Sunday, January 20, 2008

I lost control of the camera

ambrosia mitts
Originally uploaded by annmcclure2000

I'm here! I'm here! I haven't forgotten you. But a few things have been conspiring against me.
First, Flickr didn't like me for a while. I couldn't upload things from the normal page and couldn't be bothered figuring out the email upload.
Then I lost control of the camera anyway. Husband is the advisor for the yearbook at school. He tends to use our camera to take pictures around campus, sports, events and such. I was running loose because he wasn't using it, but he's claimed it again.
Finally, this week I was down with a head cold. Missed two days of work which were spent on the couch, finishing the Ambrosia Top Down Mitts and watching the DVD extras for Bladerunner and Dr Who episodes.
I'm still feeling yucky, but Flickr seems to like husband's laptop. And the laptop has a built in camera. So it's all coming together, at least partially.
In the mean time, I'm back to my Stars and Stripes pullover in the lovely Calmer yarn. It is kind of strange to be doing plain stockinette stitch again, but it's probably all I can handle at the moment.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Oh, woe

That, as I'm sure you can tell, is a broken US2 bamboo needle. I think it has something to do with how I was storing my "active" projects.
This is the dining room credenza (or at least part of it.)

This is all the projects I had crammed into the left hand cabinet.
So I pulled everything out, rescued the needles, and took everything up to the attic, where it belongs, and put it into the plastic storage tubs, where it belongs.

Samson came by to supervise.

The projects have much more room now. And it is now really just the projects I'm actively working on, rather than the projects I'm planning to work on.

Speaking of projects I'm working on, I did make it about halfway through the thumb gusset yesterday. Today I spent my knitting time swatching with the Sol Joy I bought in Lake Placid on my set of 4 US 2 double points.
Sigh. I even think this is the second set of US2 Clovers that have been damaged. Samson ate the other set. Well, at least these are, technically, still usable.
Nothing else will be accomplished today--it's bed time.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Scarf praise

If you can't toot your own horn on your blog, where can you toot it?

Monday was Hubby's first day back at school after the winter break. He wore his new scarf, of course, and gathered compliments everywhere he went. It was also previously praised by our hairdresser and the owner of a take-out dinner place we frequent.
It's so nice when a yarn an pattern come together like that.

In other news, I worked a little on the Ambrosia version of the Top Down Fingerless Mitts. Finished the ribbing and one repeat of the lace. I'll probably get through the thumb (or at least the thumb hole) tomorrow, if I get to work on it.
It is so interesting the way the condition of your hands can influence the feeling of the yarn you are working with. My hands are VERY dry today and actually yesterday as well. Over the weekend, when I was swatching, the Ambrosia felt so thick and soft and delicious. Not so today. It was fine to knit with, but when I stopped to grope it, not impressive. I'll have to heap on the hand cream tonight and tomorrow to remedy this situation.
I realized that my description of the two ended cast on wasn't very good. I tried to take a picture of it last night. But I wasn't feeling well, so it's kind of dark and close. Oh well, I'm sure someone else has documented it better.

What you do is hold the two ends together and make a slip knot, you don't have to leave a long tail because one of the strands coming from the ball functions as your tail. Then you do a regular longtail cast on and when you have enough stitches you clip one end. It's very handy for casting on tons of stitches because you don't have to worry about running out of tail.
Sure, I suppose you could do a knitted cast on or something, but I don't tend to use those so they don't occur to me.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Furry little creeps

When we ran errands today, we boldly left some pancakes wrapped in cellophane on the counter.
If you look closely near the red spot (which is from raspberries) in the middle of the front pancake you
will see a puppy nose print.

Yeah, Samson is that tall when he stands up.

Apparently, we didn't puppy proof the kitchen properly when we went out. You would think we would know better by now, but we obviously don't. Guess we're slow learns. We had approached the errands with a divide and conquer attitude. When I got home Hubby asked if I had stuck my finger in the pancakes for some reason. Um, no. We stood there looking at them, then Hubby showed the pancakes too the dogs, who took off.

The rest of the day was better. I was very productive today, mostly. I woke up at like 4 am, but since it was the weekend, I gave in and Baru and I got up and went downstairs. I wrote up the pattern for the Top-Down Fingerless Mitts and did a gauge swatch with the Ambrosia. Oh my that yarn is lovely.
The swatch is all the knitting I managed today. The rest of the day was spent catching up on the laundry. And catching up on sleep. I went back to bed at 7 am and slept until 10!

Here is mom's finished Red Hat Lady Hat. I had intended for it to be worn like this.

But this way is starting to grow on me. Doesn't look quite so much like a mushroom.

Now I just have to do the felted rose. The pattern I'm using starts with "cast on 200 sts." Ack, what have I gotten myself into? But this is a perfect situation to use the two ended long-tail cast on. If it has a legitimate name, I don't know it. You hold both ends of the ball together, make slip knot and cast on normally, then cut one end and knit.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

A hat, just like that

A few months ago my mom asked me to make her at Red Hat Lady hat. She had something in mind and even found a little green one with a purple swirl in a store for a model. (If it had been red with a purple swirl I probably would have been off the hook.) She even came to the store and picked out yarn—Christmas Red Cascade 220, some heathery purple Cascade 220 and purple Antico (which is an eyelash).
But I was working on several other projects and didn’t get around to it. But after finishing the scarf I thought I should be good and work on the hat rather than another project for me, me, me.
Then on Thursday I was thinking about it, shaping and how I would do the increases, and I thought I could use the increases I worked out for the crocheted stuffed animals I used to design. Then it occurred to me, I could crochet the hat. I didn’t always have to knit everything. And crocheting would be faster as well.
That night I dug out my increasing crib sheets and got to work. And a few minutes ago I finished. Ha, I expected it to be faster, but not that fast!
I used a size H hook. I wasn’t sure where I was going to put the Antico. But as I worked I was concerned about running out of red, so I held the Antico with the purple Cascade and worked it as a hatband. I’m so clever. Red Hat Lady’s are supposed to be a mix of the two anyway. If she doesn’t like it, I might have enough red to pull it out and redo it.
The original plan for the purple Cascade, which I think I’ll still do, was to make a felted cabbage rose, which was going to be the purple aspect. I can’t see it taking very long, and it will be detachable, so she’ll have the option.
Originally she had asked for a felted hat, but then changed her mind. Still with the Cascade, we can felt it a wee bit if she wants. We can’t felt it a lot because then it will be too small.
Well, it’s 10 pm now, so it’s a bit dark to take a picture. I’ll try to get one tomorrow.
Hey, I’ve finished two things so far this year (yes, I’m counting the mitts even though they were half done already.)
Now if only I can conquer Nell.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Semi-Sad Tale of the Fingerless Mitts

taj mahal mitt right w/thumb
Originally uploaded by annmcclure2000

In the before time, when Hubby and I still lived in New Hampshire (2001-2004) and I was a fledgling knitter who was just discovering the joys of yarn snobbery, my mom came to visit.
The two of us got it in our heads to go to Littleton to see the Grist Mill. This was a good two-hour drive from where we lived, but the scenery was lovely as the route went through Franconia Notch where the Old Man of the Mountain used to be (RIP May 3, 2003).
The Grist Mill wasn’t running that day because the river was frozen, but we did the self-tour and saw a video (and made the tactical error of buying some buckwheat pancake mix, boy is that stuff hearty). Then we saw Pearl’s Yarn Shop. After wandering around a bit, mom bought me a ball of bright orange flecked Opal Sock Yarn and one precious ball of maroon Taj Mahal yarn, which is merino/silk/cashmere, and just enough for a pair of little ruffled bed socks from a Plymouth Pattern.
I made the socks (it was a squeak to finish them), but then wore them around the house, eventually wearing out the heels. Sigh, that’s a sad part of the story. Not willing to write the yarn off, I decided to reclaim it for another project and had been debating fingerless mitts as the project had to be small enough for one ball of yarn and actually less because of the worn out heels.
There was a rash of staff designed fingerless mitts at Knitting Central (ok, two) and since I had been thinking fingerless mitts, I decided to get in on the fun. But then I got my Ravelry invitation, where I saw a note that the yarn has been discontinued. Can’t very well sell a pattern using discontinued yarn. (That’s another sad part.)
Then Hubby and I went to Madison so he could get his quarterly case of wine. I went into Madison Wool, which is a cute little store, and bought a ball of lilac Ambrosia yarn, which is baby alpaca/silk/cashmere. I figure this will be enough for a pair of mitts. That’s a happy part.
The original mitts are done and there is actually yarn left over. Now I just have to make them again in the Ambrosia. Which makes a girl wonder, how many pairs of lace and cable mitts does she need?