Posts Tagged ‘green’

A Week Or So In Stitches

I have had precious little to say, or rather, precious little to say that anyone is lining up to hear. Cheyenne left us on Saturday, October 8th. I had the following week off so my Mom was able to stay in Suffolk and grieve in private. I was able to stay home and do the same.

I worked through it in yarn mostly (and some beer, I don’t deny it), and I talked about memories of her as a puppy and found old photos of her playing with me in the big snowstorm of 2000. I am mostly better now. No more crying jags. I still catch myself turning in the computer chair to look behind me where her bed used to be to check on her. I was looking for the gate to the backyard to be closed when we pulled in the driveway after work yesterday. I keep catching myself thinking “I wonder if I need to let Cheyenne out” from time to time.

Time, prayer, and knitting can do a lot for one’s soul.
Arroyo
I started with Arroyo.
Yarn: KnitPicks Chroma (New England colorway) (one ball and I had some leftover)
Needles: 5mm (US8)
No modifications. This knit up very fast and I loved the short row shaping. I especially love how the colors turned out. However, that said, I had real problems with that Chroma ball. 4 rows into the scarf, the yarn was broken. Not knotted, completely broken. Then there were 3 more places in the ball where the yarn had been knotted to a new yarn, and they didn’t even try to keep the colors together. Fortunately, the abrupt shifts in color were less noticeable in the finished product than I feared they would be. The colors were fabulous, but I gave the yarn only 2 stars on Ravelry because of the issues I had with this ball.
Arroyo
It was a very quick knit, but I was highly focused on it as well. Cast on on Friday morning and cast off Sunday night.

After that, still being hung up on half-moon scarflettes, I immediately cast on Annis.
Annis
(Check out my model! She had been playing dress up just before.) Sadly, I have no decent pictures yet. I only have photos from blocking, and it was shockingly difficult to get any light on the shawl.
Annis
I blocked it on my yoga mats over a thick carpet. That worked okay, but I really need to look into getting some of those interlocking foam floor pads like they use in kids’ playrooms.
Annis
Yarn: Malabrigo Lace (Lettuce colorway) (also did not use the whole ball)
Needles: 6mm (cast on only) and 5mm
The only modification was I used the Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off since that had worked so well on Arroyo, but I think now I sort of regret it. I think a less stretchy bind off might have allowed for more curve. Or it might not have. It was very difficult to block it in the shape I wanted. I think I would be more in love with it except that it rolls up really badly. The curl did not block out. Stockinette is known for its tendency to curl and one of the things I loved about Arroyo was the garter stitch body, which patently does not curl. I almost modified the body of Annis with garter instead of stockinette stitch, but I thought it would look more elegant in stockinette.

It does, but curling is definitely not elegant. It is still very pretty, very light weight, and the yarn developed a nice halo that compliments the pattern nicely.
Annis
I hope to get some pretty, natural light photos soon.

I am pretty much half-moon scarfed out for a while. I was going to knit this third one for me (note, the blog is mostly in Russian, but there is an English translation of the pattern on Ravelry) with some recently finished handspun fingering weight wool, but I have a lot of Christmas knitting to catch up on. Probably by the time that is all finished, I will be ready for another scarflette. I really like the feather stitch pattern and in the peacock teal handspun, it will be a striking project, I think.

I have another project to cast on tonight though. Pictures soon, I hope.

The Story of Corrie

So, my Corrie Vest kit arrived back around September 13th. Only a couple of weeks before Coronation and before the Warrior Dash and Montpelier Fiber Festival weekend. I dove straight into knitting it, just going with it.

For whatever reason, stranded knitting goes extremely fast for me. I think it has more to do with keeping highly focused and the frequency with which the pattern changes, and less to do with the actual technique. I am much more likely to set a plain knitting project down for just about anything than I am to set down a fair isle project because I don’t want to get lost where I am in the pattern. Also, I am more likely to say “Just keep going until you change that left hand yarn.”

Closing in on Coronation, I was knitting a couple of hours per night, but the weekend of the event itself, I was barely able to knit at all. In the back of my mind was this fleeting fantasy that maybe the sweater could be done in time for me to wear it to Montpelier, but you have to understand that it seemed impossible at that point. I had steeks and short row shaping, and purling in pattern and 3 needle bind offs in my future, most of which I was completely unfamiliar with.

But I didn’t let go of the little idea in the back of my head.

So I knit. And knit. And knit. Fiendishly knit.

Tuesday night last week, another knitter looked at it and agreed with my assessment that completion by Sunday was exceedingly unlikely. But I kept knitting.

By Thursday, I had completed the body of the sweater and it was time to steek. I found my sharpest sewing scissors, my silk sewing thread, which I then quadrupled, and started backstitching along each side of my cuts. That took a good long while. Then, after pacing around, wringing my hands, forcing back a nervous tear or two, and 3 or 4 false starts, I made the very first snip. The world didn’t end. The sweater didn’t instantly unravel or turn to dust in my hands. So, I kept going.

Snip, snip, snip. One stitch at a time, one float at a time. Snip. Snip. Snip.
Steeked
When it was totally cut, I had a beer and didn’t look at it again until morning.

Friday was a desperately slow day at work, and I knew I was 90% of the way to home plate. With the race on Saturday morning and going to the State Fair on Saturday night, I knew Friday was my do-or-die day to finish the vest if I wanted to wear it to Montpelier on Sunday morning.

I picked up and knit the first armscye with my longest 2.75mm circular needle was which just too long and uncomfortable to knit with. The shorter, 24″ one was holding the live stitches on the neck line, so rather than go on to the second armscye like the instructions said, I went ahead and picked up and knit the neckline with the longer needle, freeing up the shorter one for the second armscye. Worked like a charm. I left work about half way done with the second armscye, and, probably to my family’s dismay, proceeded to knit through our lovely dinner at the Mexican restaurant, knit in the quickly darkening backseat, and cast off while we were waiting at the pharmacy for some medicines.

I broke the yarn in the dark in the car, and we came home from our evening out and I displayed my now finished sweater vest.

When I pulled it over my head and it fit perfectly, I could have cried.
Photobucket Photobucket
I wove in some ends while Grace was in the bath and while Byram was putting her in bed. The whole body is woven in, but I still have a lot of loose ends around the upper left armscye and the back of the neck. That was fine. I could wear it like that.

And I did. I wore it to the State Fair on Saturday night.
Its Under There
I wore it around the house.
Bemused
(Grace took the photo which partially accounts for my completely amused expression.)

And best of all, I wore it to Montpelier on Sunday morning.
Montpelier
One of the highest compliments I think a knitter can receive is to go to a fiber-centric festival and have people look at the knits you are wearing and then be shocked when you tell them that yes, indeed, you did handknit that vest. When seasoned knitters gasp with delight, you know you have done good work.

I wore it to work yesterday along with my Warrior Dash finisher’s medal. Almost no one at my office understood the importance or the pride I took in each of my hard-won accessories, but I knew.

This past weekend will go down as the most insane and wonderful weekends in my memory. In fact, the whole month of September 2011, will be firmly stuck in my memory as one of the most extreme months of my life, between beginning with an extended power outage, a wonderful family BBQ over Labor Day weekend, fun in the mud at Coronation, fun in the mud this past weekend, and lots of ups and downs in between. Onward now into October, my favorite month of the year usually, and I am particularly looking forward to a week off from work next week. I opted for a “stay-cation” to get my house in order and hopefully some personal time to recover from the insane summer and get my head and heart ready for the holidays to come.

It’s K N I T Spelled Backwards, You Know

I began my morning with the Corrie more than half-way through Chart 3, the main detailed band around the midsection of the vest. Here is a photo of where I ended last night:

Chart 3 is basically a mirror image of itself after the center blue detailed band that I finished last night. So I should just be using the contrasting color I was using before I switched to the bright blue in the center.

The question I am asking myself is WHY DIDN’T I???

Rather than the very dark Rainforest heather color, I picked up the bright green Grass color, and happily knitted 4 rows, identical to the ones that came before the blue detailed band, in ALL ways except for the color.

It wasn’t even close. Not close enough to fudge. Not close enough to think no one would notice. Not close enough to squint and pretend it was okay.

So why in the name of Merino did I fail to notice that until the 4 rows were done?????

Simple answer is probably because I am, in general, incompetent at this, with only rare moments of proficiency.

Tink, tink, tink.

(It’s knit spelled backwards, you know. Get it?)

First Look at Corrie


What do you think?

Sorry the photos are so dark. They have all so far been taken around 10 pm each night when I finally am too tired to go on any more.

I love photos of the wrong side of fair isle knitting. Can’t explain it.

A close up of the detail from Chart 1.

I am working right now on the detailed section of Chart 2, putting me at almost one third of the way up the body of this sweater vest now. My only real difficulties come with “deleting” pattern stitches out of the charts where I have decreased for waist shaping. That takes just a few moments of making sure you know exactly where your knitting is as opposed to what the chart says, but that isn’t too bad.

I did have to tink out two rows yesterday when I misinterpreted the shade of blue on the chart and worked in the wrong color. Not the end of the world, it just slowed me up a bit.

I am keeping this short because any moment I am blogging is a moment I do not have real life work to be doing, which means it is a moment I could be working on the Corrie vest.

More tomorrow if all goes well.

Winter is Coming

I have the hardest time knowing what to say these days, and I am sorry for the lack of posts. While I might not know what to say, I have had little trouble putting my hands to work. I have taken to combating the chaos in my family life with work of my hands, back, and brain.

The message hit home loud and clear a couple of weeks ago that if Byram and I want to see the dream we share of having a little homestead in the country together, we have real work ahead of us to accomplish that.

We have to get our suburban house appropriate for sale, without sinking too much money into it. A tricky line to walk. Given the market, we simply cannot get a good return on equity on any major improvements to the house, so we need to fix what is truly broken, put some lipstick on the pig (as it were), get it on the market and not be in a hurry.

We have to scrimp and save and make every penny squeal. Not being first time homebuyers, not having significant savings, and being that it is unlikely we will get a huge return on the house if we do manage to sell it, we need to sock away every dime we can towards a down payment. Frugal is as frugal does, and we are going back to a Dave Ramsey-like frugality.

So I have the motivation, I found the deals, and we have started putting some sweat equity into the house. Our downstairs halfbath is only a 5’x5′ space, and it seemed like it would be a relatively easy room to reclaim from the previous owners’ who had clearly watched too many episodes of While You Were Out. To that end, I have been stripping contact paper, cheap paint, ancient wallpaper, and puttying holes and sheetrock damage.

We settled on a creamy white color for the top half of the walls, a color called “Cream and Sugar” and since I am not going to bother replacing the deep green marble-like tiles, I decided to keep the lower half of the wall a deep green, but this one would be a solid color, and I would do a better job than the previous owners.

Seriously. I counted at least 4 different shades of green swiped willy-nilly across the wall. I am guessing (hoping) that was the effect they were looking for, and not that they were just swiping paint randomly on the walls.

We picked a green called “Deep Spruce.” Richer, grayer, and greener than the current blend of bright forest greens. I was horrified momentarily when I opened the can last night and this is what I saw:
Photobucket
Yikes. Fortunately, a really good mixing turned up the deep spruce green I believed I had purchased.

Here is the new (wet coat) green going over the old green.

And once dry, the color deepened to a green so dark as to border on black.

(The big swath of dark green on the right is my handiwork.)

It might wind up being too dark. It is hard to say yet. Tonight, I will roll the middle of the walls (last night was all brushwork and crawling behind a toilet to paint around the plumbing), and by Thursday morning, I should have a much better idea of how all of this will look when it is finished.

The chair rail and moulding will be painted bright white to help contrast the melted white chocolate color of the walls, and to tie it in with the bright white trimwork in the rest of the basement. I took the vanity mirror down and am painting its silver-spray painted frame a chocolaty brown color, again, to tie it in with the dark wood paneling and dark wood mantle in the rest of the basement. The silver-spray painted whicker woven shelf is also getting a coat of the same chocolate brown spray paint, but when I find something decent and similar in size, second hand (new shelves are expensive!), it will be replaced altogether.

Once the paint is cured, the vanity and shelves are dried and rehung, I am going to move some of my Alphonse Mucha prints from my Mom’s bedroom to the walls of our newly finished bathroom. Even though the prints are all women, there is something fairly masculine about that artwork, and will make the bathroom look decorated without looking feminine, or at least, that is sort of my hope.

I mean, this is a bathroom in the Man Cave, after all.

So this is where we stand today:
(Ugh. I would like to show you but apparently Photobucket has had enough of me for the day.)

All other news is related to the SCA, Pennsic, some knitting, some reading, some running, and cooking.

We went in with another family and paid for a freezer pig, much like we did with our Bessie Cow early this spring. We also were given a free smoker. We have since eaten home cured and home smoked bacon.

Yum.

I have been trying to do more of the cooking to relieve some of the burden on my Mom who is overwhelmed with real life right now. I actually enjoy cooking and enjoy just whipping up creations based on what I have in the fridge and the pantry.

I am re-reading George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, in anticipation of getting my hands on the fifth book, A Dance with Dragons, which came out today. Honestly, it was all I could do not to be at the store at midnight; but I am such a freak that since all I have to this point are the paperbacks, I really don’t want to own a hardback.

So for now, I am waiting and rereading the previous offerings. I just finished A Clash of Kings last night and started A Storm of Swords immediately thereafter. I am enjoying them both more and less the second time through. Since I have a better understanding of what is coming, I am getting a better understanding of some of the hints that have been offered to this point. It is becoming a guessing game; I like trying to outguess the author, just like I like to have guessed who the killer is in a typical murder-mystery t.v. drama, long before the reveal.

At the same time, I am getting a little done with the excessive violence, particularly the violence against underage girls. Now that I have seen the HBO mini-series, I am starting to imagine some of these scenes having to be played out on the screen now, or the steps the producers will have to take to censor some of this stuff (which they did for A Game of Thrones, but AGoT was tame compared to the books since). But there comes a point where you start to wonder just how much is GRRM looking for shock value. We hate Theon. We hate Jeoffrey. And the Boltons. And the Mountain. Do we really have to keep decending down the ladder of depravity to make sure the readers properly hate these men?

And while I may hate the levels of violence, I can’t keep from reading the books. GRRM can say what he likes about the “realism” of his books, but when you have zombies, giants, direwolves, wargs, and Others, what you still really have is a fantasy series that keeps dipping into some pretty dark places.

GRRM will keep writing, and I will keep skimming over the worst of the stuff, and will be sitting, waiting for the next installment to come out, no matter how low we go.

What does that say about me???

Ah well, it doesn’t really matter because Winter is Coming.

Solitude

So, what day is it? June 7th? Sounds like the perfect day to debut my April 2011 SCSC socks.
Vellamo
I actually finished them on Saturday (yes, the April socks were finished in JUNE). Wet blocking did wonders for what otherwise looked like a stranded mess.
Socks
Pattern: Vellamo
Yarn: KnitPicks Stroll Solids, one skein each of Aurora Heather and Mustard (Mustard is being discontinued)
Needles: 2.75mm DPNs
Modifications: My only modification was to change the cuff. I felt like the socks were so fancy they needed a showier cuff, so rather than a 1.5 inch 1×1 ribbed cuff, I went with a picot edged cuff. My first ever picot edge. I am a little disappointed that the socks are not all that “clingy” since I don’t have a nice stretchy ribbed cuff to help hold them up, but they look like some fancypants knitting, so I can live with them being somewhat saggy.

In other news, the week before Sapphire, I cast on the Summer Mystery Shawl that Wendy Johnson of WendyKnits started publishing. I wanted a distraction and something to invigorate my will to knit once the event was over, and it seems to have worked. I cast on in the handspun green merino/tencel (or it might be bamboo) blend I bought on Etsy last year and spun last Autumn. I don’t know how I feel about the yarn. Having never spun something like that, I didn’t know what to expect. I overspun a lot of it, and some of it is underspun. None of it is especially consistent. It is knitting up a lot like pure silk with little give. I think it will look nice once it is blocked out, but right now, I am somewhat taken aback by the mess every time I look at it.

Anyway, Wendy has put out all of the charts now, but the main body chart came out the day I was loading the Uhaul to go out to Sapphire, so I only started that chart over the weekend. I am taking my time with it, but the project is speeding up as I go because I am getting very familiar with the chart and because each right side row drops off two stitches.

I bypassed May’s Sock Club socks altogether. I had a feeling when I set up the club that May might wash out and sure enough. It doesn’t hurt that the socks are intended for a pair of Size 12 feet, and those feet belong to someone on my Not Too Happy With list, at the moment. I had little heartache in skipping over those socks. My June socks are waiting to be cast on very soon. The pattern is Falling Tears, and the yarn will be more Knit Picks Stroll in Dusk colorway. My main delay is that I need to replace my 2mm DPNs and I really need a 2.5mm set too. I think this sock is going to need me to go down a size from my normal 2.75mm needles.

Maybe this weekend I will have time to cast on while I am back at Tom Scott Park for Warfighter.

I am really suddenly looking forward to the event this weekend. We won’t have an “encampment” to speak of. It will just be Byram and I alone in our normal location, and there is a better than average chance that one night, it might even be me by myself. He will understand (I hope) when I say that the idea of a night alone in a tent, completely by myself, is deeply appealing right now. In the wake of Sapphire, of autocratting, of my job, of life in general, I feel a bit like I have had a 60 grit beltsander applied to my soul and I need some time to heal up. I need some quiet time. I need some solitude.

You wouldn’t think going to an SCA event would be the balm I need, but the way this weekend is looking, I think it is going to be perfect.

Now, I would like to leave you with some photos from my lost month of May.
Grace and I are exploring the River.

Admiral Achbar gives us a warning from what is one of the most random tags I have ever seen in the City.
Photobucket
My Beloved. Both of them.

A blooming magnolia; the scent took me straight back to my childhood in Hampton.
Magnolia
One of the most hellacious storms I have ever driven through.

My goofy girl and her wax lips.

Going for a run with a little added weight.

The Civil War memorial on Belle Isle.

And Grace.

Bombs Away

I think I am out of my “Blue Period.” Here is the evidence:
Green
From left to right, you have the second Vellamo sock, Serpentine Mitts (in positively divine Zitron Noblesse…yum), and Freya. I never go in by halvsies on anything. I was all blue. Now I am all green. I should cast on something orange, just to throw myself off.

Not that there isn’t still a *little* blue in my world.
Not Noro
That is Son of the Not-Noro Noro Striped Scarf. Yeah, it has been on the needles a long time. It isn’t like I am desperate for a scarf right now, and it is the perfect go-to project when I need something mindless to knit. Like this weekend, I added a foot and a half to it while watching Grace and other assorted SCAdian youngsters play in the nursery at the site we were at this past weekend. It wasn’t a good time for colorwork, so no Vellamo socks, and not a good time for un-charted lace work, so no Freya, and not the time to interpret cable charts, so no Serpentine mitts.

Speaking of Serpentine Mitts, I have been relatively blog-lite on them. I finished the first mitt WAY back in the first week of March while I was doing mental battle with the Charade socks from hell. I couldn’t get a decent picture of the finished product on my hand, and it looks a little pitiful if not stretched over a model. The Zitron Noblesse is one of the finest yarns I have knit with thus far, being very fine wool and silk, and I think it was positively a steal at only $8 a ball. If I was knitting a sweater, it would get a little pricey, but if I successfully get a pair of fingerless mitts out of its silken yardage, I would do a cartwheel for that bargain.

Running continues. I am trying to keep up with my training progress on my running blog at The Mud Dauber in Training. I don’t keep up enough like I should but I am going to try. Initially, I was just documenting my training goals and efforts for the Warrior Dash I signed up for in October, but since I have expanded my goals, I will try and expand my writing (just not at the expense of my training). I will try and include aside from the training details, stuff about nutrition, the mental aspect of training (which seems much harder at this stage than actually pounding the pavement), and stuff I am learning and loving about the culture of runners.

Finally, I leave you with a very poor, blurred photo, taken at some speed, with one hand, while driving my way towards a dentist’s appointment here in the Shockoe Slip area of Richmond.
Bombs Away
Richmond, we have been Yarn Bombed. I am practically giddy at the thought. (It’s crochet, so therefore I have proof that it couldn’t have been me.)