Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Blocking = Magic

If you were to call me a "risk taker" it would give those who know me in real life a good laugh. If you were to suggest that I don't follow the rules, no one would believe you. I drive within 2-3 miles of the speed limit 99.% of the time. I measure precisely when I am cooking. When I use the Veet (fabulous stuff, by the way) I set a timer for the prescribed minutes and then remove the foam promptly. I am a ruler-follower by nature. I love a nice, neat plan. I make people (for example, my husband, and perhaps others) a little crazy sometimes with my love of the rules and the plans.

So strangely enough, I am for the most part a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants sort of knitter. I basically follow patterns and I usually do the finishing the way the instructions, umm, instruct. Frequently, however, I do not use the called-for yarn or the required needles. Sometimes I stockinette where I should garter and visa versa. Things generally work out for me doing it this. Of course, it is infrequent that I do particularly complex projects. The scarves and felting projects of this world are fairly forgiving.

When it comes to our friend the Daisy sweater, however, my natural instincts are kicking in. I have followed every direction to the letter. (Ok, ok. I did make a yarn substitution but I also did three gauge swatches before starting and the gauge was spot on. So that doesn’t count.) Monday night, I finished the sleeves and started picking up the stitches on the neckband. First, though, I blocked the little tiny sleeves. Have ya’ll tired this blocking thing? Indeed, blocking is just as fabulous as all the rumors say it is are. Seriously. After the blocking, all the heebie-jeebie, rolly-poley stockinette was miraculously board-flat. They were transformed into the Nicole Richie of knitting. Magic. I’m telling you, actual knitting magic. I think Laurie is on to something about the magic and the knitting gnomes.

All the reports you have heard about the crazy California weather are not exaggerations. It is miserable. Today it is “only” 108. I think yesterday was the 11th day in a row of over 100 degree days. And in case you have never experienced heat like this, you should know that the difference between 108 and 113 isn’t that different. It is just freakin’ hot. And all of this wouldn’t be quite so bad if it would cool off and night.

I give you this weather report to say: Tuesday night, our air conditioner went out sometime after we had gone to bed. Not only was it not blowing cold air, it was actually blowing hot air. It was nearly 90 degrees in the house at 11:45 p.m. It was a long night.

Now we are staying with friends until the A/C is fixed. They are very sweet people and they keep their air conditioner set on 68. Who knew that this was a quality I would value so highly in my friends? We are very, very lucky in that we were able to get someone out to the house tonight instead of having to wait until some time next week. Keep your fingers crossed that it is something simple that can be fixed quickly.

I am taking a brief (very brief) hiatus from the Daisy sweater because I am working on a small dishcloth project for Dorothy’s possession-less friends (scroll down to the July 20th post) and I need to get this done and in the mail. If you haven’t, you should really go over and visit the Mason-Dixon Knit-a-long. Specifically, this recent post from Francie. I do not know Francie except from this single post but obviously she is some sort of genius-mad scientist type. Those polymer clay mitered squares are crazy-loveable. I’m going to have to figure out how to make some of those.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Promises, Promises

As promised: here are some pictures of the Daisy progress (body and sleeves appearing separately) as well as my turtle sketch. Please go gently on the turtle. It is just a very rough, conceptual sketch.

Here is the outside, front. I love the smooth, lovely stockinette just all laid out there, framed by the seed stitch hem and buttonhole band. So nice. So pleasant on needles and so easy on the mind.

And here, for once I am not ashamed of my wrong side. Look at the nubby goodness of the inside.

I know that there is nothing remotely rocket sciencey about this sweater and yet I have such an affection for it. I think it is because of the recepient. I wish ya'll could meet Courtney. You would love her. She is sweet and funny and reminds me of where I come from (the South) and she makes me laugh - and she and her husband, Patrick, are both so thrilled about this baby. You can't help but be excited for them. Hurray for Courtney & the Baby!!

So, the turtle. Please see the following questionable sketch, which I photographed in lackluster light because I was too lazy to get up and go in the other room and scan it.

The colored in area, that is what I have in mind for the dark green, I think, with light green head and flippers. Then the sea plants around him, some in dark and some in light. Then I would do a few more sea plants on the opposite hem from where turtle boy is swimming along.

What do ya'll think of Dorothy's suggestion in yesterday's comments, about using green and tan instead of two shades of green?

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Neglectful? Yes.

Absentee? Yep, unfortunately.

Bad Blogger? (Sheepish Grin.)

Negligent? Umm, Guilty.

Deplorable? Uh huh, that's me.

Piteous? Yes, yes, yes! I know.

Have you ever had a friend who only came around when they needed something? Who sort of hung out on the fringes, watching what the others were doing but not really participating? The kind of friend who never really called you up just to say hi but if they needed help, suddenly you get a call from out of no where. That sort, "Oh hi. How are you? What's going on?" call?

That's me. This is that " ya' doin'?" call.

Can you believe that it has been three months since we last spoke? My, how time flies!! When last we met, I had just started the Daisy sweater for Courtney's baby. I had started it. I have been distracted off and on by Ann & Kay's book and another baby blanket and some know, this and that. I have also been busy convalescing. I broke my ankle in early May and it has been a stupid mess. After two months in a hard cast with no improvement, I'm now in a walking cast,

until I have surgery on it August 16. Let's not discuss it any more.

So, remember how I mentioned about friends who just call you up when they need help? I'm calling up for help.

Let's talk about the Daisy sweater. The body is complete. The sleeves, which I'm knitting simultaneously, are about half finished. As I near the end of the knitting, I am contemplating the finishing options. As you may (or may not) remember, I've been knitting this little darling out of my beloved Rowan Calmer in Coffee Bean....

Here's where the help comes in. If the Womb with a View ultrasound on the 29th reveals a little girl, then I'm ok, because the Calmer comes in several great flowery colors and I will finish the sweater with pretty flowers, like the pattern calls for. If, however, the ultrasound shows a baby boy, then I am stuck. I want to do a sea turtle motif. I've created the sketches and I think it will be really cute (I'll get the pictures of the sweater-so-far and the sketch posted tomorrow or the next day.) Sadly, the Calmer doesn't come in two nice shades of green, which is what I will need for the turtle.

There in lies the dilemma. What cotton or cotton blend yarn can I use that has two nice, complimentary shades of green and would work well with the Calmer? The Calmer is so nice and soft and doesn't shrink. I would hate to get this project all done and then ruin it by adding emellishments that draw up or stretch out.

So, what do ya'll think? Has anyone used hemp yarn much? I have heard that it holds up well to washing and is quite soft. I really like the Piquant Green and the Burnt Olive of the Elann Canapone. I'm keen on the turtle and his accompanying little water plants being a slightly different texture but I don't want them to clash. I am up for your suggestions - any and all would be greatly appreciated.

I hope you are all well. I have missed the blogging! You know how it goes...I've meant to blog and I've thought of all sorts of things to say but then, somehow, I kept getting distracted. Anyway, here I am now. Please help with the yarn! I need to have this sweater finished and polished and ready for the August 27th shower and I'm having ankle surgery August 16 so....

Hi! How are you? HELP!