Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Knitting Update for August 28

The back of Painful Pearl is done and the front is about an inch above the armhole split.

Since this yarn has no give to it and I want this project done, I decided to once again do small gussets and drop sleeves. I need to knit the sleeves top down so I can incorporate the lace triangle that is also on the center front.

There may be a yarn supply problem. The yarn on the cone is getting rather thin considering it needs to supply about six inches on the front and both sleeves. I'm not buying more even if it's available, so the sleeves may end up shorter than ideal.

The lower horizontal lace pattern goes all around the sweater. It falls below the bust, above the belly.

The upper horizontal lace pattern on the back was unplanned, but I got so tired of knitting stockinette that I decided it needed to be there.

Pattern: My own creation. I'm calling it "Painful Pearl" because knitting this yarn hurts my hands and the yarn color is Seed Pearl.

The horizontal lace pattern is the Garland Pattern on page 252 of A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara G. Walker. Two rows of stockinette were added before and after the start of the lace.

The lace triangle is adapted from the Idella Seamen's Scarf in Stahman's Shawls and Scarves by Myrna Stahman.

Yarn: Elann Soie Lin. DK weight. 70% silk, 30% linen.

Color: Seed Pearl.

Needles: Options #4.

Gauge: 6.25 stitches/inch, 9 rows/inch after washing.

Remember this swatch from last March?

For all practical KAL purposes, it's Labor Day and time to cast on Chenille. Dorothy has started hers, and I need to get Painful Pearl finished quick so I can cast on mine.

If I cast on the soft smooth alpaca before finishing Painful Pearl, PP will never get finished. I love knitting alpaca and it's going to feel even more wonderful than normal after struggling with Painful Pearl.

Pattern: Set-in Sleeve Aran from Janet Szabo's book Aran Sweater Design.

I'm calling it Chenille because the cable designs are similar to patterns found in old fashioned chenille bedspreads.

Yarn: Elann Peruvian Pure Alpaca, 100% fine grade alpaca, worsted weight.

Color: Creole Pink

Needles: Options #5

Gauge: 5 stitches/inch, 7.5 rows/inch

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wednesday Wings - Yellowjackets

Along the most far loop of our dog walking path is an old lawn chair, frequently used for sitting and enjoying the surrounding nature.

The yellowjackets (wasps) declared it the perfect place to build a hidden nest under the seat. Fortunately Bob spotted it before I sat on it.

Not knowing what he was doing but feeling like some action was required, Bob took a looooooong stick, tipped the chair over, and whacked the nest in two. He erroneously assumed the yellowjackets would move on to some other location.

The main part of the nest is on the ground by the left most leg.

The important part of the nest, the part with the queen, remained attached to the chair.

Bob didn't stick around to see if his stick was long enough for him to avoid detection.

After the yellowjackets determined there was nothing around to sting, they set to work rebuilding under the chair.

In just a few days the nest was almost closed in again.

It took four days for the nest to return to normal.

The nest will be smaller that it would have been left undisturbed, but it appears to be healthy and functional to continue the yellowjacket lifecycle.

What are we going to do now? Leave them in peace, admiring their hard work as we walk by. Once we have the first hard frost, all the yellowjackets except the queen will die. She will leave the nest to hibernate in a protected place. The nest will never be used again and the chair can return to normal use.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Road is Now Paved

Our dirt road got paved while I was in Idaho.

The last layer was applied this past Saturday, so I got to see some of the action. I'm guessing it's last layer because we now have yellow tape to mark the center.

This may be a poor county in an economically struggling state, but there is now pretty pavement running though the swampy woods.

The deer seem to like it.

They're bringing their fawns out to try the smooth new path.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Chat Back for August 23

Answering questions from comments and email.

Kathy asked . . .
And...you had an uneventful flight this time???

Yes it was. I even got home the day I was scheduled to get home.

I'm hoping that the Delta takeover of Northwest is responsible and that things will be better from now on.

Lynn asked . . .
I loved Kipper. He is such a sweet calm dog, great for slowing the kids down. However my almost 10 & 7 y/os just don't like him anymore. Is it wrong *I* still do?!?

I love Kipper and his friends.

What's there not to love about Kipper? Except there aren't enough episodes. Maybe the kids are bored because they've seen the same stories too many times.

Jenn asked . . .
Do you have any specific ways of keeping the squirrels out of your feeders?

Squirrel sitting under the squirrel baffle to get out of the rain while it eats sunflower seedsThe various baffles, methods, and feeders that claim to be squirrel proof are all a waste of money.

Trying to keep squirrels from the bird seed results in frustration and stress. The sooner you give it up, the more pleasant your life will be unless you enjoy a battle that can't be won.

Once you give in to the pleasure, the squirrels are actually fun to watch. This one is using his baffle defying skills to keep out of the rain.

Friday, August 22, 2008

August Sample Skein Swatches

When I subscribed to Elann Sample Skeins, one of my goals was to knit up each sample skein, including yarn I would never dream of buying. Because who knows? I might fall in love with a yarn that I otherwise never would have tried. Or, in short, I wanted to experiment a little and expand my yarn exposure.

The following are my impressions of the August sample skeins. These are NOT comprehensive yarn reviews. They are my opinions reflecting my personal preferences and prejudices.

All swatches are unwashed this month.

ON line Linie - Cotton Stretch.

70% Cotton, 30% Polyester. Bulky weight.

Swatch knit on #10 needle. My gauge 4 stitches/inch, 5.5 rows/inch.

Yarn is stretchy like tubular elastic. Very soft.

Not good for cables or lace or anything intricate. It would make a quick knit top for someone who likes the bulky yarn look. I won't buy this yarn, but if someone gave it to me I'd knit it up.

Queensland Himalayas.

100% Wool. Bulky weight.

Swatch knit on #10 needle. My Gauge 3.5 stitches/inch, 5 rows/inch.

This is first cousin to Bad Biasing Yarn, the most awful yarn I ever had the bad judgement to purchase.

Look! Even this tiny swatch is showing bias. Don't be taken in by the pretty colors. Stay away, stay away.

Katia Venue (bottom swatch).

50% Wool, 50% Acrylic. Aran weight.

Swatch knit on #8 needle. My gauge 4 stitches/inch, 6 rows/inch.

Self-striping yarn with gradual color shifts. Pretty and soft.

It's also a bit fuzzy and could easily pill.

Katia VIP (top swatch).

58% Acrylic, 42% Wool. Polar weight (Whatever that is. Their words, not mine.)

Swatch knit on #11 needle. My gauge? Impossible to measure because I don't remember how many stitches I cast on. Now that they're knit, the stitches are invisible.

This yarn is dyed to match the Venus which could lead to designing fun if this yarn was knitable. Trust me, it isn't. If you try to knit it you will cry. It's so loopy and tangly I couldn't get the starting slip knot snug on the needle.

Filatura di Crosa Malizioso.

90% Wool, 10% Acrylic. Polar Weight.

Swatch knit on #11 needle. My gauge 3 stitches/inch, 4 stitches/row.

The recommended needle sizes are #13 to #15. #11 is the largest needle I own, and probably wouldn't own that if it hadn't come as part of the Knitpicks Options set.

Anything knit with this yarn is going to scream HOME MADE and not in a good way. To an experienced knitter of beautiful projects it is going to scream HOME MADE BY SOMEONE WHO IS TOO IMPATIENT TO KNIT WITH A NORMAL YARN.

And the colors are not pretty. At least not in this swatch.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wednesday Wings - Cardinal Fledglings

While some of the birds have left for their migration South, the Cardinals are just finishing their second brood.

No need for them to hurry. They don't migrate. They hang around all winter looking gorgeous in the snow and chowing down on black oiler sunflower seed at our feeders.

We had over a dozen nesting pair this year.

As soon as the young leave the nest they are brought to the feeder for us to point at and laugh.

This may be the first day out of the nest for this young male. He still has some pin feathers.

The beauty he will be in the future is hard to imagine at this stage.

This young male is showing some pretty red spots.

He's gobbling down sunflower seeds so fast he has one on top of his beak.

Almost there.

If he keeps eating those nutritious sunflower seeds, he'll be handsomely red before the first snowfall.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Guilt Trip List

This has been a beautiful summer. While I've enjoyed it, blogging has suffered but not been forgotten. It periodically pops up and injects a little squirt of quilt into my consciousness.

The list of neglected knitting and blogging tasks is a little longer than I like. I'm counting on waking up some day with motivation to catch up.

  • August Elann Sample Skeins were knit up shortly after they arrived at the end of July. There are five yarns. Two of the yarns should not be purchased for any reason related to knitting. Three of the yarns might be enjoyed by someone somewhere, but not by me. I will blog the swatches soon.

  • Painful Pearl (a sweater named so because the yarn color is Seed Pearl and knitting it hurts my hands) is making slow but steady progress. This evening I'll hit the underarm split between front and back and start knitting back and forth on the back. No seams, no finishing. It should be done by Labor Day.

  • The Luna Bolero is still sitting around in pieces waiting to be sewn together and have front bands knit on. Assembling a knitting project brings out my inner procrastinator.

  • I still owe readers modeled shots of Summer Spice Gansey and She Said Aran. The Aran was finished last April. Now that's embarrassing.

Perception Personality Image Test

It's been a long time since I've seen an online quiz worth sharing.

This one is fun to do - lots of pretty pictures - and the results are reasonably accurate.

Your result for The Perception Personality Image Test...

NBPC - The Daydreamer

Nature, Background, Big Picture, and Color

You perceive the world with particular attention to nature. You focus on the hidden treasures of life (the background) and how that fits into the larger picture. You are also particularly drawn towards the colors around you. Because of the value you place on nature, you tend to find comfort in more subdued settings and find energy in solitude. You like to ponder ideas and imagine the many possibilities of your life without worrying about the details or specifics. You are in tune with all that is around you and understand your life as part of a larger whole. You are a down-to-earth person who enjoys going with the flow.

Take The Perception Personality Image Test at HelloQuizzy

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Home With Fond Memories

What a joy to see Granddaughter Sydney transitioning from toddlerhood into "kid". But how did it happen so quick? Seems like just a few weeks ago she was a cute little baby. Now she's three and a half.

Here are some of the things we did - or she did and I watched - while I was visiting in Idaho.

She's good with the ball.

She can throw, hit, kick her soccer ball, and dribble her Mom's basketball.

What better way to spend a hot afternoon?

Every evening before bed we watched Berenstain Bears and Kipper the Dog.

For those not in the know, this is a picture of Kipper the Dog with Arnold the baby Pig. Kipper speaks with an English accent while having unscary adventures to entertain preschoolers. Grandmas like them as well.

We also read many books. So many that I can't begin to guess how many.

Wednesday Daddy/Son John took us to the park in Post Falls. It was a beautiful day and a nice park. Sydney showed off her climbing skills while Grandma came to grips with the fact that I'm ten years older than I was with Granddaughter Kimmy and not as limber as I used to be.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Off to Idaho

Idaho from the airTomorrow morning, August 8, I'm headed to the airport before the sun comes up to spend a week with granddaughter Sydney and her parents.

I'm taking a vacation from blogging while I'm gone. Lord willing, blogging will resume sometime around August 15.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Chat Back for August 2

Answering questions from comments and email.

Susan asked . . .
Have you tried the Elann Sock It To Me? I'm going to give it a try too. It's soft as can be. Did you ever make your Shi Bui socks?

The Shi Bui is still in my stash waiting for inspiration. It's beautiful yarn picked out by Granddaughter Sydney and I want to knit something special with it. It won't last the coming winter without being knit.

I haven't tried the Elann Sock It To Me yarn but some of it may sneak into an Elann order before too long.

Thanks for all the nice comments on my finished Summer Spice Gansey. There were a few questions, as well.

Dorothy asked . . .
How will the worsted weight fare in your hot, humid summers?

Kate asked . . .
Can we see a model shot?

Lynn asked . . .
Did you keep good notes?

Alwen asked . . .
I love the underarm gusset on Summer Spice -- maybe you could post more about that?

I'll be wearing it to church, out for lunch, and other air conditioned places where I go in my air conditioned car, so I'm not too concerned about overheating.

The yarn is more like a DK and the sweater fabric has a light, cool, crisp feel to it. I don't expect it to be hot to wear. Summer Spice will get its premier outing tomorrow morning when I wear it to church.

I hope Elann sells Coto Canapone again next summer. I'm resisting buying some for the stash because if I do they'll have better colors next year and I'll be sorry.

Most of last week my right arm was covered in Calamine lotion, so that's my excuse for not having a modeled picture. It was a minor case of poison ivy, but scattered from wrist to bicep. At this point the blisters are dried up and only red spots remain. Not pretty, but not a good enough excuse to procrastinate the modeled shots much longer.

I'm afraid I didn't keep good notes. Mostly I did calculations to get the right size sweater and the stitch patterns in what I considered attractive placement. Since the sweater was knit in one piece, I just kept eyeballing it and knitting.

For anyone who wants to learn how to knit a gansey, this is a wonderful book. And it covers many styles of gussets, although not the smallish ones I used for Summer Spice.

Alwen, thanks for the idea for a post. I've flagged your comment so I won't forget to blog details of the Summer Spice gussets because I don't think I'll have time to write it up before leaving for Idaho next Friday.

Macy asked . . .
That lace triangle (here) is lovely! Can you tell us more about where the lace pattern comes from, etc.?

It's the lace pattern from the Idella Seamen's Scarf in Stahman's Shawls and Scarves.

After charting it out on graph paper, I worked with the edges until I had a nice looking triangle with a pretty border.

Dani asked . . .
Have you ever considered offering your designs as pdfs on Ravelry?

Yes, I have considered it and have to remind myself that turning a hobby into work - well, it turns a hobby into work.

I won't say it will never happen, but it's unlikely. I'd rather teach a class on how to design your own sweater that fits and flatters.

Meanwhile, if you have a yearning for some gorgeous sweaters that are traditional and more complex than patterns found in American knitting books, check out the sweaters in this book.

It's available at Needle Arts Book Shop. Click on over and you can see pictures of some of the designs inside.

All the patterns are written in Japanese, but they're all charted in detail and Needle Arts Book Shop offers a .pdf tutorial on the Japanese symbols.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Round and Round I Go

When I knit the sample swatch for this yarn, I thought it was nice that it didn't slide around on the needles. I was able to make very even and precise stitches.

Now that I'm knitting endless stockinette, I find it hurting my hands - and my shoulders, neck, and back. If I knit too long on it, I get a headache.

I feel like a kid being punished for breaking my "NO SILK" rule.

So far I'm seven inches up the body knit in the round.

A big part of the problem is my desire to knit a firm fabric. I'm using #4 needles. The yarn would be more comfortable to knit on #6 or larger needles. But I'm not starting over now. It may be a pain to knit, but it's very pretty and I'm going to continue on limiting myself to 9 rows of 250 stitches a day.

Guess that means I need to start another project. Time to pull out some sock yarn.

Pattern: My own creation. I think I'm going to call it "Painful Pearl".

Yarn: Elann Soie Lin. DK weight. 70% silk, 30% linen.

Color: Seed Pearl.

Needles: Options #4.

Gauge: 6.26 stitches/inch, 9 rows/inch after washing.