31 January, 2006

Look at the faces

Pont Neuf - last time I was here they were working on the faces to clean them.

Today I am going to Luxembourg for a couple days then back to Paris Friday night. I got lots of work done on my sweater last night. I stayed in and watched French TV and today I feel great! No jet lag.

It is still cold but clear. Great day for a train ride.

From a French keyboard

The Internet place next to my hotel doesnnn not have English keyboards so I must use this. It is just enough different to keep my speed down.

It is very cold here in Paris but the past two days have been clear anyway. I fried my telephone charger Saturday night and could not find a new one until yesterday. I felt so out of touch!

I have been seeing lots of old friends and it has been very nice. Also eating cheese. But I have not been sleeping! I started to get kind of upset about it this morning. I went to bed around & am and slept only until 4:30. I finally gave up at 9. Next time I will just knit rather than try to sleep. It does not matter after all __ I am on vacation. My friend Emma made it down on Sunday and her boyfriend came last night. She took him on a little midnight tour and they are still sleeping so that is why I am unsure if we are staying or going but I will be back here Friday anyway.

I tried to send email with my phone and it does not seem to work but texting is okay.

30 January, 2006


It is 7:45 AM. I slept for maybe 3 hours & I have been lying here 3 more. This jet lag is awful!


Mobile Email from a Cingular Wireless Customer http://www.cingular.com

26 January, 2006


I'm almost off! I will be leaving work for the airport at 3:15 today and my plane takes off at 6:30 tonight. I stayed up until after 1 am last night to get that sweater to the point where I could put the sleeves on waste yarn. So now I have a totally portable project and I don't have to take my sewing kit on board, just the needles. I didn't want to hassle with the sewing scissors - maybe losing them to the security guys - and my needle, heaven knows what a weapon THAT could be.

I am going to miss my dog a lot!! Otherwise I'm anxious to get out of here. I will be able to blog from Europe with my camera phone if I don't get to an internet cafe. I am anxious to visit the yarn shops - I've looked on the internet and see that there's on in my old neighborhood. I think it's new though, because I sure don't remember it being there when I lived there. Of course, I wasn't into knitting then so I could have missed it.

Guess I should go get some lunch.

24 January, 2006

The good and the bad

So, I am wearing the asymmetrical v-neck sweater. I washed it to see if I couldn't get the new side to look a little more like the frogged side, and indeed it does. But unfortunately I seem to have a problem with alpaca yarn. I thought before that the reason I felt so itchy when I was trying it on was because the sleeves on that other sweater were tight and the garment hadn't been washed. No such luck. It is itchy and I even have a cami under it. Also, the neckline keeps stretching and even though I have a little clip holding the right side to the camisole, now the left is slipping off. Not comfortable. Oh, it looks okay I guess. But it's only 9:30 and I have a looooong day of twitching around here. I guess I could change into my running t-shirt if it gets unbearable. And I just can't understand it! The alpaca yarn is so soft!

The good part is that the sky is blue! And it's sunny! I was wearing sunglasses on the way to work this morning. It's cold of course, because it is clear, but I don't care as long as it's not pissing down rain for a change.

I worked a little more on the raglan sweater. I really really really want to have the sleeve portion on waste yarn before I get on that plane so I've got to knit like the wind tonight. I also have to shop for my dad and do laundry because tomorrow I've got a late hair appointment. If I don't get a bunch of stuff done tonight I'll be up all night Wednesday packing. I guess that's a good way to assure I sleep on the plane, eh?

I'm sending off my first package to my Secret Pal today. I hope she likes it.

23 January, 2006

Wow wow WOW!!

The Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl! I can hardly believe it! They played such a great game yesterday against the Panthers. Totally dominated them from the jump. I kind of wish we hadn't sold our tickets, but I don't know if I could have stood the excitment live. ;-) I got a good bit done on the raglan pull-over. Knitting in the round is perfect for watching TV because it's so mindless and you don't even have to look at it much either. I've got about 15 more rows to go before I put the sleeves on holders and just work on the body. Perfect. It's going to be just the thing for taking with me. And if I need something to wrap my mind around, I'll have the lace leaf scarf.

I've got tons of little picky things to handle before I leave. Details details .... it's always such a relief to finally close the suitcase and get out of the house. I think I may be a little obsessive about not forgetting anything. Can't help it. It's how I am.

20 January, 2006

Let's get realistic

I have six days before I leave on vacation. I have three projects I'm working on and I originally assumed I'd have two of the projects done and the third at least 1/3 finished. But I think I'm being a bit over optimistic. After last evening .. which was a short evening for knitting because I went out to dinner to celebrate a birthday .. I worked on the Madison scarf and I am now just about 1/2 finished. I haven't touched the lace leaf scarf after doing two repeats to get it started again. That scarf is done in two parts and grafted together at the neck, so it's 2 out of 10 repeats of 16 rows, and then another 10 repeats on a separate set of needles. I don't have a chance of getting that one done so perhaps I'll let it go and if I have room, take it along in case I get tired of the top down raglan sweater, which is done in the round with st st and can get boring. On the plus side, it's something you can do while multi-tasking, or tired or buzzed. The Madison scarf is lace-ish but it's only a four row repeat and I have it memorized now, plus it's done on size 11 needles so it moves right along when I can get an hour or so to just sit and do it. I am going to finish that up tonight and tomorrow and block it so it'll be dry when I pack and that will be Emma's present. Then Sunday while watching the Seahawks game and the rest of the following week when I can squeeze in some time, I can work on the raglan sweater. I really want to have the sleeves on holders and be working on the body by the time I leave. And I don't want to be hauling around 10+ skeins of yarn either. I am motivated.

I am getting so excited about the game this weekend. It's going to be hard to watch if they don't pull out in front quickly and control the game.

19 January, 2006

One week from today ....

I will be taking off! Yay!! But for now .... time to slog through another day. I have to go to the dentist at 11:30 and then take my Dad to the podiatrist again. This is the third day in a row I've had to drive.

I started PMcK's pullover last night after I washed and blocked the asymmetrical v-neck (pictures when it's dry). I got a nice little start on it. This is the end of the first skein. I am using Highland Chunky from Elann. It's a lovely color - what I used to call midnight blue. And here's a picture of the Lace Leaf scarf, doing the yo's correctly. It made a big difference. It didn't make as much difference with the other scarf, the one I'm making out of the Knit Picks Alpaca Silk so I won't post a picture here until it's blocked. I mean, it made a difference, but my picture doesn't show it off that much.

18 January, 2006

I did it again!

What is it with my teeth and vacations? I was innocently chewing on a melba cracker last night when my molar cracked and a piece fell right off. Less then four months ago I was eating a garlic fry at the football game and another tooth broke. Right before I was due for a long weekend. So, tomorrow another emergency trip to the dentist to see what they can do to patch me up to last until mid-February. What luck. And I was having SUCH a great day yesterday! But I got very bummed at the very idea that I'd have to go have yet another cap that I just sought solace in a fine bottle of Oregon pinot noir and listened to music and drooled over two new yarn catalogues. The wine dulled the ache of the tooth and the catalogues ... well, you know what they do.

I believe I'll wash that asymmetrical v-neck tonight and hopefully it'll be dry in a couple days and I can take a picture of it. Then I think I'll frog the cabled shrug [still haven't re-charted it -- maybe today] and THEN I'm going to cast on for PMcK's raglan pullover. I realized that I have to get a right good start on that if I don't want to be toting around tons of yarn all through Europe. It'd be better to not finish the scarves since that's just a matter of a skein or two. At the least I want to have that finished to the point that the sleeves are on holders and I'm just working on the body. Then I can do the final fitting when I'm over there.

17 January, 2006


Oh yeah! It's NOT raining!! It's sunny ... well partly sunny but I still wore sunglasses. Unfortunately I had to drive today because I had a few appointments in the morning. You watch, next time I bike (I've got an appointment tomorrow as well so I have to drive) it'll be raining.

I had Monday off but didn't get all that much knitting done. I had a massage appointment which cut into the day, plus I had to go visit Dad and fix him dinner. What I did do, though, is finish sewing up the asymmetrical v-neck. I tried it on and it's definitely wearable, although I will wear a cami under it because you can see through it a bit, it falls off the shoulder some times as well, and the alpaca is still a bit itchy. I did put the neckline up where the pattern suggested - a 4 inch drop - and that makes it comfortable but I can see that it will slip from time to time. It's way more flattering that the lace peplum deal, that's for sure.

Vacation count down - 9 days! Things are coming together. My friend Emma telephoned and she wants to come stay the first weekend in Paris with me and then her boyfriend will come down and drive us up to Luxembourg Monday or Tuesday. My friend Joan telephoned Monday to say that Deidre wants to make a party for me the following Friday or Saturday night, and then after that I'll have the Super Bowl to look forward to and then .... then another whole week doing who knows what! Can you tell I can just barely contain myself?

15 January, 2006

What a day!!

Yesterday was a good good day. The Seahawks finally won a playoff game after 22 years! And we were there - Ruth, Amie and I. It was so loud and so exciting! Thankfully our seats are under cover because we are now day 27 of rain and of course it rained during the game. And then to keep up with the wonderfulness of the day, when I got home I had a cute little card in the mail from my Secret Pal! Thanks!! Just frosting on the cake.

Knitting-wise, I know I was going to put the v-neck together last night but the night before I had a realization that the reason my scarves weren't looking like the pictures was NOT that they needed to be blocked but that I hadn't been taking the yo's off the needle correctly. A problem I had in the past but forgot about. So .... I frogged them both [sigh] and started the maroon one over again, doing it correctly this time. Oh, it looks ever so much better and gee, guess what ... just like the picture! Duh.

Tink is in total barky-dog mode again today. I don't know what's up with her! I'm going to shower and get the day going, starting with a looooong walk for her, then to the mall for a couple things for my upcoming trip, then home to sew that sweater together. For sure. I have made myself promise that I wouldn't tough anything else until that is done. But oh ... I did swatch for the top-down raglan sweater I'm making for PMcK. I got the yarn Friday (Boy, Elann is very fast!) and it's lovely. I ordered some of their bulky Andean Highland wool in a beautiful deep blue. It's even nicer than I had hoped. It's going to make a very nice, super simple but elegant pullover.

13 January, 2006

Internet outage

Well I guess we can tell it's Friday the 13th, eh? While I was putting together this blog entry earlier this morning the internet just stopped working here. It's back up now (duh). It was probably some virus or something like that. I hate hackers!!!

Yesterday I finished up the second part of the asymmetrical v-neck and wove in all the ends. Tonight I'll sew it up. I think, though, that before I sew the two sides together I'll baste them and try it on. I may need to make some adjustments so that the left side doesn't keep falling off my shoulder. That can get a little annoying.

I got a good start on the scarf from the Knit Picks yarn. It's sooooo soft! It'll look more lacy when it's blocked but here's a picture with it stretched out a bit. I think I'll give this one to my friend Joan. And Emma can have the lace leaf one. I might not block this one. I kind of like the wave thing going on. It makes the leaves stand out, don't you think? Or perhaps just block it a bit, not stretch it out all the way flat. I'll see.

I got my flight booked for my vacation on Wednesday and today I've booked a hotel for the first three nights. After that I'm up in the air. I'll just figure it out as I go. I like traveling that way.

12 January, 2006

I think it's going to work

I pinned the asymmetrical v-neck together last night and slipped it over my head. It's hard to tell for sure, but I am pretty sure that it's a wearable sweater! Yay! I have 18 more rows to do on the sleeve - about 4 more inches. Then I will sew it up and give it a little wash and hope that the crinkled side smoothes out and the smooooooth sides stops looking quite so bright and shiny. My only reservation is that the left side kept slipping off my shoulder. Granted, the left sleeve was weighted with a needle but still ... I will probably have to wear a cami under it or a bra with fancy straps. It's a warm garment. And I find that the alpaca doesn't itch at all in a sweater that is not a close fit. This one is not exactly baggy, but the other one was meant to be worn close.

I'm working from home today and took a minute or 12 at my lunchtime to nip down to my LYS to get another couple row counters and some 8" size 11 needles. My Secret Pal 6, "Nonnahs" sent me some beautiful Kid Classic in a pretty pink and I've started a lace leaf patterned scarf with that, and she also sent me some KnitPicks Andean Silk and a lace scarf pattern so I'm going to start that tonight. Hopefully I can finish them before I leave so they can be gifts. My only row counter is on the "On Hold" cabled shrug ... on hold until I can re-chart the cables so they're not on a reverse stockinette stitch background. Both of these projects are counting projects and I don't like using paper and pencil -- too easy to get lost.

Still raining. I hear that we (Seattle) made the national news last night. 24 days of rain, mud slides now starting, etc. etc.

Vacation count down -- two weeks.

11 January, 2006

I saw some blue sky again!

Honest ... I really saw some blue sky. And, in fact, I saw the moon last night and some stars as well. Tink decided she needed a potty break at 12:30 am. I was having trouble sleeping anyway so I stepped out on the porch since it wasn't pouring rain and saw the moon! I was startled at first because it has been weeks since I've actually seen the night sky.

I finished the body of the larger of the two parts of the asymmetrical v-neck and started on the left sleeve - the last part. I was putting the pieces side-by-side to check out how they'll look when sewn together and noticed that the left armpit is about 3 inches lower than the right one! I looked at the schematic and it is indeed how it is designed. She does mention in the directions that one might want to make the left sleeve a little shorter overall than the right since it will be hanging lower. I think I'll pin the thing together and try it on before I finalize the sleeve length. I am really bothered by the differences in yarn - the new from the recycled. I will most probably wash it before I wear it in hopes the difference won't be as obvious. Let's just hope that I have chosen a pattern that not only is good looking but looks good on me! Because I'm NOT frogging this alpaca again. I'll have to give the finished project away.

10 January, 2006

A genuine blustery day

Wow! Is it ever blowing out there today! I almost got blown over twice on the way in. Thankfully it wasn't raining, although I expect it to start up anytime now. Not that I don't have anything to talk about but the weather, but we truly are having unusual weather. I know everyone thinks that it rains all the time in Seattle but the fact is that NYC gets more inches per year than we do. What we have is a lot of cloud cover, that's for sure. Anyway, the record for consecutive days of measurable precipitation is 30 days and we're somewhere in the early 20's now and counting with no end in sight. It was coming down so hard last night that it was splatting down the chimney! But, as I said, no rain this morning and in fact the wind had blown holes in the cloud cover so I actually caught a glimpse of blue. It's comforting to know it's still there.

We got our Secret Pals yesterday and mine posted here a little 'hello'. I am looking forward to getting to know her. And I checked out my Secret Pal and she's a bit of an enigma right now to me. Her blog is all about print making and there is not one mention of knitting at all! Hopefully she will answer her questionnaire soon and I'll get a better idea of what she would like, knitting-wise.

No knitting for me last night. Monday is pick-up-the-nephew night so by the time I got him dropped off at home, made something to eat, read the paper, played with the dog .... well, I just felt like reading a bit and going to bed. I am quite sure I can finish the v-neck this week. I want to do a couple of fancy scarves for gifts to take to Europe with me later and I want to start a sweater for another friend that I can work on while I'm there so I am motivated.

09 January, 2006

Difference between new and frogged yarn ....

is HUGE! What a dope I am! On one hand I think it's wonderful that I learn something new about knitting so often. On the other hand, here I have one part of a sweater that looks all shiny and new and tidy and the other half that looks .... well, used. In retrospect I shouldn't have been in such a hurry to get on with the second part of the new sweater but I should have unraveled the old sweater into hanks and washed them to get the kinks out BEFORE I balled them and started knitting. Now I am 80% finished with this asymmetrical v-neck [which is a bonus about this pattern -- it goes very fast] and I am not about to re-frog and wash the yarn and start over at this point. I am hoping that once I get it put together I can wash it and it will straighten out. That is the experience I had when I used recycled cashmere for a little cardigan. After washing it looked practically normal.

I have definitely decided to re-write (chart) the cabled shrug so that it's NOT reverse stockinette. It will be a much less daunting project if I don't have to do all that counting on the reverse trip.

It was a good weekend. I watched football and knitted and walked the dog and took Omie out for lunch before it heads to Alaska for 3 months ... not that's going to be a grueling winter, don't you think? All I can think about though is that in 18 days I will be getting on a plane and finally having a vacation! Yay me!!

06 January, 2006

Am I the worst dog mom in the world??

That is the question of the day. I know, really, that I'm not the worst of course. But a couple nights ago I knocked poor little Tink off the bed. Yes, it was an accident!! I rolled over in my sleep - actually did the old double roll over to the whole other side of the bed. I just wasn't thinking and she was at the foot of the bed and it just knocked her off! Poor little Tinkerbell. I felt really bad! She didn't seem too phased though. I just plopped her back up on the bed and she fell right back asleep. Last night I went to my Dad's to fix him some dinner. I made sure I was home early enough to give her a nice long walk, then I put her in the car and took her with me. That seems to help, rather than leaving her all alone. She is usually not too hyper after a few hours in the car because it probably seems to her that she is with me. Anyway, when we got home it was still early and I wanted to start on the second half of the asymmetrical v-neck and she, of course, wanted to play ball. So I took a bone out of the freezer and she just left me alone for two hours and gnawed on it. That's like putting a child down in front of the TV or putting a pacifier into the mouth of a crying baby!! Thank goodness she's just a dog. A cute dog. But a dog nonetheless. And I got quite a bit done on that sweater. It doesn't look quite so nice as the first part because of the recycled yarn. It's kinked and so doesn't make a smooth fabric. But I think after washing it should be okay. I hope. Because this is going to be killer!!

05 January, 2006

Biking in Seattle & what I know for sure

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to be a bicycle commuter in Seattle? What with all that rain, and the darkness from October to March, and the hills. Well let me assure you, it's about 10 times as yucky as you can imagine. Especially on a day like today when it was coming down steady. Big, fat, wet raindrops. Rain gear notwithstanding, my clothes are damp, my socks downright sopping. My work clothes I carry in panniers and even they got wet today. The only saving grace is that it wasn't blowing as well. I got my bike back from the shop yesterday. It was tune up time and I got a new chain and cassette and brakes so I really wanted to try it out. It's always so nice after getting a tune up. It seems so easy to ride when everything is clean, the tires hard and the gears nice and tight. Plus which I've been driving so much this last month having been sick, then having vacation. So it wasn't all bad -- except for the rain drops dripping down inside of my goggles. Should have worn a scuba mask.

What I know for sure ------ No sweater that I make is ever ever ever going to come unraveled of its own accord. I spent all last evening (from about 6 to 9) frogging that lace peplum sweater. Finding the free ends took the most time. I mean ... I am serious when I put those things together! I gave up with only one small piece left. I have five large balls so I am pretty sure that should be enough for the asymmetrical v-neck. And if not, I have this one other piece I can use. But if I don't need it, I'm going to toss it because it's a bloody battle to find that end.

04 January, 2006

It's not as easy as it looks!

I started frogging the lace peplum sweater last night. I thought once I got the seams undone -- which in itself was no easy matter -- that it would be smooth going. It was anything but. It wasn't until I was laying in bed that I realized what the problem was. What kept happening is that I would frog the bottom lace part easily but when I got up to the stockinette band I couldn't get an end free. Duh. That's because the bottom lace part was knit down from the provisional cast-on edge of the stockinette part. Dang! I am therefore going to have to frog the bottom up to the smooth part, then start from the top cast-off edge and work down. I just hope that can be done. Well ... I'm sure it can, just how easy it's going to be is another thing. The pattern calls for a crocheted edge around the neck for finishing and I am so dedicated to hiding yarn ends that I may just have to try to snip it off without compromising the whole neck. But the first part of the asymmetrical v-neck was finished and looks so very lovely in that alpaca yarn. It's almost glossy. I still love that yarn. I am hoping that since this sweater will fit looser that it won't be as itchy. Anyway, I can wear a cami under it.

All of those vacation days took their toll in an unexpected way. Tinkerbell was so used to me being home and playing with her, or her having stimulus from other people, that she just plain wouldn't stop last night! Our typical routine is that I get home, give her a nice walk, play ball for a few minutes and then she'll generally amuse herself while I read the paper and cook and then again later in the evening she'll have another go at "chase the squirrel" or "where's the ball" and she's ready to go to bed around 10:30. Granted, our walk was a little shorter than usual due to the pouring rain and frigid temperature, but she still got plenty of ball playing. But my idea of plenty and her idea of plenty were about 2 hours apart. When she wasn't wanting me to throw the ball she was wanting tummy scratches or just a little wrestling around. I know it must be dead boring for her after more than a week of constant attention, but round about 9:30 I was getting a little frustrated. She got interested in her bone, thank goodness, and had a good gnaw while I heightened my level of frustration trying to unravel that sweater. By now she was totally into the bone so while I was getting ready for bed, she took the bone outside in the front. I couldn't part her from it so I let her take it on the bed just so I could turn out the light and try to sleep. I had to get up and let her out when she was ready to sleep about an hour later - after a good chew she always needs a drink of water and a little go around the front yard. But she was restless and got me up once more in the night. Little dickens!! I assume she'll get back into the old routine sooner or later. Let's hope it's sooner, eh?

03 January, 2006

And now for some knitting stuff

This blog hasn't been much about knitting lately but I think I'd better get back on the subject for a bit, especially since SP7 is about to start.

First of all let me say that I am about finished and then some with crochet. For Christmas I made some ruffle scarfs, two ear flap hats and a sweater/shrug thingie. They all turned out nice but crochet is just so BOOOOORING! And in my opinion, very few things look nice crocheted. The ruffled scarfs yes, because they don't really look crocheted. The felted hats because, again, they don't show the definition of stitches. I also like the fact that things work up about twice as fast as knit versions but .... I'm done at least for a while with that.

So -- after company finally got out of my hair I had almost four whole days and nights to clean up, relax and knit. The first thing I started was the cabled shrug from IK. What I did not realize is that it is all set on a background of reverse stockinette stitch. I spent the better part of two days working on this -- I got through 30 rows of a 36 row repeat. Oh .. and I frogged 10 rows and started over. You do the math .... I was averaging 30 minutes a row! I am sure it'll get faster but the real slow down is that on the return when you would just mostly purl every stitch except for the one before and after each motif, this one you have to count each stitch because of the reverse SST. It is tedious beyond words and you can't let your mind wander a bit, so it's very tiring. And slow. Did I say slow? I estimate it would take months to complete.

I put it down for a day. I knew I would have to find another project to work on when I didn't want to concentrate so hard - like when watching football or a movie. After having my sister try on that lace peplum sweater I have decided that rather than try to re-design it I would just frog the whole thing. I thought the alpaca would lend itself well to the Loop-d-loop corrugated asymmetrical v-neck. With the left over yarn from the other sweater I swatched for it and it worked with a size larger needle. I cast on yesterday afternoon and pretty much finished one side of it already. It's going to be nice - nicer than that other thing for sure. And by "nice" I mean wearable. It's a very interesting pattern - one piece is worked as a "T" shape and the other knit diagonally with the stitches for the sleeve left on a holder and finished after the body.

I kept looking at that complicated shrug sitting there in the basket wondering if I had the staying power to finish it. And being honest, I didn't think it was looking that pretty - the reverse stockinette just grated on me. As I was laying in bed I thought -- why not just re-design it with a real right side and forget about the reverse stuff. I think it would look nicer. Then I could forget about all that extra counting on the return trip. I need to do a little more study of cable patterns - I may have to get rid of the zig-zag pattern to keep it simple but we'll see. That does mean frogging it and restarting once more but hey -- it's the process, right?

02 January, 2006

Just a little rant

My ex-boyfriend sent me not one, but two emails with pictures of his wedding! Can you imagine?!?? Is that not the most astonishing breach of good taste in the world?? I am practically at a loss for words. Good heavens.