Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Brief update

--Kiri continues on in that "I love it/I hate it" sort of way. I love it because I keep nuzzling the fabric: so airy, yet so snuggly. It has also proved really easy to memorize... which, I suppose, leads me to hate it for its monotony.

I'd heard horror stories about Kidsilk Haze, but I was enjoying it thus far. no problems, barely missed a stitch anywhere. Somewhere along the line a few nights ago, though, I must have fallen asleep and continued knitting, because I've completely lost my place in the row system. It's a simple leaf pattern, but it seems that within multiple rows I've varied the counts somehow. Why this should happen two weeks into the project is beyond me. Anyways, I've had decent luck tinking, so hopefully I'll just head back and count carefully to get back in.

I'd been dragging it around with me everywhere, though I've really only been knitting on it in the evenings. Still, I'm not even close to being done with the first ball (of three) yet. CRIPES.

--I got bored with Kiri and went back to Mermaid's Hair one night (mmm, more lace, and a pattern to follow too!) but only succeeded in a) identifying a major problem, b) ripping it out and fixing it, and c) finding another major problem that may or may not have been caused by the first fix. Hmph. So I finally ripped back eight or ten rows, and hopefully that'll at least get me back on an even keel. Still, I don't think I'll get back into it until I get my new needles (see below).

--Why no, I haven't finished either my own hat or the bunny hat yet! Funny you should ask!

Stuff I bought
I didn't get anything knitting-related for Christmas, so my next book purchase may well be Gathering of Lace. I did, however, spring for the first of what will hopefully be a whole new set of Inox Express circs today. Oh, they're so wonderful. I've noticed the difference quite clearly when switching between the aforementioned projects; the Clover joins are really tripping up Mermaid's Hair. It'll really be nice to have some smooth needles I can count on.

My mom will hopefully pick out a color for her Bomber jacket soon so I can get a start on it before the weather gets too warm :P

Things I have watched recently while knitting
--Pride and Prejudice (2005/6 feature film version with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen): OH, it's so pretty. I had to watch the end multiple times just for fun. If you have a problem with compressing classic novels, however, you might want to choose something else.
--Jane Eyre (1997 TV movie version with Samantha Morton and Ciaran Hinds): Not very good. Ciaran Hinds is really distracting as Rochester, and here I thought I'd like him a whole lot more.
--Jane Eyre (2006 BBC miniseries version with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens): Much better, although I have the niggling feeling that the casting could still be a tinge better. But Toby Stephens (son of Maggie Smith) was much better.
--Upstairs Downstairs, first four episodes on DVD: A delightfully pleasant way to spend Christmas Eve morning; my pal and I lolled on her couch and petted kitties and ate quiche and pannettone whilst examining a 1971 interpretation of Edwardian class system. Both of our mothers practically went into hysterics when they heard that we'd be watching it; I guess the previous video incarnation didn't have many of the episodes. Kind of slow moving, but I found myself wishing that we had more to watch :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

State of the Knitter

Long time between posts. Again. Yep.

I went quite a while without really getting to knit anything. I did mostly finish two hats, but the Finishing Ogre has me by the hair. Why else would I be on my third week of not sewing on three lousy little whiskers of my Stitch n Bitch bunny hat? (The baby, belonging to Mister Husband's officemate, arrived last week.)

Trip to Blackberry Ridge
TChemGrrl and I went with my mom to the Blackberry Ridge open house several weeks ago. We had a lot of fun, and I ate so many cookies that I got verrrrry sleeeepy. (Didn't help that on the way there and back I had to sit under the world's largest couch cushions. Thanks for cleaning out the trunk, Dad!) It was crowded but very pleasant, and although we didn't get to take an official tour I did get a peek over their rows of giant industrial machines. I do mean giant -- it looked like a factory floor out of Dickens or something. (Only without, you know, the child labor and the losing of fingers.)

I'd never used their yarn before, but I was pretty pleased with what we got. After much hemming and hawing over the possibility of some sort of Hazel Carter kit, I finally bought three skeins of laceweight yarn for my pal Froggy in Seattle. The yarn was half silk, half merino in a color called Samarkand blue, and I was immediately jealous of her on my own behalf :) I have no doubt that she will turn it into something truly gorgeous, and can't wait.

For myself, I bought the Celtic Harbor Hat kit in their medium-weight wool, with red instead of white contrast yarn. The wool is plied but still a little bit rustic, but it's wonderfully springy and... well, the word I keep using is "wholesome." It's like granola; it's good and good for you :) I finished knitting the hat the other day, but because of its wacky foldy construction and two picot edges, it will definitely benefit from some blocking. I will just have to find myself a styrofoam head one of these days.

My mom picked up two sock kits and a pattern for the Bomber Jacket, a simple cardigan. I told her I'd make it for her; it seems pretty straightforward and should go pretty quickly. (Note to self: Dark Sage.) I was pretty tickled that my mom was so enthusiastic about going (she doesn't knit, but had a lot of fun looking at all the possibilities).

New stuff
Several weeks ago, I was over at the Knitting Tree and picked up some Kid Silk Haze in color Hurricane (kind of a dusky aqua). No idea what I was going to do with it, but I was feeling a little bit crazy :P A couple days ago, I cast on for Kiri, intending to give it to an aunt who has been having some tough times. As per usual, I will probably go nuts over the repetition and the ever-growing rows, but it sure is pretty. I started it on 6s but switched to 4s, partially because the pattern is a little more "together" and partially because I have good INOXes in that size. I'm definitely loving the nickel INOX Express needles much more than any others, especially since the joins AND tips on my Clovers are driving me nuts with some other projects.

Yesterday at Lakeside I finally picked up a copy of Folk Shawls and the pattern for the Fiddlesticks Lotus Blossom shawl. Of course, the yarn I'd picked up most recently was all laceweight (including a gorgeous teal Skacel, and a cone of over 2400 yards of light green Jaggerspun Zephyr), and these shawls all seem to use a DK or greater. Le sigh. I'll just have to buy some more yarn. What a pity.

Still on the needles
Still working on the Blackberry Ridge Mermaid's Hair pattern. Really hoping it'll block well, because it's looking awfully short. I think I should have enough for an extra repeat, though.

Still on the needles... and not going anywhere
UGH, the Dad Vest! The patterning wasn't really doing anything for me, and now I worry that doing it in plain stockinette will give it stripes that are too narrow. Entrelac might work well, in whole or in part, but I've never done it and am not too sure how to pick it up from a preknit cuff. (TChemGrrl assures me that she's got a good resource, but I haven't checked it out yet.) So it's sitting on top of my Casio with about an inch past the ribbed cuff. Hmph.

The Sienna Cardigan is similarly languishing. All I have to do is pick a damn cable pattern or some such. Get your brain in gear, Mads!

Still, I've got lots of movies in the TiVo queue and a GLORIOUS couch on which to knit. Recent flicks: The Goodbye Girl (very Neil Simon, pretty cute, but again with the Richard Dreyfuss... I swear it isn't a theme...) and Fitzwilly (very cute Dick Van Dyke movie from 1967, in which he is a good-hearted but larcenous butler, but it cut out on the last 5 minutes, which TiVo almost never does. Boo!). Life is not bad.