Monday, October 26, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different

I've briefly abandoned my other projects. Briefly. That's all.

Several weeks ago, the book Haapsalu Sall arrived here. It's an Estonian lace book. In Estonian. The lovely Annejeanne (Anneli) arranged to have the book sent to a bunch of us here in the States, working with the European publisher to get them out in batches to middlemen here. It was Ravelry in action at its best.

Not only did Anneli spearhead the purchase and shipment of the books, but she's also undertaken to translate it for us. Anneli translates for a living, but this was just for us, an amazingly generous thing to do.

Luckily, the lace is in chart form and the chart symbols are translated into English in the book, so I had to knit a couple of little swatches of these lovely patterns:


Here's a close-up of the crappy looking unblocked swatch:


It's been a while since I knit with fine laceweight yarn so it took a bit of adjusting. But it's making me want to knit lace again, and not just swatches.

Since I finished my Candy Goth plain stockinette socks, I had to cast on for another pair of plain stockinette socks:


This is OhMyGoth!, the cashmere version of Gothsocks, in Business Time. The cashmere makes the socks sooooo soft, and the grey is gorgeous.

And Now For Something Really Familiar

Bike races, of course. This weekend was the DC Cyclocross race, which is unfortunately the same weekend as the Marine Corps Marathon. This means it's very difficult to get from our house to the race site because of all the road closures.

All three boys raced. Mr. T came in 7th in his race (out of 125), Sr. Jr. came in 2nd in his, and Jr. Jr. came in third, behind his good buddy D. Here are some pictures. Apparently it was really muddy from all the rain on Saturday.

First up, soccer -- Jr. Jr.'s team lost again, but Jr. Jr. had a couple of spectacular saves in goal:


Here's Jr. Jr. with his buddy D (between school, soccer, Sunday School, and bike races, they see each other every day) at the start of their race:


And during the race:


And some Sr. Jr.:


The guy on the end is 14, as tall as Mr. T, and racing in the wrong age group, so unfortunately, he got disqualified.





And some pretty Fall foliage:

Friday, October 23, 2009

Look! Another FO!

OK, so it's only a pair of socks, and a pair I started way back in August at that:


These were my "waiting room" socks - the ones I knit in waiting rooms and in carpool lines. Plain stockinette, toe-up, short row heel. The yarn is Rainy Days and Wooly Dogs' Gothsocks, in the Candy Mountain colorway. This yarn is great for plain stockinette mindless socks because it's self-striping. I've already cast on for my next pair of waiting room socks in OhMyGoth! Socks (same as regular Gothsocks, but with cashmere, yum). The colorway is Business Time, black and grey. I will cast on for those when I finish this post.

My other projects are in about the same place they were when I last wrote, since I haven't had too much knitting time.

Yesterday was the big Ellis Island Demonstration day at Sr. Jr.'s school. The kids developed identities, wore costumes, brought props, and acted their roles as they made their way through the immigrant experience, from getting on the boat:


to going through all the different stations at Ellis Island. They had "medical" exams, were evaluated for intelligence and job aptitude, etc. Some kids had to get innoculations. Some girls were pregnant or carrying their babies. Some kids had to face an appeals board and some were even deported!


The kids were great. They really got into character, talking in accents, telling their stories, etc. Sr. Jr. was Klaus Mullerstup, a young man from Germany whose mother died in childbirth. He had little schooling because he was "drafted" into the army when he was about 9 years old. He had to go through the appeals process because officials worried that he wasn't educated enough.




I worked in the "Welcome to America" section, so I missed most of the fun stuff, but I enjoyed seeing the kids and how much work they put into this project.

On the reading front, I recently finished The Girl Who Played With Fire, the follow-up book to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which I read last year. Both were very good (gory, violent, but good), but the second one was even better than the first, in my opinion. They're not deep literature, but they are several steps above your standard mystery books. The author died shortly after the first book was published, but had the second and a third already completed at the time.

After a Terry Pratchett palate cleanser (Unseen Academicals - as always, enjoyable on many levels), I've started Audrey Niffenegger's new book, Her Fearful Symmetry. I'm not very far into it at this point, but I'm already reminded of how much I love her writing.

And now, since today is an early release day for Sr. Jr. (home at noon), I'm going to go cast on for those new socks.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fall Color

I like to mix up my knitting so that I don't get into a rut. A spate of shawls will be followed by a sweater or two. Cables follow colorwork. Plain socks are always on the needles for waiting times. Every now and then I throw in a plain sweater as a palette cleanser. This keeps things nice and fresh, so when I come back to a technique I have fun with it.

Right now that technique is colorwork. The colorwork I'm doing is small-canvas colorwork, too -- a pair of socks and the Fiddlehead Mittens. Colorwork seems to go more quickly for me than other knitting, maybe because there are definite goalposts to shoot for, like knitting until the next color change. But then I get mesmerized by the pattern developing in my hands and before I know it I almost have a pair of mittens:


I took this picture this morning and then went back to knitting, so I have even more done now. I love this pattern. First you knit these cute, colorful mittens, then you pick up stitches around the bottom and knit another mitten in the other direction, using a solid colored yarn. When you finish that mitten, you squoosh it up into the colorwork mitten, for an extra-warm double-layered mitten.

Speaking of colorwork, here's where I am with the Dark Isle socks:


These got pushed aside a bit while I focus on the mittens, but I'm anxious to get back to them. I love the pattern and I love how they feel on my feet.

I'm also still working on the Squoose merino/cashmere easy sweater. I've gotten to the point where I separate the arms from the body and start knitting them separately:


I'm still quite in love with the yarn. In fact, I bought a bunch of Squoosh's merino/cashmere sock yarn to make the Pas de Valse sweater from the last issue of Twist Collective:


It's pink! With grey, but still pink! I'm moving out of my dark-color zone with this one, but I think it will look nice. I'll start that after I finish the pullover and the sooper seekrit knitting which is on hold until I receive the yarn.

But the Big News here in the T household (at least for the female member of the household) is this:


Dun Dun DUN! Yup, I took the plunge and got a sewing machine. I'm scared of it. It's intimidating. I mostly got it for steeking sweaters, but I do intend to learn how to use this on some small projects (for now). My immediate goal is to make myself an apron. I don't know why, it just seems like a good first project. Kippi has been graciously sharing her extensive sewing expertise with me via pm on Ravelry. I wish I knew someone around here who sews.

I plan to go to G St. Fabrics later this week to pick up some essentials and give this baby a test-drive. I will not, however, get into quilting. Nope.

In other family goings-on, the weekend was a big washout. It was actually a relief not to have soccer and tennis on Saturday, to be able to get some errands done and relax a bit.

On Sunday, Mr. T and Sr. Jr. went off to do a new cyclocross race out in Winchester, the Winchester Apple Harvest Cross race. Reports were that the course was nice, the race well-run, much fun was had by all, and they hope this becomes a regular part of the circuit. Mr. T broke his 11th streak by coming in 6th in his race, and Sr. Jr. won his race for the second week in a row. Congrats to both my guys!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Octoberfeast

The cooler weather always brings me a spurt of energy. I get lethargic in the heat, but a nice chill perks me right up. (Except first thing in the morning, when it's very hard to get out of the nice warm bed.) After I finished the Moses sweater, I started on the Dark Isle socks, picked up Aestlight II to keep working on, and cast on for a new sweater.

The Squoosh merino/cashmere worsted won the day. I'm just doing a basic top-down raglan sweater, simple, but comfortable. I love working on and wearing complicated sweaters, but it's also nice to have a good basic, both for the wardrobe and the knitting sanity. This yarn is soooooo soft and heavenly to knit with, and it softens up even more after a wash. This will truly be a comfort sweater:


I am almost at the point where I divide the body and the sleeves and start knitting them separately.

I've turned the heel on the first Dark Isle sock and am working my way up the leg. I'd show you a picture, but I don't have one yet. You'll have to wait until it's done. It looks fabulous and fits amazingly. I recommend this pattern highly.

But soon I will add another project to the list, since I got my Fiddlehead Mitten kit today:


The mittens are knit in a gorgeous swirly pattern with a plain knitted lining for extra warmth. My hands get very cold, very quickly, so another good pair of mittens will be great.

Wouldn't it be nice to have 27 hours in a day? Sometimes I wish I were a person who could get by on a lot less sleep, so I could get in some more time.

Family Life

We're back in full swing here after a lazy summer. The schedule is crazy, with piano, soccer, tennis, bike racing, Sunday School and N'Tivot. The only day we don't have things scheduled after school is Friday. It's crazy, but good. Jr. Jr. is really enjoying soccer. He's already asked if he can play again next Fall. He scored his first goal this weekend, too! He has the potential to be very good at this, since he's pretty quick on his feet and very aware of what's going on on the playing field. In bike racing news, Sr. Jr. took first place at Sunday's race, while Jr. Jr. took third in his, and Mr. T came in 11th, as always. I joked that he doesn't even need to race, they can just start penciling him in at 11th in every race.

I love Halloween, so when I stopped in at Party City the other day, I couldn't resist increasing the Halloween decorations stash. I'm going to wait until next week sometime to put them out, but we do need to get some pumpkins soon.

Jr. Jr. wants to go as Bon Jovi. Listening him sing "Living on a Prayer" is pretty frightening, I'll give him that.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Just Meh

I finished the Moses non-hoodie. All it needed was buttons and crochet loops. I went to Uniquities, bought some wooden buttons, sewed two on, and decided they didn't look good. Then I went to G St. Fabrics and got some more buttons. (Made the mistake of taking Jr. Jr. with me. He's a little magpie and kept asking for beads and buttons and candy corn fabric.)

Again, went home, sewed them on. Crocheted the loops. Ah, done. Went upstairs, put the sweater on and eeeeew. Didn't like it. The buttons and the loops looked awful. Decided that the sweater would look better without them, so I snipped them off. Better.


Yes, it would look better with a different shirt underneath. But I still don't love it. I've gained a few pounds in the middle and this sweater seems to highlight that. Now I feel fat and gross. Here's a picture that Sr. Jr. took:


Sigh.

At the moment I'm still working on the Dark Isle Socks. I've also picked up that second Aestlight that I started way back in August. I'm waiting for the yarn for a super secret project, but that won't take too long.

So what to knit next? I have several options. I could knit something using all that lovely MCN worsted I got. I could knit Pas de Valse using more Wollmeise. Or I could knit something using that nice bulky eco wool I got from Fibre Space.

So - (1) Squoosh worsted dark green simple sweater; (2) Pas de Valse, probably in Neptun (blue/teal) or Merlot (deep winey color); or (3) comfy sweater in lighter green eco wool?

Voting in the comments, please!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Progress!

I finished the knitting on the Moses sweater, finally. I bought some buttons, blocked it out, and it's long. My stitch gauge was right on, but my row gauge really changed, even though I washed my swatch and everything. I started sewing on the buttons and realized that I don't like them, so I have to run out to get more. I got the original set at Uniquities, but I think I'll go to G Street Fabrics next. They have a huge button selection. I'm holding off on trying it on until I have the buttons sewn on. Maybe I shouldn't wait. We'll see.

Meanwhile, some pics:


It doesn't look so great on the blocking board. I used the same yarn I used for my Aeslight Shawl as the contrast trim on a whim. I just thought it would add a little visual interest.

Since I was done with the sweater, I moved on the next project in the queue, the Dark Isle Socks that I linked to in the last post. This is a FUN project. It goes so quickly, because you just want to keep knitting to see the next color motif form.

I meddled with the pattern just a little, to account for the difference in gauge between the Wollmeise that I'm using and the Regia that the designer used in the pattern. On Saturday night I cast on and knit the toe, and then by the end of the day yesterday, I had this plus the heel turn (which I did after I took the picture):


Not the best picture, color-wise, but you get the idea of what the sock looks like. I love it.

Saturday was sports day. Sr. Jr. had his first day of actual matches in the county tennis program and he won both! One was singles, one was doubles. Jr. Jr.'s team lost another soccer game, but they looked sharper than they did in the last game, playing more aggressively and doing some actual passing. I think that they play better in the Saturday games than the weekday games, when they're tired after a long day of school. I remember this from baseball, too.

On Sunday, Sr. Jr. and Mr. T went to yet another cyclocross race. Sr. Jr. came in 3rd in his race, and Mr. T remains a consistent 11th. But there's some fun video, if I can get it to load properly.


video


And some more:


video

And more:


video

Yup, nutty sport.