Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Short Update

For the last two days, I've been traveling toward Portland, Oregon, for Sock Summit. I'm writing this post from Spokane, Washington, while the Amtrak folks separate my section of the train from the section that is going to Seattle. It's been an uneventful trip, so far, although I feel like my ass is becoming one with the seat. I've written a couple posts, which I expect to put up once I've arrived in Portland.

Looks like I'm out of battery, so that'll do it for now. Until next time, then.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Only one project on the needles

Last time, I think I said I'd talk a little about Damask, which I've recently started. I think I got it on the needles before I finished the Kristi socks, but I was also working on the Monkeybread scarf, so I didn't give it much attention. But Monkeybread is finished (more about that in a bit), so I've been making all kinds of progress on Damask.

It seems lots of people are making these little triangular shawlettes lately, and I had kind of been poo-pooing the whole idea, as I don't really consider myself a shawlette kind of girl. I'm just not big on accessorizing. But when I was in Atlanta this spring, Oliviaknits told me all about how she's made about a billion of these and how they're just great for throwing over your shoulders when it's a little chilly, but not quite cold enough for a sweater. She also told me about how they're good for getting a little warmth around your neck & chest if you're wearing a v-neck top. That planted the seed for this project.

You see, a couple years ago, I bought some incredibly soft sport-weight alpaca yarn at the Thistledown Shop while I was on vacation at my family's lake cottage. It was 650 yards of lovely charcoal grey 3-ply yarn. So soft & squishy I just couldn't help myself. At the time, I had no idea what I would make with it, I just knew that it had to be mine. It took me until a few weeks ago to make up my mind.

The project is going well - having done an Estonian lace scarf last year, I already have some experience with the dreaded nupps that can be tricky to complete. The chart repeats are pretty easily memorized (although the designer used non-standard symbols on them) and the wrong-side rows go quickly. I've just begun the fourth chart and it's already beginning to take on its triangular shape. Had I used a smoother yarn, the patterning might be a little more distinct, but I think, in the end, I'm going to like the absence of crispness I'm getting from this yarn.

In other news, the Monkeybread scarf is done, which means I have now completed all my projects for this year's State Fair. I completed the knitting on the scarf on Friday got it washed and on the blocking wires on Saturday evening. It came out beautifully - the cables are now lying flat and there's a nice rhythm to them that's harder to see on the hat. Both items together make a gorgeous set, which I'm sure my mother will love. She'll love them even more if they earn a ribbon at the Fair! (Last year I placed second in this category, so this year I'd really love a first!)

Well, that's all I have tonight. I leave for Sock Summit in a week, but I hope to get in a post or two before I head out of town. Until next time, then.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Now it's finished.

So, last time I was whining about how I couldn't finish my Kristi socks because I'd run out of yarn. Well, I finished them the very next day, thanks to the kindness of the nice lady at Blueball Mountain and the speedy service from the United States Postal Service. (And that's the truth - no sarcasm here. At least today, anyway.) I mean, I think I was on the phone with the yarn shop around lunchtime on Friday, and the little box was waiting for me Saturday when I got home from work. It was amazing! As soon as I could rip open the package (and it was a diabolical little box), I got back to work closing those toes.

I added the new yarn to the sock where I only had a 3" yarn tail, and a few rounds later the second sock ran out of yarn, so I added on from the other end of the ball to finish that one. Once I completed all my decreases, I grafted the toes closed, wove in my ends, then put them in the tub for a wash. Finished, washed, and blocked! Whee!

Since the socks were finally finished, I decided that it would be a good time to start preparing for Sock Summit. Never mind that it's just about the only thing I can talk about - I haven't looked at my class requirements since I registered. I'm taking three classes at Sock Summit: Anne Hanson's Holes in our Socks, Lorilee Beltman's Seismic Socks, and Anne Berk's Intarsia with a Twist. I'm really looking forward to all of them! Each class has a little homework, so that's where I'll be focusing most of my knitting attention for the next two weeks. Thing is, I have to choose some new patterns, and that's where the power of the internets is overwhelming me a bit. There are so many choices!

I've looked through my Ravelry queue and through the pattern database (a couple times) and I can't make up my mind. I think for Anne Berk's class, I'll take an argyle sock pattern I saw a few months ago in Piecework Magazine (which it turns out she wrote!). In the magazine it's seamed, but I think I read on one of her project pages that she has done argyle socks in the round, so I hope she'll share how she did it during the class. For Lorilee Beltman's class, I think I'll do her Ankle Panes sock - they look like they'll be a good introduction to her vertical intarsia technique that she'll be teaching. I've had her Thistle Plaid socks in my queue for a while now, but I think simple will be good enough for class knitting. As for Anne Hanson's class, I just can't decide. There are all kinds of lace sock patterns out there, but I think I might take a look through my stitch dictionaries to see if anything looks interesting. The class will have a bit about design in it, so that may be the way I'll go. I'll probably take another look through her pattern shop while I'm at it, just to make sure there isn't something there that I want to work on for the class.

This process has made me dig through my sock yarn to make sure that I have the appropriate yarn for my classes, which has made a mess of my living room. For the most part, the instructions have said I need smooth yarn in light colors, and I do have some, but I'm not sure that what I have is quite right. I'll probably take all of my Cascade Heritage (3 light colors and 1 dark) as well as all my Kollage Luscious. I'll probably leave the Classic Elite Alpaca Sox at home, as it's probably not smooth enough for these classes. I'll also take my bag of leftover sock yarn as well, which I think will be good for playing around with. Hand painted and striping yarns will be staying home. Gah! So many decisions! I should take a breather.

That's all the mania I think I'll share today. Next time, maybe I'll talk a little about having started the Damask shawl (which I hope to be able to wear at Sock Summit) and whether I've completed the Monkeybread scarf (which is moving fast). Until then, friends.

Friday, July 8, 2011

It could have been finished.

Except that I ran out of yarn before I could finish with the toes. You see, I was an art major in college. I can freely admit that math is not one of my strengths. For example, when I was trying to decide what pattern I was going to make from my two balls of Summer Sox, I looked at the yardage and figured that I had enough yarn to make the Kristi socks. The pattern calls for 465 yards of fingering-weight yarn. Each ball of the Summer Sox had 175 yards. When I did the math, it went like this: 175+175=450. But those of you who can add can see my error. 175+175 does not equal 450.

It equals 350.

So, I wasn't 15 yards short, I was 165 yards short. Quite a difference. And I feel like an idiot, because I bought this yarn last November on clearance. I didn't think I would be able to purchase it from a yarn shop, so I started stash-diving on Ravelry. Most people who had it in their stashes only had two, which they obviously planned to make socks with. One person had 10 skeins in her stash - turns out she's knitting it into a sweater RIGHT NOW. She didn't know whether she'd have any left over by the time she finished, but she was kind enough to offer to send it to me then. Sadly, I have a deadline for these socks, as they're a gift, so I thanked her and started looking online.

I didn't have to look too far - my project page had a handy little link (maybe it was an ad?) which said "buy this yarn from local stores." The recommended LYS was Blueball Mountain, located only an hour away from Louisville in Elizabethtown. The shop owner was so nice! She very kindly sold me one ball of the four she had, and said she'd get it in the mail this afternoon! I am so grateful! It looks like I'll finally be able to finish these socks sometime next week. Then I can start on my Sock Summit homework.

Since the socks are stalled, I have been able to get some length on the Monkeybread scarf. It's really coming into its own now, looking a lot like what I think it will when it's complete. I just hope I have enough yarn to get it to about 60 inches. We'll see.

Isn't that just the sexiest yarn pron ever?

Well, that's about all the ranting I have in me for this evening. Until next time!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

WIPs Update

It seems an age since I posted about my knitting, so I thought I should do that tonight. I'm still working on the Kristi socks, which have been in progress for more than a month now. I only have about half an inch to go before I start closing the toes, but I'm getting a little nervous about whether my yarn is going to make it to the end. The socks are lovely, and I've gotten comfortable enough with the chart that I'm knitting both feet at the same time.

In Monkeybread news, I've completed the hat and started the scarf. This set will be for my mom for her birthday this fall. The last time I was home, we talked about it: about how soft the mink/cashmere yarn is, how nice the cables look, and how the blueberry colorway would look great with her winter coat. So after I ordered the yarn and downloaded the pattern, I called her to ask her to measure her head so I could make the right size. Her response?
"What hat? You're making me a hat?"
She had completely forgotten the conversation and had also forgotten that we looked through the Great Northern Yarns website to choose the color. All I could do was sigh. She's still my mom, after all.

Anyway, the hat has been washed and blocked, but it turns out I misunderstood the directions, and knit 9 rounds too many in the beginning. I don't think it changed the hat a whole lot - it just made it a little slouchier, which will probably make Mom happy, as she likes to pull her hats way down. I think I may just make this set for myself, but I'll have to wait until GNY restocks. Last time I looked, there were only two colors available. (Editor's note: as of tonight, there are three colors, with a fourth available sometime this month. -SZ)

I'm making the small size of the scarf, since Mom is a pretty tiny person. Right now it looks a little narrow, but I think that after washing and blocking it will lay a little flatter and look a little less skinny. I'm going to knit until I run out of yarn on this one. I'm hoping I can get it to end up at least 5' long. That's a good length for a scarf, especially one made from cashmere and mink. I think she'll be pretty happy with it.

That's about all I've got tonight. It's less than three weeks until Sock Summit and I think I have a little homework to do before I get there. Next time, I hope I have at least one finished object, and I hope they're the socks! Until then, Friends.

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Walk Down Main Street

The underside of a ramp onto the interstate. I have no idea why these girders are so meticulously numbered. I found it curious, so I took a picture.

So, last night, I met up with a few knitting friends to watch our Louisville Bats play against the visiting Gwinnett Braves. One of the reasons I was looking forward to it was because it was $1 Beer Night. I was also looking forward to it because it was a Stitch 'n' Pitch of sorts, albeit on a very small scale.

A Corinthian capital to fluted column. Both cast iron, I'm sure.

Happy hour(s) started at 5:00, and since it was only a couple miles from my office, I decided to walk there, which would kind of count as exercise, even though I was about to drink away any possible advantage I might have gained from a 2 mile walk in 90+ degree weather. From Seventeenth Street, I walked east to the stadium at Jackson Street and took photos along the way. Today's post is mostly photo journal, with just a little commentary from me.

This plaque is in reference to the original occupant of the building behind it. There are many more on this block and the next.
Base of a cast iron pilaster. I could look at these things all day!
Obligatory photo of the giant bat outside the Hillerich & Bradsby factory & museum. If you go inside, you can take a pencil rubbing of a major leaguer's signature, so long as he owned a Louisville Slugger.
American Life building, designed by Mies van der Rohe. I am a modernist at heart, although I love old things as well. Plenty of people dislike this building, but I like it better than Michael Graves' Humana building across the street.
Our new basketball arena. Pretty matter-of-fact from this side. The view from the north is much more dramatic.
Whiskey Row, as it's now called. Only recently were most of these buildings saved from the wrecking ball, because the "developer" wanted have them for a parking lot. I've never met the guy, but I suspect I'd be rude to him if I did, so better that I haven't.
This makeover seems to be going well.
So glad these buildings are being saved!
I've liked this building for a long time. I can't wait to see what becomes of it.
I like the composition of this elevation - they definitely maximized the amount of light. The empty space to its right used to be a building, until it collapsed from neglect.
Louisville Slugger Field, adapted from what was previously a depot.
Plenty has been written elsewhere about most of these buildings. Broken Sidewalk, in particular, is a great place to start. I took a few photos at the game, but funnily, no one had their knitting out. I was too busy drinking beer and eating fried bologna and Dippin' Dots to knit.

Mary and her Mimi. Sorry I cut off your head, Cindy.
Little Miss in her Knit Nook shirt about to be delirious from the sugar. She ate the whole thing.
This must've been during the warm-ups. Our guys lost this one, but got 'em back tonight.