Samstag, April 28, 2007

There's a First Time for Everything

The mailman brought my April kit from the Rockin' Sock Club on Thursday. In it was the world-wide debut of Silkie:



Is this gorgeous or what? The silk makes it look almost translucent, as if it were made of water. No wonder this yarn spawned a whole series of watery yarn names.

I didn't bother to photograph the package, since there are great shots of it (plus a swatch) on Ute's page. I just headed off to play with the yarn.

I didn't work on it yesterday, because I had bigger fish to fry (Tina, your ocean theme is making me crazy!)

The Pea had her first ever riding lesson!



I had forgotten how frightened she used to be of horses. This time she groomed, she rode, she even had her foot stepped on, and she loved it all. Next week her instructor will let her have a bridle. The only downer for me was that I discovered that one of the scents I can no longer smell, along with lilacs and lavender, is horse breath. Horse breath is one of the great perfumes of the world.

Then Paul and I went to the Utah premier of "Des Canyons aux Etoiles/From the Canyons to the Stars" by Olivier Messiaen. It's kind of a joke that this amazing piece of music, inspired by the Utah landscape and written in 1974, was performed in Utah for the first time yesterday. Afterwards while we were waiting for the Trax train I heard a man say, "I can see why it hasn't been performed in Utah before." His wife said, "If they perform it again, I don't think I'll go." That was kind of how Paul felt about it. When I asked if there was anything he liked about the concert, he said, "I really liked the last note. Do you think he did that last note on purpose?" (It is a pretty dissonant piece, but each section ends on a major triad.)

I loved it. I think the best thing I have gotten out of my music education so far is discovering Messiaen. People in the Salt Lake area can still catch it tonight at Abravanel at 8:00 p.m. (lecture at 7:15).

It was my first time riding Trax, too! This is kind of another joke. I have ridden trains, subways, and busses in New York, London, Boston, Toronto and Vienna, plus the San Francisco trolley and New Orleans streetcar (that one every day to school for two years), but had never been on Trax before last night.

I took my Knitting in the Dark sock on this outing, and worked on it at the restaurant while waiting for Paul, during the concert lecture, at intermission, during a couple of movements near the end of the concert, and of course on the train.


Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Mediumweight in G-Rocks. Pattern: basic PG-R toe-up


I could add another public transit first to my list when I go to San Diego next week; there are apparently two great yarn shops within a short Coaster ride from my hotel. I am really torn about this. Think of all the knitting time I could have while Paul is in his meeting. We can go to the Maritime Museum, the opera, and the Mormon Battalion Museum (Paul's great-grandfather was in the Battalion) together, so I will have done something while in San Diego, and then knit the rest of the time. Plus it will save me money to stay out of yarn shops.

But on the other hand, I strongly believe that it is my duty as a traveller (rather than a mere tourist) to break new ground and discover hitherto unknown (by me) yarn shops when I travel. I have knocked myself out bigtime to get to places like Village Yarns in Toronto, and Greenwich Yarn and Artfibers Gallery in San Francisco. These were wonderful experiences, never mind that I still haven't knitted most of what I bought there.

Will I always regret not having been to The Black Sheep and Common Threads, when they are just a short train ride away from my hotel?

Yeah, probably.

Donnerstag, April 26, 2007

Baptism by Mud

Trusty and I took the new hiking boots for their first outing on the actual trail near our house yesterday. I was hoping the trail would have dried out a little but it was still pretty muddy.



Trusty is wearing a Halti on his face since he pulls hard on the leash without it. Paul says it makes him look vicious. Does it?



The Mueller Park Canyon trail is nice for a beginner, since it's only steep where the switchbacks turn. Sometimes it's so level you can't tell if you're going out or in.



It's a pretty safe area for solo hiking. The lower part of the trail is too well-travelled for snakes to hang out comfortably (although I've heard of people encountering them near the top of the trail), and it's a low-crime area (I need to stop reading Nevada Barr novels). The only thing I worry about is what to do if we meet a horse or an out-of-control biker (it happens--when my son was in high school he helped carry out an injured biker whose brakes had gone out on the way down). There's no place to go off the trail but DOWN!



We came home and knitted. Well actually, I knitted, and Trusty ate a whole banana, skin and all, while I wasn't paying attention. This is what I accomplished:



Trusty's accomplishments are less photogenic. Let's just say that while they may not be as bad for dogs as chocolate, banana skins are probably not a good dog treat.

Dienstag, April 24, 2007

Emergency Knitting

I stayed up a little late on Sunday evening to knit.

I finished my Baudelaires in BMFA Socktopus.



Suddenly finding myself with nothing better to do, I slogged.



Then I got ready for bed. When I leaned over the sink to wash my face, my iPod fell in and got wet. It was not happy. By morning it had dried out and was working again, but I decided the situation called for a little emergency knitting. So, for those times when I'm not wearing pockets to keep my little iFriend safe and dry, I knitted it its own pocket.

Leftover sock yarns in a 37 stitch miter: BMFA Seduction in Lagoon, BMFA STR Mediumweight in Foofaraw


I am not much of a designer. The bag is about 25% too big, and I forgot to put a control wheel opening in it. But hey, look at the cool bead I found in my stash to use as a button!



I stayed up a little late on Monday night to start the Fleece Artist Baudelaires.



I liked everything about the Baudelaire pattern except the toe. Cookie calls for a figure 8 toe, and I hate figure 8 because you have to tighten the stitches afterwards. This is the Priscilla Gibson-Roberts toe instead. I did make it pointy as the pattern called for, since the friend who'll get these has skinny pointy feet. But I think mine would have fit better with the snubbier toe I usually knit.

I may have stayed up late to knit a little too often. Is it just me, or do those sock toes look like they need a bra?

Samstag, April 21, 2007

Something's fishy . . .

Could it be

The Blue Moon Fiber Arts Tide Series?


Front

Back


Left to right: Tide Pool: Brown and dark green at the top next to the fuchsia, then aqua blue and finally grey blue;
Mystic Kelp: Brown and dark green (nearly black) at the top, then fuchsia and lavendar and a lot of tan;
Undertoe: forest green, tan, and a lot of lavender;
Lunasea: green, teal, greenish teal, and lavenderish-greyish-blue;
Socktopus: rose, rose-beige, rose-leaf green, tan


Or is it just the Socktopus Socks?



I may not be clever enough to win them in a contest, but I know how to weasle them out of Orders at Blue Moon!

Mittwoch, April 18, 2007

Not snow again!

Yesterday it was spring.

blossoms

Today I went out in a snowstorm to buy hiking boots:

boots

I was glad I took the extra time to drive to a big outdoor gear store. REI in Salt Lake had a salesperson who knew how my boots should fit, which I didn't, and a practice ramp to make sure my toes didn't hit the boots on the way down. They feel WONDERFUL!

I have been knitting hard. On the weekend I slogged on the diet sweater:

Before two days of slogging:

diet sweater

After two days of slogging:

diet sweater

On both Monday and Tuesday I was able to knit a whole ball of yarn into the blue sweater.

blue sweater

I started the second Baudelaire sock. See how the second one is a little too wide? This is why I have started knitting socks two at a time. I wanted to make sure how the Cookie heel fit before going ahead with the second one, though, since I hadn't used it before.

socks

Baudelaire would really look better in a simpler yarn. I'm going to knit the pattern again in Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 for a friend:

yarn

So there we have it. The late-April, snow day update. Knit on, then, until spring shall come at last.

Montag, April 16, 2007

Amazing Experience

Some background: I am the world's worst couch potato. I hate to excercise. I only do it because I am afraid of diabetes. The only excercise I can do is walk the dog. The only way I can stand to do that is if I have an audiobook on my iPod.

Lately I have been trying to find ways to walk from my house that take one hour, since that's the amount of excercise I want to do, and that avoid Trusty's stalker. This stalker is a former fireman who likes bloodhounds. Sadly his labrador does not like bloodhounds, so the interactions are never relaxing and pleasant.

For today's experiment, Trusty and I drove to the corner where we usually turn around to come home, and walked up the hill to the entrance to Wasatch National Forest. I have not been on the hiking trail there since my wolfhound died nine years ago.

I don't know if I can describe what happened. It was the most amazing experience. We started up the trail, and before we had gone very far I forgot that I was getting exercise. I took off the headphones--I didn't need them! There were birds, and rustling leaves, and rushing water far below and they were more interesting than my audiobook. Hiking up this trail was like knitting--I kept wanting to go around just one more turn in the trail, even when it was time to go back. Just thinking about it makes me shiver, remembering how good it felt.

I don't feel comfortable climbing far in walking shoes, even though the trail is really well-groomed. I'm pretty clumsy and have had a broken ankle before this. Tomorrow I'll have to hit REI and get some new boots. My old ones are cracked and are lumpy and uncomfortable on the inside. I would still give them a go, if Trusty hadn't eaten one of them last fall.

I'm sorry I didn't take my camera. I don't have anything to show you. But then, I wouldn't be able to show you what happened on the inside anyway.

Donnerstag, April 12, 2007

Someone's Been Sitting in My Chair . . .

. . . And Here He Is! . . .



We're sharing the chair right now, incidentally. That old axiom "Let sleeping dogs lie" applies to cats, too. Che bites when annoyed. Hard.

Say, look at this:



Margene, meet Wasabi. Wasabi, Margene. I was thinking I would have to Collect my skein of Margene, but she looks so good with the Shibuiknits Sock that I may have to actually knit something that can combine them. A modular scarf? A (I'm scared to say this) a mitered something?

I did actually have something to say when I came in here and found a cat in my chair. And what I have to say is:

So much for monogamous knitting. I can't do it. This is my new project.



I'm knitting it in Classic Elite Bam Boo in a shade of blue (they call it China Blue) that I don't have in my wardrobe, but which I think I can wear successfully.



Does this swatch prove that I really could knit a dishcloth? At least it proves that I can knit my new sweater on size 8 needles. I had to knit the whole skein into the swatch (only 77 yards, no biggie) because I don't want to create any additional cut ends of bamboo yarn to work into the ultimate FO.

It was the Diet Sweater that cured me of monogamous knitting. It was the next thing in my queue, but it could take me the rest of my life. Knitting a sweater in fingering weight yarn on size 3 needles for the rest of my life was too much. I entered it in the Maxon-Dixon Slogalong instead, and I may even take it with me to Princess P's dance class.

I had to take my swatch apart, since I ordered a borderline amount of yarn.

Is this scary or what? I DID tie the skein . . .



Whew! This looks better.



Later I weighted it slightly, but just hanging it unkinked it pretty well.

So here we have a project that I can knit in a couple of weeks if I stick with it. But there's the rub, as Hamlet says. Can I stick with it?

Dienstag, April 10, 2007

Is this working?



What do you think? Is this yarn too busy for this pattern? Can you see the leaf lace? I really want to try this pattern (Cookie A.'s Baudelaire from Knitty) and I really want to use this yarn.

And check out this brand new blog! Blogless Karen has become Blogged Karen. Wow, I hope that didn't hurt.

Montag, April 09, 2007

Things to do today

  • Beat the rush, mail the taxes.
    Check.

  • Do that last dishwasherload from Easter dinner
    Check. I know, there are people who wash the last batch by hand; I prefer my late father-in-law's method of saving "seed for the next batch"

  • Buy drugs. Ok, maybe I better clarify that. I am out of Aciphex and potassium pills.
    Check.

  • Sew the buttons on baby Aeowyn's dress

    Check. I had more trouble finding coordinates for this project than I did making it.

    The color top I wanted




    The style top I wanted (although a turtleneck would have been nice, too)



    Other things that will probably work, too




  • Finish Pomatomus socks

    Check. Next time I knit these for moi I think I should go up a needle size for the last repeat. I do love how the Morticia Adams cast-off worked out, though.



  • Return to healthy eating after the weekend sugar binge

  • Maybe tomorrow. There was still lemon raisin bread left.

    See you this afternoon! later this evening. Thanks for coming!

    Samstag, April 07, 2007

    Christos Anesti!*



    A few years ago** we hosted a Greek high school student for her senior year in high school in the US. Katerina (actually Ekatarini) came complete with a year's supply of Greek pomace oil (the kind of olive oil that's best for cooking), and a bubbly personality that left our staid, Northern European-background family behind in the dust.

    And she dyed all the Easter eggs red.

    I was puzzled at the time, but now it's gotten to be a habit to dye at least some of them red.

    The year that Katarina lived with us, we went to a whole weekend of interesting events at the Greek Orthodox Church in New Orleans, where we were living at the time. They have processions, candles, chanting, singing, feasts, and red Easter eggs.

    Since moving to Utah we have gone several times to the midnight service at one or the other of the two Greek Orthodox churches we know of in the area. I love it, and I love it best in Greek. One year we went with Russian friends, so we went to the newer church that has its service mostly in English. That year was exciting because when our friend Masha tried to exit the pew to kiss the priest's ring and get her red egg, her candle ignited her hair,*** which is very curly; and she has a lot of it. Traditionally you're supposed to keep your candle burning until morning, but once Masha was extinguished we did the same to the candles. It seemed as if we had already had our luck, and the smell of Masha's hair on the ride home in the car kept reminding us.

    But on the whole, I love the Greek Easter customs we inherited from Katerina, and I love Greek Easter egg dye.****

    The band across the middle of the egg says "DYE" and the little banner the bird is holding says "5 colors." The only word I understand at the top right is "eggs." Obviously I didn't ever learn much Greek.


    Look what it does to yarn:



    OK, Tina, you do not need to move over. While I did remember to pre-soak the skeins this time, I forgot to untwist them. This is why I got tie-dyed yarn instead of solids. Oh well. This yarn is so scratchy***** that I think all I can use it for is a felted cat bed.

    * Christ is risen! Sorry I don't know how to get my computer to do Greek letters.
    ** Quite a few; I think Katerina is 32 now.
    *** Masha had this happen once before in Russia when she was a child; she said she thought she was having an angelic vision because she was suddenly surrounded in light; but then it turned out it was just her hair on fire.
    **** If you have any kind of Greek community in your area, there will be a Greek market that sells this. Supposedly it comes in other colors, but I've never seen anything other than red. Last year I cheated by purchasing my dye from an Italian market. All the eggs came out hot pink. So this year I drove the extra miles to get the authentic stuff. Voila! Red!
    ***** It is organic Cornish wool from Bodmin Moor. I assume that it is scratchy due to the breed of sheep they raise there, since I can't imagine that organic processing would make it harsh.

    Donnerstag, April 05, 2007

    Thursday

    Darth Egg and Cohorts


    A surprisingly tidy egg decorating session (thanks to the kids' moms taking charge). And no khaki eggs. Odd.


    Crosshatch Swatch from Knitty Gritty Episode: Could I, after all, knit a dishcloth?


    It would get rid of the leftover yarn from the baby dress.


    Sock progress


    I keep trying these on, and they keep fitting, no matter how skinny they look. It is, after all, just 1x1 rib--but so much more interesting. Note to anyone interested in knitting these socks two at a time on one or two circular needles as I am: Each time you finish a pattern repeat, the first stitch on each side must be transferred to the other needle. This doesn't happen often--I only have three repeats of the chart in my leg and it is nearly done--but when it does I have to transfer some stitches to another needle to get at those stitches to transfer them. Oh well. Like I said, it doesn't happen all that often.

    And now I am off to buy red dye for my Greek Easter eggs, and feta for my Greek salad and spanakopita. Must do something to celebrate when both Easters fall on the same day.

    Mittwoch, April 04, 2007

    Tea Party

    A couple of weekends ago while Cherry was in town we had a family fiber event. I had enjoyed the SLC-SNB knitting tea a few months ago, so I booked the Beehive Tearoom in Salt Lake for a Saturday afternoon.



    It was a mostly girls' event, but Todd came to make sure no food went to waste (and to spend time with Cherry since she lives on the east coast and we don't see her often).

    The little girls' tea sets at the Beehive are especially cute. The girls had hot chocolate and Berry Berry tea. We had cucumber and other dainty sandwiches, cream puffs, and berries with cream and powdered sugar. There was a great deal of powdered sugar on the floor where the little girls were sitting.



    Everyone knitted except Todd and Cherry.




    They played chess.



    It was a lovely afternoon, especially for those of us steeped in the Victorian novel tradition, and a quiet time to knit, chat, and have someone else wait on us hand and foot.

    Y'all should try it!

    Dienstag, April 03, 2007

    Survived concert, not sure about Pomamtomus chart

    We have a winner in the mystery instrument contest! Ikkinlala correctly guessed that it is a hornpipe. This one is officially a Welsh pibgorn, but since pibgorn just means hornpipe in Welsh I had decided up front to allow that as an answer. I'm still curious about Terri's guess that it might be a shalmei. If it turns out that shalmei just means hornpipe in Hebrew or something we can have two winners. Thanks to everyone who commented--your guesses were interesting.

    By the way, the pibgorn was a big hit at the concert and got a laugh out of the music professors in the back row.

    I am about half done with my Pomatomi.

    Note: The Pomatomus pattern as written is knitted top down.



    The foot of this pattern requires more concentration than I was good for this week. The leg is easier. On the leg you knit a bunch of rows that start with a yarn over, and then follow that with a bunch of rows that start with SSK. This is easy to remember, and the rest of the pattern is mainly just knitting the knits, purling the purls, and keeping the curved lines going.

    I, of course, started with the hard part. Cookie apparently decided that it would look unbalanced to have that row of yarn-overs going up one side of the foot and not the other,

    A bunch of holes


    so she includes a modified version of the chart that provides a more solid and symmetrical edge for the foot.

    Fewer holes


    I found this part of the chart confusing when I knitted my mom's Pomatomi, so I ignored it. Her socks have that line of holes down one side. This time I followed the chart, in the same half-baked way that I glance at the instructions for DVD players and toasters. I still don't know how to use the "Frozen" feature on my toaster; and I had to pick out the same four rows of these sock feet about three times before I was forced to admit I better actually pull out the chart and look at it.

    The leg will be easier. I'm in the home stretch.

    Montag, April 02, 2007

    This Lime and Violet Thing is Getting Out of Hand

    My friend Amy at the Needlepoint Joint once told me that she always packs green and purple when she travels so she'll be assured that her clothes will always go together. I like green. I like purple. But outside Amy's wardrobe, I've never seen them together so much as I have since I started listening to the Lime and Violet podcast. These colors are everywhere!



  • 1. Lisa Souza's "Lime 'n Violet" colorway
  • 2. Dye-abolical Yarns "Boltneck" colorway She's sold out right now but bookmark her and check back--and while you're there, read her profile (unless you already heard it on Lime 'n' Violet)
  • 3. Bluefaced Leister roving in Macaw colorway from Sakina Needles. Her product descriptions are a hoot. Read them all.
  • 4. Ruby297's "Chandi" colorway
  • 5. Blue Moon Fiber Arts "Thistle"
  • 6. Olive and Wine roving from Vedabliss (subtle shading of the theme colors, right?)
  • 7. Lime and Violet circular needles and "Don't Drop" spindle


  • And a close-up of the spindle and needles:



    And a yarn that missed the photoshoot due to having fallen on the floor (Cider Moon's Istanbul colorway--no lime, but some great shades of violet and orchid):



    And a contest: the first person to correctly identify this instrument, which is opening our concert tomorrow night with the fanfare from Monteverdi's Orfeo, wins one of these Lime 'n' Violet themed skeins of yarn. Make sure I have a way to contact you.

    Mystery instrument:

    Pampered Chef towel no longer available in this colorway, but go to Pampered Chef's website and check out the NEW towel colors, under the Shop Online/Trends tab


    I probably ought to take the "Knit from Stash 2007" button off my blog, but I think it reminds me to at least TRY not to buy more yarn. Of course sock yarn doesn't count . . .
    No tickers