Tokyu Wisp

The very first photo taken by my five year old son. I'm so proud!

Tokyu Wisp is done and I’m relieved! The stitch pattern is easy, but slow going, making it rather tedious after a while. Even so, it makes a pretty scarf.

Details
Pattern: Wisp by Cheryl Niamath
Yarn: acrylic, mohair blend from Tokyu Hands, Tokyo, Japan
Needles: 5.0 mm / US 8

Finishing two projects in a week has to be a new personal best, and definitely a rare event. Now that Abrazo and Wisp are done, the tendency is to start more projects, and I may still do that, but I’d like to finish some long languishing projects and bring them out of hibernation. If I do start something new, it might be Frost Diamonds Shawl by Stefanie Japel.

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Back To Reality

room with a view in Po'ipu

pretty plumeria

It’s hard to believe we’ve been back from Kaua’i for two weeks; I miss it.  Everywhere I looked there was something beautiful to marvel at and it’s a great place to kick back and just relax.

luscious green in Hanapepe

just plain colorful

The weather at home has been typical of a Pacific Northwest spring: cold, cloudy and rainy.  To ease back into normal everyday life, I went right out and gathered a bit of Paradise for our home by buying Hawaii-grown pineapple and papayas. I also went to Trader Joe’s and bought an Oncidium orchid with tons of pretty orange flowers.

paradise in the kitchen

Knitting projects that accompanied me on the trip were Tokyu Wisp and Red Melon.

red melon at rest

I was hoping to get Red Melon done for my mother’s trip to Turkey in a week, but while on our trip to Kaua’i, it became apparent that that would not happen; the pace hasn’t been fast enough.  So, once home I put down Red Melon and started Abrazo.

Perusing Ravelry, I saw that people have been able to finish Abrazo in a week, so with a few weeks to go before my mother leaves, I thought it was a sure thing to get done to give her for the trip.  I started right away, but didn’t get out of the starting gate, so to speak, until a week later, because the yarn I’m using, Misti Alpaca Lace, keeps vomiting all over the place.  I have spent much of my rare and precious knitting (and blogging) time undoing huge rats’ nests of yarn snarls—HUGE.  I only get about 1-2 hours of knitting in a night, and maybe an hour during the day, and that often gets spent on yarn snarls.  I’ve finally begun breaking-off impossible knots and tossing them.  I had two skeins, which was more than enough to make Abrazo, but at the rate I’m going, I might not have enough.  The snarls are becoming fewer, and I’m at the 13th row, with only 13 more lace rows to go, and then the body of the shawl is stockinette.  The deadline is still within reach, don’t you think?  I dunno know….

They’re coming and going around here…

We finally bit the bullet and bought a real stove and ditched our GE Profile gas stove. The old one was okay, if you didn’t mind pretending to cook with gas, because it’s performance was slightly better than electric. It all came about with watching last season’s Dancing With The Stars (which starts Season 10 tonight). Somehow my husband found out that Debi Mazar from last season and her husband Gabriele Corcos have a blog and video blog (available through TiVo), Under The Tuscan Gun, about cooking food from Corcos’ homeland of Tuscany. The videos are pretty good for a homemade production (literally filmed in their home) and the recipes look delicious, but what caught my eye was the stove, a Blue Star range. My husband was right on it, and in fact, it turned out he’d had his heart set on a Blue Star years before I knew it existed. Wouldn’t you know that a local dealer was having a sale on Blue Star ranges and, long story short, out with the old and in with the new.

It’s been one of those, “pinch me, I must be dreaming” things for me because I never thought I would ever have a restaurant-grade range to cook on. The difference between the standard stove in your average U.S. home and this stove is vast, and it’s really like driving a Maserati after you’ve been driving a 1960 VW Bug. Really. It’s been a whole different cooking experience with the Blue Star, and we’re still getting the hang of it, but stir fry is restaurant caliber, as is anything sauteed. And, wait, rather than taking 30 minutes to boil a huge pot of water for a pound of pasta, in now takes less than 15 minutes. Microwave a cup of water? Why bother? It’s done almost as fast on the Blue Star. Everything cooks so much faster. I. Am. Happy.

And then our Jura Capresso espresso machine got jealous that it was no longer the star of our kitchen and went crazy on us and kept tripping the outlet, luckily that’s in a box on the living room floor and will be heading-off for some warranty work tomorrow. So I dug out the old Bialetti stovetop espresso pot and we’re getting by with that for now (our first time using it since staying in the rental home, courtesy of Barilla Pasta, in Montecatini-Terme).

I have two scarves in the works. One is one made with yarn that I bought at Tokyu Hands in Tokyo when we visited there before adopting our son in Seoul, exactly 5 years ago this week.

I’ve been wanting to make something with this fuzzy deep pink stuff, and finally settled on another Wisp.

The other is Lacy Serpentine Scarf using Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Fingering.

Lacy Serpentine is rather surprisingly easy once you get it down, but I am not loving the yarn because two rows of it and my hands are so blue I look like I’ve been picking blueberries, and I am rather annoyed that it does this.  I know it’s hand painted, but do you think a little warning is in order that the yarn needs to be washed before you knit with it?

Wisp Completed

Here’s Wisp completed, and I’m pretty happy with it. The super light Habu silk mohair blend yarn is rather dreamy and makes the scarf incredibly light.

The color is funky in the first photo because I played with the image, since the scarf looked like a blur of pink mohair due to light reflecting off the mohair when the photo’s in its raw state.

There are reasons for blocking, and I don’t often block my knitting. Scandalous, I know. Part of it is that I have a 3-year old and three cats in the house, so I don’t have anyplace to lay anything out, and finally, no sooner do I wear the blocked item, it relaxes and needs to be blocked again. Why bother? Yesterday, muttering such things to myself, I blocked Wisp on a carpet and in one glance I spotted an error in my knitting (not unusual). A stitch had been caught by mohair fibers but not the silk fibers of the stitch it should have been knit by. Luckily, it happened on the end closest to the bind-off.

Here’s the close-up:

So I set about undoing the bind-off to the column I’d need to work on and undid the stitches down to the rogue stitch and worked back up again.

The gold crochet hook is where the error was:

Of course, a really good magnifying glass helps a lot:

If I hadn’t blocked the scarf, I wouldn’t have found the error until it had a chance to unravel considerably.

Pink Lace Confessions

It’s 5 a.m. and I’ve been up since 3. G-man (poor kid, we could’ve chosen Sweetie or some other term of endearment for the nickname of our son) has croup and I went to check in to on him and haven’t been able to go back to sleep. I REALLY like my sleep. Sleep is probably my most favorite activity in life. Even more than eating chocolate and knitting. Or is it knitting and eating chocolate? On nights like this, I dread the coming day because I just don’t know where I’m going to get the energy to get through it. It makes for such a long day. Anyway, that’s not why I logged on right now….

Wisp is coming along. I’m a little more than halfway done and I’d probably be done by now if it weren’t for the few mess-ups I’ve had along the way, just from not paying close attention to my work.

Cabled Coat, like so many projects before, is sitting in my knitting bag. Once in a while a couple of rows get added, but I hope to get going on it again soon, even though I find the confusing instructions intimidating.

Also languishing in the same bag, I picked-up Bird’s Eye, and was surprised to find that I’d left it mid-row, which is very unlike me when I knit lace. It has been about 8 months since I last knit it and it is so repetitive it’s boring (I should have known better), and I have become unfamiliar with the pattern. I know that when that happens, it’s time to pick it up again and get going. I’ve had it a year, and I would like to get it done before my projected 2-year finish.

Rib-Knitted Shrug, after being frogged, has yet to start again. Maybe I’ll pick it up again when I finish Cabled Coat.

Those are my knitting confessions for now.

I hope you have a sweet Valentine’s Day, and if you do not have someone in your life with whom you can share sweetness today, I hope you can shower yourself with sweetness!

Anticipation

I went weak in the knees last week when I saw Fluffbuff’s latest finished item, Wisp, and had to give in and, oh, so uncreatively copy her. I’m like that though: in most cases when I see something I like 100%, I just have to make it, right down to the color used. I guess I lack creativity, oh well. So that day I ordered the same yarn, Habu Kasuri Silk Mohair, in what appears to be the same color (sorry Francesca, we’ll be twins), and it arrived 3 days later and I cast on that night.

Part of it is that I love mohair, especially if it’s really good quality, and mohair scarves (see my previous entry) and the lightweight warmth they provide. Habu Kasuri Silk Mohair does not disappoint as it is superbly soft, fine and lightweight; it’s so fine it could perhaps be classed as gossamer. In fact, I like the yarn so much I may use it to make another of my all time favorite scarf later this year, Simply Sensational (see also previous entry).

While in the beginning stages of knitting Wisp, I have found that my usual bamboo needles just aren’t cutting it in ease of knitting with such fine yarn, so I’ve finally given in and ordered a set of Knitpicks Options Interchangeable Needles in Harmony Wood, which are reputed to have fine points comparable to Addi Lace. Amimonogatari seems to like them, as do others, so I thought they’d be worth a try and I am anticipating their arrival.

The other day I awakened to find this spectacular surprise outside.

Every twig and swordfern leaflet was coated in snow. It was just a beautiful day, and there was enough snow to put my son on the toboggan from Norway that a neighbor gave us at Christmas. My neighbor got four toboggans in a trade with someone on Craig’s List. My son wasn’t too sure about it, but we had fun scooting down the drive on it together. It was his first legitimate sled ride, as opposed to the improvised sled of last year that consisted of a tote bin for toys with wheels on it.

Afterwards, we went inside and warmed-up by munching on my latest food addiction, Brainy Brownies, from The Sneaky Chef cookbook. They have wheat germ, whole wheat and pureed spinach and blueberries in them and you wouldn’t know it, they taste just like an ordinary brownie. They’re simply delicious.