Making the switch.

Today I got on the Addi Turbo Lace Bandwagon and transferred Bird’s Eye shawl to them. After reading others’ accounts of these new needles, I just had to try them. Mind you, the change did not come about easily, since after visiting more than one local yarn store and coming-up emptyhanded, I finally located some during my recent visit to Beehive Wool Shop in Canada (they had plenty on hand, too). Unfortunately Addi doesn’t make the exact size I needed 2.75 mm, so I bought a 3.0 mm circular and made the switch, thanks in part to the encouragement of Knittlesticks Wendee, whom I met yesterday. Wendee agreed with my belief that it wouldn’t make that much of a difference, especially after blocking. As for the experience of knitting with the Addi Turbo Lace, it’s simply amazing!

I could tell immediately that the fine-pointed Turbos will make for easier lace knitting, but more importantly, I find that the brass tips hold the yarn better, meaning less tension in my hands. I think I was using coated Inox circulars (needlepoint on left in photos) previously, and while they were fine enough, the yarn moved across them so easily it was difficult keeping the stitches on them, made more difficult by the fact that I have extremely dry hands. With Addi Turbo, I just can’t convey to you the difference. The stitches don’t seem to slide off so easily, and yet the needles are not too “sticky” (for lack of a better word), or rather, they don’t keep the stitches from moving freely. I’ll have to update as I knit with them more.


Experiencing Seattle

We went to the Seattle Center today, site of the 1962 World’s Fair, to take in the first day of the Folklife Festival and I captured this photo outside the Experience Music Project on my cell phone.

I don’t know the name of this sculpture, but every time I see it, I have to stop and look at it. The contrast of gleaming gold against the rawness of the rust that comprises the frame-like look on the sculpture and the way the blades spring up boldly from the concrete and shoot-up approximately 30-feet into the sky mesmerizes me.

I found this fun website that provides virtual photos of parts of Seattle: VR Seattle. It’s a good place to get a feel for what Seattle looks like.

I’ve been bad.

While in Victoria I visited Beehive Wool Shop and came away with 6 skeins Phildar Phil Eponge (acrylic, nylon, cotton, and elasthanne blend) and 4 skeins Operà Le Fantasie (wool, polyamid, alpaca and acrylic blend).

Here’s the food haul from the Victoria Trip:

London Fruit & Herb Company’s Green Tea & Blackcurrant: I’m not a big fan of flavored green teas, but when I spotted it on a supermarket shelf, the word “blackcurrant” just hit me in the head and said, “Buy me , you fool!” Wonderful stuff, very blackcurrant with a hint of green tea. Murchie’s is a Victoria original, and since I’m an Earl Grey snob, I decided to try the Earl Grey, and I must say it surpasses my personal favorite, Golden Moon Tea Earl Grey. Rogers’ Chocolates is one of those places that I’ve been to every time I’ve been in Victoria and I buy 3 or 4 Victoria Creams, come home, try them and realize I’d made a mistake in not buying more; they are sooo creamy good inside and sooo flavorful, made with real fruit.

I’m back, but not empty-handed….

So I thought we were going to Vancouver, B.C., but we went to Victoria, B.C. instead because Highly Organized Husband had a short-circuit and announced two days before leaving that he’d forgotten (he’s the vacation planner) that we were to go to Victoria. It turns out our trip to Vancouver is a few months off still. As for the trip to Victoria, we had a nice time and the trip by car and ferry went well; the weather was so-so, but then it’s May in the Pacific Northwest. It was a bit iffy when we left home, warmed-up a lot on the drive up to Canada, was overcast throughout the ferryboat ride to Vancouver Island and the subsequent drive to Victoria, and then Saturday was a complete mixed bag, rain, bright sunshine, overcast, chilling gusty winds, and Sunday was a day not unheard of in these parts: torrential rain all day and all night. By the way, whose idea was it to name the island after Captain Vancouver, but the city on the island is Victoria and then name the city on the mainland Vancouver? Isn’t that confusing? Okay, but then to add to the confusion, there’s also a Vancouver, Washington, a few hundred miles south of the one in Canada, so people around here have to constantly refer to whichever Vancouver they are referring to by adding either the state name or the province name after the relevant city. That Vancouver guy sure got around, even if he did have a funny last name. But I digress….

I’m a bit short on time, but among the items I brought back from my trip was an issue of Simply Knitting magazine. I really like this magazine, partly because the patterns offered are quite varied, partly because it’s from another country (UK), partly because there aren’t any long-winded articles (I’m a fine one to talk!), the lay-out is eye-catching and an easy read, LOTS of color photos (especially details of projects and techniques), but especially because isn’t filled with loads of advertisements. Another nice thing is that it doesn’t have all those annoying subscription cards falling out, and they didn’t fall out in shipping because it was sealed in plastic. Also, it doesn’t hurt that it came with a free gift, a knitting tote bag, imprinted with balls of yarn and the magazine name.

Among the articles offered is this one about the fiber qualities of different breeds of British sheep (I took pictures of the magazine on my lap during the car ride home in the sloggy wet rain).

And of course, there are plenty of sweater patterns, and many of them very refreshing to look at, but also this fun bag pattern. I could do without the leaf that appears like a growth on the bag, couldn’t you? It is a nice leaf, though.

Finally, a new pattern by Alan Dart, this one for a chicken.

Alan Dart comes up with all sorts of patterns for fun knitted animals; many of them reminiscent of Wallace & Gromit characters. He’s someone to watch in the knitting world, I think.

Well, that’s all for now. Stay tuned for the next installment of the Victoria Trip.

Pleasant suprises!

It’s been a long, long wait for my copy of Heirloom Knitting but it finally arrived today! I had ordered it way back on March 27th when I also ordered Victorian Lace Today and Favorite Socks: 25 Timeless Designs, and at that time had projected an early May delivery, and then that got pushed back to early June, but somehow it arrived on Monday. I don’t care, I’m just glad I have it so I can peruse its pages and dream of the next great Shetland shawl to make.

Also, a crafty friend in California sent me these wine glass markers, the result of a collaborative effort of her two young daughters and herself.

These are especially fun to have because the beads are from the collection of beads I gave them after I’d finally come to the decision that my bead-crafting days had come to an end. I recognize the charms I’d collected, but I don’t know what projects I’d intended them for. I do remember the gold-metallic beads from when I was a kid, and I’m pretty sure I’d bought them at a really “groovy” bead shop on Charles Street in Boston, Massachusetts (am I dating myself?); using a bead loom, I made an hot pink bead and gold bead wrist bracelet, and later took it apart, and for good reason. I’ll enjoy the beads better as wine glass markers, knowing that our friends made them.

The spice organizer.

Here’s the thing: this spice organizer is a disappointment. I am not a big on housecleaning, so I try to avoid making messes whenever possible, but this organizer seems to make things messier.

Husband and I spotted something like this watching Food Network’s “Good Eats with Alton Brown” (a thoroughly entertaining and informative food program), and we thought surely it would answer our need to have our spices organized, neat and tidy, without seeping out of the lid as we had with the previous system. But it doesn’t keeps spices neat and tidy and it cost a lot of money. Oh, sure, it organizes the spices, but we have some problems with it, namely, when you put ground spices in it, they seep out of the container, so we have cayenne pepper, cinnamon, ground mace, etc., on the other containers and inside the cabinet. And the turmeric! Well the turmeric is not only all over the other containers but it’s staining the white vinyl lining in the cabinet. I thought, oh, I can live with wiping-up the spices every now and then (quarterly, at best), but this is getting annoying.

We soon discovered that the ground ginger was incompatible with the containers, because the oils of the ginger react with what we discovered to be a clear plastic window in the lid:

The other problem, and I can’t fault the product for this, is that wall space is at premium in the our open layout kitchen, and we didn’t want to hang it on the nearest wall leading to the dining area, so we affixed it to the inside of a cabinet. Having made that decision, we then had cabinet shelves to contend with. In other words, they get in the way. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, we would just organize the containers to accommodate the shelves, but it’s become a problem, because if you don’t have the containers positioned just so, you can’t close the cabinet:

Lesson learned: just stick with the containers the spices come in at the market.

Rib Knitted Shell

So, here’s my newest project, Rib Knitted Shell by Hajnalka Lovrekovich, from Cast On Magazine, February – April 2007 issue. It’s a simple project, knitted in one piece consisting of K2P2-rib starting at the bottom front, up and over the shoulders, down the back, with minimal shaping and sewn at the sides. The construction technique alone should make it interesting. I’m using the same yarn brand and color used in the pattern, Newton’s Cotton Ice in Sage, which seems to be available only in cones from Newton’s, as opposed to the 100-gram balls listed in the pattern. Maybe Lovrekovich was able to find it somewhere other than Newton’s.

If all goes well with the pace, I will follow-up with Rib Knitted Shrug as pictured, which ironically doesn’t have any ribbing in it, and is knitted sideways from one sleeve to the other, with the usual sewing-up.