Saturday, September 30, 2006  

Abby at the Arboretum




Friday, September 29, 2006  


The theme for this post is "pictures I found on my camera." It's a common theme here Chez-Musing, but if I waited until I had a truly well-thought-out post, I might never update. So Random Pictures it is.

Last weekend, I finally succumbed to the beautiful orchids at Trader Joe's (I love Trader Joe's. Pumpkin Beer is beyond amazing.) BUT ANYWAY, here's my new "little friend"...

Since I took this photo, the last bud has opened. It's beautiful!

Cricket has been enjoying the mild weather - we open the front door, stick on her little collar, and let her explore the great outdoors. She likes to pretend she's a fierce jungle panther.

Oh, look - knitting! I've "finished" both sleeves of the I-Cord Cables sweater, and I blocked one to make sure my swatch had mostly told the truth about the amazing growing powers of the silk-wool blend. The unblocked sleeve is in the front... and it looks like my "1.12% growth" was about right. I'm making some fairly major changes to the pattern (I know - the shock!) - basically, I'm switching the sleeves to raglans, and I'm modifying the neck. I haven't had the time to sit down and do the math for the raglan shaping yet, so I've been stopping every piece at the armpits. I've "finished" both sleeves and the front, and just cast on for the back.

And finally - Cricket helped me put together the Ikea mini-wardrobe thing that I bought to hold all of my sweaters. (Note - I have a LOT of sweaters. A LOT. I may have to rethink the size of this wardrobe.)

See, Mom? I'm helping.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006  

Stop Me Before I Finish Something Else...

I was just NOT HAPPY at all with the yarn I was using for my mom's Lily of the Valley stole. It was Helen's Lace, in color Lakeview, and it should have been beautiful - purples, blues, sea greens... but it obscured the lace too much. It just looked too stripey.

So, in a "just like Aristotle except without the whole running down the street naked" eureka moment, I realized that I could overdye it. And suddenly, I was in a race to finish.

I cast off and promptly dunked it in the "let's get ready to dye" bath. Meanwhile, I mixed a little green and several shades of progressively darker blue dye, brought everything to the correct temperature for silk, and let it simmer for upwards of 2 hours. I then turned off the heat and went to bed.

The next morning, I did some blocking....

It's just about the perfect color. You can still see the stripes from the purple sections, but it's so much more subtle and understated. The color is a rich, saturated jewel-tone saphire blue.

And I once again discovered the joys of blocking out lace - the wadded up pile of crap suddenly transformed into shapes and patterns!

Lily of the Valley Stole

Lily of the Valley Stole

Yarn: Helen's Lace (Lorna's Laces) in Lakeview

Notes: My mom will love this - she loves Lilies of the Valley, she loves rich blues, and I think this'll be the perfect size for a beautiful accent piece. HOWEVER, I don't think I'll be knitting this again. The pattern was fantastic - I shortened it by 5 repeats and cut out the width by at least 1/3, but otherwise just about exactly as written. The charts were clear, the instructions were easy to follow, and there weren't any errors that I came up with. The problem? Although it is technically a 14 row repeat for the lace pattern, in reality it is the same 2 rows knit 7 times - just slightly shifted. It made it both quick, because I memorized the pattern pretty easily, but also difficult because I frankly got bored. But I love the result, so all-in-all, a definite success!



Saturday, September 16, 2006  


I promise - I finally got off my lazy butt and took some photographs. But first, before I forget, here's the results of my latest attempt to get gauge...

The yarn is from Tess' Designer yarns, and was purchased at MDS&W 2 years ago. The color in the "after" pictures is much truer. The yarn is a silk/merino blend, which means, in my experience, that it GROWS. So after I knit a bit on my "swatch" (aka a sleeve), I took it off the (size 7) needles, slipped it on waste yarn, and gave it a nice bath.

Before - about 8.5 inches wide.

After - about 9.5 inches wide.

Before - about 4.5 inches long.

After - about 5" long.

So I'm going to try again with size 5 needles and see if I'm happier with the results.

Right. So that's taken care of - so without further ado, here's finished object number 1 -

Beara Island Penninsula Vest

my own; colorwork based on the Hillswick Lumber Pattern from the Art of Fair Isle.

Yarn: 100% Pure Shetland Wool, 2 ply jumper weight

Notes: Latest in the series of "Dad's Christmas Vests." Love making them, love designing them, love steeking them ... don't love picking up and knitting, but managed to get through it with a few beers and a lot of determination.


Some of you may remember that back in January, I bought a couple of XL cashmere sweaters on sale. I proceeded to rip them apart...

Much better now, don't you think?

Elizabeth I

from Tudor Roses

Yarn: Recycled 3-ply cashmere

Notes: I can't wait for winter. I loved knitting this, even though it was on size 2!! needles... The pattern was entertaining, clever, and well-done. I made only the most minor of changes - I didn't widen the sleeves at the upper arm. Otherwise, just about exactly as written. And a cashmere sweater for under $50, with plenty of recycled yarn leftover? Sweeeeeeeeeeeeet.

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Monday, September 11, 2006  


I don't have classes on Fridays, which meant that I had an entire 3-day weekend to take pictures of my now 2 (!!) finished objects. I'll give you one guess as to what I didn't do this weekend...

But in my defense, I did book a reception site and finalized the Big Day (September 8, 2007 if anyone cares.) So that's a HUGE weight off of my shoulders since now I know I have tons of time to get all of the other details in place.

So because I'm a terrible blogger and can't manage to take a few simple photographs, I'm going to employ the age-old distraction technique of "look, cute animals!!"

Here you can see how Cricket, pursuant to her "take over the world one knitting project at a time" plan, discovered that I had thoughtfully laid out my dad's vest on the bed.

Hmmmm.... she has books, and tools, and the sweater - she must be planning on working on this. That's what she thinks...

Shortly after I grabbed another project to work on in lieu of the vest, Cricket implemented phase 2, "Look so cute that it becomes impossible to disturb."

Go ahead. Try to disturb the softly purring kitty. Sucker...

When I wasn't negotiating with Cricket for the release of my knitting, I joined S and Abby for a field trip...

See? I have a self-timer and I know how to use it!!

And after an unscheduled trip with my roomie to Old Navy, we had Abby try on her halloween costume - those who are overly sensitive to cuteness may want to look away...

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Thursday, September 07, 2006  

Still No FO Photo

The Irregulars have seen my latest FO, but unfortunately I haven't had a chance for a proper photo shoot yet, so stay tuned... I know, y'all are on the edge of your seats...

But LOOK! Over there! Cute cat picture!

I mentioned last time that I have been in a decluttering mood lately. My first major victim was the dresser - each drawer. I was fairly brutal and filled up 2 trader joe's bags with giveaway clothes. My strategy was pretty simple... take drawer out, go through each item and toss as required, replace drawer.

Yeah, I ran into a few difficulties with that last step.

In other {knitting} news, I'm slowly finishing my dad's Beara Peninsula Vest - I grafted each shoulder seam...

... and properly fortified myself to pick up and knit the corrugated ribbing on one of the armholes. Mission accomplished - 1 armhole down, 1 to go. And then apparently there's ribbing around the neck too... note to self - buy a case of Smithwicks next time.

(Smithwicks, incidentally, has been brewed here since 1710. Apparently, those Franciscans really know their beer...)

Other news? The puppy is finally feeling better - after an entire long weekend of doing this:

Those of you who know Abby in person will understand how worried we were when she wouldn't go on walks. Luckily, she seems to be fine now, although she doesn't quite understand why we won't carry her around everywhere like we did when she was sick...

We celebrated her feeling better (and my new haircut!) by having lunch at the doggy-friendly Pat Troy's in Alexandria - Abby was still on a restricted diet, so she had to have grilled chicken instead of the lamb stew. (I know, poor doggy!) I, on the other hand, had a Smithwick's.

And finally, Cindy, this one's for you...

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006  

Bad Blogger!

Argh! I've been such a terrible blogger lately - and the only excuse that I can offer is that sometimes life gets a little boring what with law school classes, running a law review, working at the knitting store, etc... , so you decide to use all of your spare time to plan a wedding. My goal for the week is to nail down a reception site. We've already got the church (and several possible dates), so hopefully it'll get "settled" pretty soon and I can start relaxing a little bit! But first things first... I bought the "Wedding Knotebook" - nothing like a pretty, blank notebook to make one all excited about planning!

And THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for all of your amazing comments and well-wishes - I am beyond thrilled, and am so excited. But you guys have to collectively promise me that if when I decide, a few weeks before the wedding, to knit an unbelievably complex cobweb lace shawl to wear over my dress because it "might get chilly", you'll give me a collective "come to your senses" slap. Because we all know that otherwise I might be walking down the aisle attempting to cast off while holding a bouquet. Which, although likely to be hilarious, would also be a little insane.

Plus, this weekend we were rained out of our camping trip, and then had a sick puppy to fuss over. We've taken her to the vet and gotten her some antibiotics, but she's definitely not 100% yet, so there was LOTS of snuggling and sleeping, and boiling chicken and making rice.

But enough with the excuses - I am a few ends away from a fabulous FO, and I promise actual knitting pics soon. In the meantime, here's my latest knitting "to do" list:

  • finish Elizabeth I
  • finish Beara peninsula Vest
  • finish Lilies of the Valley
  • finish Silk Shrug
  • finish Cindy's Chuppah squares (October deadline!!)

My goal is to finally finish off these projects so I can start a new sweater with a clean slate. Perhaps it's all of the planning S and I are doing regarding moving in together, what kind of house we eventually want to buy, etc... - I look around at all of my "stuff" and have an overwhelming urge to de-clutter. I'm trying to run with this urge as long as possible - the dresser and under the bed have already felt the wrath of the goodwill bag... my closet may very well be next!



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Alpine Lace
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Elizabeth I
Gathering Intentions
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