Friday, December 24, 2004

Christmas Eve, and it's trying to SNOW in HOUSTON. Go figure. Earlier in the week when it was warmer, we caught Mama Dillo out doing her nest. See the pile of leaves next to her? She gets them in a pile underneath herself then jumps and wiggles them into her hole under our bedroom. She's pretty big, so I'm guessing we will have baby dillos in a few months. It's been awfully cold, and we've not seen here since.

Well, look who has been lounging around the house:

He had a very exciting time getting finished. I knit my gauge a teeny bit looser than specified, so when that is expanded over a gazillion stiches, he ended up proportionate to the real Henry 8, who was quite a large guy. Now, my guy is large, but not that large. Let's get specific - we were trying for about 52" around, and ended up about 60". WOW. So Hank got washed, spun to damp, then took a brave trip in the dryer. On high. 10 minutes. He came out slightly fulled, and about 5" smaller all around. Nice. See?

Happy Holidays

Monday, December 20, 2004

Well, most of the Christmas prep that I was avoiding is done. Cards are out, Tree up, presents to west and east on their way, yarn room has been reconfigured into a guest room. Whew. Very little knitting accomplished over the past three days.

So, now is the time to look at the swatching that happened a few weeks ago.

This is a pattern that was adapted by Jean Frost into a cropped jacket in Knitters magazine several years ago. Notice that I didn't do the ssp correctly in the first pattern repeat. I had to go read the Knitters Lesson to get it right. I usually don't like lace patterns where the YO's are worked on every row, but this one is ok. Maybe it's the big yarn. The gauge is way off, and the pattern is written so that the sizes are changed by changing needle size. SO, this one will be passed for a while

Here is some color work done in some of the alpaca that my husband brougt back from Peru. Yummy. On gauge. You can see the pattern by clicking the link on the side bar. This one is a go, but I'm unsure of the color choice. Shown is tan/brown. I could also do black/tan, black/red, red/tan, purple/yellow-orange. Hmmmm.

I've been watching the Celtic Dreams, and read the article on top down aran. Here is a swatch that is not quite large enough, but will be the beginning basis of a self designed top down aran for husband. It's using a Jo Sharp Silkroad Ultra (wool/silk/cashmere) from Elann that is just yummy.

It's a big gauge - 4st/inch in the cables so it ought to just run through my fingers and knit up quickly.

Big news on big Hank later in the week.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

I expected to be able to show off a finished Henry8, only to get to the cuff to find that I didn't catch a decrease change and ended with way too many stiches. Well, back it went, and I'm back at the cuff again.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Well, a new look for the Swatchyblog.

I've settled down on the next projects. More after the weekend.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Well, Family Tree is done, and almost dry enough to start his trip west. He came out a bit smaller than planned, but my sister assures me he will find a person who loves him.

I've got to find an hour or so to pick up all the stitches for the second Starz arm. Hank is about 15 rows away from the cuff. So close to both being done, and I'm beside myself.

I have no idea what to do next. I'm making myself crazy. This is stupid, because I have enough going on to cause myself to be crazy without making the selection of my next project into an "IMPORTANT ISSUE". Yeesh.

The last three projects, I sort of had lined up. Now – nothing is really begging to be done or used. The abundance of stash and patterns and lack of direction is causing more difficulty in deciding than usual. I think this is fun.

My process seems to be to riffle through my enormous collection of knitting magazines and books, open to some attractive project and spread them around the house. I have made this step much easier by placing sticky notes on the pictures I liked the last time I looked through. I notice my sense of what is nice or not changes from time to time. I make this harder by moving the magazines and books around a lot, so I’m never really able to put my hand on what I want. Then, I pull out all the nicely packed boxes of stash yarn and throw the yarn around the spare bedroom. This will cause me to have to re-organize it all in the future, but the throwing about and putting away all counts as "playing" with my stash. I find this activity as enjoyable as the actual knitting.

So, how to decide? I sometimes find a yarn I want to use, and choose a project to fit. Sometimes, I choose a project, and see if I have yarn that will work. Sometimes I choose a type of project, like modular.

Then I swatch and change my mind a few times before digging in. Sometimes the swatching process leads me to entirely change my direction. Then I start again. What I really need is a rainy day, and no family for a few hours.

How to others decide what to make?

And to end - an amazing good dog story. Husband brought home a few honk'in big T-bones the other night. Shiloh has apparently learned that polite dogs who don't want their bone taken away eat in their crate. (bad dogs eat on the livingr oom carpet, and lose thier bones) See how good he is?

Thursday, December 02, 2004

I seem to want to post on knitting milestones, so here we go.

The cotton/silk "Family Tree sweater has a front. You can't tell from the picture that there is no back, but that will be dealt with soon. I hope that woop-de-do on the bottom where the cable starts up will block out. Embarrassing if it doesn't. I still don't like the Debbie Bliss cotton aran, and am happy that it will be finished and off to it's owner in a week or so.

Musing - knit
I am pretty entranced with the background stitch for the Family Tree sweater. So simple, resulting in a complex texture. I decided that the knit/purl sections of my Barbara Walker books had been overlooked, so I sat down to review the first volume again. I found that the stitch I am using is called "sand stitch" in her Volume 1 book. Then I found an intriguing rib pattern called "Waving Rib" and it stuck in my head as a great pattern for some future design. Imagine my surprise to open the current Knitters, and find that same pattern in the "Wobbly Rib" pattern. Hmmm.

I'm not a bit scarf/blanket knitter, but I may do one up in the Elongated Diamond Pattern, which is advertised to be as interesting on the "back" side as the "front". Sam thoughts on "Imitation Lattice", the previous pattern. ( Hey you magazine designers - are you listening to my thoughts, or do I hear yours? )

Musing - non knit
I went to GirlScout "cookie rookie" training last night. I had no idea that Thin Mints are the largest selling cookie in the United States. They beat out Oreo and Chips Ahoy, and you can only buy them for about six weeks each year. How about that?

My peer in Texas resigned so I now have a double job. He was aggravated by the constant layoffs, and went for a more stable employer. He's not the only one that was not laid off, but is leaving anyway. Poor leadership is driving our good people off as fast as layoffs get rid of the weaker ones. What's left is smaller and shallower.

I was annoyed by some Jehovah's Witnesses last week. I am pretty tolerant of the witnessing activity that some faiths require of their people, and will let them go on for a few minutes. Well, this batty lady started off about some mother who had chopped off her baby's arms. She said it made her happy because of some prophesy. I told her that anyone who thought that harming infants was a good thing was deranged, and that she should leave. She kept going on about her prophesy, and I slammed the door.