Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Llamas on Broadway

I don't know what is going on with my brain, but I had the weirdest dream last night: I dreamt that my mother and I went to see a Broadway musical version of Romeo and Juliet, but that instead of having seats, we were bouncing around on trampolines poised over the backs of llamas which were in place of actual seats. Part of our job as audience members was that we had to bounce in time to the musical numbers, as well as do somersaults when the songs built to crescendo. In the dream I was actually pretty good at this, and it seemed that the trampolines were high enough over the backs of the llamas that we didn't injure them as we bounced, and also narrow enough that when the actors were speaking dialogue we could sit on the llamas' backs. The only bummer about this dream was that when it was time to go, one of my sandals slipped off my foot onto the floor, which was covered in llama pee and poo, and one of the handlers just handed it back to me like it wasn't covered in filth. I was about to give the handler a piece of my mind when the alarm clock went off. That handler was lucky I woke up!

Anyway, I don't know why I had that dream, although one of my friends did post a photo of a mama and baby alpaca on her blog the other day. That must have been it, though I have no idea when I last saw a trampoline. Weird.

In knitting news, I have been making more progress on the Schmidt Vest. I'm getting pretty close to the point where I can divide for the front and back, which makes me very happy. I definitely like how the cable up the front is coming out, and if you don't look too hard you won't see where I missed a crossing or two about 6 inches ago. The yarn is knitting up beautifully and it's still one of my cat's favorites; he took a nap on it the other day.

The cable needle seems not to bother him in the least.

I've also picked up the Knit All the Strings! socks and turned the heels on both. I did a nice, simple short-row heel and they're only a smidge too long, but I think that will be alright. I had to cut the yarn for 3 colors and rejoin after the heel, which isn't the worst thing ever, but I don't really care to weave in ends. I'm sure I'll feel better about it when both socks are done and I'm no longer wrestling with all those strands. And after I complete my exam this weekend.

Well, I guess that's it for tonight. I've got one more workday before I leave for Indianapolis to take this exam. I sure hope I can feel good about it when it's over. Until next time, Friends.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Holy crap! More finished stuff!

Can it really be two Fridays in a row that I have finished objects to show? I'm finding it pretty hard to believe, myself, but so it is! I don't expect there to be a third consecutive FO Friday, because my exam is next weekend, but I expect I might make some progress on some of  my remaining WIPs.

It's such a nice feeling to finish a project. And I mean really finish it, including sewing on the buttons and weaving in the ends. I've been presenting my Cascade baby cardigan as though it were finished, but it wasn't, really, since I still had the buttons to sew on. But I completed that task the other night, and then I photographed it today! It makes all the difference to have buttons. You can almost imagine a new human, with their awesome new-human smell, wearing it!

I've also finished the Ribbed baby jacket for another expectant mother, this one who is having a boy. The sweater has been washed and blocked, as well as having its button sewn on. It's ready to be shipped, hopefully in time for his arrival. As I understand it, the baby shower is tomorrow, so I'm definitely going to miss that, but I think better late than never on this gift.

My third finished object this week is my Punctuated Rib socks. It was nice to have a fairly easy pattern to memorize - I think the reason I was so ready for easy knitting was the complexity of the intarsia-in-the-round socks that I had been working on before these. Anyway, they're done, and not nearly as garish as I worried they might be. See, there's a metallic thread running through the plies. There's also an especially strong section of chartreuse which looks really bright on the ball, but adds a nice punch of brightness to what might otherwise have been a pretty dark sock.

The nice thing about knitting these socks on the bus was that young people (Wow, that makes me sound old!) seemed to show a lot of interest in them and in the fact that the things I was knitting actually looked like socks. I think the idea that socks are made (rather than just magically appearing in stores when you go to buy them) kind of blew their little minds. One boy, who must have been about ten or eleven years old, seemed hypnotized by the needles and a little concerned at how eccentric the socks were coming out. He perked up when I joked that I would probably only wear the socks at home because they were so loud. After that he looked relieved that I'd acknowledged that they were a little tacky, so he wouldn't have to hurt my feelings by telling me. His dad, on the other hand, seemed a little envious about how warm those socks are going to be this winter. I almost gave them to him right then, but they were definitely too small, and, you know, not finished. Oh, well.

That's all I have for tonight, I think. Next time, I may have some progress to report on the intarsia socks as well as the Schmidt vest. I will have my nose to the grindstone this weekend with last minute test preparation, but I hope to get in at least one post. Until then, friends.

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's an epidemic.

Since my last post, I've learned that two more people I know are pregnant. This was evidently a very good summer for babymaking, which means that this will be a very busy autumn for making baby stuff. So far, I think I have gifts for at least three of these seven people, and a fourth is nearly finished. I don't think that all of them read this blog, but I'm pretty sure at least four of them have seen it, and at least two of them follow it.

This Cascade cardigan (which I think I've posted on before) is for one of the women who I think doesn't read this blog. I made it on a lark, because I thought it was cute, not because I knew anyone was expecting. All I have left to is add the buttons and wrap it up. The leaves on the button placket have a definite feminine feel to them, so I feel good about this as a gift for a baby girl.

Another of the pregnant ladies is having a boy, so I had to do a little looking around for less feminine patterns. I decided that the Ribbed Baby Jacket looked much more masculine than the projects I usually queue, so on the needles it went. It knit up pretty quickly, and all I have left to do now is seam up the sides, add a button and get it washed & blocked. This one will have to be shipped, so I'm glad it was a quick knit.

Now, for the other five people, they're all knitters who I see in person and online. No way am I sharing what I'm making for them. Or if I'm even making anything for them. Well, I think we all know that there's no way I'm letting my friends' babies go without a hand knit gift, even if their moms can make them something. I'll just have to keep those secrets. There are so many great things to make and I hope my queue doesn't give everything away. I'll also have to remember to keep this stuff secret on my Ravelry project pages. Many of these women are on the sneaky side. Their Ravel-fu is strong.

Anyway, that's all I have for now. I'm still studying for my Interior Design licensing exam, and I've actually started going back to the gym, so I've had a little less knitting time lately. I'm still working on my Punctuated Rib socks as well as my brother-in-law's sweater vest. They're both coming along at a snail's pace. Until next time, then.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sometimes, I finish things.

It seems that lately I've been casting on new projects left and right. I actually stopped myself from starting yet another new project because I have too many things on the needles. If I can finish the sparkly socks this week, then I think it will be alright to start a baby cardigan for the fifth person I've learned is expecting. This one's for a boy baby, so I'll have to find a pattern that's a little less precious than the stuff I tend to queue up on Ravelry.

Anyway, the finished stuff. I finally had my picture taken in my Peasy Cardigan, so you all can see it how it came out. I'm pretty pleased with it, especially the sleeve length. I tend to push up the sleeves on all my long-sleeved stuff, so doing these at three-quarters length will be fantastic.

I also finally photographed my Grun is die Hoffnung socks by Stephanie van der Linden. I kind of ad-libbed the cuff, with a picot edging that, sadly, did not make it into the photo. I'm not sure that I'm all that crazy about how it turned out, but I liked the construction of this sock and expect that I'll be playing around with it some more.

In WIPs news, progress continues apace with the Schmidt vest I'm making for my brother-in-law. I'm finding that the Barbara Walker cable I'm using is adding just the right amount of interest to keep me zipping through this stockinette vest.

Well, that looks like about all I've got for this update. Until next time, y'all!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

And the WIPs just keep comin'

I can't stop casting on. It's out of control. Since my last post, I've cast on for a sweater vest for one of my brothers-in-law, another baby blanket square, and a child's hat. I think this bout of start-itis may nearly have run its course, although I can't be sure; this change in the weather makes me want to make even more stuff. I was thinking about some gloves, but maybe that can wait.

The vest is Schmidt, which I've knit once before. This time I'm using a cable pattern from Barbara Walker's Fourth Treasury up the center, rather than the argyle specified in the pattern. I'm using the same yarn as last time, Nashua's Creative Focus Worsted, a nice, soft yarn, kind of roving-like, that knits up into a lovely fabric. It doesn't do stitch definition especially well, so for the cables I'm making a point of twisting all the knit stitches. If we rate the yarn by how much my cat likes it, it's as good as cashmere, but not as nice as mink.

The child's hat is another experiment in knitting intarsia in the round, a technique that one of my friends really wanted me to show her. In preparation for sharing the technique with her, I grabbed some worsted remnants from my stash to see how they'd do. I think it will be a nice little hat - I have no idea what child will receive it. Maybe I'll give it to one of my nephews for Christmas, or give it to a friend who has a little boy.

The blanket square is another that probably has to stay secret. I'm taking pictures now, in the hope that I'll remember to post them after the blankets have been given to their recipients. It's knit from some slightly-larger-than-worsted superwash yarn I had in my stash, so it should be easy for the moms to care for.

In other news, I have actually finished my Peasy cardigan. It's been washed and blocked; now it just needs to be photographed. I'll be wearing it to Stitch 'n' Bitch tomorrow night, so I'll have my buddies take pictures of me wearing it so you all can see. Then I'll have an actual finished project to put up on Friday. Whee!

That's about all I've got for tonight. Until next time, Friends.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Portland Japanese Garden

As it's Labor Day weekend here in the US, I'm doing a whole lot of nothing, unless you count getting the spare room organized so I can study for my Interior Design licensing exam. Sadly, I don't have any finished projects, so I thought you might enjoy these photos of the Portland Japanese Garden that I took when I was there during Sock Summit. There wasn't much blooming, but there was green everywhere. Must be why they call it the Emerald City.