Sunday, May 23, 2010

Fish biscuits and other lost craziness

There's minimal knitting content today, because I've been distracted by LOST! Preparations for viewing the finale are done, I just have to get gussied up appropriately:

Since I'm TV-less, I'm crashing someone else's viewing tonight. I'm taking some dharma wine (label from here) and fish biscuits (gouda + chives, yum!).

And here for the minimal knitting content...I cut out the fish shapes just like this knitted scarf/blanket fish pattern, so I could avoid having to bunch up the dough and re-roll it.

(The puck-like thing is supposed to be a dharma symbol.)

I had a dozen or so admittedly dorky LOST-themed food ideas, but I restrained myself and just made one more: Man in Black Bean dip with Smokey chipotle.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

FO: Toronto shawl

At long last! This was one of my slowest projects ever, taking almost a month even working on it pretty exclusively, and the process was really tedious in some parts. Thankfully I had a couple days off from work due to a thwarted vacation, and finally got through the crocheted edging. Then it looked like crap!

Blocking took some patience, as the shape at each increase row was wonky, and every one of the little loops on the edge had to be pinned out.

As you can see, I'm not huge on special equipment for knitting, and my blocking, even lace blocking, is done with old towels, regular pins, and a tape measure. Once in a while I get tempted to get special blocking boards with the measurements printed on, and the special blocking wires and pins, then I realize I hate stuff. So blocking remains a tedious task, measuring over and over, and  pinning and re-pinning until it's right. Since this is a semi-circle, I measured the radius to the point of each of the V's in the outermost pattern, to make sure the blocking was even. (Actually, I did the same for the radius at the edge of each pattern, to prevent over-stretching some parts more than others.) This took a few hundred pins, but it was worth it to see the lace blocked out!

The pattern is Vernal Equinox, by Lankakomero, which is free through Ravelry, and free of errors since it was previously a big knit-along (and presumably any errors were caught and fixed). The only modification I made was leaving out one of the repeats of the 4th chart, because I couldn't stand it any more. Otherwise, this is a great pattern with constant changes so it's hard to get bored, and I highly recommend it. It's also a semi-circle, which is better than a circle because one can actually see the pattern, and is better than a triangle, which I have recently been made aware/paranoid points down at one's butt like an arrow. My Double is modeling it here--the crabapple tree was unavailable this weekend because of rain--and seems happy with it.

The yarn is Super Alpaca Lace paints from Estelle, and while the colorway is actually a boring number, I've decided Cabernet is the perfect name. It's 100% alpaca and has that funny slightly soapy-slipperiness that alpaca has, and of course is super soft and light and warm. There were no knots or breaks in the yarn, which certainly helped when I was balling it up on a carryon bag instead of a swift. I love how the colorway worked out with this pattern, and overall I'll be sure to get this yarn if I see it again.

The shawl was 19" in radius before blocking, 29" in radius after blocking, and used 682 yards of laceweight yarn. All in all, this was a slow but worth-it project, and a great memento of Toronto!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Why go to knit night?

Ugh-a-bug-a. What a week. Sometimes it seems astonishing that anyone would go to a knitting group after a long day of work. Especially (at least in my case) when it means going back to work after that to finish up. This is why we go.

So that we can go and have other people make us feel ok about skipping a whole pattern repeat on the most dreary OMFG section of a shawl ever written. After the usual parade of FOs, flashing of WIPs, ooh-ing and aah-ing over new books/patterns, and stroking of new yarns, this is how it went.

Me: This sucks. I cannot bear to do another repeat of this pattern.
[wait 3 minutes for everyone to come up with their convincing lies, ahem, logic]
Me: So do you think I really need to do another repeat of this pattern? Do you think it will mess up the Pi-shawl math? [Much stretching of WIP ensues]
Knittingwonderwoman1: Oh no, that's clearly far, far too much. Look at the picture! That lace pattern overpowers the rest of the shawl.
Knittingwonderwoman2: You know, it's so old-fashioned to have such a large section of a shawl taken up by such a small lace pattern.
Knittingwonderwoman3: Yeah, no one will be able to tell.
and so on.

And this is how I managed to move along and get some  more of this neverending shawl done. The designer is very crafty, because there are technically 7 patterns in the shawl, but she numbered the last two 6a and 6b, so it doesn't seem as much as 7. Hopefully all 7 will be done by the next post.

I hope all the mothers out there had a great mother's day today! My in-laws were in town, and the peonies bloomed this past week. Good times all around!
Peony in full bloom in dappled sunlight

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Wading through WIPs

Yikes, I'm up to the dreary parts of all the current WIPs, so I've nothing to show for all the hard knitting I've done!

Some of the knit night ladies went to the tea shop of a fellow knit night lady, Kateri (not to be confused with a different Kateri of the ginorm knitting needles). If you like tea, or if you like tins, and especially if you like both, Traveling Tea is the place to be! There are lots and lots of little tins full of tea to open and sniff, and you can have any of them as drinkable tea right there, or get tea leaves to take home. We all got both. I got the Earl Grey and Evening in Missoula to take home, both of which are already running low.
Pic cropped to cut out many furrowed brows--we are all knitting lace! 

It's a lovely, light-filled space, and if that is not enough, there are scones too. Also, Kateri will let you take your own tins and fill them up! (If you haven't noticed, I love tins. When I got married the best part of wedding planning was not the dress or cake, but was choosing and ordering and filling tins (from here) for favors.)

I knit the Vernal Equinox (delightfully free pattern) shawl at the tea shop, which I am calling the Toronto shawl since I bought and wound the yarn (in the airport) in Toronto. Despite plugging away at it every day, it's at a stage where the lace pattern is really boring and the rows are very long, so there isn't too much to see.

The peacock shawl was stalled by a lack of beads. Finally today the hours of the bead shop and my life aligned, and I was able to get the beads, so hopefully this will be more peacock-y the next time! Btw, how odd is it that most beads are made in Japan?

Secret project #2 is starting back up, unfortunately it's the sleeves portion, bleh. So not only can I not show the project, I'm on a boring part that no one wants to see anyway.

Well if there are no FO's, there are at least many imaginary FO's. I got to the art supply store to buy a notebook to corral all of my knit design ideas. Unfortunately the very special Clairfontaine notebook which is impossible to find (quadrille, multiple colors of paper, with separate tabbing for each color section) was, again, impossible to find. So I ended up getting a plain sketchbook from, which has nice acid-free, slightly toothy paper, which is unfortunately not recycled but is at least made locally in Kansas City, MO. It has a sturdy elastic and an envelope inside the cover, which perfectly fits the little Rhodia quadrille paper notebook, which is for charting out lace/colorwork. And look--the placeholder thingy on the red notebook matches the Rhodia notebook. Eee! Man oh man I love notebooks. Much like tins, they provide the illusion of organization, which is much more satisfying than actual organization!