Wednesday, June 14, 2006

It's a Time Warp, I tell you!

How the heck can it be (almost) the middle of June already? Not only does time move faster the older you get, but May and especially June move at warp speed. I think it may be because I'm always thinking "If I don't get the (fill-in-the-blank) planted, they won't have time to bloom/produce this season." And, the days just scoot along anyway. And, yes, I do still have some planting to be done. Shame on me.

On the knitting front, the green stripey socks finally managed to jump into my hands and demand to be finished. I'm wearing them now. Oooo, Aaaaah. Very comfy and warm. (And we need the warm just now. Last night there was a tornado warning [!!!] for the Treasure Valley here in Idaho - none actually materialized - and, today the high is expected to be 69. It's rainy and grey outside - a perfect day for green stripeys.)

The green stripey yarn is "Parade" from Knit Picks in the forrest colorway. The yarn was advertised as getting 7-8 stitches to the inch on size 2 or 3 needles, but when it came in the mail, there was a nice note from Knit Picks explaining that between swatching and spinning/advertising, the yarn turned out to be a bit heavier. As I knit the socks, the yarn reminded me of 6 ply Regia. I ended up having to use four skeins to finish the socks. As you probably know, most sock patterns require 2 50 gram skeins, but I always buy 3 because I have big feet and I like my socks a bit longer than most patterns specify. If I purchase more Parade, I will probably buy 5 skeins so that I have plenty left over to re-knit the heels when they wear out.

My Rosebud shawl is relegated to a back burner while I decide what to do with it. I'm about nine inches into it and I'm afraid that when I block it, the cast-on edge is not going to be stretchy enough. I thought I had cast on very loosley, but I'm thinking now that I should have cast on using size 6 or 7 needles (and doing it loosley) to compensate for the side-ways stretchiness of the lace which is knitted on size 4 needles. And, to add to my dilema, I'm not really liking it a whole bunch. I think that is because of the yarn I chose... So I either have to rip it out and start over with a much looser cast-on edge, or chose another pattern, or chose another yarn (and another pattern?). More choices than my little brain can handle right now.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Why is it called "frogging"?

The good news is that the hand-wound center pull ball is working fine! The bad news is that five rows into the lace pattern on my "Rosebuds" shawl, I managed to create a giant snafu and ended up un-knitting, one stitch at a time, all the way back to the foundation row and starting over. If you had been listening very carefully Wednesday night you might have heard me quietly growling and snarling. The pattern repeat is only 12 rows, so I hadn't even thought of putting in a life-line yet. Now, having successfully worked through one and a half 12 row pattern repeats I think maybe I'm getting the hang of it. One way of keeping myself on track, is that every pattern repeat (horizontally), I check immediately to see if I have the correct number of stitches between markers.

"Why is she only one and a half times through the 12 row pattern?" you ask... Both Wednesday and Thursday I watched my just-turned-five-years-old grand-daughter, Pookie. (My love-name for her) Not much knitting got done. The knitting I got done Wednesday night after she left, turned out to be a snarl, as described above, and Thursday's time at the needles, in between approximately 85 million interruptions, was un-knitting. (By the way, why do knitters call this "frogging"? I've run info the term a lot, but never have knows the history of the term.) And, Friday I just vegged and napped - recovery time.

This whole Amazing Lace adventure is a learning experience, right? Well, I'm learning. To count stitches... Also, I'm beginning to suspect that the particular color-way I chose for this shawl might not be the best. I love the colors, but there is a lot of difference in the colored sections, as opposed to a yarn that varies between different intensities of the same color, or two or three closely related colors. The Stained Glass colorway varies from dark purple to bright turquoise, with magenta and pink. The way the colors are pooling as the pattern grows might end up subtracting from the beauty of the lace pattern. Just have to keep knitting and hope that the finished product will work.

Wednesday morning Pookie and I saw a hummingbird feeding at one of the feeders outside our big kitchen window. The little hummer had landed on the perch and stayed for a long time (measured by hummingbird standards). When she was finished drinking her sugar water, she cocked her tail the way birds do and went potty (!) before she zoomed away. Pookie laughed and laughed until I thought she was going to fall down. (Why do kids love bathroom humor so much?) I make sugar water for the hummers using a recipe I found here. Lots of good info if you're a hummer lover.

Also, as long as I'm talking about birds, yesterday I saw a pair of American Goldfinches at our sunflower-seed feeder. First ones I've seen this season. Our winter and spring flocks of chickadees and Oregon Juncos have moved on, it seems, and mostly the feeders are visited by house finches and sparrows these days. I saw a robin taking a bath in the big old bird-bath that our son hauled all the way from Seattle for me. (I've wanted a bird-bath for years...)

Back to knitting... Several projects that are waiting, on needles, are beginning to pout because I'm spending all my stitching time with the Rosebud shawl. My green-stripey-socks (only half a foot left to finish the pair) are the worst. Every time I reach past them to pick-up my shawl basket the green-stripey socks try to jump right out of their basket and into my hand. Silly green-stripeys. Maybe later today, if the sun comes out, I will get them out for a photo shoot - maybe that will help them feel better. Another still-on-needles project that is beginning to make a lot of noise is the vest I started months (MONTHS, I say) ago for our oldest grand-daughter, The Bean (she's eight, going on 14). I sort of made my own pattern, using stitch patterns from Alice Starmore's Fishermen's Sweaters, particularity the patterns from "Cape Cod". Took me hours and hours to chart out the whole thing, figure out stitch counts and do a couple of swatches. And I love the way it's turning out, but...well, I already confessed to being easily distracted. 'Nuf said!