28 February, 2006

Not finished yet

I had plans to finish up that sweater. However, after reading the paper and doing the crossword puzzle I just wasn't in the mood. So instead, I did a few rows of the lace leaf scarf and managed to mess it up. I must have left out a yo in each pattern repeat across. As soon as I figured that out I just put it down. No more knitting. Instead I watched a great program on PBS. It's part of a series. Each member of Monty Python has chosen his most favorite sketches and they show them and talk about them. It's pretty cool. Last night was Eric Idle.

I rode my bike yesterday for the first time in about a month. It was good. I felt a little out of shape but my legs didn't hurt. I really really want to go to the gym. I'm in that place I get when I don't work out and I don't like it. I am assuming I should be able to at least go on the Precor Friday and maybe next week I can start running! Woohoo. We'll find out Thursday.

27 February, 2006

What a great weekend!

It was one of those weekends when I seemed to have all the time in the world. I not only got lots of work done on my v-neck sweater, but also read a book and gave a small dinner party Saturday night! Here's how the sleeve turned out. I used the "to dye for" sleeve for inspiration and made my increases every 4 rows rather than 8 and it turned out just what I wanted! I wish I had a different color of mohair. I ended up mixing the one that I bought in Paris with a navy that I had sitting around. The result is almost a denim color, which makes it very casual. That's fine though because it is rather an oversized sweater and wouldn't lend itself to anything but jeans. As you can see I also got the waist done and, as you can't see, I have picked up stitches around the neck so that it's not quite so revealing. Three more rows to go on the neck and then one more sleeve and I'm done. It will have only used 7 skeins of the 10 I purchased. Since I wasn't sure if I was going to have enough I bought four more skeins of plain green. That means that I'll have enough yarn to make this again. But I think what I'll do is make it smaller, and make it a one-piece cardigan. If I stripe it with the colorway ... well, it could look cute. The thing about chunky knits though - they are not that flattering if you're looking for a body skimming fabric. So I think it's best to knit oversized garments with chunky yarn.

I started the latest Martha Grimes book "The Old Wineshades" Friday evening and got caught up in it, read more after my guests left Saturday night and finished it up Sunday night. I was a bit disappointed with this book though. There seemed to be gaping holes in the plot and the ending was very unsatisfactory. Usually I love her stuff. Sarah Dunant has a new book out as well that was reviewed this Sunday in the Times. I think I'll get it since I enjoyed her last one (The Birth of Venus) so much.

I was in the mood for comfort food and garlic. I had just a small dinner Saturday and made a turkey meat loaf as the main dish. I know .. it sounds weird, but I've got this great recipe that even my Dad likes and if I told him it was turkey and not ground beef he wouldn't eat it. So if Dad likes it, well it's got to be good!! Garlic mashed potatoes, garlic bread and the last bottle of Oregon red - a 2003 pinot that was really really nice. I only have two bottles left of the wine I got last June down there. I should go again - it's such a fun time! I bought 3 bottles of wine back from France and one of them, a Cremont, I used for Kir Royale. Unfortunately, it had lost it's fizz! It still tasted good but I was disappointed in that and I am wondering if the champagne I also brought back also lost it's fizz. I didn't carry it in the plane with me but wrapped it up in my suitcase. Do you think the lack of pressure killed it??

25 February, 2006

I just don't know what to do with the sleeves

Here's my sweater so far. I might do another inch on the bottom before I do the finish -- maybe a ribbing, maybe not. And I realize yes, that it's a bit deep, neckline-wise. I will be putting trim around it so it'll bring it up to something a little less bare. But right now I'm trying to figure out what to do with the sleeves. I know what I want - a "normal" sleeve in that it would taper slightly and then flare out at the wrist. I have purchased tops with sleeves like that but never made one. My Knitware software doesn't have a flared sleeve pattern. The bell sleeve I think would be too big. I guess I'll look through my patterns and see if I can figure out how to do it. I know what I want - it's the sleeve from the Stitch 'n Bitch --"to dye for". Oooo! I just looked at it and actually it's the same gauge I'm working at. Great. Sorted. I can just copy that sleeve.

It's still cold and there are little patches of snow on the ground. But the birdsong is different. I hear more birds in the morning. And I noticed lots of crocuses bloming while Tink and I were on our walk. So, despite the cold Spring is just aorund the corner!!

24 February, 2006

Just when I got to thinking we were having an early Spring ....

it got cold last night and the rain turned to snow. It was so cold this morning when I got up and I opened to the door to let Tinkerbell out and then saw why I was so cold. The roads were treacherous. Normally in this situation I would just walk to work rather than ride my bike or drive, but since I am still healing I didn't think it would be prudent to walk 6 miles, so I drove. Slowly, carefully. Watching people slipping and sliding their way across the streets and down the sidewalks. It is supposed to get warmer today - it has crept up to freezing now -- and the ice should melt. I sure hope it does, because I have promised Dad I'd come over and cook him dinner and I'm not going to be too keen on that idea if it freezes up again.

I got some good work done on my sweater last night. Probably one more good evening and I should have the body done. I've got exactly half of the yarn left. I have nearly a full ball that I'm knitting from that I expect will finish the body so it looks like I'll be good for the sleeves. I am going to use my sweater making software to design the sleeves. I haven't really used the newer version much but now that it has working in the round versions I can plug in all of the variables and have a pattern designed but just use the sleeves, since I've already calculated the body. Oddly, this software doesn't have the capacity to do top-down v-necks or cardigans, which is just plain silly. It's an easy calculation. If you want the software to help you design one of those you have to do it bottom up and then make the sleeves separately and then hook them all together and knit up the rest of it. I don't like doing it that way. I like doing the sleeves on the sweater. It's easier to make adjustments that way.

My hostess for this Secret Pal, along with Nonnahs, has really gotten me all fired up to do socks. I want to use that recycled cashmere I have just sitting around but first I want to straighten it out. That means I'm going to have to make skeins and then re-wind it. It's going to be labor intensive but the cashmere is so much nicer straight and with a little bloom.

23 February, 2006

A knitless night

No knitting last night. I read a knitting catalogue -- some lovely kits in there and I do have to find a final gift for my Secret Pal in March. Would she like a sock kit? Hard to say. She's not much of a blogger, that's for sure. AAaaaanyway ... then I read the newspaper and then I made a martini and read the entire Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair! It took all evening but it was just a great indulgence. I need to keep up with my reading. I have two new books just sitting there beckoning and another one on the way from Amazon. If only I could knit and read at the same time! Oh dear ... that's a geeky thing to wish.

22 February, 2006

A finished Blue Raglan

Have I mentioned before how pleased I am with the way this sweater turned out? Besides choosing the right yarn (Elann's Peruvian Highland Chunky) I had enough experience to do everything right. In other words, this is the culmination of learning from my mistakes! I was able to try it on the person it is meant for and so the body length and sleeve length are just right. I finally remembered to bind off loosely so the ribbed cuffs and waist are stretchy like they're supposed to be. You can see the little strings - I do have those cuff, waist, neck and armpit ends to weave in, but I felted all of the other ends as I was going along so instead of 27 ends to weave in I have 7. The pattern I used for this particular sweater is from Knitting Pure and Simple but it's just a top down raglan and it's exactly the same as The Incredible, Custom-fit Raglan. And using that I cast on for a v-necked raglan for myself using the new handpainted yarn in colorway lettuce violet. Here's a picture of where I am so far. Unfortunately, even though I took this picture with my camera and not my phone, the light was not good and the colors don't really show up very well. It's really gorgeous yarn. You can see I've got the v-neck done and the sleeves on holders and I'm working on the body - I have got about six inches done. I just might have enough yarn to do the whole thing without having to resort to using a plain lettuce to give the sleeves more length. I do think I'll have to use it for rubbing around the neck and waist - I'd like to make bell sleeves. But we'll just have to see. I'm not very good at estimating how much yarn I'm going to need. This far I've used 3 and 3/4 skeins out of 10. 65 yards to a skein.

21 February, 2006

You've got to love super bulky yarn!

Yesterday was a holiday but I had to come into work for a little while anyway, after picking up Tink from the doggie babysitter. She was SOOOOO dirty! And exhausted! According to the people there she had a great time after she got over being shy. The girl predicted that she'd just come home and pass out and that's pretty much what she did. I knit all afternoon while she snoozed and finally gave her a bath around 5. She is now my pretty white dog again.

Since my big blue sweater is finished I was just chomping at the bit to try out that handpainted super bulky thick and thin yarn I got from Handpainted Yarns. I had swatched it Sunday night and, using The Incredible Custom-fit Raglan Sweater pattern, went to work. Since I only got 10 skeins, which is about 650 yards, I thought I should make it a v-neck. I did go online yesterday to try to buy a few more skeins but that colorway was gone! I bought four skeins of a green which will work with it. I am still undecided about the mohair trim. But anyway I got the whole front and raglan done, sleeves on holders and a few body rows! That is super fast! The gauge is 2.5/inch on size 15 needles. I am going to have to buy size 15 dpns. I hope I can find them at my LYS and not have to send away. I am going to try to get some extra cables from Denise Needles too. I hear that they made another size cord so that you can make a 16" round, or is it 11"? Anyway, you need round and/or dpns for the sleeves. It's a fantastic pattern by the way. I love the simplicity of raglan sweaters and I love doing it top down and picking up the sleeves. No seams! No grafting! And I have only a very few ends to weave in on the blue sweater and it will be the same with this one, because I have been felting the ends of the skeins together rather than leaving tails and weaving in later. 100% wool is so easy to felt. I just split the ends, intertwine them a bit and then using moisture and friction (or, saliva and my knee)just put them together. It's tidy and boy, that's how I like to do a sweater. Finish knitting and put it on!!

17 February, 2006

Thanks Secret Pal!

This is a poor picture, taken with my camera phone, but I just HAD to post it right away! From my Secret Pal a really REALLY cool cable knit purse. It's just adorable and I hope she'll tell me where to get the pattern. I love it! And also some beaded stitch holders that I have been coveting for ages. And ... bonus ... some chocolate candies inside the purse. Very nice touch. Thanks so much, Secret Pal!

Blogging on my back

Yesterday I had a little surgical procedure done in the afternoon and am going to be in bed for a couple days. I thought I would work on my blue sweater last night but the pain pills had me a little loopy --- I didn't think I would be very accurate counting rows, even with a row counter to help me. Oh, and the handpainted yarn came yesterday too!! I can't WAIT to get started with that. It is gorgeous! I'll post a picture. I sure hope I bought enough of it though. I'm pretty sure it'll be enough for a low v-necked, raglan cardigan. And as I said, I bought some mohair for trim so the sleeves don't have to be too long because I will be making cuffs with it. So anyway, no knitting today either - but I think I will be back in form tomorrow and Sunday for sure, so this project will be done.

And now I think I'll watch "The Producers"!!

15 February, 2006

Big Blue Sweater

I am very pleased with this raglan sweater. I did lots of work on it in Europe, finished the waist ribbing Monday and am almost done with the cuff on the left sleeve. I didn't do any work on it last night. It wasn't until almost 8 o'clock that my mouth was back to normal. My dentist gave me an extra shot near the end of the two hours I was in the chair because the feeling was coming back and that kept me numb until 8! I didn't feel like knitting or doing much of anything. I HATE being numb. Anyway, I will finish up that cuff tonight and get started on the other sleeve. They go quickly. I'm going to be laid up for a few days so I will most surely be able to finish this by the end of the weekend. Then what? I am going to make a little flower skirt and top for my friend's little girl. I am expecting some great handpainted thick and thin yarn that I am thinking of using for a cardigan with mohair detail. I will modify a pattern from the same Vogue magazine that I used for that disastrous peplum sweater. And I have that lovely pink yarn from Nonnahs that I am using for a lace leaf scarf. Plenty to keep me busy for a few days on my back, I'd say.

I seem to have brought the cold weather back with me from Europe. Oh, and I got a terrible cold, from being on the plane all those hours I would imagine. Not fun. Monday night we had thunder and lightening and a hale storm with HUGE hale stones. Tuesday morning there was some snow but it was gone by mid-morning. Today it is freezing or below, but very clear, which is what it was like the first week of my vacation. I hear it's supposed to cloud up tonight so we may have more snow on the way. Just one more reason to stay inside and keep warm with a nice sweater on your lap.

13 February, 2006

Monday morning post vacation bluuuuues

Well, it's not so bad really. I came back to a clean office. I had forgotten that I had asked to have my floors cleaned while I was gone, so that was a nice surprise. And there aren't a bazillion things on my desk, so that's nice as well.

Oddly, my last post from Paris didn't make it so this is the picture I sent. It was a sunny and almost warm day there Thursday. My goal that day was to find the perfect pair of shoes. Everything is on sale so I didn't have trouble finding the pair, but finding my size ... that was another problem. I wear 37 in French sizes and it happens to be the most popular size so a couple good ones got away. Still I managed to get a lovely pair of black suede pumps and a cute pair of low heeled green ones. So I was satisfied.

My trip back was not too bad, considering. I packed the sweater I was working on in my backpack, intending to knit on the plane, but once I got seated I realized that it was just too cramped a space for that sweater. Doing it in the round at that stage I was working on the waste ribbing and it's just too much bulk. So I read and watched movies and tried to nap. Thank goodness the jet lag coming back is not so bad as going.

I got the ribbing done on that sweater yesterday and now I'm working on the sleeve ribbing. Then one more sleeve and the collar and I'm done. I am VERY satisfied with this project. It's just lovely, letting the beautiful yarn really show itself off. I'll take pictures tomorrow. Right now I've got to do some work!

09 February, 2006

Thursday in Paris

With my trip off to Amsterdam I have been doing lots of walking which is what I do best here -- besides eating. I bought a couple skeins of gorgeous mohair for trim and I have gotten the largest part of the blue sweater done. My hotel was without lights Tuesday evening when I was in the mood to knit so I did not.

Yesterday I visited the Monets and today it is off to the great deli Fauchon and then Rodin. I only have today and tomorrow so I am off!

07 February, 2006

Paris is cloudy

My trip to Amsterdam is off so I stay in Paris for the rest of the week. I walked blisters onto the soles of my feet and t and


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04 February, 2006

True confessions

I got totally wasted @ the Quiet Man last night. The bartender had her boyfriend walk me home! This is a guy attempting a bar trick. Tonight I dine witg friends so should be a bit less chance for trouble. Don't drink on an empty stomach!

03 February, 2006

Friday morning in Luxembourg

This is the view out my hotel windows @ 9AM. Yesterday it was too foggy to see across the road.

02 February, 2006

At first I thought they were torturing cats

ahhh but then I realized it was Thai karaoke. In Luxembourg yet. It is cloudy and cold here as well And it was snowing just teensie little flakes as I was walking up to my friends house. I am using an odd keyboard and cannot find the apostrophe but it is better than the French keyboard.

I managed to sleep a little better last night but not all the way through yet. Perhaps because I was out so very late my first night in Paris I still am not acclimated. Nevermind I am on vacation after all.

I got more work done on the sweater this morning while waiting for Emma and Fred to get up. Only a few more inches on the body then I will put it on holders until PMcK can try it on for length. I wrote some cards last night and hope to get them in the mail today and maybe some sightseeing around town. Since it is after one and Emma is STILL sleeping there will not be much more done today. It is cloudy aned daylight will not last long.

My Secret Pal really liked the package aand mostly the kettle dyed cashmere. Well who would not like that?