Monday, May 29, 2006

Crofter's is finished

Crofter's Slipover

Pattern: Crofter's Slipover from Folk Vests
Yarn: Rowanspun 4-ply, purchased on closeout from Elann (using my happy birthday gift certificate from mom - thanks, mom!)
Modifications: I added two pattern repeats to make it big enough because the yarn I used is finer than what the pattern calls for.
Pictures: My deck. I picked the pictures where I looked the least dorky (yes, some of them are dumber looking than these).

The last half week in review
I've been a blog slacker.

Thursday: Work, taught night class, got home at 10:45

Friday: Faculty development day. I had at least 45 minutes in which I profoundly wished I was somewhere else - and that was in spite of the fact that I had knitting to console me. Lunch (pizza buffet in Auburn) made me profoundly ill. Got home at 5, crashed. Trent dug me out at 7, and we went to Melissa's birthday party, where he was playing. I drank lots of water.

Saturday: We went for a long hike around Discovery Park with Stella, and I forgot to take the camera. Bad blogger, bad blogger! I took a shower and fell asleep instead of making it over to Ryan's for the Dulaan knitting. Oops. Then I stayed up late to finish the last ribbing and sew in the ends of Crofter's.

Sunday: I hung out with Nancy and Dorothy in the afternoon and started the Wool Peddler's Shawl from Folk Shawls. We had dinner with our Danish friends who will soon be moving to Toronto. We tried to convince them that Toronto was full of dangerous polar bears and lacked running water, but I don't think it worked.

Today: I slept in. We're toddling around the house in a sleepy fashion. We're going to take Stella to the Arboretum for a stroll here in awhile, and then I'm going to try to make it to Ferals this evening.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Photoless in Seattle


I'm still plodding along on Crofter's. I have one armhole ribbing left to do. It's going to be a long time before I can face another project with corrugated ribbing (although in fairness, I have gotten faster at it with practice). I'm holding off on photos until that sucker is done and blocked. Meanwhile, I'm finishing up a pair of socks for Trent, on sock 1 of another pair, and am swatching for the Wool Peddler's shawl. I'm also shopping for my Secret Pal, which is harder than I thought it would be. I get very anxious about whether people will like gifts that I pick for them.

Dog update

The latest from the vet is that Chloe most likely has a partial tear in her ACL (right rear leg). Based on muscle atrophy previously noted by the vet, this may be a long-standing injury that she's recently restrained. The vet is concerned that unless it's surgically corrected arthritis will accelerate in that leg from the limited range of motion. On the other hand, the surgery is major (and expensive), and something like 50-60% of dogs who have it done promptly blow out the other knee during recovery. Trent and I have started making bleak jokes about how the surgery involves replacing the ligament with our credit line. Meanwhile, I'm gathering information about the surgery and alternatives. I think the park steward of our off-leash area knows of a holistic vet, so I may try going to see him for non-surgical alternatives. We wouldn't want to have the surgery done until after our vacation (we're leaving for two weeks in England a month from today), so I don't feel rushed to make the decision.

Meanwhile, Chloe is doing much better. The vet's suggestion of cutting back her food to keep her calmer is plainly crazy. Now she justs looks lean and sort of maniacal. She's started veering toward the car every time I take her out, and she's charging up and down the stairs with nearly her former vigor.

Things I love at work

There's a poster in the faculty and staff lunchroom at work (a small, bleak, windowless room in the warren of faculty offices) decreeing "Corporate Compliance and Ethics Week: Meeting the Expectations of Others." I love that so, so much for it's implication that we only give a shit about ethics because of observation by others.

The other jewel of the lunchroom is the Automatic External Defibrillator that they installed about 6 months ago...or more accurately, the locked, alarmed defibrillator case which is STILL EMPTY 6 months later. Thanks, corporation.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The trials of dog ownership

I spent a chunk of time this weekend at the vet with Chloe. Several x-rays later, the vet determined (preliminarily) that the meniscus in her right rear knee is shot, and that's the main cause of her painful limp over the past week. (Also, her hip joints are deteriorating.) I'm waiting for the official verdict from the radiologist, but it looks like we'll be facing some sort of expensive dog repair. My favorite part of the visit was when the vet told me that for the foreseeable future, I'm supposed to keep her from running, jumping, and playing with Stella, and I should only take her for 5-10 minute business walks. I wish I had a picture of my face at that moment. We could use it right next to "incredulous" in the dictionary.

In other news, I finished the neck ribbing on Crofter's. For once in my knitting life, I managed to pick up EXACTLY the number of stitches called for, without having to work at it at all. I somehow doubt I'll be that lucky on the armholes. I also started a pair of socks from the oldest sock yarn in my stash. (They don't count as WIPs, really. It's just socks.)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Socks for Mom

Now that they're in Mom's hands, I can post about them here.

Pattern: Fancy Silk Socks from Knitting Vintage Socks
Yarn: Hand-dyed merino by Sleeping Dragon yarn purchased from A Swell Yarn Shop at the Seattle Knitting Expo a few weeks ago.
Needles: Addi turbo size 1 (2.5 mm) circs, 2 circ method. (Patti, your former needles have now made socks)

Mom reports that they fit perfectly (I was worried). The pattern was fun to knit. I kept track of rows for once in my life, mostly because I had to anyway so I wouldn't lose my place in the pattern. I shortened the tops (as usual) by two pattern repeats and lengthened the heel flap (as usual).

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Summer preview

More weather

For those of you don't live here, I should explain that anything over 80 is considered dangerously hot in Seattle, even for mid-summer. For May, this is crazy weather. At some point yesterday afternoon, I went downstairs to the main floor of our house and was greeted with this scene of incredible sloth:

(Look carefully - Stella is on the couch with Trent.) I did what any self-respecting person would do. I stole a pillow from Trent and stretched out on the floor to read a book.

When I walked the girls yesterday evening, our little local park and playground was full of flowers,

people and their picnics, and the pick-up soccer game that usually happens on summer evenings. Stella was extremely interested in the game. I think she'd make a good defensive player, but the sharp teeth are a little hard on soccer balls (we know this from experience).

The trash can and its lid are serving as the goal. It's a very informal game.


I've finished knitting the body of the Crofter's vest. One of the feral knitters, Janine, recommended crocheting up both sides of the steek. The instructions call for machine stitching. I know from my swatch that it won't disintegrate if I just cut it open. I think I'm going to go with the middle option, however, and machine stitch, even though that means that I'll need to persuade my dear, sweet husband to move the recording equipment off my sewing desk so that I can get out the machine.

I've sworn that I won't start my next big probject (socks don't count) until I've completely finished this one. That, of course, isn't stopping me from contemplating what the next project will be. Currently available in the stash, I have:

a) Crystal Palace Kid Merino (in red, of course) to make the Wool Peddler's Shawl from Folk Shawls.
b) Fancy hand-dyed yarn I bought, oh, 3 years ago to make the Cottonwood Vest from Folk Vests. I love this pattern, even 3 years later. I'm not at all sure the yarn I bought will work out gauge-wise for the pattern. (Naturally, I didn't buy the yarn it calls for. That's for wimps.)
c) Harris Tweed Shetland 4-ply to make the Schoolhouse Shetland Pullover from America Knits. This would be for Trent.

I'm leaning toward the shawl, on the grounds that I still have the Norsk Strikkedesign sweater going, and so it might be nice to have a major project that does NOT involve stranding multiple colors going.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Let's talk about the weather

It's been a slow blogging spell. I've been knitting a (slightly late) Mother's Day present, which I don't want to show here until Mom gets it (Hi Mom!). I've resumed work on Crofter's, and I'm almost finished with the body, which means it's time to cut my knitting open. I'll be sure to document the exciting steek process.

The most exciting thing happening in my life? Weather. Jenine, this is especially for you. Does it make you feel better?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Mistakes have been made

RIP Waving Lace Socks

Once upon a time, I knit myself a pair of Waving Lace Socks (it's an Evelyn Clark pattern from an IK a couple of years ago). They were made of Elann baby alpaca, with heels and toes of Rowan Yorkshire Tweed. And I looked upon them and saw that they were good.

Last time I wore the socks, I noticed that they had developed a small hole in the sole and set them aside for darning after I washed them. Sadly, there's no special "to be mended" location in my house, so they drifted from dresser to dresser and somehow, sometime, made their way into the laundry pile. But not the special hand washing/special care laundry pile. No, they fell in with the jeans and sweatshirts.

When I unloaded the dryer last night, I found them. I couldn't really face it until this morning. They're...

Yup, felted. (I'm really impressed with how well the waving lace continues to wave after a vigorous fulling. That could be useful knowledge for an on-purpose felting project, after this festering wound has healed.)

Students are shiftless

In one of my classes, students are required to read Brave New World. I warn them that there will be a quiz to determine if they've read it. Despite this (and despite the fact that plot summaries are readily available on the internet), there are always a couple of students who don't prepare. Most of the 'fess up. But there's always someone who tries a BS approach. This one was really a masterpiece of using words from the question and not actually saying anything.

Question: What do you believe Huxley's purpose was for this novel? Defend your answer with examples of specific incidents or comments from the novel.

I believe that the purpose of Huxley's novel is for us to see what the different situations would be like, like John and how he felt about the society [there was an earlier question about John's reaction to the society] and how that played a role in what eventually happened [there's also a question about what ultimately happens to John]. There are two sides to everything [the other essay question asks about advantages and disadvantages of the World State] and there are some advantages in the new world and also some disadvantages at the same time. He's trying to put a picture in your head about what society could change to and a glimpse of what happens to some individuals through this process.

Awww, aren't they cute when they're floundering?

Bad management

Thanks for your sympathy about work. I made it through the entire hour of conference call without even feeling strongly compelled to scream at anyone. The head of our division seems to have adopted the position that we'll be able to influence the ultimate form of The Plan so that it will be warm and friendly. Of course, there's absolutely no process in place to accomplish this.

During dinner with some of Trent's colleagues, one of them related a great anecdote. He saw an interview with a solider who had been in Iraq. The interviewer asked if the solider was hopeful that the plans for stabilizing the region would work. The soldier replied "Hope is not a method." I'm now officially in love with that phrase, and plan to use it when the Corpbots come to talk to us in person about The Plan.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Happiness followed by headaches

The good:

The lovely and delightful Karen visited Seattle last weekend. She loves it (we always knew she would) and is now contemplating moving up here. Karen, you'd be closer to the handspun yarn - first dibs.

Ryan has posted more pictures from Mongolia, further inspiring my Dulaan knitting. Even better, F.I.R.E. has decided they will definitely be continuing the project into 2007. Yay!

I'm knitting a special secret project that I should have in the mail almost in time for Mother's Day. (Hi, Mom!)

The bad:

Allergies. Holy moly, I'm a big ol' ball of snuffles.

Work. I love my students this term (really - even Mr. "Citizen Kane is too old" came around), but my employer...Oy. My corporate masters are busy making plans that will effectively reduce the independence and initiative of their faculty. Gee, that's a good idea. I get the pleasure of participating in a conference call with said-corpbots tomorrow, so I'm currently practicing biting my tongue every time I get the urge to say something like "What crack have you been smoking?" I'll let y'all know how that pans out for me.

SP8 Questionnaire

I'm signed up for Secret Pal 8. I'm not savvy enough to figure out how to post a text file somewhere else and link to it, so it's just going to have to go here in the main blog. My apologies to uninterested readers.

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I love all kinds of wool – fat, thin, soft, and scratchy. I’m not a huge fan of 100% cotton because it kind of hurts my hands to knit with it, but I like cotton blends.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have a needle roll that I use for DPNs and straights, a zipper case with ziplock baggies that I use for circs up to size 9 (bigger ones don’t fit so well), and other stuff gets tossed in an accordion file in a giant scary tangle.

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I’ve been knitting for about 5.5 years. I think of myself as an adventurous intermediate knitter. I haven’t found anything I can’t do yet, but there are lots of techniques (like entrelac) that I haven’t really felt compelled to try yet.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
I like fruity and spicy. I’m allergic to several artificial floral scents, so I try to stick with stuff that smells like food. (Allergy note: I’m very allergic to cedar, as well.)

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Favorite? Is that possible? I don’t think I’ve ever met a chocolate I didn’t like. I’m not a huge fan of hard candies.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I spin. I crochet a little. I sew occasionally (I’m proficient, but knitting really consumes my crafty energy these days). I’ve done some felting projects, and I’ve done some dyeing.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
My musical taste is wildly eclectic. I like classic country (Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn), alt-country (Neko Case, Wilco), world music (especially African music), and lots of other things. I’m not such a fan of opera, or of most of the stuff that gets played on commercial radio these days.
My computer plays MP3s, and I have both an iPod and a flash player for windows media files.

9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
My favorite color to work with is red, followed closely by purple and blue. I tend to gravitate toward rich colors. I like earth tones, but they make me look jaundiced, so I only use them for other people.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I’m married to a very understanding husband. We have two dogs and two cats, but no human children.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
I wear scarves, hats, mittens, and shawls, but not ponchos. (I’m busty, and they make me look like a schmoo.)

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Socks and hats, because they’re small and portable. I also like knitting complicated sweaters.

13. What are you knitting right now?
You’re joking, right? Okay, current WIPs:
A fair isle vest
A scandanavian colorwork sweater
A plain kid's sweater for charity
Two pairs of socks
A lace shawl (the Pacific Northwest Shawl)
And some unloved projects that I’m ignoring for various reasons (won’t fit, yarn hurts hands, etc.)

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I like all kinds of needles. I like wooden straights, metal circs, and bamboo DPNs (except for 2 mm DPNs, which I have to use metal for or I break them).

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Yup, both.

17. How did you learn to knit?
My mom taught me the first time when I was much younger (maybe 5th grade?) but it didn’t stick. She got me started again one Christmas. I learned everything else from books and the Internet.

18. How old is your oldest UFO?
Oh, dear. Ummm, 4 years? I think?

19. What is your favorite holiday?
Thanksgiving. Mmmm, food.
20. Is there anything that you collect?
Besides yarn? Not really.
21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
See my Amazon wish list for books. I have subscriptions to Interweave Knits and Spin-Off. I’ve been really curious to try some of the Knit-picks lace yarn (especially the alpaca) but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.
22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I’d sort of like to try needle felting (I know it’s not knitting). I keep meaning to learn to knit short-row heels for my socks, too, but haven’t gotten around to it.
23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes, I do knit socks. My feet are:
9.5” long
9” around
My ankles start at 9” around, and get pudgy fairly rapidly.
24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
December 19 (also my wedding anniversary).

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


I've been spinning. A lot. This may have something to do with the massive quantities of wool I bought over the weekend. In addition to the three roving balls pictured in the last post, I got more when I went back on Sunday. The latest acquisition is corriedale pencil roving from Crown Mountain Farms in the color "Silver Fox." I may also have bought some sock yarn, but as my knitting friends (hi, Jenn!) often point out, sock yarn doesn't count.

I plied some singles that had been sitting around, and started on the Romeldale roving from Reflection Farm (the orange and red roving in the last post). I'm in love. It's glorious to spin - soft, even, easy-drafting. I decided to use the two colors together. I made two bobbins of singles with random lengths of each color and plied them together. That should give me stripes of red, orange, and tweed. 4 oz spun up to about 440 yards, pictured on the right below.

The other yarn is from my New Year's Eve dyeing experiements. The yarn on the left is made from corriedale roving that I hand painted and steamed. I split it into thin strips and navajo plied to mix up the colors. The yarn in the middle is shetland, spun from roving that I dyed with the hot pour method. I like the subtlety of the colors, although they don't show up well in the picture. It's not the uniform periwinkle that it looks on my monitor.