Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A peak at my HSKS work in progress . . .

By the way - this week's qustion for points: Who are the two people speaking in this quote and what book is it from? 5 House Points are riding on it!

"I'm not trying to say what she did was sensible. I'm just trying to make you see how she was feeling at the time."

"You should write a book, translating mad things girls do so boys can understand them."

- Hermione and Ron, discussing Cho [ch.26 The Order of the Phoenix]

I think I need to skip ahead and re-read this one. I am really having to search for quotations from this book. I have a lot of tattered holes in my memory of TOofTP. I must have stayed up too late and dreamed I was actually reading it!

Well, onward and upward. Here's a peak inside my HSKS bag - I didn't get to sew it on Memorial Day weekend but I did cut it out. I spent much of today ferrying children around (Note to Self: Get those girls their Drivers' Liscenses!) but when I was at home, I was sewing.

There are two inside pockets - one dark green and one polkadotted - and one outside pocket. There are handles as well as backpack straps. I tried to make it roomy - and it is!

I am going to have to make myself one of these bags! They are cute!

This is an Amy Butler pattern called the Vintage Style Backpack Tote. Basically, grab a yard each of three or four contrasting yet complementary fabrics and you are set! I NEED to get it all in the mail tomorrow.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Time is moving onward - but where is my map?

Blessed is the person who is too busy to worry in the daytime and too sleepy to worry at night.


If there was a harried look in this sheep's eyes, it would be me.

These last two weeks have occured on overdrive. School events, class parties, triathlon training, bike rides, visits to St. Louis, graduations, parents' visits - augh. There is just too much going on! And I am responsible for making it all happen!

There is some knitting - the green sock creeps onward. I swear that some Penelope is ripping it back every night. Six more rows. And six more rows. And six more rows. The darn marker does not appear to be budging.

I've also started a baby blanket version of Evelyn A. Clark's "Edged with lace" simple shawl. I'm using some "on hand" Cascade 220 Superwash in color 802. This looks like a muted green when viewed online - but trust me, it's really GREEN! Eyecatching, pirate-parrot, some-sort-of-hosta, maybe-a-tropical-fish GREEN. It's for the "fetus yet to meet us" of a swim friend and she doesn't know if it's a boy or girl, so I think green will make a great baby blanket. Not a sweater, though. It's too loud for a sweater.

Right after I cast on, I found out another friend brought home a brand new baby boy and now I will have to hustle up another sweater. Maybe a hat? Hmm.

I am still working on a red project for my mother - but since she's visiting, I can't work on it in front of her.

Tomorrow, I am taking the third bike ride of the weekend. I'm definitely worried about the Manitou Tri on June 10 - I don't think I am at full athletic capacity yet - and I need more time on the bike. Unfortunately, my legs are telling me that they want off that crazy thing.

What I'm really looking forward to is working on my HKSK bag. I found the right green colors and thread and I am using an Amy Butler pattern for a backpack/tote bag. I want to get the package in the mail and off my hands THIS week. I wil take some photos of it. I wish I was getting this cool exchange!

Yesterday's Saturday Seven is completely boring. When cleaning frantically after my trip and before my mother's arrival, I cleared out bedding and towels.

Boring things like two blankets, a bedspread and four towels. I may take a picture. Or maybe not. They are so dull that I'm worred that no one would buy them at a rummage sale. Not great stuff - but not trash either. The kind of stuff you would give to your first born for their first apartment. Unfortunately, that would be about five years in the future and I don't have the storage room. Look out, Saint John the Evangelist's Big Sale, here comes trouble!

Technically, it is now Memorial Day. Have a lovely holiday, spend time with your loved ones and remember those who have served in the Armed Forces.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Taking it on the road - again.

Luckily, I've been setting aside items to give away for some time - assembling seven items to be named later. As I am on the road, visiting my sister in Saint Louis, I don't have access to my photos. But they do exist! One lace curtain, one pair of running shoes, four of Youngest Child's shirts and one book, "March." The curtain was a stop gap curtain for the top of my stairs. I bought the fabric and simply hemed it as a curtain when we moved into this house thirteen years ago but I never replaced it. Finally, I am sewing a new one. The running shoes were purchased by mistake. After giving them a fair go, I decided to replace them and passed them over to my Middle Daughter. The book was last month's Monday Night Book Group offering. I read it and enjoyed it but I have no room for it on my bookshelf. Perhaps I'll Book Crossing it? The clothing and the curtain will go off to a rummage sale at a local church.
In the mean time, I'll be knitting away in Saint Louis. I brought my green socks and my flower basket shawl to work on. Unfortunately, I think I lost my copy of the shawl pattern at my niece's volleyball game so I'll be sock-ing it all the way home. No chance to visit any yarn stores but plenty of knitting time and that is allways a treat.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Syttende Mai!

Hurra for Syttende Mai! I'm not Norwegian but am filled with envy over those great knitting patterns. I've been eyeing these patterns by Mary Ann Stephens over at Kids Knits for a while. Maybe when Youngest Child is in school full time? Finishing the Tiger Lily jacket would really be a reason to celebrate!

Midnight and the gauge isn't looking any better . . .

You know how you hear stories about how the girls (or guys) all start looking better after midnight? It's not true about gauge, either.

After settling everyone else down and finally wresting control of the TiVo from Middle Daughter, I sat down to knit a circular gauge swatch in the Cheer. A couple of taped CSI shows later, I have a neat little cuff, sleeve, hat-like nubbin. It still doesn't look any better this late and in this form than it did in the sampler swatch form.

At the most, I can get 4 1/2 stitches with some places 4 and 3/4 stitches. All I want is to get 5 stitches to the inch and I am doomed, doomed to have to ammend the directions. I just want to forget the math, to just follow the crowd, to just want to go where Elizabeth Zimmerman leads.

By the by, I knit an inch or so of my swatch (70 stitches) in ribbing and then stockinette on a size 4 Addi Turbo 16 inch circular needle. This is all so that when you knit your next gauge swatch, you can laugh and laugh at a person who knits so ridiculously loose. Lazy. Relaxed. Whatever.

Onward I go, calculator in hand, to fight the good fight and make Youngest Daughter her sweater.

BUT, just to leave you on a high note. I went to the sock yarn swap at the MN Knitters' Guild meeting on Tuesday and scored a beautiful skein of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock yarn in Peacock. Lovely and soft. I also got a skein of Lana Grossa Meilenweit Safari. Also nice but a little more manly in pattern. Definite Husband sock yarn. Now, if I could just finish my Green Socks, I could move forward with some of these other delicious yarns. Not now, however, I am about to meet a really good looking bed. I didn't make my "finish before midnight" deadline but I have one more minute to go . . .

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

It's MY gauge, dagnabit!

I have been thinking about an Elizabeth Zimmerman type sweater utilizing some Rowan Yorkshire Aran DK yarn in Cheer and have been knitting a swatch using my Knitpicks needles.

Swatching the exact same gauge, apparently! I took EZ's gauge advice to heart and made a neat little sample of stockinette stich starting with a size 8 needle and working my way down to a size 4. Even thought they look different and (more importantly to me) feel different, each section is almost exactly the same. Possibly only 1/8 of a stitch difference between sections.

That's why the rectangular swatch is being turned into the circular knitted swatch. Otherwise known as a hat. Hopefully with 5 stitches to the inch.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

There was a Dalek in my garage

but it's gone forever. My husband sold it! Selling something is even better than giving it away. Just let me at the rest of the your stuff, honey.

The rest of our Saturday Seven came from me and Youngest Child. My wicking teeshirts still wicked just fine - but they shrunk. Out to the rummage sale. The boy's jacket and "Oh-so-cute" Keen sandals - over to Baby Karl. They were great but Youngest Child is growing like a Bad Weed - oops, I meant a Beautiful Flower.

Well, today was the day of days - my Oldest Daughter's big track meet AND her big dance. Me? I got to talk about knitting at the Minnesota Knitters' Guild table at Shepherd's Harvest. I also got to meet Lorraine from Of Faith and Fiber - it sounded like she had a relaxing and profitable afternoon! I discovered that she had also knitted the "Flower Basket Shawl" by Evelyn A. Clark and she had some great information about the needle cord length I'll need by the time I get to the end.

Tomorrow is my traditional Mother's Day visit to Shepherd's Harvest - I can't wait. We eat Kettle Korn, browse the vendors, check out the llamas, pet the goats (I really want a goat!) and, finally, buy a little fiber. I'm going to look for items for my HSKS partner - she's a Slytherin so I'll be checking out green yarn, sock needles, etc.

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Revisiting Elizabeth Zimmerman

Sometimes, it takes a while for a good idea to sink in. A few weeks ago at the Minnesota Knitting Guild's Yarnover, a spring knitting workshop, I took at class from Meg Swanson. It was kind of a review of Elizabeth Zimmerman's percentage system for creating sweaters. Ms. Swanson had tons of photographs and real knitted sweaters that she used to illustrate various kinds of necklines, increases, hems, etc. I'd probably seen most of the sweaters before but seeing them in person was great.

It was a real eye opening kind of class! My first knitting book was "Knitting without Tears" and I have several other of EZ's books. So much is about guidelines rather than patterns. I forgot how much I appreciated that. I've been searching for a pattern for Middle Daughter but nothing was clicking. Now, I think I am going to adapt one of Elizabeth Zimmerman's designs with a few changes for MD's tastes.

So, I picked up the DVD of "Knitter's Workshop" and I have been watching a little every day. Now, I finally got a copy of the accompanying book (from the excellent library at the Textile Center of Minnesota!) and I am so enjoying it. Ideas are flowing - or they will after a little more sleep!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Saturday Seven . . . and good tidings!

Big to little, today's Saturday Seven were very simple. The chairs and one clip on sunshade for a child's wagon went to Freecycle, the children's dishes and the boots went to a rummage sale, the book on cd, "The Land Between the Seas" by David McCullough goes to a collection of books-on-cd for troops overseas and the bike shoes and triathlon suit are going to be posted on my tri group's list. Something for everyone!

The good news is that Miss Ariel's dress is the Grand Prize Winner for the Mall of America's Final Cut Prom Dress Contest! They will be producing her dress for next year! Congrats to a great girl!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

This week's question . . . and a visiting knitter

- Time to join the Potter Army! Knitting Division, needles at rest.

This week's HSKS quote is from chapter one of " Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" and it is Voldemort speaking to Peter Pettigrew (Wormtail)

"...for that, you will have your reward, Wormtail. I will allow you to perform an essential task for me, one that many of my followers would give their right hands to perform..."

Personally, Wormtail is my least favorite character. But I have found out who I send my swap kit to - she's a Sytherin (boo, hiss) and now the game's afoot!

In real life, I went to a multiple-college "Meet and Greet" kind of thing with my daughter last night. I guess I am the farthest thing from a "helicopter" parent as I sat there and knit all evening as she went from table to table and collected information.

I did meet another knitter/mother from St. Peter, MN, who told me all about her great local yarn store, the Tangled Skein. I saw this store at Yarnover a few weekends ago and took note because they carry Green Mountain Spinnery's Mountain Mohair. I've been thinking about some of their patterns but because I've never seen the yarn in person, I was hesitant to commit. It sounds like another road trip will be necessary!

I mostly worked on my green sock (toe decreases!) and she worked on a baby sweater. When I pulled out my "Flower Basket" practice shawl, however, the visiting knitter was very helpful. She had knit it before and gave me a little advice. Unfortunately, by the end of evening, I had to frog some of the work I'd accomplished on the Grinnell trip. This time, I put in a "lifeline" - that's where you thread a yarn through the stitches to create a visual marker - and it's been easy sailing since then.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Roadtripping to Iowa

Yesterday, I travelled to Grinnell, Iowa to visit Grinnell College with my Oldest Daughter. While I think it made her list of places to apply, I am not sure it really is "The One" for her. While she toured and attended class, however, I got to wander around town and even found a quilting/yarn/fiber store, the Grinnell Fiber Works.

It was an excellent quilt shop and had some really cool supplies for dollmaking but they were selling off their yarn and knitting supplies. So Sad. Unfortunately, their remaining yarn was very hit or miss and their sock yarn was Not On Sale. If you really want people to buy things, you have to make it worth their while! I did end up buying the last copy of "Socks: A Spin-Off special publication for knitters and spinners" from Interweave Press.

This looks like it will be a very handy book for using up handspun yarn!

On Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap business - here's the HSKS Questionaire!

1. What Hogwarts house have you been sorted into? I am a Ravenclaw.

2. List your three favorite double-point needle brands, including size and length. My very favorite is ChiaoGoo Bamboo Needles, size 2, 6 inch length. Second choice would be Takumi Bamboo, size 1 or 2, 7 inch length. I don't have anything else yet but I think I would prefer something shorter (like the ChiaoGoo 6 inch length) and I wouldn't mind wood or metal. I already have lots of bamboo because I always loose one or two of each set!

3. Would you like to try a new brand needle? If so, which brand? Size? Length? Oops - I forgot this one - I wouldn't mind a new style but I don't want anything longer than the 6 inch length. I am finding the Takumi Bamboo a little "catchy" with my sock yarn so maybe something more slippery?

4. If you are a RAVENCLAW, do you prefer the colors in the film or the book? Do you have a strong preference? I like the book colors (blue and bronze) better than the movie (blue and silver) but I don't have a strong preference. I don't like either in sparkly or shiny.

5. If your pal decides to send candies or chocolates are there any that you don't like? No!

6. What are your favorite scents? I like plant scents over food scents. My favorites are things like Thymes' Frazier Fr handlotion, Root Candle's Fig. and I wear Fresh's "Sugar" and "Lemon Sugar" perfumes. I use those brands as an example but I don't expect them. I love finding less expensive, fresh, woodsey scents!

7. Do you have any allergies? No.

I am so looking forward to this swap. I had a hard time resisting picking out a bag pattern this weekend but I didn't want to limit myself when it came to the swapee's colors.