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Ms. Knits: April 2006

Sunday, April 30

Weekend? What weekend?

Where do the weekends go to? I had grand plans for everything I would get done this weekend, but didn't quite accomplish what I wanted.

Plans:
- Finish sewing Weekender bag
- Finish knitting front of Salina sweater
- Plant tomato plants
- Plant flowers in back yard
- Go for a bike ride
- Set up new blog site

What really happened:
- Went for a bike ride (ow, sore rear end!)
- Took a nap
- Had friends over for an impromptu barbecue
- Knit a few rows on Salina
- Went shopping for summer clothes
- Pruned hedges
- Took another nap (anyone see a pattern here?)
- Laundry

I guess I got a lot done, and definitely had a good weekend, but I didn't make any crafty progress to speak of.

Just in time for the end of April's Project Spectrum, here are some poppy pictures that I took along the bike trail on Saturday morning. Enjoy!





Thursday, April 27

Testing...1...2...3...

Move along, nothing new here. Just a test post to see if Bloglines fixed my feed. I have my doubts...

Tuesday, April 25

Backyard Leaves, among the backyard leaves

My wisteria tree is so pretty this time of year, I couldn't resist using it as the backdrop for my completed Backyard Leaves scarf.


I finished the scarf on Sunday evening, sewed the two halves together, and weaved in the ends. This project went really fast - one week from start to finish! Why can't every project be like this? I plan to give the scarf a light steam blocking before sending it off to the recipient, then it's time to start finishing my other projects before I become tempted to start something new.

Backyard Leaves in Review:
Pattern: Backyard Leaves from Scarf Style
Yarn: Karabella Aurora 8, in Periwinkle (24) [I think that's the right color]
Needles: Lantern Moon Rosewood, size 8, because I wanted to knit this on short straight needles, and those are the only ones I own!
Modifications: None
Thoughts: Have I mentioned that I adore this pattern? So simple, yet not at all boring to knit, and the end result is fabulous. The 20 row repeat isn't exactly memorizeable, although I only had to refer to the chart on a few of the rows that didn't intuitively follow the rest of the pattern (the two or three rows following the leaf tips)

Monday, April 24

Stitch & Ride

Caitlyn & I (and a bunch of fun ladies from the knitting guild, including Beth, who helped set up the trip and took some great pictures) made a trip on the Amtrak Stitch & Ride train to the Knit & Crochet show on Saturday.

Here's Caitlyn working on her sock - the lucky girl won a great door prize on the train!


And these are the fun gals who shared a table with us in the knitting car. They were both working on neat beaded Koigu purses. So pretty!

I worked on the Backyard Leaves scarf on the train. Note to self: charts + train + crazy chatting knitters = much frogging. Oh well, it was fun anyway. And you see that little spot of pink behind my right shoulder? It's Nancie!


Yes, that's right, I got to meet the author of my favorite knitting book (which also happens to be the most useful knitting book that I own) - Nancie Wiseman!


Unfortunately, neither Caitlyn or I took pictures at the knit show itself, even after we each mentioned several times that we should take pictures! I'd be a horrible photojournalist. You'll just have to imagine a big room in a convention center filled with yarn and fibery goodness everywhere. And knitters. Lots and lots of knitters.

The show was great, but I didn't have much luck finding patterns. I was hoping to find a lace pattern that hasn't already been knit to death, but patterns were in short supply at the show.

There was one beautiful display of Russian Lace shawls (yeah, yeah - no pictures... sorry), but they were all for sale, and the booth didn't have any patterns available. I did manage to find some very pretty yarn for my next lace project from a different vendor.



As far as I can tell, this yarn isn't available anywhere except for from Yarn Place, and it doesn't even show up on their website. It is a gorgeous deep red tencel/merino blend, and I would guess that it is cobweb weight or maybe even finer (no gauge is given on the yarn band). Seriously, it is a very fine yarn. Smaller than some thread that I've used. There are 3000 yards of yarn in this 4 oz. hank! 3000! Crazy.


How long do you suppose it will take me to make a lace shawl on tiny (00? 0? 1?) needles with 3000 yards of yarn? I'm guessing a reeeeeallly long time. Any ideas for patterns? I love Eunny's Print O'The Wave stole- and this is enough yarn to make 4 of those! Yikes!

Thursday, April 20

Random Thoughts on a Thursday

- Finished the first half of Backyard Leaves last night. Dang, that is a neat pattern. I could knit leaf repeats all day long. No time for pictures though.

- The Knit & Crochet Show is in Oakland this weekend & Amtrak is sponsoring a Stitch & Ride train to get there. Sounds like a lot of fun, and I'm a big fan of taking the train into the Bay Area. Still can't decide whether I should go or not. I'm thinking probably... especially if it is going to rain again this weekend.

- Still haven't had a chance to work on the Weekender any more. Why is it that I seem to have less time now that I'm at home than I did when I was in school? Must get out the sewing machine again soon.

- Had a knitting lunch with Lynette on Tuesday. Very cool to have another knitter at work to meet up with occasionally. And it doesn't hurt that she is a way awesome person either! So glad I've gotten to know her.

- SnB tonight - I remembered this time! :-) Caitlyn & Ruth, I'll see you there!

- UPS: HATE THEM. They lost my bridesmaid dress for my sister's wedding this summer. Really. Lost. Technically, they claim to have delivered it. Left it by the front door, they said. Right. No dress by the front door. Neighbors didn't see anything. My guess is that someone walking down the street saw the UPS guy leave and decided to see what he left. Why on earth would you leave a package insured for $200 by someone's front door without getting a signature? WHY??? Thankfully I was able to order a replacement dress that will arrive before the wedding (barely), but it will cost me about $75 more than the original dress to have it rushed. And this, after the curtain debacle. Suffice it to say, I will NEVER willingly partake of UPS's "services" again.

- Off to work, to my spacious (ha!) new cubicle. It is taking some time to get used to the cube world after being in an office for 3.5 years.

Monday, April 17

Off on a tangent

Just when I think I have a plan to finish all of the projects I've started on, something new comes up. I've been making good progress on the front of Salina, working my way through the foot of Jaywalker #1, and pining for the long neglected Snowflake. But, a week ago, a friend did something really nice for me, and in lieu of payment, she said that she'd love it if I would knit her a scarf. Something blue, she said.

I've been eyeing the Backyard Leaves pattern for a while, and thought it would be the perfect thing - simple, elegant, and pretty. So, on Saturday I bought some gorgeous blue yarn (Karabella Aurora 8), and started knitting.

  

I've got 8 repeats done so far, 14 or so left to go. After a slow start, I've got the hang of the pattern now and am flying through it. I've read rave reviews of the pattern in blogland, and I have to say, I agree. This pattern is brilliant. The edging is by far the best scarf edging I've ever seen, and the leaf pattern is amazing in its simple beauty.

Was anyone else a bit freaked out when they started knitting this pattern though? Cast on 10 stitches? That couldn't be nearly enough! And the chart looked a bit foreboding too. But, lo & behold, everything worked out perfectly.

 

I'm going to be working on this scarf until I have it done, then back to finishing up my other projects.

Thursday, April 6

Let the Weekend(er) begin!

Sewing is not like knitting. It can (and does!) take forever for me to knit something, but it doesn't bother me much, because for me, knitting is more about the process. Don't get me wrong, I love the end result, but I mostly knit because it is relaxing.

Sewing, on the other hand, is all about the end result. It kills me to have a pile of fabric pieces cut and ready to be sewn together, and not have time to sit down and finish the project. Also, sewing? Not terribly relaxing, as evidenced by the choice words that escaped my mouth several times last night. But, I still love to sew. I think for me it is the challenge of creating a three dimensional object out of yards of fabric by cutting it into different shapes and putting the pieces together.

So, last night I hauled the sewing machine out and started putting the pieces of the weekender bag together.



I only had a few hours to work on it, and didn't get very far. I completed the two large pocket panels and all the cording I'll need for the rest of the bag. This is going to be one loooong project. Every piece needs to be pinned, basted, and sewn multiple times (once to apply cording, once to apply the heavyweight Timtex lining, and once to apply the fabric lining). Just applying the cording to the top of the pocket required about 6 passes of the sewing machine (plus one more the time I messed up and had to rip).

Yep, this is going to take a while. I guess I just have to live with it, and get used to hauling out my sewing machine a few nights a week until the project is done.

Next up, handles and the large front and back panel. Wheee!

Wednesday, April 5

Sockapaloooza Socks - Done!

Presenting the Elongated Corded Rib socks!

All ready to be sent off to their rightful owner, just as soon as May rolls around. I'm a little sad to have to send these off, because I really like how they turned out. The yarn, the pattern, the lovely proportionate short row heel - these may be my favorite socks that I've knit so far. But, I know I have to give them up. And, they are a bit big for me, so no use keeping them for myself! I'm reminded of something that Ashley said during her quest to create the perfect sockapalooza socks for her pal - "it is a good rule of thumb for gifts in general, not just socks: give something that the recipient will love, but that you are also a teeny bit sad to part with." So true!

Sock Details:

Yarn: Louet Sales Gems Opal Sport Weight in Neptune (2 skeins)
Pattern: Elongated Corded Rib pattern, from Sensational Knitted Socks (my new favorite sock book)
Needles: Size 3, 8" metal dpns
Modifications: Replaced flap heel with short row heel
Thoughts: Love the yarn, love knitting socks on size 3 needles (bless you, my sock pal, for not requesting socks knit on size 0 needles!), love the pattern, love the book. Can't wait to see how my sock pal likes them!

And, on another note, thank you for all the kind words and thoughts about Todd. Thankfully, he's doing much better after a couple of days of rest. He's gotten some of his memory back (still can't remember skiing at all), and is back at work today. I'll be keeping a close eye on him for the next few months to make sure there is nothing unusual happening, and before we go skiing again next winter, we will definitely be purchasing ski helmets.

Sunday, April 2

It was the best of weekends, it was the worst of weekends...

What a weekend! Lots going on, knitting and not. Forgive me if this post seems somewhat random... I need to learn to post more frequently with less stuff in each post.

First, a HUGE thank you to all those who suggested new names for my blog! I got some awesome ideas, and had a hard time choosing the winner.

[drum roll please...]

And the winner is... Cathi of In The Pink, with her suggestion of "On Pins and Needles." The name works perfectly for a (mostly) knitting and sewing themed blog, and, ironically, also describes my state of mind as I await my bar results. I'm hoping the state of mind thing is only temporary though!

I'll be working on getting my new site up over the next couple of months - stay tuned!

In other weekend news, my Sockapaloooza socks are now finished! They are happily blocking away right now. I'll get a nice picture of them when they are dry.

There was another trip to the fabric store over the weekend too. After reading and rereading the Weekender bag pattern, and much fondling of the gorgeous Amy Butler fabric that I purchased, I decided that my decision to ignore the pattern instructions and buy lightweight fabric was very unwise. So, I found some nice heavy home decorating cotton in a mod black and tan print with a coordinating black "O" print lining.



It isn't as springy as the floral fabric, but the pseudo-geometric print is very me. The AB fabric will be put to good use as a Madison bag instead. That pattern is much more suitable for a lightweight fabric.

Of course, I couldn't resist getting started. After nearly 4 hours of pattern layout and cutting, and approximately 60 pattern pieces later (I kid you not), here's what I've got...



Fun, eh? Just wait until I start sewing it up!

We also headed up to Northstar at Tahoe to ski today. The day started out great... got to the mountain just before 10, hardly any lift lines, got in a couple green runs to warm up, headed off to do a couple of blue runs, and went back to the green run so we could meet our friends at the bottom of the chair lift. A great start to the day. Then, about halfway down a really easy run, Todd crashed - a bad, scary crash (two full flips). And for no apparent reason - we were going a reasonable speed on an easy run, and there were no other people or trees around. I was terrified that he had broken bones, or worse. But, after resting for a minute, he got up and skiied the rest of the way down the run.

After we finished the run, I thought he should probably rest for a while, so we headed to the lodge and sat down. While we were resting, he started acting really out of character - he kept asking me what had happened, and he couldn't remember where we were or how we got there, or that we had driven up to the mountain with another couple. At first, I thought he was playing a late April Fool's joke on me, but he was completely serious. We sat a while longer and had lunch, and by the time lunch was over, I knew something was really wrong - he was really quiet and seemed confused about everything. We took the gondola down the mountain to the first aid station to see the doctor. The entire way there, Todd kept asking me where we were going, and why he needed to see a doctor. By that point, I was really scared that he had a serious head injury from the crash. The doctor was able to see him right away, and said that he had a very bad concussion, and had no short term memory capability, and that we'd have to stay in the clinic for monitoring until he started to recover from the concussion, or if that didn't happen, we'd have to go to a local ER to get CT scans done in case there was internal bleeding in his head. I don't think I've every been so worried - head injuries are very scary.

The next few hours were awful. He didn't understand what he was doing in the clinic, and kept asking where we were and what had happened. Finally, he started to remember a few little things, like the doctor's name. What a relief! Late in the afternoon, the doctor discharged him because he was improving, but said that it would take a while for a full recovery, and that there was still a possibility that he could get worse.

So, right now we're home, and thankfully Todd is doing better (not great, but better). We're both pretty shaken by the whole incident. Todd will probably never remember the moments before the accident or the following several hours, and he's still confused about why he had such a bad crash on such an easy run. He's also trying to remember the past few days, which seem to have been lost, at least temporarily. The whole incident was very frightening, and I can't even put into words how happy I am that it wasn't any worse. We are very, very fortunate.