Confessions of a missing bloggist

I confess, that despite my absence from blogging I have been knitting, and therefore, I also confess that I have not been blogging about it. Having said that, I think it’s time to do some catching-up.

From the depths of my knitting projects languishing in neglect, I present Bird’s Eye Shawl. Never reaching it’s originally intended size, and having become bored at the one-third point, I decided to call it “finished” and began casting-off last fall. The cast-off was so laborious, I didn’t finish it until April. Actually, I’m now glad that I didn’t make it bigger, because the rate of increases would have made the ends so long that I would not be able to wear it much. As it is, the ends are so long and tapering that I don’t know what to do with the ends; they get caught on things, trapped in car doors, pulled by small children. The resulting fabric is beautiful, and so soft, but I find I don’t wear it much because of the long ends. If I were to do it differently, I’d forgo the increases and make it into a rectangular wrap. Finished size: 200 cm (78 in.) x 85 cm (33 in.), blocked.

Details
Project: Bird’s Eye Shawl, by Sharon Miller
Yarn: Heirloom Knitting Merino Lace
Needles: 3.00 mm/US 2.5

Next to finish was Langston, in response to my daughter’s request, “Please knit me a sweater.” I added a few more rows to the bottom and cuffs, and a crocheted a little reinforcement to inside of the collar, to keep it slipping off of my 4-year old’s shoulders. Of course, by the time I finished it, she wasn’t able to wear it because the weather had turned too warm for wool sweaters on an active and vivacious 4-year old, but it should fit her fine this fall because it’s pretty roomy.

Details
Project: Langston, by Teresa Cole
Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss DK
Needles:
3.25 mm/US 3 & 3.75 mm/US 5

Then came Chinook Scarf, an end-of-the-year gift for my son’s first grade teacher. Fortunately, I started Chinook in April, and by most accounts of others on Ravelry who had knitted it before me, there was a good chance it would be done in less than a month, and it was. It is a narrow crescent-shaped scarf that started-out kind of fun and by about the middle began to drag on. The only thing that kept me going was that looming deadline of the last day of school in June, and still, it is a fun scarf, and I am toying with idea of making another one. It was tricky to get the I-cord edging just right because of it’s tendency to curl, and I found that if I kept the three stitches that comprise the I-cord quite loose, the curling wouldn’t be as pronounced. The other thing I realized, which is hard to see in many of the finished photos on Ravelry, is that the scarf is and arced crescent, and therefore to some degree the curling of the edge creates the arc.

Details
Project: Chinook Scarf, by Ali Green
Yarn:
Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Fingering
Needles:
3.5 mm/US 4

For fun and relief after Chinook, I went onto Twig. I had this ball of fingering weight Shetland wool yarn loitering around in my stash, begging for a chance on stage, and I could leave it standing in the wings anymore, and I needed something fun and quick. I have no idea what brand it is nor could I trace it to any project I’d ever made, but I loved it’s peaty green color and was desirous of making a neck wrap of it. Based on the yarn weight, I approximated that I had about 150 yards of it, which gave me very few options, and then I saw Twig, and I knew that that was the one. Twig was fun to knit and, as you can tell from the pictures, very unusual to make. Great fun and I look forward to wearing it under a coat or sweater this fall.

Details
Project: Twig, by Grace Mcewen
Yarn: stashed fingering weight Shetland yarn

Elm Row came out of buying a skein of Cascade Yarns Alpaca Lace for a specific project and then deciding to use something else, so into the stash this went. I found Elm Row while sifting through Ravelry using the Advanced Pattern search (my favorite method of finding patterns) and knew that this would be perfect for Alpaca Lace. I loved knitting this, although I had to keep back-tracking and fixing mistakes because I was trying to knit it while watching movies. I fell in love with the yarn, and it’s so indescribably soft, I would love to have a whole bed made of it. I think this will probably be my new go-to scarf this fall and winter.

Details
Project:
Elm Row, by Anne Hanson
Yarn:
Cascade Yarns Alpaca Lace
Needles: 3.25 mm/US 3

Since I didn’t use all of the skein of the Alpaca Lace for Elm Row, I just had to do something with as much of the remainder as I could. So I decided to look at Anne Hanson’s patterns and found Hellebores, which consists of a beret and wristlets, so I chose the wristlets. I like these wristlets! Just enough lace where it counts and ribbing where the cuffs are hidden by a coat sleeve. This pattern was easier to knit while watching movies, and it went along quite smoothly. I have to say that I am impressed with Anne Hanson’s patterns; she has such a sizable collection to choose from and they are well-written and interesting to knit.

Details
Project: Hellebores Wristlets, by Anne Hanson
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Alpaca Lace
Needles: 3.25 mm/US 3

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Fairest One Of All

Or, at least in my home she is.

We’ve been back from South Korea for two and a half weeks now and we’ve hit the ground running with an almost-5-year old and a 13-month old in the house. Life is both good and hectic for us these days. Our son YM has discovered that anticipating his baby sister MR has a flip-side: sharing Mom. From the moment they first met, they were thick as thieves and they truly enjoy eachother, however they are both facing the new reality of no longer being the sole center of attention as they each had enjoyed previously before they were brought together under one roof.  If only I’d known that instead of buying YM new toys, all we had to do was bring another child onto the scene for him to rediscover how special his old and long-forgotten baby toys really are.  MR is adjusting much better than we’d expected and she’s a lot of fun.  It’s a whole new world figuring out what she’s going to wear everyday, although I’m no fashionista, and trying to get her hair from getting food or nose-goo in it and trying to get barrettes to stay in it (they keep sliding out).

I hope to follow-up with additional posts about the trip, but these days I can’t promise much, except that tomorrow the sun will rise and there will be dirty diapers and laundry to wade through.

On the knitting side, I was pretty realistic about how many knitting opportunities I’d have on the trip and brought just two active projects, Bird’s Eye Shawl and Shawl Neck Cardigan, and I actually made some progress on both. By the way, I’m kicking myself these days for my never ending attraction to projects that call for small needles/gauge. I also brought a new Wine and Roses Mitts project that I sort of started months ago, and haven’t done much more than about 5 rows. I didn’t work on Wines and Roses, but I brought it along as my if-all-else-fails project, since I’m using US 0/2.0 mm needles for it, I figured that if security had issues with my other two projects (unlikely) on the plane they’d have a hard time justifying taking the needles for this one, because they’re bamboo and thinner than a toothpick. Whenever I fly I always make sure that: the projects I take on board are thin-needle projects (though most of mine are), that I always transfer the projects to bamboo needles ahead of time, and that with the exception of sock or glove projects, I use circular bamboo needles, and for the sock/glove projects I use short double-pointed bamboo needles. Also, I don’t use the two-circular needle method on a plane because it attracts more attention, and I figure that if I really want to be able to knit, it’s best to keep a low profile.

Thank you all for your support, prayers and well-wishes in our endeavor to adopt MR.  It seemed like such a long, never-ending ordeal and it was at times very uncertain for our situation, but in reality, in the scope of international adoption, the time-span we waited was not bad at all.  It just seemed longer.  One thing I can say about the process is, that with the adoption of both our children, once we had them in our arms any frustrations about the wait just melted away.  Whew!

We’re off to Korea!

Monday, we got the call of all calls that every adoptive parent waits for:  we were told we could go to Korea to get MR.  It seemed the waiting had become so never-ending that we’d kind of gone numb, and just as when we adopted YM four years ago, the call came at a time when we had truly resigned ourselves to wait and we’d really stopped talking about it much.  Now comes the mad dash to pack and prepare for the trip, and deciding what to bring and what not to bring; list, after list, after list.  Packing and preparing has been seriously set back by the worst heat wave in local history, with this week having temps running up to 109° F/43° C.  Temps are usually so mild around here, that in Western Washington state, most people don’t have air conditioning, so it’s been quite unpleasant and hard to accomplish much of anything.  This morning, however, I saw the temp had dropped down to almost half that high temp (59° F) and it’s blissful.  Now, on with the mad dash to pack and all. We are SO EXCITED to be going!

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted about much of anything.  The wait for the call was weighing me down, the high school reunion that I was on the planning committee for was keeping me a bit occupied, summer activities with my son, the long-running heat, and the list goes on.  The reunion was a big success, although we came out a little short on attendance, so we committee members have to pay an additional $25 along with our personal admission fees. I guess I’m going to keep the blog I started for my graduating class, since everyone really liked it.  The good thing is that that blog won’t keep me as busy now that reunion is over.

And now, some knitting content (sorry, no pictures)…

After having spent a good week trying to get the right gauge, I’ve cast on for Shawl Neck Cardigan, and I ended-up using US 2/2.75 mm for the pattern stitch and one US 1/2.25 mm needle and one US 2 needle together for the garter stitch parts, because the pattern calls for two different stitch gauges.  I’m using Elann’s Peruvian Quechua, which is alpaca and tencel.  I like the combination of the soft alpaca and the silkiness of the tencel, I just wish I didn’t have to knit the cardigan with such small needles. I tried knitting this earlier in the year, and realized that my gauge was off and that I messed-up on the pattern, not that I’d gotten very far on it.  I’m not sure if this is a project that will see completion this year, but it’s good for now.

I’ve also picked up Bird’s Eye Shawl, but I may end up making it into a small shawl, because it’s taking too long to finish and to knit a row on it, I need a good half hour to do that.

Also, I was recently encouraged to resume Grand Duchess, my attempt at an Medallion Square Orenburg shawl.  The encouragement came from my dental hygenist from Moldova, who after asking about it’s status, was shocked to hear me tell her that I didn’t think it was worth finishing.  She encouraged me to continue with the project, telling me that as a girl she used to watch her best friend’s mother knit Orenburg shawls, and assuring me that though they are very hard to knit, the shawl I was knitting was exactly as she remembered them. I just don’t know when I will ever find the time to figure out where I was on that project….

So that’s it for now and will probably be for a while, although I may try to squeeze in a post from Korea. We are so EXCITED!

Non-progress happening here.

Well, I actually do have something finished to report on.

Ribbed Chameleon II

During our very briskly cold December past, my son got to wear my Ribbed Chameleon I scarf and soon started to lay claim to it. It became clear that I would have to make him one.  It turned out the yarn was on sale at Village Yarn & Tea, so there weren’t a whole lot of color choices in Karabella Chameleon, but I chose a blue/yellow combo. The whole thing was knitted up in a matter of a few car rides and he’s quite pleased with it and insists on wearing it even in the mildest of weather.

Details
Pattern: Ribbed Mini-Scarf by Celeste Glassel
Yarn: Karabella Chameleon, colorway 3214 (one skein)
Needles: 4.0 mm/US 6

On the “non-progress” front—

Grand Duchess is in limbo until I can figure out how many stitches I dropped, and even a life line isn’t much help.  For such an undertaking I need about 2-3 hours of uninterrupted time during the day.  Now, where am I going to get that?  Here’s a thought that crosses my mind when I knit this:  mohair and lace are two words that probably should never be mentioned in the same sentence and, therefore, should never even enter anyone’s mind for a knitting project.

Nantucket Jacket is currently stalling for time, because I’m now almost back to where I frogged it the first time when I decided the size I originally chose would be too big. Now I’m trying to determine where to incorporate extra stitches for the bust in the smaller size without making huge changes to the stitch pattern.  If it weren’t for the sizing issue, this would breeze along, but I find it very refreshing to knit, and I particularly like knowing that I’m using stash yarn as I work on it.

Bird’s Eye Shawl is back out of hibernation because I went to a concert at Benaroya Hall last Monday to hear the amazing violinist Julia Fischer play with Academy of St. Martin in the Fields (what a wondrous match-up that is).  I really wanted to take something with me, so Birds Eye happily volunteered itself for the mission.  And good choice it was, as it made a perfect concert companion.  Since then I’ve been enjoying it’s companionship in car rides or during occasional quiet times in the afternoon while my son plays with his toys.  I know it well enough now that I’ve become pretty good at fixing it without ripping out one single row when I make a mistake.  I just wish it didn’t take so long to make one row.

Matcha Market Bag, for those of you wondering, is in hibernation until spring.  After all, it’s really another lace project and I truly love lace, but at this time in my busy life, lace is probably the last thing I should be knitting.

Rib Knitted Shrug is also in hibernation, and at this point, may never see the light of day again.

Purple Autumn, of which I have not said much, is also hibernating.  It’s a sweet little project, but how many lace projects does one need to make at the same time?

Big news:  for my belated Christmas/every-other-2008-gift my husband gave me a Nikon D300 DSLR and it arrived this week.  The crazy thing is, I’ve been using a simple point-and-shoot all along, and I feel like I’ve been driving a minivan and have been put behind the wheel of a Maserati and can’t even figure out where the ignition is.  It’ll probably be a while before you see any product of this camera, but while wandering around 1st Avenue in downtown Seattle in the sun today with all the tourists, I kept looking at different things to photograph and I am delighted with the possibilities.