Monday, June 27, 2011

Things to do, things to do.

You know how it is when you get really excited to cast on for a new project, that you're willing to cast aside all the others to get to it? Well, I'm kinda there right now.

I just cast on for Anne Hanson's Monkeybread hat & scarf. I'm making it out of Great Northern Yarns' luscious 70% mink, 30% cashmere DK-weight yarn. And as one would expect, it is fabulous. I love this yarn. A couple years ago I made some ridiculous cable gloves from it, in black. The reason the gloves were ridiculous is because anyone with any sense would know that knitting cables with black yarn is just plain foolish. Then, to knit cables in black yarn that blooms like angora is doubly foolish. I did all that work with complex, mirrored cables only to have them entirely disappear because they bloomed so much that my hands looked like they belonged to a silverback gorilla. I'm not kidding. All that work and I could have done them in stockinette in half the time. On the plus side, though, they are the warmest gloves I've ever owned and I'll be making myself another pair this winter, as I've nearly worn through the fingers on the current pair.

But I digress. The Monkeybread hat is what I'm so excited about! It's so soft! and the cables are lovely. If only I were better at reading instructions. See, there are two sizes to this hat: small and large. This set is a gift for my mom, whose head circumference requires the larger size. The instructions say to start the chart on row 13, and idiot that I am, I knit 13 rounds THEN started the chart, instead of just skipping the 12 previous rows. I'm not sure how this happened, but I think I can make up for it. We'll see what I have to say in a week or so. I'm using the Blueberry colorway, which is gorgeous altogether, and I kind of wish I was keeping for myself. But this really is for Mom, unless she decides otherwise. That's the only way I'll get this back.

Since I started the Monkeybread hat, I haven't touched the Kristi socks, except to photograph them. An amazing thing happened with these socks: when I finished the gusset decreases, each sock was on the same row of the chart, ready to go, not needing any adjustments from me. This is a miracle of the highest order and will probably never happen again in my lifetime. What usually happens is that I forget a decrease somewhere along the line, so that when I finally have the right number of stitches along the bottom of one sock, the other still needs at least one more decrease round. It can be frustrating, but so long as both feet use the same chart for the top of the foot, I'm alright. In the case of the Kristi socks, the charts are mirrored, which would have made it maddening to do them at the same time if they were off even the least little bit. I am grateful they're right. I'll definitely work on them on the bus tomorrow on the way to work.

Lastly, I'm on the home stretch with the Kusha Kusha scarf, finally on the smallest size needle and rapidly running out of yarn on the first cone of silk/stainless. For whatever reason, the scarf seems to be going a little faster, but may only be because I can see the end. Maybe I can finish it Thursday night at Stitch 'n' Pitch. A bunch of us are going to see our Louisville Bats take on the Gwinett Braves. It's dollar beer night, so I have to make sure I take something easy. I hope I remember to take some pictures.

That's it for now, Friends. Until next time!

Friday, June 24, 2011

An American Ruin

I've probably mentioned once or twice that I work for a non-profit affordable housing builder. Our construction offices are located in the Portland neighborhood in Louisville, which has a lot of late-19th century buildings, some of which have been well-maintained, and others not so much. Just south of the Portland neighborhood is the Russell neighborhood, which has plenty of old buildings too. One that I see on a regular basis is the old Ouerbacker house, which was the home of a coffee merchant and is now in an advanced state of decay.

I think it would make a lovely B&B, if only the preservation group which owns it could raise the funds to restore it. They could renovate the carriage house as a residence - it's surely as big as the house I live in. Anyway, I don't have much information on the house, but I took lots of pictures, which you can view without commentary from me. I love old buildings and I hope this one can be saved.

Monday, June 20, 2011


So, I've made some progress on the Kristi socks! Once I got going on the leg chart, I realized it wasn't nearly as hard as it looked. The stitches travel in a way that makes sense (at least to my brain), making it really easy to get into a groove. I'm still glad that I did each leg individually, though. I think if I'd tried to do them at the same time, I'd have had to commit myself.

Both legs are done and now I'm working on the heel flaps, which I'm doing at the same time. Once I get around to reading the foot instructions closely, I'll decide whether I want to do them at the same time. It will be important to make sure they're the same length, since these will be a gift.

I'm still in love with this yarn, Classic Elite's Summer Sox. I just love how the white ply with the celery green makes for a pretty almost heathered effect when it's knit up. There's plenty of twist in the yarn which makes for great stitch definition and keeps it from being as splitty as lots of cotton and cotton-blend yarns tend to be. I think the wool content will be good for durability, but certainly the cotton is making it nice to work with in the summer. Now all I have to do is find a yarn shop that actually carries it - the last few places I've been don't seem to have any cotton sock yarns. But since I stocked up before the Knit Nook closed, I'm sure I'll be alright for a little while.

In other knitting news, the Kusha Kusha scarf finally has enough length that I can go down the next needle size. Turns out that attending work-related conferences makes it really easy to plow through miles and miles of stockinettte stitch. I'll be checking my inventory of neglected straight needles to make sure I have the right size to continue.

Well, that's all I have for now, Friends. Until next time.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Road Trip!

For the past two days, I've been at a work-related conference in Lexington. I learned all kinds of good things about "green" building strategies and even taught a workshop about advanced framing techniques (which is a green strategy because it uses less lumber to build a house). One of the interesting things I learned is how much transportation affects low-income homeowners and how access to public transportation can help keep homeowners in their homes. There was also a lot about different kinds of ways to build homes to reduce the amount of energy they use and how we, as low-income housing builders, can work toward making this an achievable goal.

Anyway, on my way home from the conference, I took the wrong road out of town, so I ended up not on the interstate, but on a US highway instead. This road took me through Frankfort, which is Kentucky's capital city, so I decided to take a walk around the downtown and see what I could see.

As it turned out, I got to see a lot of nice, old brick buildings and one not-so-nice one, which was being worked on. I hope they can save it. Otherwise, there will be a gaping, ugly hole in the middle of the block. On the same block was a newer theater front that looked to be from the 1920's or so. It had some nice deco touches.

Another building I happened upon was Kentucky's Old State Capitol, which was the site of the assassination of William Goebel, whose statue proclaims him the "Martyr Governor." The base of the statue has a list of his accomplishments and a statement about him from William Jennings Bryan, as well as what are reported to have been his last words. One interesting quote attributed to him is about whether "corporations are the masters or the servants of the people," which seemed relevant to me today. From what I read on his Wikipedia page, I'm guessing this statement might have been in reference to the L&N Railroad, but in that day and age, it could have been one of any number of corporations.

It seems that Mr. Goebel was a populist when it served him, but he had plenty of enemies and was no stranger to controversy or double dealing. There's probably a book about this guy somewhere - maybe I'll do a little more reading. (At dinner last night, our current Lt. Governor spoke as part of the conferencee, and some of what he had to say makes me wonder about Big Coal's influence over current elected officials, which, to my mind, makes Mr. Goebel's quote nothing short of prescient.)

That's all I have this evening. Next time, I'll have a progress report on the Kristi socks and maybe the Kusha Kusha scarf too. Until then, friends.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Almost Finished Object Friday

Lately it seems people I know are having babies born to them (or their children) and so I need to start knitting more baby stuff. With that in mind, on Wednesday night I started on a baby cardigan: Cascade, a free pattern from Petite Purls Winter 2010 edition. It's so cute, I can't stand it.

Since it was kind of late when I got the great idea to make a baby cardigan, I started digging through my stash (miniscule as it is) and found a yarn that looked promising. The Bamboo Ewe has been in my stash for nearly a year and a half, and even though it didn't have the yardage required by the pattern, I thought I'd take my chances.

I just made it. I finished it this afternoon with about 5 yards left over. It was such a quick knit! All I have left to do is weave in a couple ends, add the buttons, and wash and block it. I think it will be darling on whichever baby gets to wear it this winter. I wish I hadn't knit the sleeves tighter than the body, but maybe the blocking will help that a little. I think I can do better on the next three of these I knit. Yes, you read that right, I'm going to make three more of these. At least one will be knit from the other skein of Bamboo Ewe I have in my stash. I think I have enough Cascade 220 to make a larger size, but for the third one, I might have to buy some yarn. I'll take a hard look through my stash. It's strange - I seem to have a ton of sock yarn and laceweight yarn. And just odds and ends of worsted. I guess I'll just have to look a little harder - I'm sure I have something that will work.

Well, that's all for now. Until next time!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

WIPs Wednesday again, already.

It's been more than a month since I've mentioned my Kusha Kusha scarf. You know the one where I was so excited about the yarn, I went to Atlanta to buy it? Turns out that all that stockinette is boring. Boring, boring, boring. So much so that I haven't been working on it much.

The last few days have seen me take it to places where I needed something uncomplicated, like social knitting and work meetings. I appear to have gotten about 18" from the end of the decreases, so a little bit of progress. The funnest thing about this project is how curious everyone is about the stainless steel yarn. Everyone just has to put their hands on it and scrunch it or stretch it to see the memory in the fabric. It is pretty cool, so I have a couple photos of it.

I've also managed a few rounds from the leg chart of the Kristi socks. The stitch definition of this yarn is fantastic. I thinks these are going to be some awesome socks. I have an idea who will be receiving these socks, but I can't post it here, as there's a chance she might read this and then the surprise will be ruined. I hope to get a little more done on these tomorrow night at Knit Night - we'll see how that goes.

Short post today, but that's all I've got. Until next time, then.

Monday, June 6, 2011


I'm a little light on the knitting photos today, since I pretty much showed everything I'd finished last time. So here are some pics of my hydrangeas. They're pretty.

All the rain we've had this spring has pretty much set the plants growing and blooming like crazy. Weeds, too. I'm ashamed to admit that I pulled nary a weed while I was on vacation last week. I thought about it plenty, but in between the sleeping in and sitting around, I never really got to it. The area around the hydrangeas looks pretty good, though I suspect it's because my neighbor on that side can't abide a weed, so she's kept up with them.

I haven't decided if I want to cut any of them to bring inside - they look really nice as they are. But they would definitely add a spot of bright color on our lonely dining room table.

In knitting news, I've cast on for CookieA's Kristi socks. Actually, I've cast on twice. I'm that good at reading directions. Turns out that reading for comprehension, rather than skimming through the pattern, makes for successful projects. I've completed exactly 1" of the cuff and I might get through a couple rounds of the leg chart tonight. Aside from my own idiocy, this looks to be a fairly challenging pattern, and one that I can't really do two-at-a-time. I did it for the cuffs, but the leg charts are different for the right and left legs, so I'll knit the legs individually, then turn the heels together before working the feet individually.

I like the way the yarn, Classic Elite's Summer Sox, is knitting up. The yarn is 40% wool, 40% cotton and 20% nylon, with a nice, tight twist. It has a nice springiness to it which gives a good definition to the stitches. I also like the mottled nature of it as it knits up because it keeps the color from looking too two-dimensional. I think you get a little hint of it in the photos.

That's just about all I've got for tonight, but it's about a month before the deadline to send in my entry form for the Kentucky State Fair. I'm not sure how many items I'm going to enter, but I need to start looking pretty hard at the categories. It's also less than two months until Sock Summit, so I expect my next few posts will be about that as well. Hope all is well where you are. Until next time, then.

Friday, June 3, 2011

My finished objects, let me show you them.

Alright. So I've been away from the blog for more than a week and I'm sorry to have left you all hanging. Last weekend was a holiday in the US and I've spent the rest of this week visiting my mom in Indiana. I did all kinds of neat stuff like sitting around and thinking about yardwork, driving long distances and thinking about traffic, and running errands with Mom. None of theses things involved taking photos, so I don't have any.  It was exhausting. In the rare minutes of downtime I had during the visit, I actually finished a few projects and started thinking about more.

The first finished object I have to show you is the turban that goes with that cute little daisy stitch cardigan I finished a few weeks ago. I finished the hat before I left town, but I only photographed it today. I haven't yet seen it on an actual baby, but I think if I make it to knit night next week, I'll get Mary to model it for you. She's on the cusp of being too big for it, so this is likely my last chance until I meet someone who has a kidlet who is 3-6 months old.

Secondly, I finished the purple Victorian baby booties. I had plenty of yarn this time and used Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off, which is a much nicer finish to the brioche stitch part of the leg. I haven't decided whether I want to do the crocheted edging at the top: I think it's a little fussy, but if any of you have an opinion, let me know. (You can see what they're supposed to look like here.)

Thirdly, the Aran Isle socks are finished, but not blocked. (I'll do that tonight. I promise.) They are just lovely to look at and are so soft, it's a damned shame that they're so tight at the cuff. If I keep them for myself, I'll have to wear them scrunched down around my ankles, which defeats the purpose of all those pretty traveling stitches. I think they'll be a gift for one of my sisters-in-law, one who wears about a US9 and has skinny calves.

Lastly, I finally wove in the ends of the tank top I finished last summer, just in time to wear it this summer. I'd been putting it off, because I couldn't bear the thought of all those little medallion stitches (worked on size 000US dpns). Once I made up my mind to do it, it took all of about 15 minutes. I'm such a baby.

Well, I think that's all I've got for now. Next time I have to spend a little time talking about sock yarn, as it's now less than two months until Sock Summit. I'm so excited!