Friday, May 18, 2007

More Flowers

The fact that I'm posting more pics of flowers might give you a hint...the knitting progress is nil. :-( I think I have given up (for now) on Eunny Jang's Print 'O the Wave Stole...I hate to admit defeat, but it's just too hard for me. I've only knit two lace projects in the past, plus one little bitty sampler - and although I did complete them successfully, it was a struggle.

However, the lace-knitting mojo is still strong, so I looked though Barbara Walker's second book of patterns and picked out two 8-row patterns that looked do-able. I'm knitting a practice piece that I'm calling the "Why Can't I Knit Lace?" (WCIKL) sampler. I'm doing a center panel of Fountain Lace (p.272) with Branched Fern (p.314) on either side, and selvage stitches at both ends of the needles. I provisionally cast-on 53 stitches - the plan is to go back after one side of the sampler is "done" and pick up the provisional stitches and knit the other side...and then, if I'm still feeling the love, to attempt knitting-on a border all around. If nothing else this will give me practice in the knitting of lace.

I had to wait a few days for my Mother's Day present(s)...Yesterday The Curmudgeon brought home this hanging basket - It hangs on the East (front) side of the house, right outside the over-the-sink kitchen window. DS also funded a similar hanging basket for our other kitchen window - I'll try to post a pic of it tomorrow. (Sorry about the tag at the top of the picture - hubby didn't think to remove it and I can't reach it without stepping in a very wet and muddy flower bed... I'll get hubby to take it off tonight.)

And this is a close-up of one of our roses - I don't have a clue as to it's name so I just call it our "Stripey" rose. Very perfumy.

My learning curve with blogging has hit another stumbling block. You might notice that I have a "button" in my sidebar for Knitter's Coffee Swap, but if you click it, nothing happens. I'm trying to place button-links to other websites in my sidebar, but so far I haven't figured it out. There is apparently some help in (Google) blogger groups, but I can't get the info to upload so I can't read about it. I hate feeling so ignorant!

Gotta go. WCIKL is calling!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Knitting Lace is Fussy

What do you do when you don't have knitting progress to show? You go out in the yard just as the sun is coming up and you take photos of flowers! Thank goodness for flowers...and spring and sunny mornings. We're still enjoying clouds of iris' perfume when we walk outside the front door.

And here are the first blooms of our painted daisies - new this year. I hope this little plant grows into a big clump. I've never grown painted daisies before.

And, a couple of our delphiniums. Sometimes I pick the flower stalks just so I can gather the spent flowers when they fall - they make beautiful additions to potpourri since they keep their color well.
On the knitting front, I made it through about one and a half vertical pattern repeats on the Print 'O The Wave Stole, and then ended up ripping it out and starting over. One of the things that's giving me grief is that I've been using ring type stitch markers between pattern repeats on each row. In some rows there are yarn-overs either just before a stitch marker or just after a stitch marker and it's hard (for me) to get and keep the stitch marker in the correct place - either before or after the yarn-overs. Another problem is that in some rows there's either a k2tog or an ssk that occurs right "over the top" of the stitch markers, using one stitch on either side of the marker, and somehow, I get all goofed up with slipping a stitch to remove the marker, then replacing the stitch and doing the k2tog or the ssk and at the same time getting the marker in the correct place. It doesn't seem all that difficult when I write it out, but the execution of said process is giving me mild fits.
I replaced the ring type stitch markers with little yarn markers in the hopes that they would be easier to manipulate (the yarn-overs) and maybe that would help me in my k2tog and ssk problems. Wish me luck. It's a good thing that I really do enjoy the process of lace knitting, even though it's challenging for me. (Another thing - I'm using my Knit Picks circs -- I love the way the stitches slide from the cable to the needles, but, wow! are those needle points ever slick! The only other circs I have in the correct size are bamboo and the cable join is very "rough" - I don't want to always be babying the stitches over that join.)

In any case, I'm learning as I knit and un-knit and that's all good.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

What would I do without Hege?

Just a very short post to thank Hege, again! In her comment for my last entry she told me how to get a blogroll into my sidebar. It turns out to be so simple that I feel silly...but, in the old blogger it really was more of a Big Deal. In the new, updated blogger is easy peasy! Thanks Hege. (Be sure to check her out - her black-and-white sweater choices are awesome.)

I'll be adding more of my must-read blogs tomorrow.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Iris' and Iris

Walking out our front door these days is to walk into a cloud of Iris perfume! I wish computers had smell-a-vision: then I could re-visit this page anytime during the year and recapture the fragrance. Just across the sidewalk, to the right of the big clump of bi-colored iris, is our miniature yellow rosebush. It is covered with buds.

This one is the first to open. This little bush started out as one of those super market specials years ago. It has thrived and now stands about four feet tall (miniature?) - but all the flowers and leaves are small.

And this is my lace weight Alpaca yarn from Knit Picks in the colorway called "Iris". I bought two skeins to make the Print 'O The Wave Stole and used my yarn swift for the first time last night to wind one of the skeins. I'll be purchasing a ball-winder before I wind the second skein! 440 yards is a LOT of yarn to wind by hand, especially with the yarn being lace weight.
My Everyday Shawl and Rainy Day socks are still in progress... They'll get knitting time after dark (and/or before dawn). Last night I cast on for the new stole and knit a few rows and found that it was difficult to see the stitches in this colorway without good natural light. So it will be a day-time knitting project. I can't wait for the sun to come up!
Tomorrow is Mother's Day. A bittersweet time for those of us whose mothers have died...My Mom died in 1985 and I still miss her. But...I do have many wonderful memories that I treasure.
P. S. I've whined about not knowing how to accomplish some pretty basic skills in blogging, like how to upload images into the text, etc. (Turns out I need to upload the images first, in reverse order of how I want them to display, and add the text later.) So I bought the book Blogging for Dummies by Brad Hill. A mixed bag ... for me anyway. I learned a lot of basic stuff about blogging in general, but I still have no clue about creating a blogroll in my sidebar, for instance, or posting a button to show that I'm participating in the Coffee Swap. Rats.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Lessons in Lace Land

This morning I took my cup of delicious hot coffee and went searching for my Rainy Day sock...and found it where? Looking for Waldo! I had to help it (her?) find Waldo before I could knit another round or two. I'm loving this pattern - but I have to say that when I first started it, I sure had trouble "remembering" how to do a yarn-over between a knit stitch and a purl stitch. Finally had to turn to Montse Stanley's Knitter's Handbook. (Thank you, Montse.) I think I bought my copy on eBay. All the stitches in the sock are still look very bumpy and uneven because the yarn was knitted last summer and then ripped out - this yarn has incredible "stitch memory", as it wasn't on the needles all that long last summer.

And, yeah, Sunday afternoon I did the provisional cast-on and knit about one and a half patern repeats on the Print 'O The Wave Stole. And then I stopped. This lace weight mohair yarn has lots (LOTS) of "halo", I guess it's called. I don't think the photo shows it, but it sure complicates the execution of the knitting. Sometimes the halo-hairs are so numerous that they masquerade as stitches all on their own. This little bit of the knitting required quite a bit of frogging... I don't feel comfortable using this particular yarn for an entire shawl, so I've decided to order some Alpaca Cloud from Knit Picks. :-)

This might seem like a disappointment - but it's not. There are many positives out of this little excursion in lace-land. For one thing, the provisional cast-on went smooth as silk, er...mohair?... Another thing, I worked out my own short-comings in reading the chart for the pattern and it turned out to be very do-able. I feel confident about knitting the shawl in a less fussy yarn. And another positive thing is that there will be an edging that is knitted onto the central portion of the shawl - in the manner of Shetland Shawls and I am looking forward to learning how to do that. Eunny's directions look to be very complete and understandable. Thanks, Eunny. (btw, Congratulations on your recent position with Interweave Knits.) And, finally, waiting for the new yarn to arrive will give me more time to (hopefully) finish the Rainy Day Socks and get in another foot or so on my Everyday Shawl. (I will feel so good when it is finished.)