Saturday, June 30, 2007

"Sheep" is Just Another Word for "Knitter"

Just because it's so much fun to follow the herd, I'm joining the Tour de France Knit-along. My category? Yellow Jersey (ie indecision + uncertainty). Yeah, baby!

My project will be either Clessidra (for me) or Errol (for my son); if I can get Errol done before the July 21 book launch of HP7, it'll be Clessidra for sure. I know neither of these are very French, but the Clessidra pattern does feature wine in the photo ;) I like wine, and wine is often French, n'est-ce pas? Also, I did a semester in France during my sophomore year, making me almost sort of part French. So this KAL was a no-brainer.

Go join up by July 7! Knit and watch cute guys in tight shorts!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey, Goodbye....

...but not to the finches, not yet anyway. Look what happened yesterday:

Check out the hungry lil mouth in the lower left-hand corner of the bottom picture! So sweet.

Ever have a yarn that you loved but it just didn't love you back? That's how it's been with me and Classic Elite Inca Alpaca. I bought a bunch over a year ago to make a gorgeous rectangular wrap from VK. So soft, and I loved the color. A few inches in though, the yarn just...didn't work, somehow. It didn't look quite right. So, I frogged it.

Next, I cast on for Wandering Aran Fields. The ribbing was okay, and most of the first part of the cables, but a few twists and turns in and I realized the problem: The yarn has no body whatsoever. Now, I know that alpaca, soft as it is, tends to be a little bit floppy, but this stuff is really, really floppy. Really floppy yarn makes for droopy, saggy cables. So, a-frogged it shall be.

I guess I knew in my heart it wasn't going well but I was in a bit of denial about the possibilities for this particular yarn. I really liked the yarn, so I tried to force it into patterns I really liked too. And, um, it didn't work. Let this be a lesson to us all: laceweight really doesn't want to be an afghan, and no matter how much you want 'chunky' to turn out 'drapey,' it ain't gonna happen.

I have also had a bunch of Manos hanging around waiting to be made into an Einstein coat. I realized after I bought it that Manos is really only thick enough for Ms Melville's lighter-weight jacket, not the Einstein. In a fit of denial (are you noticing a pattern here?) I continued swatching with different sized needles. The ugly truth is,you can't make 4" out of 3-1/4" no matter how hard you pull and regardless of whether you squint.

The happy ending to the story is that together, the Manos and the Inca have found their purpose in life:

The Einstein coat, gauge=spot-on on size 10-1/2 bamboo circs. (Unless maybe I'm in denial about that too...I hope not.) Watch this space for updates.

In other knitting news, I have finally joined the warshrag set! Check out this coffee cup dishcloth:

This cute little thang took no time at all, and now I am hooked! Great passenger seat knitting. I think my next one will be a Mason-Dixon Ball Band cloth like these ones by ADD; aren't the colors fabulous?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Real, Actual Knitting Content!

Remember this?

I didn't, until I found it - or the first few rounds anyway - shoved into a bag on a chair in my office. (I really should clean that room every once in a while...) I just sat down in the grass with it and knitted away until it was done. Gotta love two strands held together, know what I mean? Now for some straps and a date with the washing machine and it will be the bag that was supposed to be my niece's Christmas gift last year. (Hello birthday gift! Hurray Barbie colors!)

Also this:

LOVE this! Loveitloveitloveit!! I was going to go a little longer but the SWS is too warm for two wraps around my neck, I think. Closeup:

Yum! Best of all, purple pilgrim hat hearts it too:


And now, for today's gratuitous chihuahua shot. Look out, Cujo, here's one muy macho tough guy. Named, um, Frisky.

Happy weekend!

My name is Jennifer, and I am a Nerd

I bought this:

And if the purchase itself is not enough proof of my nerdosity, consider this: I've actually spent time pondering just how many Errols and House socks I can knit before the big July 21st midnight Book 7 release party. Please help me.

Also, in addition to being a nerd I am a total pushover. A small mob of purple finches has taken over my home and I have done nothing to stop them. Inside this once-beautiful but now raggedy geranium basket.... this little treasure:

Apparently it takes a village to raise a purple finch because we have not only the mama and papa but also aunts, uncles, grandparents, and concerned others defending the incubator. From me and my family.

It's not easy to make "peep peep peep peep!" sound angry but they do a good job. They have also pooped on my windows. Not to mention ravaging the poor geranium.

We have been - in my opinion - very gracious, coming and going through the garage instead of the front door, using the Slip 'N Slide out back instead of out front, and averting our eyes when we pass (making eye contact makes mama fly out of the nest - !) Also giving them a little birdbath and a special feeder:

But really, enough is enough.

I've looked into this thing and if my calculations are correct we should have some little peepers tomorrow or Monday (14 days to hatch, I think they moved in while I was at the Cape) and they will be out of here 13 days after that (13 days to launch.) By then, my geranium should be nice and dead.

Oh well, on the plus side my first attempt at putting annuals in the ground instead of boxes and planters seems to be going well. Here is some early summer eye candy:

Now if I could just do something about the psychotic kildeers defending their nest in my aborvitae...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Dramatic Chipmunk

And now for something totally on the picture below:

Thanks, abby :)

Watch this space for a very funky scarf - coming soon!

Monday, June 11, 2007

SWS Magic

I've been uber-busy just lately, so not much knitting has been done. I have been working on a Patons SWS copy of the Noro 1x1 manually striped scarf I've been reading about here (definitely the most beautifully photographed version) and elsewhere.

Unfortunately, SWS comes in just a handful of colors, but I think that these two are working together in a really interesting way:

This is such a fun and fast knit, I can't seem to put it down! The SWS is soft and dense, and has a cushy but firm texture. It's fun to see what color combinations come up as you work. I can't imagine doing this is a really luxurious yarn like Silk Garden; I wouldn't be able to get anything else done ;)

Other than that, I'm still plugging away on the little guy's Jitterbug socks. Slow going, those little things. I think maybe it's the stockinette getting a bit boring - the next pair will be these, for sure. For me :)

I did escape this weekend with the dh, sans kids, to Cape Cod:

It was a lovely and relaxing weekend, and long overdue!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Field Trip Frenzy

Last week I was lucky enough to go on a few really good field trips:

Wednesday: The Yarn Harlot in Northampton:

Martinis and shopping please.

I loved Northampton Wools (am I spelling that right? I feel like I'm missing an H.) and a little stationery/other fun stuff shop called Essentials. Also, my appletini and 3-for-$3 tacos at the Toasted Owl.

Here's the Calvin Theater (this is just a little bitty-bit of the actual line.) There were 600+ people in the audience.

Here is my lame picture of Stephanie speaking. Webs' owners were fantastic. Stephanie was very funny. The event was incredibly well-coordinated, with time slots for the book signing and little cups of ice water while we waited in line. The store is huge!

Lynne, Lucia, Jena and I had a blast. Thanks, Lynne, for getting us around. Next road trip: Boston yarn crawl, I think ;)

Thursday: 2nd Grade Trip to the Zoo

Amazing animals and cute little people. What else can I say?

Saturday: School Trip to New York

The trip was limited to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and a good thing because that took up the whole day :) The kids learned so much about both sites (and so did I.) We have a great school and some terrific friends, and that was one crazy-long bus ride! This was definitely a trip to remember.