Monday, March 28, 2011

One, Two, Many, Lots

I have many things to show today.

Slipped Hours: done, blocked, dried, photograped:

Phew! It fits. I like it, too.

Specs: Pattern is Slipped Hours, by Gudrun Johnson. Yarn is Wollmeise Twin, color, Silberdistel. I used about 2.75 skeins. The main body of the sweater was knit on US 3s, the rolled neckline was knit on US 4s. I made a couple of modifications: I knit the hem in stockinette rather than reverse stockinette, eliminated the faux side-seam, added a little bit of waist shaping, and changed the neckline from a cowl to a short rolled neck. All in all, this was a great pattern and it knit up quickly.

Continuing in the theme of green, I finished the first intallment of Cookie A's sock club. I knit the first pattern, the Rippled Leaf socks, in the club yarn, a lovely skein of Caper Sock from String Theory.

And no photo shoot is complete without my little attention ho:

This was another fun pattern to knit, especially after so many months of knitting nothing but toe-up short-row heel plain old stripey socks. I can't remember the last time I knit socks from the top down, with a flap heel! The Caper sock is lovely -- very soft, but strong. I have a couple more skeins of this down in the stash. I'd like to knit the second sock club pattern, too, but April's installment is coming up soon, so I'll hold off.

I've been spinning too. I finished the first bobbin of the Bugga fiber and started the second, and that's where things went all pear-shaped. My spinner was acting up, rebelling, being a total pain in the ass. Spinning on it was Not Fun. I kept making all sorts of adjustments to try to get it back in line, but it was refusing. So even though I hate doing this, I took the bobbin in progress off the spinner.

I was pissed. I was really pissed. I was going to show that spinner a thing or two. I grabbed a clean bobbin, grabbed some random fiber, and started spinning. I wasn't spinning for accuracy; I wasn't spinning with a plan. I didn't care if the singles were even or what. I just cranked up the spinner to 11 and practically threw the fiber onto the bobbin. It was very cathartic. After a while, I looked at what I had on the bobbin and went, "Huh. I kind of like that."

I KNOW. It's green. That's kind of why I chose it. I figured I was so overloaded on green that if I was going to waste some fiber, green was the color to waste. But I liked! This was part of Bee Mice Elf's Fiber Collections, where you get 6 different 1-oz braids. Three are multicolored braids, and three are semi-solids to complement the multis. So the most I could waste was an ounce anyway.

So I spun some more.

Pink, blue, green... I feel like I mugged the Easter bunny. The blue fiber is the Bugga fiber that I was spinning when things went to crap.

But as I said, I liked! And then I looked over at those cute little Herdy mugs that I got last weekend. Looked back at my little fiber collection braids. Back at the Herdy mugs...

How cute is that? Total serendipity.

But wait! There's more!

Now that Slipped Hours is done, I started a new sweater.

It's not green! Paradigm shift. More to come...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Almost Done

I seem to have lost last week. I didn't blog because I didn't have too much to show you. The weekend before was knit and spin free, unfortunately. So I worked my little fingers off during the week to try to get some stuff done.

I finished the main knitting on Slipped Hours, but couldn't decide how to handle the neck/collar. The pattern calls for a cowl, but I didn't like the way it looked. One of the finished projects that I like has a split collar, so that the collar lies flat instead of looking floppy. I took the sweater-in-progress with me to a Rav meet-up yesterday, where the consensus was that a plain old rolled neck would be best.

So that's what I did:

This was me, trying on the sweater before blocking, just to see if it would fit and if I would hate a snug sweater. I was pleasantly surprised. The sweater fits nicely, even before having a growth spurt when it hits the water. I like it a lot! I think if I had to knit it again, I'd start the slipped-stitch pattern an inch or two earlier. We'll see how it looks after blocking, but I think I'd like it better if the patterning started more definitively below my boobline.

Here's a blocking shot:

Believe it or not, this took less than three skeins of Wollmeise. Closer to 2.5, as a matter of fact.

I've also been spinning again, finally. I missed it and it's nice to be spinning again. My last spinning project was finished before Thanksgiving, and then with our guests, the early Chanukah, the holidays overall, the Venusian Spotted Death Fever Cold from January... I just never managed to get anything back on the wheel.

The color in the top photo is more accurate, but I like the close-up, too. The fiber is from The Sanguine Gryphon, the Bugga blend, so it's 70% merino, 20% cashmere, and 10% nylon. It's sooooo soft. I'm spinning a three ply yarn, hopefully for knitting socks.

We had quite a lot of fun at our Rav meet-up yesterday. We started out hanging out at Fibre Space, which was packed. It was really nice to see a yarn store so busy. I love that store. It has a nice selection of indie dyers, very nice staff, and a comfy knitting place. I didn't buy any yarn, but I did get...

Herdy mugs! (And a keychain, too) How cute are these? I've seen these around, but they haven't been available too widely in the US. But Fibre Space has them, so I couldn't resist.

So now I need to figure out which sweater to knit next... and with what yarn...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


So yesterday I knit two cuffs. One cuff was for a sock:

And one cuff was for a sleeve:

Cuffs are beginnings, right? So what about the stuff from last week? Oh, that! Finished some of that.

A sock:

And some close up:

Sock #1 of Pattern #1 of the first installment of Cookie A's sock club. The yarn is String Theory's Caper sock yarn, very soft and lovely. The pattern was perfect. There wasn't a moment of confusion or an error or anything amiss. The sock feels great on my foot.

The next installment of her club isn't until April, so I'm debating whether to take another skein of Caper from my stash to knit the other pattern to keep me busy until the next package arrives. We'll see. My sock queue is long.

And the cuff? Well, I finished the first sleeve for Slipped Hours and attached it to the body of the sweater:

For a fingering weight sweater, this is going very quickly! I'm sure I'll bog down a bit once I get the second sleeve finished and attached, because then each round will be really long. But it will get smaller as it goes up and the sleeve shaping progresses.

Green... so much green... I think I pull out the green every year at this time, looking for something to spur Spring's arrival. At our Westover Woolies meetup this morning, almost all of use were knitting with green in some form or another.

Watch for me to flip out and scream "NO MORE GREEN!!!" in a couple of weeks.


Jr. Jr.'s basketball team cruised into the second round of the playoffs this weekend with a rousing first-round victory. Unfortunately, they couldn't keep the momentum going and lost in the second round. Tears all around. Nonetheless, they had a great season. They were so much better than they were last year, with excellent teamwork and admirable sportsmanship. And most of them will reassemble this weekend on the baseball diamond! Not even a weekend off.

I'm a little upset about some stuff that's happening with the local schools. Crowding has been a growing issue in our county for a number of years, but the School Board has for the most part punted on the issue every time it's come up. They've tinkered a bit, moved a planning unit or two from one school to another, rearranged some programs, but they haven't taken any steps to address the big picture. For years, many of us have been telling them that the increase in school population isn't a blip or an outlier, but a trend. We look around our neighborhoods, see all the young families moving in with preschoolers, see all the infill development and realize that we're nearly bursting at the seams with young kids.

Now the school board realizes that it has a problem. Almost every school in the county, elementary, middle, and high included, will be over capacity in a couple of years. Many of these schools were recently renovated as well. The county cannot afford to build new schools. I'm not even sure if they have the land to build new schools. I don't even think they have any buildings (like community centers, for example) that could effectively be re-purposed as schools.

Up until now this hasn't been too much of an issue. We get trailers, we turn the computer lab mobile with laptops, we double up on PE. Class sizes have increased slightly, but not too alarmingly.

However, I found out recently that the fifth graders at Jr. Jr.'s school no longer take weekly trips to the library to get new reading material. I think that there just isn't time to schedule weekly library time for all the classes at the school. So instead of coming up with a solution that allows all the kids to get library time -- for example, by having the fourth and fifth grades alternate weeks -- they've just eliminated it for the fifth grade. (We won't even go into how the school didn't tell the parents that this was happening...)

One of the primary missions of elementary schools is to get kids reading and foster in them a love of reading. Eliminating library time undermines this goal, to put it mildly, and makes me wonder what will be taken away from the kids next.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fields of Green

I haven't posted until now because there's only so much green stockinette I can show you. Boring.

But switching to bigger yarn (sock weight!) on bigger needles (size 3!!) made for some quicker knitting.

This is Slipped Hours finished up to the armhole bindoffs. Amazingly, this is about 1 1/5 skeins of yarn. Now I'm instructed to set aside the body and knit the sleeves. Then I attach the sleeves to the body and finish it off.

The design calls for sleeves that just cover the elbows, so that shouldn't take too long. But I'm not sure I like that length. Do I want actual long sleeves? Three-quarter length sleeves? Sleeves as written? I haven't quite decided. If you have opinions, please comment and let me know.

Given that I'm waffling on sleeve design, I turned to my Ripple Leaf socks to distract me. This pattern is one of the two in the first installment of Cookie A's sock club. At this point I've knit the whole leg and I'm partway through the heel flap, so the sock should be done soon.

I spent so much time knitting plain old stripey socks recently that it's nice to knit a patterned sock again! As luck would have it, I cast on using needles slightly larger than those called for in the pattern. I think I'm using 2.5 mm needles instead of 2.25 mm needles. This turns out to have been a lucky break, because the pattern is not very stretchy, and somewhat difficult to get over my heel/ankle area. Once it's on, it fits perfectly, but the fabric doesn't have too much give. If I'd knit it on the called-for needles, I don't think I could get them on. But I certainly couldn't knit the next size up, which would end up being too big on me.


I can't believe it's March already. This year has flown by. It's incomprehensible to me that I will have a son in High School next year. His baby years are still so vivid to me! I remember holding him, nursing him, singing to him and playing with him. I remember him sitting in my lap, with one of those word books open in front of us. He would grab my pointer finger and jab at the words, giggling and soaking up language like a sponge. And now he grunts and snarls and tells dirty jokes. I can't fathom sending him off to college in only four more years. I just got him!

Spring also means the transition from basketball to baseball and biking. This weekend Jr. Jr's basketball playoffs continue. His team won their first playoff game in a rout. Their next opponent will be tougher. I think they lost to this team by one point when they played them a few weeks ago. If they win, they go to the finals on Saturday, to play the only team that beat them handily this year. They've improved so much since last year! However, I'm most proud of them for their sportsmanship, team play, and demeanor during games. They play clean, they don't get angry or emotional, and they really play like a team. Such a good group of kids :)