Time flies…

Tomorrow’s my birthday, and I have accepted that I can no longer fool myself into thinking I’m still 25.  It just took me a good portion of my life to come to that realization.  Tonight I got a call from an old friend in Minnesota to wish me an happy birthday, and neither of us could believe how time has flown.

Speaking of “flown”, time has really flown since my last post and it seemed like it was time…

I finished Saroyan (which I never posted about previously). Fun shawl and I love the way it just flew along, but then how can it not go fast when using worsted-weight yarn on US 10 needles? I used Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage, which was leftover from my stupid attempt to use it for Jacob’s Delight, but which turned-out to be too lightweight for the project. I have a lot of yarn to use from that mistake.

Details
Pattern: Saroyan by Liz Abinante
Yarn:
Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage (100% machine-washable merino) in Tern
Needles: US 10/6.0 mm

Modifications: I made an additional repeat of the pattern stitch on each end, adding an additional 6″ to the overall length while making it few inches wider at the same time.

Maybe it’s a sign of getting older, but I’m starting to do some stuff I would never have done in my youth.  Like use the word “youth” in reference to my younger years… Then there was the day I recently drove past my childhood home, ogling it, and took-up the current owners’ on-the-spot offer for me to come in and see how they’d renovated it.   It is fantastic what they did to that fabulous 1919 craftsmen style home.  The first thing I said when I walked in the front door was, “Wow!  You got rid of that awful ’70s shag rug my mom and step-dad put down in 1971!”  And there was, “Oh!  You took down those stupid white-washed floor-to-ceiling boards we’d put over the mantle to ‘modernize’ the living-room! Thank you!”  You cannot imagine what my parents were thinking back then in 1971 when they destroyed some of the good bones of that house and “updated” it; I couldn’t.  I was 11 and I kept asking them, “But why are you hiding the mantle?  I like it.  Why are you knocking-out that wall?  But, why are you taking out the French doors?!”

In front of the house in 1978. Chocolate Easter pig in hand.

These people, who bought the house from my mother years later, thankfully restored most everything we’d done and took it to the glory of its era.  The only thing we did right, was the exterior paint scheme (New England barn red with deep forest green trim), which my mom chose, and which remains on the house today.

Today, sans chocolate pig.

I thanked them for the tour and for not tearing down the house and for not changing the original structure in any way that would detract from it’s design.  It is beautiful.  You should have been there.

On a foodie note,  I went into Bellevue Uwajimaya shopping for the ingredients for my family’s Sunday night favorite, Hot-pot with Chinese Barbeque Sauce and was shocked to find someone actually making fresh takoyaki.  I decided that such a rare find around here was worth going-off my gluten-free diet, so I took my order home and didn’t share it with anyone.  Not a soul. It was delicious.

Before I left with my takoyaki order, I grilled the guy making it, who told me he is going to different locations in the area to introduce people to takoyaki and, hopefully, open a takoyaki place someday.  I made my argument for takoyaki in Seattle, telling him that with the popularity of sushi in the Seattle area, people are ready for takoyaki and okonomiyaki and that the time had come to make them available.   If you are interested in finding out about where Shin and his team will making takoyaki next, please visit Tako Kyuuban for more information.

Jacob’s Delight

The one and only, Jacob’s Delight is done. What a fish tale it was!  There were some ups and downs and Jacob’s Delight sometimes seemed like a soap opera, but it’s done and I can no longer refer to it as the fish that got away, and no longer is it relegated to that sector in my mind where it once inhabited, the What Could Have Been sector.  I am really happy that this pattern, that which I first saw in the first ever knitting book I bought in 1984, the very same book from which I made my very first knitted item, has become a dream realized.  Not only that, but something I can actually wear, knowing it turned-out quite well, unlike that other ill-fated sweater I made from the same book which turned-out pretty poorly.

I managed to work around the pattern error indicating the wrong amount of purple yarn (too little), and all visible areas requiring purple are purple, and in the end I was able to make the picot edging for the pockets in purple without shortening the edging afterall, even though I’d done that in my previous post. The only place where I had to do something different to make up for the shortage of purple was the insides of the pockets, which I made in brown, instead, using a bit of purple for the insides where it would be visible from the opening. By the way, I can’t let it go and just have to say that there’s some kind of irony in the fact that purple was the color I ran low on, since isn’t the only place in the bible that my name (Lydia) occurs is where it says she was a merchant of purple fabric? I don’t know why that seems ironic to me, but it does. I mean what are the chances in a biblically-titled pattern involving 8 colors that purple would be the one I’d have to scramble for? I’m just sayin’….

Picot Pockets

Details
Pattern: Jacob’s Delight by Pip Hues from The Sweater Book by Amy Carroll (Copyright 1983)
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted
Needles: US 10/6.0 mm, US 9/5.5 mm, US 7/4.5 mm

While shooting pictures of the coat, the first bee of the season stopped by and tapped on my window. I was so happy to see her I had to take a picture of her, as well.

Close Shave

Jacob’s Delight is close to completion and it should be done this week. I had a close shave with Project Disaster Syndrome* when I faced the reality of not having enough purple. About halfway through the coat I started to get the funny feeling this might happen, but I kept telling myself all would be fine.  When I’d completed 80% of the coat things started looking really bleak on the purple supply and I began digging around all of the places where my yarn lives in hopes of finding a swatch or two of it.  After days of frantic searches and digging around the clutter at the bottom of two closets I miraculously came up with a swatch of purple weighing 1.2 ounces/34 grams (57 yards/52 meters) from a previous uncompleted project (the felted diaper bag I never made (6 years ago).  With the additional purple yarn, I was able to finish almost all of the areas of the coat needing purple, with the exception of the pocket edging and seaming; for the pockets, I had to make the picot edging more narrow and for the seaming I’ve found some other wool yarn in my stash with a purple hue.

The catastrophe I’ve managed to avert is the result of an error in the pattern, one of many, I’ve been discovering.  Although many of the errors have been rather small, this one, as any knitter would agree, is a big deal.  The pattern calls for 3 ounces (85 grams) of purple, and I had about 6 ounces (170 grams) on hand in my stash when I started the project, with one of the skeins weighing-in at its purchased weight of 4 ounces (113 grams), and therefore I thought I had more than a sufficient amount of that colorway.  As a I worked through the first half of the coat, taking-in just how much purple the garment is comprised of, I began to think 3 ounces sounded rather optimistic.  The odd thing is, in contrast the pattern calls for 8 ounces of the main color (gray), yet anyone looking at the coat can see the amount of gray is very little, whereas it can also be seen that purple is by far the dominant or main color of the coat, something that I kind of noticed but chose to follow the pattern as written in faith.  I guess I won’t know for sure how much gray is actually required until I finish the gray collar and gray hem.

*Project Disaster Syndrome (PDS) – A severe case of panic brought on by the situation of working on a project and progressing so far (having completed at least 50% of it) that there’s no going back, no ripping it all out, accompanied by thoughts of “I’m in too deep” and “I’ve spent too much time and/or money” racing through one’s head, but realizing that you’ve really, truly messed-up to either through one’s own idiocy or inaccuracies in the pattern, and that one may have to trash the whole project, at which point one big UGH! is uttered from one’s mouth, along with the requisite profanity of one’s choosing.

Wild Ride

If Jacob’s Delight were a novel, it would be an epic. Such twists and turns, such drama, such joy. Maybe that’s overstatement. You see, I’ve made cardigans and sweaters using top-down, sleeve-to-sleeve, and bottom-up methods, but never anything like that of Jacob’s Delight and it makes for a wild ride. Overall, the coat is knit cuff-to-cuff, but it’s not that simple. It starts at the left cuff, works up the left sleeve, then divides the stitches with half to a stitch holder and the other half worked and added onto to make the front left panel, binding-off after the buttonband. Then we go back to the saved stitches at middle upper arm and cast-on additional stitches to work on the left back, and from there to complete the back all the way to the right side, and then down the length of the right sleeve, pick up saved right upper arm stitches and complete the right front, ending at the right buttonband. Got that? Oh, and the pockets are cast on as you go around the sweater, with the cast-ons put on stitch holders to be worked at the end. There will be seams of about 8″ long running lengthwise from the middle upper arm to the shoulder to sew-up later, and the collar and the hem border along the bottom will be pick-up and added on at the end.

Completed left front, left sleeve, and beginning of left back.

I tried reading ahead before I started, but just couldn’t grasp how it was supposed to go, and now that I’m almost done with the left side, I am amazed that anyone could come up with such configuration. It has to be just about the most entertainment I’ve had in a long time, and it’s entirely doable, but just very, very different. It certainly dusts the cobwebs off my brain. I just can’t imagine how anyone would come up with such a configuration, but then that’s probably why I don’t design sweater patterns.

To top off last week’s mayhem in my life, I ended-up with a nasty case of Pink Eye in both eyes. I’d never had it before and it never occurred to me that that’s what I had, so I went most of last week with my eyes in a miserable state until a friend who works for an opthamologist told me I had pinkeye. I learned a few things about this highly contagious ailment: that you don’t just catch it from other people, but you can also develop it from being sick (as I did), that high doses of vitamin C (2,000-4,000 mg) throughout the day reduce the intensity and aid with healing, and that very warm compresses also alleviate the symptoms (thanks to my ever so handy Prescription for Nutritional Healing book for these at-home solutions). That Thursday night after my friend’s observations, I had 1,000 mg. vitamin C (Emergen-C), and put very warm compresses on each eye; these two things reduced the pain and blurriness sufficiently. I finished-off sleeping with a wet compress on my eyes that night to keep my eyes from pasting shut, which wasn’t easy because I that compress got cold at night, but I just couldn’t stand my eyes being crusty one more morning.  I was glad to get started on optical antibiotics the next day.

My knitting world is shrinking.

I was recently surprised when I opened my email to find a message from Hilltop Yarn East announcing the closing of its doors on June 27.  With the closing of this store, the only dedicated Eastside yarn stores I know of are Cultured Purls in Issaquah (which oddly doesn’t show up on Google Maps on my iPhone) and Main Street Yarn in Mill Creek.  Of course, there are still craft stores in the area with sizable yarn departments, most notably Ben Franklin Crafts & Frames in Redmond and Pacific Fabric & Crafts in Bellevue. On the other hand, with the demise of numerous knitting-related blogs over the past year, I’m beginning to think that perhaps the crazy phenomenon of the explosion of new knitters and interest in things knitting-related over the past decade is winding down, and that maybe it was a fantastic fad.  I rather cringe to call my beloved hobby of 25 years a fad, but it’s been a great ride. I’m here, though, still actively knitting, perusing Ravelry, salivating over the latest and greatest patterns, and blogging to a silent blogosphere.

On that point, let’s look at my latest finished project —

Frost Diamonds was a nice project, and it went pretty quickly, but then with worsted yarn it should be quick. Right?

The pattern went along well, with only a couple of confusing mess-ups.

I think I should have done three repeats of Chart B, because with the weight of the yarn, it almost seems to need to be a bigger shawl.  I have enough yarn, but not enough motivation, and will leave it alone.

I know I’ve made a lot of purple stuff, but this really isn’t purple, it’s a deep burgundy. Which I guess is kind of a purple….

Details
Pattern Frost Diamonds, by Stephanie Japel
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy, “Gothic Rose” colorway
Needles: 6.5 mm/U.S. 10.5

February in May

February Lady Sweater is done and I really like it; I like how it knits up and how it wears.  Fun knit.  I might just have to make more of these.

Details
Pattern: February Lady Sweater by Pamela Wynne (free download through Ravelry)
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease
Needles: US 6 (4 mm)

I went for my second round of fingerprint scans at Homeland Security this morning, and it was a bit more hopeful.  At least this time, I didn’t see little red boxes all over my fingerprint scans on the scanning machine monitor.  Last month, the agent pronounced my fingerprint scans done after I watched little red boxes appear all over my scans on the monitor, only to receive a notice in the mail a week later telling me that my scans weren’t good enough and that I would have to go back today for the re-scan.  So my husband and I did some homework and we asked professional fingerprint technicians about getting good fingerprints.  We talked to a private fingerprinting business, Kirkland Police and Seattle Police and they all said to use a little bit of Corn Huskers Lotion and that that is what they use when someone has dry hands.  The trick, they told us, is not too apply too much lotion because it will fill the ridges of the fingerprints.  So today, although the agent observed that I have really dry hands, it seemed like it went better because I didn’t see the red boxes on the scans on the monitor.  So, now we wait to see if we get another notice in the mail next week.

Lili’s Nantucket

Lili’s Nantucket is done and it went pretty smoothly after ripping it out after having knitted about 7″ and then switching to a smaller sweater size. In the above photo, on the wall behind me is an actual watercolor of Nantucket from the early 1960s when I lived there as a small child. It wasn’t planned that the painting be incorporated into the picture, but it’s ironic that it got in there.

In making the smaller size, but needing a little extra, ahem, through the bust-line, I added 8 stitches in both the front and back, while the waistline was kept at the original smaller size. I also added about an inch to the sleeve length, but I wish I’d added about that much to the length of the sweater. When it was all done, I tried it on and it was too snug. However, after having washed and blocked it, it’s now too loose all around (even in the waist). I’m glad I didn’t make the bigger size; must be something about the yarn. The buttons are glass buttons from the 1920s that I bought at an outdoor market in Piccadilly in London when I was there in 1995; I bought 6 for £4.

Details
Pattern: Nantucket Jacket by Norah Gaughan, Interweave Knits, Winter 2006
Yarn: Knitaly (discontinued) by Lane Borgosesia
Needles: 4.0 mm/US 6

It was altogether an enjoyable knit, it went quite smoothly, and the yarn helped make it enjoyable—lovely stuff.