Sunday, July 30, 2006

Koigu Lace Shawl

Slubs, thin spots, single plys and loops all attempted to thwart my finishing the shawl. Strange that I didn't notice any of these problems when I was winding the skein. I have another ball from the same dye lot in my Charlotte's Web Kit and must remember to check it before I begin.

Now that the shawl is blocking and no longer a blob I like it. The vision is clear and the colors are great, even the brown.

It should be dry by the time I get up in the morning. I'll unpin and stash it away for mom's return and photo op. There's quite a bit of leftovers from 4 of the colors. I was tempted to order an additional skein of each. Instead I think that I'll wait until I finish the other kit and see if I have enough for a mini scarf.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

From the Needle to the Hook

For several weeks we've had sizzling summer heat and today has been a welcome relief. It wasn't as hot and you could actually spend time outside without dashing from one air conditioned place to another.

Severe thunderstorms rolled in early this evening and while the winds were pretty amazing we escaped the hail that was predicted. We stood on my brother's front porch and watched as the storm arrived and the first part passed. Realizing that we were about to get the part of the storm that was the most violent, we retreated to the inside and for the first time in weeks they turned on the attic fan and opened the windows. It was wonderful to feel and smell the cool fresh air coming through the windows.

It's almost time for me to brush up the crochet skills again. Tonight I finished the repeat of color B and begin introducing color A. The shawl is finished with a row of single crochet into which you work 2 rows of a chain and slip stitch edging. I'll stay up and finish the knitting and begin the edging tomorrow.

After working some more rows on the corded rib socks, I've noticed not only pooling but stacking and now flashing. The yarn gives me no choice but to ignore the overwhelming urge to match socks that I experience when knitting with self-striping yarns.

The current issue of Interweave Knits arrived Thursday. There are several projects that immediately caught my attention in this issue. I'm definitely going to knit the Swallowtail Shawl designed by Evelyn Clark. I've been looking for a project to knit for our next door neighbor who always checks on me if I'm sick and mom's out of town. Last month I purchased some red zephyr with her in mind. It's not quite enough for a large shawl but it's more than enough for a small shawl.

And finally, the renovation has resumed with the installation of insulation in the walls. They probably would have finished the job if the attic was composed of more than just rafters. Thank goodness our original house is far better insulated than we would have ever thought for its age of 40+ years. If it wasn't, our light bill would be astronomical with all the leaks and cracks around the boarded up windows and the open attic between the old and new sections.

Monday is their return date. It should be very interesting when they have to face my sister due to mom's being out of town. How I wish that I could be a fly on the wall for that encounter!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


In the early 80's my middle brother, Charles, bought his first car. He called it the "Sh** Brown Granada" because of the dark brown color of the car. We all a'dopted the name and various acronyms such as "SB", "SBG" and the lesser used "Sh***y. The dark brown in skeins 4 and 5 of the KPPPM immediately made me think of that car. I'm still pondering whether or not that's a bad thing. (We had a lot of love for that car.)

Skein 5 or color D, which I selected for the midpoint of the shawl, is composed of browns tinged with green to peachy browns. It has brought the colors into better focus and toned down the colors.

(I'm on the repeat of colors B & C. The size pre-blocking appears to be more shawlette than shawl.)

On Sunday I began my adventure in "Heels and Toes" with Judy Becker's Magic Cast-On from the Spring '06 issue of Knitty and a skein of Regia Bamboo Color in the Clown colorway. I found it rather tough going and gave up in the wee hours of Saturday night after numerous attempts. I re-gathered my thoughts and tools Sunday afternoon for another go round. Voila!

Corded Rib socks from Sensational Knitted Socks. The colors are pooling on the patterned rows, a totally unexpected occurence given the way the yarn is dyed, further proving that there is a stitch pattern that will make almost any variegated yarn pool. It looks pretty neat at the moment. I'll knit on for a couple of inches to see how the pattern continues to develops.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Koigu and Bamboo

The shawl is quickly growing. The pattern only has 152 rows and I'm on row 74. There aren't any schematics or measurements included in the pattern so I dont't have a clue as to what the finished size should be. I've still have been unable to wrap my brain around the craziness of the varigation. The number of colors used in a single skein is mind boggling. I have a copy of Handpaint Country, which I consider my visual introduction to the world of handpainted yarns, and have seen pictures of Koigu on the internet. Ain't nothing like the real thing.

So far I've used 4 of the 5 colors. The first two colors are much deeper than they appear in the photo because I had to use the flash to get a good shot. Unless I'm knitting socks I'd be very hesitant to purchase more sight unseen.

I pre-shopped the "Christmas in July" sale at the lys and picked up the goodies on yesterday. (You could pick out your yarn and bag it, but you had to wait until the sale started to pay for it.) The haul consists mainly of sock yarns and some Nature Spun Sport that was on clearance with additional reductions.

Regia Bamboo Color, Cotton Color & Cotton Top Color

Mountain Colors Northern Lights, Mountain Tango, Alpine & Ruby River

Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy for Tilia

I also bought a bunch of Nature Spun Sport in assorted colors that was reduced, some natural colored King Cole Merino Blend 4 Ply for dyeing and a few other goodies.

I'm glad I quit smoking. It's been almost 6 months the lys has been steadily reaping the financial benefits.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The River Flows

As creeks trickle into streams and streams flow onward to join rivers, the Fiber Trends River Stole has completed it's journey.

This is the second pattern by Evelyn Clark that I've knit and as before I found it to be an enjoyable knit. Very repetitive but enjoyable. There aren't any errors and the only issue I had developed when I was knitting the picot edging. The problem was not the edging or the pattern but a major brain fart.

Late yesterday evening I banned everyone from the living/family/den/dining room and moved furniture to create a blocking space. Two cutting boards made the perfect blocking surface. We've had one of them since I was in my 20's and its' age is definitely showing. (You never know how bad something looks until you take a picture of it and all the stains and blotches show.) The stole grew much more than 33% indicated in the pattern. Blocking it turned into a battle of wills which I won of course.

My sister graciously played photographer and took some outdoor pics of me wearing the stole. I've been hesitant to take photos due to the 40+ pounds I gained when I was almost completely bedridden last year. I usually take couch or hanger shots to hide this new me and I'm realizing that I'll be hiding for quite a while if wait until I'm back to my old size.

Pattern: Fiber Trends River Stole by Evelyn Clark
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace in *Bittersweet (I have much more than I expected remaining.)
Needles: 4 mm Holz & Stein Ebony circular
Size: 72" x 20"
Started: May 22, 2006 Finished: July 18, 2006

This afternoon I started the Koigu Lace Shawl. I've completed the first 25 rows and like the feel of the yarn. Soft and firm but not stiff. I'll have to knit with the other colors to be sure about the colorway I've chosen.

*Edited for color correction 7/21/06.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Toddling Along

Finis and cute as can be. Pair no. 1 of 3 or maybe 4 pairs of socks to be done in the same color for the girls.

Pattern: My Generic Toe-up
Needles: 1 US Inox dpn's
Yarn: Regia 4fadig Ringel Color 5048
Size: Toddler 8
Started: 7/8/2006 Finished: 7/13/2006

Modifications: Short-row heel and picot edging.

A nicely turned short-row heel, even if I must say so myself, minus the gapping and holes. This more than anything has convinced me to give some other techniques another try.

Courtesy of Buster Brown, bka UPS, two Koigu shawl pattern kits. I ordered these from on Monday and they arrived today. You gotta love prompt shipping. One is a birthday present for mom but I'm having a hard time deciding on which shawl to knit for her. Surprisingly, the colors are very similar and one skein is actually the same color in each shawl.

I've read good and bad things about Koigu. Mainly too expensive. While I definitely have my limits, I like to treat yarn like cars. Jump in the driver's seat and take it for a test drive myself.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


You never know what you'll get when you buy the generic box of daylilies from Sam's. Mom bought two boxes and planted each box in a temporary planter.

The first box of lilies was rather dull and didn't produce many flowers. Most of the lilies from the second box have bloomed or are in the process of blooming. The flowers on these plants have been white with the exception of the one new bloom found today. A Stargazer!

Knitting has been devoted to the Toddler Ringel Color socks and the River Stole. The socks are almost finished. There's about an inch to go excluding the picot hem. I still had to consult the book to turn the second half of the short-row heel on the second sock.

In the next couple of weeks, I'll go through my sock books, magazines and patterns. The goal is to note the various toes and heels that I haven't attempted and would like to try. There are so many options and I've been stuck on the same techniques for a while. Some might say "if ain't broke don't fix it", but fitting the socks for my niece made me realize that the techniques I use may not apply to the feet of others.

The River stole is now a tad over 19 1/2 repeats long. That leaves less than 8 1/2 repeats to go. If I can stay focused long enough this weekend I'll finish and block it. I still haven't decided on the next shawl/stole project. The only thing that's certain is that it won't be for me.

These are the 2 socks on 2 circs in Regia Cotton Color.

I'm knitting them a little loose hoping that they won't shrink as much as the Plus Cotton Cloverleaf Ribs did after washing. I always forget that cotton doesn't have the springiness or elasticity of wool.

I'm off to dig the Ribs out of the sock basket and here I was thinking that I'd never knit a pair of summer socks before. Nothing like a good memory jog. Between the butt/gut spread and the brain fog, in the past year middle age has crept up on me with a vengeance.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Back to Normal

Our little visitor Gina went home to Georgia yesterday evening. Prior to that, the house and yard were bustling with activity. Her sisters, Brenna and Jessica from Aiken and my nephews, Darius and Jaylon, who live here in Columbia, made for a rambunctious crowd.

Niece #2, Brenna spent most of the time inside with me. She's always been quieter and more mature than the others for her age. So serious for such a young child. I took several pictures and this one is the clearest. I usually have lovely pictures of her so I'll have to do better the next time.


These are the entertainers. Running, screaming, playing, joking and just having an all around good time. The boys and their sister, Kayla, don't live that far from us so we see them often.

Darius, Jessica and Jaylon

The most recent sock project was started Friday evening. Gina with all the innocence of a 3-year old wanted to know what I was making Thursday night as we lay across from each other on the sofas. When I replied socks, she asked "Will you make me a pair just like you're doing?" She is one of the most articulate toddlers I've known and of course Auntie couldn't say no. They won't be like mine, but they're perfect for a rascal and a sweetie.

I'm making them using my usual toe-up sock except this time I've done the short-row heel a la "Simple Socks Plain and Fancy" by Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts and a picot edging. Both are new methods for me. I tried the short-row method when I first picked this book up out of the sale bin at the lys almost 2 years ago and didn't make too much sense out of it. Friday night I tried the "Generic Toe-Up" pattern from Wendyknits and the heel looked like crap. I ripped it and turned to the knitting library for help. Voila! It all made perfect sense and their are no gaping holes like the ones in the first attempt.

I'm undecided as to whether this will work for me or mom but I'm going to give it a try. The short-row heel and instep fits beautifully on a toddlers chunky little feet.

Toddler Ringel Color Socks

In renovation news, the builder finally called today to explain why we haven't seen them in over 2 1/2 weeks. They had to finish 2 other houses. Anger doesn't adequately describe the state my sister and I had reached not just with them, but with mom's absolute refusal to call and see what the hell was going on. Here's hoping that they go ahead and get the addition finished. Then we'll be halfway to completion.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A Drama Queen and a Diva

The holiday was too short. Middle of the week holidays make for a shorter work week but I always dread the day after. After "womanning" the grills for hours, the family began to arrive. It was a wonderful day full of food, fun and laughter.

Youngest niece and Drama Queen - Gina

Oldest Niece and Diva - Kayla

Big brother finally got his Xmas present. The Baby Cable socks are finished!!!

Pattern: Baby Cables from Sensational Knitted Socks
Needles: 1 US Inox dpns for body of sock, 0 US Inox dpns for ribbing.
Yarn: Regia 4fadig in Black
Size: Men's size 13
Finished: 07/03/2006
Modifications: Knitted toe-up.

Pattern: My generic toe-up sock.
Needles: 1 US Inox dpns for body of sock, 0 US Inox dpns for ribbing.
Yarn: Online Supersocke 100 Fun Color No. 765
Size: Women's 9 1/2
Finished: 06/30/2006

These are some of the "happiest" socks I have made. I love the colors. The yarn felt rough while knitting and even after soaking in woolwash they aren't as soft as other sock yarns I've used.

Sunday I cast on a pair of Regia Cotton Color socks using the "2 socks on 2 circs" method. I didn't find it that appealing the first 2 times I tried it. Things are moving along much faster this time around and it's great for the two 50 gm balls that I'm using. I still need to cast on 1 single sock from a 100 gm ball of Regia Plus Cotton Jacquard Color and the sock re-stocking will be complete.