Green Giant Sweater

The baby sweater is finished. The baby is not. John’s daughter is still pregnant, two weeks overdue now. They had a false alarm the other night and spent the night in the hospital, but then got sent home. Since I don’t have a real baby to be the model, here’s my stand-in:

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It doesn’t fit Sweetpea very well, but it was the best I could do. Here’s another picture sans bear.

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Project Details:
Pattern: Daisy, by the Yarn Harlot, pattern at Knitty.com
Yarn: Butterfly 10 mercerized cotton, in the color Hydepark, from handknitting.com.
Started: late August 2005, finished September 8, 2005.
For: John’s newest grandson, Henry, AKA Huck, not yet born, but we’re waiting patiently.
Gauge/Needles: 20 stiches to 4 inches, on 5mm needles. This yarn would look better knit at closer to a sport weight gauge. It’s a little floppy at worsted weight.

This is a cool pattern. It’s easy, fast, and I love this yarn. It’s a little splitty, and if you have to rip back the yarn plies come apart, making it even more splitty, but the colors are vibrant, and the stitches came out unbelievably even. Yes, I know that those freaking buttons aren’t spaced evenly. I swear, that is the way the pattern is written. I’m calling it a design feature and leaving it at that. What I really love about this sweater is that the button bands are knitted together with the sweater. I probably would have to think a bit before I did this with an adult sweater, because they don’t lay as flat as bands that are picked up and knitted on after the body is done. For a baby sweater though, it’s a great way to do this. That is of course, unless you space the buttonholes unevenly and don’t notice it for some bizarre reason until the buttons are on. If they were picked-up button bands, I probably would feel obligated to take them off and re-do them.

Complete project details here.

I’m also working on Rogue again now that the weather is a bit cooler. To get you up to speed, I’m done with the body, and just have the sleeves left to do. I got mesmerized by that cable pattern again last night and stayed up until 3 AM knitting. No, I don’t have to work today. I popped in the second Lord of the Rings video last night, which was loud enough to keep me awake, and just happily stitched on into the wee hours.

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Here’s a close-up:

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That rolled-up mess at the bottom is the hem. It’s a knitted-on twisted stockinette hem that you turn up and stitch into place when it’s all done. I dislike the way it looks now, but I suspect that it will eventually submit to the Knitting Doctor Rowenta Steamer Torture, and lay flat if it knows what’s good for it.

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I’m not finding much that’s amusing this past week, but this cartoon made me laugh:

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Have a good weekend!

Overdue

That baby, that is. This is a good thing for me, not so good for the mom-to-be. If your name is Jen, and you are about to give birth any minute, now is the time to step away from the computer. You should be off packing your bag to go to the hospital. The rest of you can read on.

I have finished all the pieces to the baby sweater:

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Now I just have to sew them all together, and do the collar finishing. This is Stephanie’s Daisy pattern from Knitty. I have plenty of yarn left over, so I think I will put the hood on as well. I am making this in the middle size, to fit a larger baby. I figure all new babies get a ton of cute infant outfits that they wear once before they grow out of them. This one will fit him when he’s more like 8 months old. With the sleeves rolled up, he can wear it while it’s too big, and the wearing season can be stretched for at least a couple of months.

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I’m off to watch the Weather Channel. With the weather being so calm and lovely here today, it’s hard to fathom that New Orleans is about to get pummeled to the ground. My thoughts are with all the people of the Gulf Coast region; here’s one way we can all help:

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Donate to the Disaster Relief Fund. Here’s the deal: I’m not going to volunteer to keep track of knit bloggers’ donations, Harlot-style, because, well, I can’t even balance my checkbook.  But I challenge you all to donate to the RC, and to put that button on your blog when you do (save it to your server first, of course). You are on your honor, and you don’t have to blog the amount that you have given. $5, or $5000; it will all help.

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Addendum:
Go here. Margene and Susan have set up an official blog page to inspire you to donate to the Red Cross. If the Red Cross doesn’t suit you, Angela has a list of other ideas for charities to send your money to. Give what you can.

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Prescription for the Blahs

If you want a good laugh or two, go to Cara’s post from a few days ago and read all the jokes in the comments. Thanks, Cara!

It seems like everybody is talking about the blog doldrums. I have them, too, I guess. It’s not that I’m not knitting, because I am. I’m tired of talking about the same old projects, though. The lace scarf is a few inches longer, the sock looks about the same, and it’s been too warm still to sit with a pile of Rogue wool in my lap. The remodeling is nearly done, and the hand is pretty much where it’s going to be. So what to write about?

Shopping, that’s what! Nothing like a good shopping spree in the lace yarn section to get those creative juices flowing. Have any of you noticed that most brick-and-mortar yarn shops don’t carry much in the way of lace yarn? At least the ones around here don’t seem to. The internet comes to the rescue again!

First up is this little collection, all from The Knitter.com. This is a good store, by the way. Lots of yarn choices, reasonable shipping, and the site is pretty well organized. My only complaint is that the little tiny photos of the yarn colors are a bit hard to see. I ended up going to other sites that show better, bigger yarn photos to choose the colors. Oh yeah, the colors. Here they are:

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There is Zephyr, in Vanilla and Dianthus, and Misti Alpaca in Sea Mist.

Next up is Alpaca Cloud in Tidepool, from Knitpicks:

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I also bought this, though not online.

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I already have her Knitting On the Edge, and couldn’t resist this one. I discovered a disturbing thing while in the bookstore browsing the knitting section: It’s finally happened, I have more knitting books than Barnes & Noble.

That yarn will all be shawls at some time in the future. I have patterns for several shawls, and have a master plan to work up from simpler to ridiculously challenging.

Here, last but not least, is the ridiculously challenging:

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What hooked me on the Wedding Ring Shawl was the little disclaimer on the website “Once gone, this design will not appear in print again before 2010”. There are only 500 copies that will be sold, and I got Number 37. Don’t even ask what possessed me to buy these, since I’m having trouble with a small lace rectangle in fingering weight yarn. All I can say is that lace knitting appears to be like crack for me. Go to the website, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. You also might want to put a protective cloth on your keyboard to keep the drool off.

The Joy of Naps

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I just had to lead off with that picture. We went out for pizza for lunch yesterday, then everybody in the house took naps. I woke up about three hours later with two cats draped around me on the bed. When I went downstairs, these two were asleep on the sofa. All in all, a productive afternoon.

I did actually accomplish some knitting this past week. It was a work week, so I didn’t get much done besides work, sleep, and eat. I managed a few rows however. I started a new project for somebody in the family about to have a baby. Hey, I’m planning ahead; she’s not due until this Friday.  I wasn’t planning on putting this on the blog, but John spilled the beans that I’m knitting something, and I suspect with a toddler at home, and 2 days from d-day, she’s not reading my blog.

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It’s hard to tell what it’s going to be from that, and I’m just not telling, in case she really has nothing better to do than snoop around here. The yarn is Butterfly Super 10 cotton in the color Hyde Park. This is quite nice to knit with, and though I’m not a huge fan of variegated yarns for things other than socks, the colors in this are surprisingly subtle. That is, if you can use the word “subtle” to describe something this bright green while keeping a straight face. That picture really doesn’t do it justice. In real life it sort of screams green. I’ll post details about what this is once she delivers. By the way, in case you’re thinking that this looks a little big for a newborn, this girl gives birth to toddler-size children, so I’m not taking any chances this time.

The other knitting project I’ve worked on this week is that lace scarf. Here’s where I am. And yes, it is bigger than last time I put a picture up here.

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I am slowly learning the finer points of knitting lace. One thing I learned this week is this: Don’t come home after a very cranky day at work and pick this up at 11 PM thinking you will just knit a couple of rows to wind down so you can go to sleep. I’ve also discovered that once I have totally screwed it up at 11:30 PM, that I can’t just put it down with plans to fix it the next day. I have to fix it before I go to sleep or in fact, I won’t be able to go to sleep at all. I’ve also discovered that I don’t count very well at 11 PM.

I’ve also discovered that lace and bourbon apparently don’t mix well. It didn’t stop me from trying.

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And finally, I got those squares mailed off yesterday to Annie. Here they are, just so I can milk these one more time as a finished project.

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Finished is finished, even if they’re only eight inches square.

Baseball & Blocking

We did get to the Rainiers game on Friday. The morning started out cool and drizzly, but by afternoon it was sunny and warm. The home team lost, the game was sort of a snore, but it was still a great way to spend a nice summer evening. Why is it that hot dogs taste so good at a ballpark, when you would probably never eat them at home? We splurged and bought tickets for box seats, almost right behind home plate. At a minor league game, this means we spent all of 12 bucks. What a deal. Here are the photos:

The pre-game conference at home plate.

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Me knitting my sock:

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Here’s the sock enjoying the action in a later inning:

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And that same inning without the sock:

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And best of all, the fireworks after the game:

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I finished the second of the squares for the Blanket Project. Here they are after a wash, on my new blocking board (well, one square from my new blocking board). As soon as they dry, they’ll be off in the mail to Annie.

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And the sock, trying to get in on the action:

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I’ve gotten a lot of comments on the foam mats. So far they are working great. The pins will leave tiny holes, so if that bugs you, don’t buy these. I bought them just for blocking, so the holes are OK to me. There is a link in my previous post as to where I found these online, but you can find them at a lot of carpet/flooring dealers as well. They are primarily used as flooring in kids’ play areas, so are durable and just wipe clean.

I’m off to work on some lace. It’s still too hot around here to work on Rogue; sitting with a pile of Aran weight wool in my lap is not my idea of fun when it’s in the 80’s (high 20’s-low 30’s for those of you in the rest of the world). I start my 7-day work slog tomorrow, so I plan on thoroughly enjoying today!

Squares

I finished the first square for the blanket project, and was all ready to mail it off to Annie. I have more than enough of this yarn left to make another square, so the mailing will have to wait another day or so. These knit up pretty fast, assuming you are referring to a speedy knitter who doesn’t get sidetracked by a zillion other projects in between rows.

Here’s the first one:

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And the second:

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These are both out of Barbara Walker’s Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. The first one is “Fancy Lozenge”, the second is “Seaweed”. I picked patterns that look good on both sides. Someday I might just get the urge to make myself an afghan using these books. Once I get the second one finished, I’ll block them both and get them off in the mail.

Speaking of blocking, here’s what’s new at my house:

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I finally got around to ordering these*, and am very happy that I did. Okay, maybe it’s a bit of an overkill for that one little square, but the beauty of this is that you can use just as many of the blocks as you need for the project. I actually bought a lot more of these for when I have a huge shawl or a Bigfoot sweater to block. They come apart easily enough for storage. The other really great feature of these is that they are very easy on your knees when you are crawling around pinning stuff down. That wasn’t the case for my old plywood and styrofoam board.

On the remodeling front, we’re sort of in the homestretch. The carpet has all been installed upstairs, and the new window coverings upstairs mostly got put in yesterday. We went with the Duette fabric blinds, and two of the window sets didn’t fit, and a third one didn’t get ordered with the rest so will be in next week. (Hello, didn’t that guy come out TWICE to measure?) I now have doors back on all my bathrooms, though two of the doors upstairs got damaged at the paint shop so they have to replace them. They’ll be in who knows when. Now I just have to get all the clothes out of the bathtub and back in the closet. For some reason, I’ve been putting that one off. We’re getting together with our neighbors and having a garage sale next weekend, so it’s given me an inspiration to do some de-cluttering when stuff comes back in the house from the garage.

We are going to a Tacoma Rainiers game tonight, so if it doesn’t rain, expect some knitting-baseball pictures next time. They are having fireworks after the game, so I’m going even if I have to wear long underwear (it’s been a bit chilly here the past few days).

*I ordered the mats from here.

Five Things I Miss From Childhood

Celia from Unraveling tagged me for this one. I’m not tagging anybody, as I think I’m the last person in Blogville to do this, but if you haven’t, feel free to take this one on.

If you want to participate, the chain-letter part works like this: remove the blog at #1 from the following list and bump every one up one place; add your blog’s name in the #5 spot; just check to make sure the links are still attached if you copy n’ paste.

1) purly brites
2) hkknitter
3) Kimberli New York
4) unraveling
5) knitting doctor

1. Playing outside all summer long with my little brother and the neighborhood friends until long after dark. The usual games were variations of hide and seek, with the main object being to jump out and scare the hell out of whoever was “it” when they found you.

2. Having whole summers off to play without having to think about school.

3. Going back to school in the fall. I especially liked the pre-school shopping. Every year we would get a new pair of school shoes, and the smell of new leather shoes can still transport me back to when I was eight. I also loved shopping for school supplies, and still do. Get me in the aisle with the pencils, and I am hopelessly smitten.

4. Going to the library in town on Saturday. My home town had only about 800 people, but thanks to some rich lady who donated money, we had a nice little library. On Saturday my mom would pack us all up to go to town to do the shopping, visit with the town relatives and friends, and then go to the library. I would load up with as many books as I could carry to last me until the next weekend. My mother had to keep reminding the library lady that, yes, my daughter can read more than one book in a week. And that it was OK for me to check books out of the adult fiction section, because I’d already read all the ones in the kid section. My mom was a fan of reading, and mostly we were exempt from chores if we were parked somewhere with a book in hand. Hence my love of reading. Anything that gets me out of cleaning house can’t be bad.

5. Having crushes on boys. Yes, I know you can still get crushes on boys as an adult, but they don’t have the same intensity or cause quite as much insanity as when you are thirteen. There is just nothing in the world like that feeling that you will certainly die if he doesn’t notice you, and then again the feeling that you will die if he does.
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I finished one of the Watercolor socks over the weekend. I grafted the toe while getting my hair foiled for highlights. Every single time I go to the salon, I wish I’d taken my camera, as I always take knitting along. Though I’m not sure you all are ready for a picture of me with ten pounds of foil and glop in my hair. Here’s the sock.

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And I cast on for the mate immediately, in hopes of someday finishing the pair.

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I also started an afghan square for the Blanket Project started by Annie, in memory of John Glick, Kerstin’s brother-in-law. Go here for details.

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Those of you with very good memories might recognize this yarn. It was gifted to me by Kristen after my hand injury, so I could play with Koolaid dyeing while I couldn’t knit. Here is the post that describes the process. I figured this was a very appropriate use for the yarn!

I’m off to unpack more boxes. We have company coming in a month, so I now have a deadline for getting all the stuff jammed into the guest rooms back to its proper place.

Not Much Knitting

I still don’t have much knitting to report. It has been so NORma! hot here that I really don’t feel like knitting. For those of you in the rest of the country, in the Pacific NW we get a little uncomfortable when we’ve had too many sunny days in a row. I just want to go hang out in the hammock with a fan and a glass of iced tea, or maybe a gin & tonic.

I did make a field trip north to see the Harlot today. She was at Third Place Books in Shoreline this afternoon, and also at Weaving Works in Seattle tonight. I went to the afternoon show signing.She is most definitely one of the funniest women I’ve ever met. She talked, showed off the latest sock, and signed books.

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There were probably fifty or more people there, maybe more.(I’m not so hot at math.) It was a hoot to turn around and look at the room full of women knitting away madly while she was talking. Yes, there were a few men there. I didn’t see any of them actually knitting; they looked like they were with wives. Or maybe they were just trying to pick up knitters.

I got to meet Dorothy from Missouri Star. She is my new hero. Not only was she wearing a lovely shawl she had made (the Mediterranean Lace Shawl from A Gathering Of Lace), but she was knitting lace in public, while listening to Stephanie. And she didn’t have a pattern in front of her, but apparently was just making it up as she went along.

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Here is where I am with my current projects:

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I’m doing the toe decreases, in case you can’t tell from that lovely photo.

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If you were thinking that this looks suspiciously like the last photo that I posted of this, you are correct. It’s not because I haven’t been working on it however. It’s just that a lot of it has been knitted and reknitted, and much of the progress has been in reverse. One of these days I may learn how to count. This is a bit more challenging than the Birch shawl. The pattern repeat is 24 rows, so it’s harder to memorize, and it has decreases and yarnovers on the wrong side rows as well as the public side. It’s really not difficult, it just requires that you pay attention.

The home remodeling is coming along. The furniture got moved back in this week, though we are planning to replace some pieces that have seen their better days. I’ve spent the past several days getting stuff out of boxes and back into closets and shelves. We’ve discovered in this process that we have way more crap than what any two people really need, so a lot of the junk is staying in boxes in the garage, and we’re planning a big neighborhood garage sale. (Don’t panic, none of the yarn is going on the block.) The carpet upstairs is mostly installed, though they ran out and left one stair to be finished when the next shipment comes in. I still don’t have doors on any of my bathrooms, or blinds on any windows. The doors get put back up tomorrow when the painters come back to touch up, and who knows about the blinds. My only consolation is that I’ve gotten to the point in life where there really aren’t many people hanging out peeking in my windows while I’m showering.

I’m off to find someplace cool to sleep. Maybe that hammock.

No Knitting

I have no knitting to report. The house is a bustle of activity, and I haven’t picked up the needles in two days. We’ve mostly gotten moved back into the kitchen, and I’ve been cleaning the cabinets and everything in them to get rid of the construction dust. The wood floors are done, though the heat duct covers aren’t on yet, and the painting is done. We can’t put the oriental rugs on the floors for a couple of weeks, so we’ve decided to just leave the furniture in the garage for now rather than move it twice.

We built a new fireplace front with this phase of the remodeling. The old one was just a blank hole in the wall, with a concrete slab stuck in the wall as a suspended hearth. Our construction guys built a box for a real hearth, which we had covered with the same tile that we used in the entrance. Then we had a mantle piece fabricated, which was installed yesterday. Here are the photos:

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Here are our new pantry shelves:

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This room used to be just a junk room, but we had shelving made for storage, and there will be a long desktop on the wall with the window. On the opposite wall is a bookshelf just for cookbooks.

One of the main motivators for this whole project was this:

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This is a refrigerated wine storage unit that we have had for several years. The previous configuration of our main living area was kitchen with eating area, family room/den, and a combined living and dining room (the room with the fireplace). We were very cramped in the previous dining area, and don’t really need two living room areas. So the dining room is being moved to the old family room, and the other room will be one large living room. We didn’t want the wine unit to take up half the dining room, so we had this built:

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Yesterday the wine unit got moved back in, and we started loading it up.

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I think we’ve found most of the wine boxes in the garage, though who knows with that mess out there. We of course had to sample some last night to make sure none of it had gone bad from the lousy storage conditions.

Today the new entrance light fixtures are being installed. I’m off to clean more cabinets.

Bluegrass Rules

We had a great time at the Darrington Bluegrass Festival. Well, I had a good time. John thinks that “bluegrass festival” and “great time” are phrases that just should never be used in the same sentence. He gets bored with the banjos after about the first hour, though he’s a good sport and keeps going to these events with me. True love, I tell you.

The Darrington festival is a three day event: Friday night through Sunday late afternoon. The festival is in its 29th year, and is held in a big outdoor amphitheater. The place is surrounded by the northern Cascade mountains, and the sound is great. The population has strong roots to the state of North Carolina, due to mill workers being brought in decades ago to work in the local mill. The festival always has a couple of “big name” headliners, but most of the rest of the performers are local, and play very traditional style mountain bluegrass.

We stayed in a rustic resort about 20 miles from Darrington called the Skagit River Resort. They have a huge rabbit population that runs wild. According to the locals, the bunnies were imported years ago, and when the population got a bit out of hand, they were just released to the wild. They make for great photo opportunities, but I suspect I’d get sick and tired of bunny droppings on everything after awhile.

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Here’s the festival stage at night:

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Bluegrass festivals make for great knitting time. Here I am working on Rogue. Friday night it was cool enough that I wished I was done with it so I could wear it.

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If you are performing on the stage, this is the view:

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Here is a photo of my all-time favorite bluegrass band, Country Current. They are five of the best in the business. And they look pretty sharp in their uniforms as well.

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One of the great things about this festival is that it is truly a family event. There is plenty of space for camping, and people come with their kids and their campers, and there is music playing in the campground all night long. Apparently hula hoops have come back into vogue, for those of you who missed it the first time around.

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Here I am knitting, with that view behind me.

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I finished the hood on Rogue, and started on the first sleeve. The hood grafting wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. Instead of worrying about grafting the reverse stockinette sections “backwards”, I just grafted the whole thing in stockinette. At least in this yarn, it all blends in, and you can’t tell the difference.

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Here is what the park looked like on Sunday:

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And my sock’s view:

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So when’s the next bluegrass festival, dear??

Update

Catchy title, eh?

This blog post is being brought to you from my neighbor’s basement. Yes, I can access our home wireless network from the neighbor’s house. I guess it’s a good thing that we set up the security features when we installed the network. I even printed something to our printer from here this morning.

We got evicted from our house yesterday by the floor guys. The final coat went on the wood floors yesterday, and they were not kidding when they said that we wouldn’t want to be in the house. We packed up the cats and moved over here for the night. We’re going to be out of town for the weekend so hopefully it will have aired out by the time we get back. Riley is already at her little doggie bed and breakfast for the weekend.

So where are we going this time? Here.  I love me some good bluegrass music, and I get to go to the mountains to hear a whole weekend of it. Country Current is one of my favorite bluegrass bands, so I couldn’t pass this one up. It’s an outdoor venue, and I’m taking all of my knitting projects and planning on a great time.

Here are some pictures:

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I’m up to where the hood shaping starts on Rogue. Knitting with this yarn still bugs my hand a bit, but I’ve gotten enough strength back so I can knit six or eight rows before I drag out the ice pack for relief. I’m really trying hard not to overdo it.

I turned the heel on the sock yesterday also. Turning heels never ceases to amaze me. I’m easily amused.

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And here is a view of our lake from our neighbor’s deck:

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Lucy spent much of yesterday afternoon under the bed here. She was a bit freaked out at coming over here, but has adapted, and is clearly making herself at home.

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The banjos are calling me. I’ll be back after the weekend!

Birch Shawl

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Started: August 2004
Finished: July 2005. This one sat on the back burner for a long time after I started it. It is also the first big project that I finished after my hand injury.

Yarn: Rowan KidSilk Haze, in Liqueur
Pattern: Birch, from Rowan 34, Fall/Winter 2003

What I learned:
This was my first big lace project. I learned to use a lifeline, and not to get cocky and take it out because I thought I had mastered the pattern repeat. I also learned that you do NOT want to rip out KidSilk Haze. I learned that I love knitting lace. It’s magic when those little patterns appear. It’s even more magic when you block it and that pile of mohair turns into exquisite lace.

Birch, Done

Here are the promised Birch action shots. It’s not so easy to take pictures of this on a breezy day, let me tell you.

Here’s the shawl enjoying a nice day in the hammock:

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Riley likes it, too.

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And the “Claudia“:

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This took me forever to knit, not because it was difficult, which it is not. The hand escapade intervened and took three months off my knitting life. The pattern is easy, though knitting with KidSilk Haze can be a pain at times. I love this, and will likely wear it often.

Project details will be in the next post.

New Lace

I haven’t taken that Birch action shot just yet. Of course, now that it’s done, the sky is cloudy and not at all conducive to taking even a remotely decent photo. I have worn it, though, and love it. I can see wearing it often!

Since this is the Summer of Lace and all, I started a new lace project. Actually this is an old project that I started way before I started this blog. It’s the Lead or Follow lace scarf from HeartStrings FiberArts.  She doesn’t sell retail from her website any longer, though you can buy her patterns at various retail shops.

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That’s what the pattern is supposed to look like when finished and blocked. Here’s mine so far:

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I actually was about ten rows farther than this, but for some reason that escapes me, I didn’t write down where I was when I left off. I suppose that I had the notion that when I put it down that it wouldn’t sit unattended for two years before I started again. After I fiddled a bit with it, I lost patience and ripped it all out and started over.  The yarn is Richesse et Soie, a cashmere/silk blend from Knit One Crochet Too. This is truly yummy yarn to work with, though a bit spendy to make much more than a scarf. Here’s the deal though: I bought this years ago when it was cheaper, so my yarn-stashing retirement plan is actually working!

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Here’s a new-to-me blog that will make you spit your coffee all over your keyboard. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.  You Knit What?? has photos of all those lovely projects you’ve been just dying to make.