Monday, June 29, 2009

Freaking Out the Natives, with FO pics

A bunch of us met up in Bethesda this weekend for a Ravelry/Wollmeise swap/knit-out. About 12 of us met up and commandeered some outdoor tables, onto which we piled many, many skeins of yarn. Swaps were quickly worked out and FOs were admired. Yarn was flying across that table so quickly my head was spinning! I think everyone came away pleased.

We spent a good three hours hanging out, knitting and chatting away. People stared as they walked by, wondering what we were doing. One person asked if it was a knitting class. Others started longingly at the yarn (we did direct a few passing knitters to Knitty and Ravelry). One guy walked by, looked at us, and said, "You have got to be kidding me." (Why? Really, why? It's not as if we were smoking the stuff or rolling around naked in it...)

I got some great yarn (thanks to my yarny godmother, Tanya, and to Rena for the lace), and gave some away, too. It was really fun to hang out with other knitters and just be our nutty selves.

I brought my finished Petit Poison Ishbel with me, and now I can show you some great pics of it off the blocking board:

Once it was blocked, I decided that I'm ok with shawls made with sock yarn. It blocked out very nice and airy. Specs: Pattern - Ishbel. Yarn - Wollmeise Sockenwolle 100%, Petit Poison color. Needle size - 6. I did the small stockinette version with the large lace panel.

And so I started another shawl using sock yarn:

This is the Aestlight Shawl, using Wollmeise sock yarn in the Frosch colorway. It's similar to Ishbel in that there's an easy part and then a more interesting part. You start out with a garter stitch triangle, then you pick up stitches all the way around to knit the lacy part. I like this shawl because it's a little more rustic and casual, good to wear with jeans.

In garden news, even though it's taking longer to get the landscaping work done that I had anticipated, the veggies are growing nicely, for the most part. We have little yellow peppers growing:

They're so cute!

Our grape tomatoes are starting to redden:

Our Roma tomatoes are also getting big:

For lunch today, I had another salad using fresh lettuce and basil from the garden. Yum! Unfortunately, the cucumbers haven't survived. Nonetheless, I'm very pleased with the rest of the garden.

Next week was going to be a nice quiet week, with Sr. Jr. away for the week at his outdoor adventure camp and Jr. Jr. gone for most of the day at football camp. I got an email from Sr. Jr.'s camp today saying that they were cancelling his camp next week due to low enrollment. Luckily for him they could put him in a later week. Unfortunately for me, that means my one week of quiet time this summer is no more...

Friday, June 26, 2009


The "PoisonIsh" is done. (Get the clever wordplay? Get it?) Here are some blocking shots:

This time I did the small stockinette section and the large lace section. I like it better now that it's blocked, but I'll have to wait for it to be dry to determine whether I want to make more lace using sock yarn.

In the meantime, I found a little shawl/scarf pattern made specifically for sock yarn that I'm going to start next. It's not as lacy, a little more rustic looking. I haven't even wound the yarn yet, but now you'll have something to look forward to next week -- live action PoisonIsh shots and a new project, to boot :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summer Hours

I really wanted to have more to show you than the blob pictured above. I was really cooking along, too. But school's out now, and knitting time is scarce. I'm actually on the border chart, only about 8 rows from casting off. I'm using Wollmeise sock yarn for this, in the Petit Poison color. I love the color. Love love love it. However, I'm not so sure I like using sock yarn for lace. I'll have to wait and see what it looks and feels like when it's blocked, but in general, I like my lace very light and lacy. So I may refocus on using the lace yarn for lace and the sock yarn for socks and sweaters, maybe a warm scarf.

My zippy new computer is already broken or something. The techs are going to come soon to give it a new keyboard and touchpad to see if that helps. If it doesn't, I get a new one. I only had it for a few days, too. And I miss it already! It was nice and fast, even if the touchpad wasn't great. I didn't get booted offline every time I tried to post a picture, either.

The current dinosaur laptop is a Dell, too, and it had something similar happen. Soon after I got it, the screen died. Completely blank, even though the computer was working fine. They replaced the screen and it's been fine ever since, so hopefully that will be the case with the new one, too. It's still a major pain, and it makes me wonder about their quality control.

The same morning that the new laptop died, Sr. Jr's glasses broke. He didn't do anything to them, but the little piece of metal that goes across the bridge of his nose broke. It was kind of funny. Luckily, the glasses are still under warranty, so today we picked up the replacement pair.

The other day we wanted to go see "Up" in 3D, so we looked up what time it was playing and planned our day around it. There were thunderstorms in the morning, part of months and months of rain, but by the time we drove off to the movie, skies were clearing up. As we were driving into the mall, we saw some really pretty big white puffy clouds reaching way up into the sky.

"Cool stimulus clouds," said Jr. Jr.

With a laugh, Sr. Jr. said, "Stimulus clouds! Neat! They'd rain money."

If only.

Hopefully I'll finish off this Ishbel soon, and then I need to figure out what to do next -- more lace, more socks (other than the plain stockinette ones already OTN), or design sweater using worsted weight Wollmeise I have?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summer Vacation Starts with a Deluge

Today is the kids' first day home for summer vacation and it's pouring. Not just a nice summer rain, but big, fat, fast drops with a lot more power than my shower, and thunder and lightning. Great.

And Sr. Jr. managed to accidentally order himself an iPod on my Amazon account. I got a new computer (yay! speed!), and had it in mind to scrub the old one of all my info and put a net nanny on it so the kids could use it. Sr. Jr. asked to use it to play games this morning and I thought "How much trouble can he get in in a few minutes?" Famous last words. I know he didn't mean to do it, and claims he didn't even realize he had done it. The one-click stuff on Amazon could easily confuse a kid looking at it for the first time. Of course, by the time I got the confirmation email from them, it was already being packed (he chose the 1 day one-click, of course) and couldn't be cancelled, but they were very nice about saying they'd take it back and eat the return shipping, too. I do love Amazon's customer service.

On the knitting front, my mojo returned just in time for the cessation of all knitting time. Isn't that annoying? I got a good way into my Skandal un Rosie socks. I turned the heel and started working my way up the leg:

I like how these are turning out. The striping is fun, and the contrast toe and heel look great with the black in the stripes.

I also cast on for another Ishbel to do the scarf KAL in the CPASG on Ravelry. I almost finished the stockinette section before school ended:

This is also Wollmeise - sock in Petit Poison medium. The color is just amazing, a gorgeous fuchsia with black overtones. As always, pictures don't show it's full depth or color. Now that knitting time is scarce, we'll see if I finish it within the KAL time.

I have, however, been loading up the Kindle with sample chapters of books I'm interested in reading. Pool time = reading time. Right now I'm reading Darling Jim, a sort of modern Gothic story set in Ireland. Not deep literature, but good summer reading.

The boys were going to go up to New York today to see the US Open, but ended up staying home for logistical reasons. Lucky them, because today's been rained out so far. (I was looking forward to a little mommy vacation, even if it was only 24 hours, but oh, well.)

Looking forward to Father's Day, but still wondering what to get Mr. T... maybe an iPod Touch! Hmm, kill two birds with one stone :)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Now We're Cooking with Charcoal

I finally finished the Kieler Sprotte socks. I can't believe it took this long. There just wasn't a lot of knitting time, I guess. But I love the way the socks turned out. They're gorgeous and comfortable:

And a closer shot:

Specs: Pattern: Kieler Sprotte, by Stephanie van der Linden, from the book Socken aus aller Welt, unfortunately still only available in German. Yarns used: Wollmeise sock, 100% superwash, in black and Sundara sock yarn in Violets. Pattern modifications: changed the top rib to a 2 x 2 rib, did short row heel on 33 stitches instead of 35.

I have several things I want to work on next. I decided I needed a plain stockinette sock to work on, so I chose a new Wollmeise color, Skandal um Rosie. It's a very contrasty variegated yarn, and I thought plain stockinette would be a good canvas for the yarn. Any stitch pattern would be lost in the wild color changes. I got out the yarn and opened it up. It looks very cool unwound:

I have another skein of this yarn, and I might try to make a pooling stole out of it - a stole where your stitch count matches 1/2 the length of the skein (i.e. half the circle), so that the color pooling symmetry that you see in the skein is maintained throughout the scarf. I've seen some really gorgeous pooling stoles using Wollmeise.

In the meantime, I cast on for the sock, using the large amounts of leftover black from the Kieler Sprotte socks for the contrasting toe:

Isn't that cool looking? I love how the yarn is striping. The heel and probably also the top ribbing will be in black, took, because I like the dark framing for these stripes. I'm further along than this picture shows, I just haven't gotten an updated photo yet.

I also want to start something lacy. I can't decide, though, whether I want another Ishbel, a Swallowtail, or whether I want to try to reverse-engineer the Shetland Triangle shawl. I don't have the pattern, but I think it would be pretty easy to recreate.

I don't know why I'm giving in to the startitis. School ends on Wednesday, which means that my knitting time will be even more curtailed. Maybe this means I ought to stick with Ishbel, which is pretty easy, until camp starts. Hmmm. Now all I need to do is pick the yarn...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Washed Away

It seems that I got washed away in all the rain we've had lately. I know I didn't put up a post last week; I was in a bad mood for most of the week, but the mood definitely improved toward the end. And it's been a good weekend, with knitting time, time with friends, and more knitting time, so here I am :)

The drenching rain has alternated with nice, warm sunny days, which has been good for my little veggie garden. The grape tomatoes are growing. I can't wait for them to ripen:

The lettuces look good, too. In fact, earlier this week, I picked some of the lettuce and made a salad using it, some of the garden's basil, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, vidalia onion, fresh mozarella, and a balsamic vinegar so sweet it didn't require any olive oil at all. Yum. There's a lot more lettuce left, and I'm planning a nice salad for lunch tomorrow:

The Roma tomato plant is huge right now, but no actual tomatoes have started. I see little flower buds, so soon:

The other stuff is growing, but there are no veggies yet. Soon there will also be yellow peppers, cucumbers, pole beans, peas, a carrot, and hopefully some onions. Yum.

There's also new yarn, new Wollmeise colors. The first is called Skandal um Rosie, a dramatic black/white/pink knockout. I ordered this Monday, and it arrived yesterday, a new record, I believe:

I also got some Moses in a trade with Raveller Susie. I love this color:

I have more new stuff on the way from Monday's order, including Merlot in both sock and Molly, the new worsted base, and Molly in Poison No. 5.

The following is not new yarn, but Kippi wanted to see some pictures of the Sanguine Gryphon's Eidos yarn, so here it is:

And the Sappho II base:

My pictures probably don't help you much, Kippi. The colors have a lot more depth and interest in real life than in my flat looking pictures. If you browse through the Eidos section on Ravelry, I'm sure you'll find much better pictures than mine. Without kitty parts, even.

Yesterday was supposed to be the last baseball game of the season, but it was cancelled due to wet field conditions. Most of our games and almost all of our practices were rained out this year. Regardless, the guys really started playing well, gelling as a team and making some great plays. They're beginning to be able to throw and catch, but even better, they're beginning to know where to throw to during a given play. They get along well, without any big egos getting in the way. Well, they're only in second grade, so the egos and the clashes will come. In the meantime, I will savor this lovely season.

Here's Jr. Jr., getting his trophy at last night's team party at the local pool:

Right now the boys are off playing golf, so I'm going to seize this opportunity to keep knitting. I'm in the middle of turning the heel for the second Kieler Sprotte socks, so off I go to crank out some more...