting a lot earlier before I spend time adding to it.

So I just threw it all away (I have plenty of PW yarn).. and I will start over. I think I will just do a cable cast-on and assume that will take me the rest of the day! But I'm a process knitter so what difference does it make - right?

Charlie continues to improve.. One of his wounds is scabbed over - the other will soon. So glad!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy 2008 everyone!

This year is going to be a good one. I insist on that. I normally don't do resolutions but I have made one. I am not spending money on yarn (other than my current Sundara yarn subscription) unless I sell something I already have. With that in mind.. I sold a bunch of my yarn kits this past week on Ebay. I really don't think I will ever knit a second Hanne Mermaid, my sister had too many problems knitting a Kimono for which I had bought a bunch of Tilli Tomas yarn, I'm still having too many hot flashes to wear the two Poetry In Stitches pullover kits I bought, and frankly - I don't enjoy knitting dark colored yarn (my two Bohus kits)..

So I allowed myself to indulge this week (plus using the Blue Moon Fibers gift certificates I got for Xmas). I don't have everything in my little hands yet - but here is my favorite so far:

I really wish the Internet had "touch-a-vision". This is the softest cotton yarn I have ever felt. This is Hifa Luxor Cotton yarn (the same manufacturer that makes the yarns for all the Poetry In Stitches garments) in ice blue. I bought the yarn from here to make this - Poetry In Stitches - page 128:

I love the long sleeved version (the book also contains a sleeveless version). It will be high on my list for next summer.

I have also ordered Handmaiden's Lady Godiva yarn in color Straw and this pattern to make the Ilga Leja Antique Lace cardigan. This is the same designer that did the gorgeous Fleece Artist vests and jackets:

And a Sivia Harding Shetland Garden Shawl kit using Nature's Pallette Merino fingering yarn in seafoam:

And Tilli Tomas's new Voile de la Mer yarn (Burnt Orange as per below) and the new Mystique Shawl pattern:

So - I've been busy replenishing my stash with my Ebay winnings. So much fun!

As for my Southwest - I just finished the second sleeve:

This is NOT a portable project. The pattern involves 9 colors - which change every two rows and the skeins are huge. Rather than lug it into the office tomorrow - I decided to start this:

Yes - it is the Embossed Leaves sock pattern from Interweaves Favorite Socks book and the yarn is Smooshy. Yes - I'm in a blue lacy mood. The pattern is done over 64 stitches (rather than my normal 56) - but if I can't adjust the pattern down - I have decided to try it since I adore the pattern. If it is really too big - I can always give them away or reuse the yarn for something else.

So - my vacation ends but my mind is finally relaxing (Charlie is still fine) and maybe work will help me to get my mind on something else.

This vacation has taught me something. I'm not sure I will be content retiring 100% and not doing anything outside of the house. As much as I love to knit and read - I think I need more mental stimulation. Not sure yet exactly what that means and maybe I'm just reacting to the stress I've been under with Charlie getting sick. But I'm actually kinda looking forward to work tomorrow. Go figure!