Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Slow and Fast

One and a half weeks until the end of school.

When I get the chance, I've been knitting on Paper Crane. I love the yarn. I love the color with all my heart. I even don't mind the teeny tiny stitches on teeny tiny needles. But this is going to take a really, really long time to knit, especially since I don't foresee having a whole lot of knitting time this summer.

This is 25 rows of knitting. Slightly more than 2 inches of sweater. Someday maybe I'll get a light box so I can capture the true beauty of these colors.

When I have less time, I work on the Nutkin socks I'm making for a friend. I still love these socks and this yarn. One glance at the pattern and that was all I needed - it's really easy, so I can take it with me as my waiting room knitting.

While I mourn the loss of free time that summer brings, I also look forward to a lot of its freedoms -- no more piano lessons, baseball games, tennis lessons, practices, and matches, no homework, more freedom to go and do and stay up late and sleep in. The garden grows and we get yummy fresh vegetables (hopefully). We have more time to cook and experiment in the kitchen.

This will be a tough summer, between Mr. T's trial in California and the bar mitzvah, but I'm sure the actual bar mitzvah and the trip to Costa Rica will be wonderful. I hope that Sr. Jr. has a great time on this trip and remembers it as a special time. I hope that I don't kill members of my (extended) family in the process. I hope that my family doesn't want to kill me, too!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Holding my Breath

So right after I cast on for Paper Crane and knit something like five rows, I decided I wanted to clear the decks of some lingering works-in-progress. So Paper Crane went back in the bag and out came Virve's Stockings. I wanted to finish these so I could start a pair of socks for my friend Marie, who's spending a few years in Germany.

So I pulled out the socks and knit and knit and knit and knit (they're knee socks, after all), and then had a little bit of fun at the colorwork panel. Then it was back to knitting and knitting and knitting. At some point mid-gusset, I began to wonder whether I would have enough of the dark blue yarn to finish the socks. I did a contrast color toe on the first sock precisely because I was worried about this possibility. I weighed the yarn I had left. 18 grams. Would that be enough to knit all the way down the foot to the start of the toe?

Juuuuusssst made it. What you see in the picture above is not the tail I cut to weave in; that's ALL the yarn I had left. I finished by a hair.

Love them! They should be nice and warm in 6 months or so when I need them. Stats: Pattern: Virve's Stockings, from Folk Knitting in Estonia. Yarns used: Wollmeise Twin in Moses (main color), Natur, Mistelszweig, and Jeton. Modifications: Did three repeats of lace motif at top cuff instead of two, did contrast color toe, slightly modified heel flap and gusset.

With those off the needles, I pulled out a skein of Bugga that I had earmarked to use for Marie's socks, picked a pattern and started knitting.

Now, I've managed to acquire a few skeins of Bugga, but I hadn't knit with it yet. It. Is. Heavenly. It's so soft (20% cashmere), but springy and lively, with wonderful stitch definition. I'm totally smitten. I'm going to have a hard time sending these socks off to Marie, so it's a good thing that her feet are a different size than mine.

The pattern is Nutkin, which is astoundingly easy but produces a very pretty result.

I finally finished Parrot and Olivier in America the other night. I really enjoyed this book, although Mr. T put it down quickly, saying it was too much work. I thought it was really funny, but not funny in a laugh out loud Terry Pratchett kind of way. It was more of a dry, sarcastic funny. A Robertson Davies or P.G. Wodehouse kind of funny. It was a love letter to America and all its faults in the end.

I intended to start the 3rd book in Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy, but I haven't gotten around to it. The Summer Fiction issue of the New Yorker arrived, focusing on their picks of notable authors under 40, including some of my absolute favorites, so I expect my nose will be stuck in there for a while before I start a new book.

Summer is slowly descending upon us. Team tennis is over. Baseball is over. We can sleep in on weekends instead of getting up and rushing off to activities. I'm ready.

But I was sad about the end of our baseball season. Our scrappy little team was the third seed in the playoffs, but we lost our first game. By one run. And poor little Jr. Jr. was the last out. He's one of the most reliable players on the team, both in the field and at bat, but a few bad calls and a few ill-advised swings and he struck out. Poor kid cried and cried, because he wanted to help his team win. Nonetheless, the team had a great season. They played well, and they played well together, which is the most important thing.

Two more weeks of school left, so I need to take advantage of it, in between the end of year parties that they cram in there!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Big Needles, Small Needles. Am I Out of My Mind?

Elegant Empire is done. Blocked, sewn up, buttoned, and put away until the weather is warmer.

It's a little bit big on me and the cable panels don't quite match up perfectly. I need to decide whether I hate that or not. The big part I think I can fix through blocking. This was knit on size 6 and 7 needles and went pretty quickly, when I actually had time to sit down and work on it.

So what have I chosen to work on next? Paper Crane, knit in Wollmeise laceweight on size 2 needles. In a summer where I have to get ready and host a bar mitzvah. Am I crazy? At the very least, the sweater is pretty much all stockinette, so it's not like I have to pay too much attention to what I'm doing. But... teeny tiny stitches on teeny tiny needles. My eyes hurt just from casting on:

That's Mmmmmerlot, one of my absolute favorite Wollmeise colors. I hope it still is when I finish this!

As for the reading, I'm currently in the middle of Parrot and Olivier in America and enjoying it very much. It involves a spoiled and somewhat clueless young French nobleman dispatched to America to "study" American prisons (really a task settled upon to get him out of the country at a time of unrest) and the English "servant" who serves as his secretary. It's an amusing re-think of the story of de Toqueville's travels in America.