Monday, June 9, 2008

Returning to Normal

Or Not.

Husband and I got back from TNNA last night and I have been trying to get my head out of the wool fumes. Wow, that was an amazing experience. I got to meet Anne from Knitspot, Pam Allen from Classic Elite, Linda Cortright from Wild Fibers Magazine, just to name a few. Plus, the Yarn Harlot was kind enough to hold my sock.

(Apologies for the slightly blurry photo, Stephanie).

Husband and I were there with My Sister's Knits and I had a blast helping choose yarns and colors for the shop. Carol, the shop owner gave me excellent advice when she said to bring layers since the convention center was freezing. It certainly was and so I could happily debut the Green Blob, now a beautiful shawl all grown up and blocked (pleasantly warm, too). Sadly, no finished object shots yet - those will have to wait until the weekend when hopefully I can convince the darling husband to come outside and play photographer.

Now that we are home again, I spent the day knitting up sleeve #2 of the Debbie Bliss sweater that I have been working on for the shop. I hate to confess that some minor math difficulties have made this project take longer than I would really like. This afternoon I recalculated the sleeve cap (my row gauge is off - always is) for the second time. Apparently trying to do some fairly basic calculations after getting home from class at 9:30 at night makes me think that 25 stitches over 4 inches equals 5 stitches per inch. Let's just say that my initial numbers were a bit off. Now my numbers are correct and sleeve cap #2 is half-way done. Of course, I still need to rip and re-knit sleeve cap #1. Maybe this was just my subconscious trying to tell me that I do not tink nearly enough to justify my blog title.

In other wool adventures, I decided to wash a bunch of the darling husband's sweaters so that I can get them packed away for summer. It turns out that my washing machine actually does a phenomenal job. Fill the tub with lukewarm water, pour in some Soak (love that stuff), let it sit for 20+ minutes, run the spin cycle, and then lay out the sweaters to dry. It turns out that finding space for six giant sweaters was by far the hardest part of the process. It is pretty hard to get to our dining table at the moment after what I did to the living/dining room.

First, I have two sweaters from four or five years ago. The one on the left was slated to be the second sweater I ever made for the darling husband (then darling boyfriend) and I had planned to gift it to him on our first anniversary. It actually turned into sweater #3 when I realized that the big fisherman cabled mass was not going to be ready in time. The sweater on the right is one that I made during the summer and fall in the year that we were engaged (two independent occurrences, I swear).

Again, apologies for the blurry photo - the flash obliterated all the detail.

You may recognize the space in the next picture as the former home of my blocking apparatus, now doing double-duty as the sweater drying area. I had originally thought I could fit all six sweaters there - don't know what I was thinking. At the bottom we have Cobblestone, this year's birthday present. Moving clockwise to the left, we have the second finished sweater I ever gave my husband. It turns out that lopi yarns knit up at 3 and a half stitches per inch make for much faster sweaters than cables knit in dk weight yarn. At the top is a hooded sweater that I designed using the wonderful book, The Sweater Workshop. Finally on the right we have a basic raglan that I knit at least 3 years ago - I remember the apartment we were in when I knit it but can't pinpoint the time much better than that (we were there for two years).

Well, I turned the air conditioning on to try and get some of the humidity out of the air in here. I think I am just going to have to get used to the scent of wet wool for the next few days.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Tough Choice

Husband and I are off to TNNA in a few hours. Both he and my bank account are very grateful that I will not be able to purchase any of the lovelies that we see. However, I do have another dilemma: what knitting to bring? You know the deal - I want something that I can whip out of my bag and knit a few stitches here and there but it also has to be suitably impressive. I dug the front of Cromarty out of the bottom of my knitting basket to work on when knitting with a friend last weekend. I was a bit too distracted chatting while trying to figure out where I was in the chart that I had to frog the rows that I had knit and go back to where I had stopped months ago (and I honestly could not tell you when I last worked on this piece.

Here is a picture of the back from last summer. Subtract a row or two and that is about how far along I am on the front.

After last weekend, Cromarty will not be my bag knitting on this trip; rather, it will stay in the hotel. So, back to the drawing board. The perfect carry-around knitting is, after all, socks. So I thought I would bring this along to play with.

Remember my dyeing adventures from a couple weeks ago? This is the final product. I kept trying to get out on the deck and take a picture in unfiltered sunlight but we seem to have attracted a very large bee whose sole purpose in life appears to be zooming around our deck. Perhaps it likes residual fumes of furniture stain from when we refinished a couple of tables a few weeks ago. In any case, it has taken over the deck and I have stopped trying to venture out since it zooms at the door whenever I open it.

If you will excuse me, I am off to pull out Barbara Walker and swatch.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Busy Weekend

Wow, the weekend just flew right by. There was visiting (no pictures, unfortunately), pie baking, and plenty of knitting. Since this is a knitting blog, after all, I'll jump straight to that.

First off, I blocked the green blob. Here is a teaser photo until I can get some good F/O shots (probably this weekend):

Since our current apartment has hardwood floors instead of carpet, this is my blocking apparatus:

Two sets of 2x2 foam exercise mats - about $30 for the pair from Target. The packaging has a picture of a man lifting weights and helpfully says "weight bench not included." Since the mats come wrapped in plastic with a cardboard sleeve, I wonder where one might hide the weight bench. But I digress . . .

The darling husband has been working on a felted bag for me off and on for over a year. Under the guise of helping him finish it up on Saturday, I somehow managed to tack down the handles, weave in the ends, and sew up the bottom seam and gussets. I'm not quite sure how that all happened, since all I sat down to do was untangle the yarn. Probably that whirlwind pace is what made the straps end up being slightly off center (I distinctly remember calculating stitch counts so that they would line up properly). Oh well. I'm calling it a design feature. Still a little damp, but here it is:

One last thing - this weekend I got together with a good friend from college and during the visit was presented with a beautiful birthday present: a lovely handmade quilt.

I'm hoping that this will spur me on in my own never-ending quilt project. We'll just have to see.