Friday, July 30, 2004

Yarn Heaven

I've been too excited to blog lately. Why, you ask? 'Cause I got the most amazing package in the mail the other day. If you've ever received yarn from Germany, you know how the appearance of this box:

on your doorstep can make your heart race with excitement. This box was sent to me by Tine, who is a prolific German sock knitter (and all-around fabulous person) so I knew it was going to be special. Well, there was no disappointment here. Look what it was filled with:

Fabulous skeins of German sock yarn: Opal, Regia, and Fortissima. There was a 100g skein of Fortissima Diso, the sock yarn with the strand of Lurex that is always sold out at my LYS. And, two skeins of the new Opal sock yarn that's wool and silk (instead of nylon). I've decided to use one of the Opal Handpaint colors for my Making Waves socks and I've already wound it into a center-pull ball.

The color reminds me of the yucky, dull ocean I swam in as a child growing up just to the south of Boston. Ah, the good old days.

But wait, that's not all folks. Look what Tine knit for me!

Yup, a pair of hand-knit socks just for moi! I've knit socks for many, many people but no one has ever knit a pair for me. I was just speechless when I pulled them out of the box. It was 95+ degrees outside but I pulled them on and wore them all night. I'm totally psyched!

Grüße aus Amerika, und danke vielmals, Tine!!

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Monday, July 26, 2004

To Fringe, Or Not To Fringe, That Is The Question

Remember my Deco Ribbon, drop-stitch shawl? Well, it's finished but it's now a Deco-Ribbon, drop-stitch poncho. I took Beth's advice and sewed up one side of the rectangle to turn it into a poncho. Here's DD modeling it, front and back:

I wrote to someone at Crystal Palace about blocking the Deco Ribbon and got a very nice response (thanks, Susan). She suggested pinning it out to shape, spritzing it with water, and letting it dry pinned in place. I tried that but it didn't really set the shape. So, I took the plunge, followed some advice given me by a member of the knitlist, and pressed the whole thing with a hot iron (of course, I put a cloth over it first since the yarn has some nylon in it). It crushed the ribbon a little but it actually looks much better; not so bunchy. I have one skein of the Deco Ribbon left and I'm wondering if I should add fringe to the poncho. Personally, I dislike fringe; I think it looks ratty long before the garment shows wear. But, it might polish up the look. My hair stylist (a former graphic artist from NYC) thinks it should remain fringeless and I tend to agree with him. Come on, I know you have an opinion on this. Whatta ya think?

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Friday, July 23, 2004

Picot Cast On

I bought some Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport yarn in the color Bougainvillea before I left on my trip. There it was, waiting for me when I returned home on Sunday and I couldn't resist casting on a new sock. It's a pattern from a German knitalong but I had to adapt it because the sock would have been too big for me and I really wanted to use this yarn. So I eliminated a few purl stitches here and there. I also used a picot cast on for the first time.

Thanks to everyone on the Socknitters list who gave me some advice on the cast on.

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Thursday, July 22, 2004

Hole In My Head

Ok, I need a wake-up call. I just joined another knitalong. This is a Shawl-Along and it's hosted by Leandra in Vienna.

It sounds too fun to pass up, especially since my recently acquired skein of Helen's Lace has been calling to me from her sealed plastic Ziploc bag. "Yes, Helen, I'm coming." Of course, I know I have no business joining another knitalong when I'm trying to manage the 500+ members in my Six Sox Knitalong, but what's a girl to do? Is it time for an intervention?

Amazing Lunch

I had the most amazing lunch yesterday. Justice Stephen Breyer of the United States Supreme Court was in town for a conference and he spoke to the Utah Bar at lunch. Because my boss is the most fabulous person in the world, he made arrangements for me to sit at Justice Breyer's table with him, the Lt. Governor, etc. Yikes! I nearly fainted when he told me. But here's the best part. Justice Breyer came to our chambers before the lunch and I actually walked from our building to the luncheon with him. Really, how cool is that!! He was exceptionally nice and engaging and told me the funniest story (which I won't repeat here). Ah, the best lunch of my life--never to be repeated.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Lots O' Socks

Thanks to everyone who purchased my Picasso Socks pattern. I'm waiting for one more check to arrive before I forward all the money on to the Ronald McDonald House.

Tine has made two socks already. There are pictures of both on her blog, but I really love this one:

Isn't it great. What a perfect choice of yarn.

While I was in Sun Valley, the next sock in the Six Sox Knitalong was announced. The pattern is called "Making Waves" and it was written by co-host, Pam. She sent me the pattern last month and when I test knit it, we discovered a small error in the stitch pattern. Look what one tiny typo can do:
This is how the sock should look (I knit this last week):

And this is what my test-knit sock looks like.

Yikes! More like a ripple than a wave, huh. If I'd paid more attention to the picture Pam sent me, I'd have noticed the problem before I finished the whole sock. Anyway, we caught the mistake before the pattern was posted to the list and all is well. Knitting officially starts on August 1st, but some members have already started knitting. I can't blame them; the pattern really is fantastic.

More Sun Valley Pictures

Here are some pictures from the Sun Valley trip. The grounds have really been spiffed up the last two years. Look at these begonias; they're huge!

Here are more begonias, not so huge but equally as beautiful:

And here's a picture DD took of me and my son.

If you actually "know" me but haven't seen me in a week or so, you're probably shocked at the short hair. Yup, I cut it all off. Well, to be more accurate, I went in for my bi-annual hair cut. Actually, now that I think of it, I believe the last time I went under the scissors was last August, just before my son's Bar Mitzvah. Wow, that's more than 10 months. We've been kidding my son that his hair is now longer than mine.

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Sunday, July 18, 2004

Yarn, Yarn, and More Yarn

The trip to Sun Valley was great. It was a little warmer than usual, but still cooler than it was in Salt Lake City. My friends and I walked into Ketchum on Friday to shop at Isabel’s, the local yarn shop. We go every year and stock up on yarns we can’t get in Salt Lake. Among other things, Stephanie got an armload of Koigu for socks and hats and Phyllis got some Mountain Colors mohair and merino ribbon for a scarf. I got six skeins of K1C2 Souffle in a nice blue-grey color.

It looks like it will drape nicely so it’s destined to become a shawl or poncho. I also got two skeins of Koigu and a shop pattern for a hat made from Koigu. I just loved the color:

While I was gone a package arrived for me from The Knitting Zone. Here’s the yarn I plan to use for my next Meadow Flowers Shawl: 


It’s Helen’s Lace from Lorna’s Laces in the color "Desert Flower." The color is a little too pinky for me, so I’ll probably give this shawl away as a holiday gift. I figure it’s about time to start knitting for December. Speaking of which, I started this shawl in the car on the ride home: 


It’s just a basic, drop-stitch pattern and the shawl/stole itself will be a simple rectangle with fringe on the ends. The yarn is Deco Ribbon which I bought to use for a poncho, but it seemed better suited to the drop-stitch pattern. I’ve never worked with ribbon yarn before and I don’t really like it. It has an annoying trait of twisting as you knit with it and I had to constantly untangle the ball by wrapping a hair elastic around it and letting it drop and spin. Not easy to do while you’re riding in a car (no, I wasn’t driving). I’m wondering how to block it, too. Has anyone used this yarn?? Tips, tricks??

Mini Rant

I rarely rant on my blog, but I can’t hold back today. It’s almost 600 miles to Sun Valley and back, so I saw a lot of cars this past week on the freeway.   IMHO, if you’re driving a gas-guzzling Hummer H2 or a Ford Excursion, you have no business slapping a "God Bless America" or "Support Our Troops" bumper sticker on your car.  I couldn’t stop thinking of the John Prine song, "Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore."  Oh, and here’s my favorite motel sign:

Finally, those of you who insist on flying filthy, tattered American flags from your vehicle in all kinds of weather, please brush up on your flag etiquette. I’ve made it easy for you, just follow this link.

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Monday, July 12, 2004

Outta Here

I'm leaving for a week-long vacation today. We're headed to beautiful (and cooler) Sun Valley, Idaho. I'll leave you with this parting thought which I read on the bumper of the car in front of me this morning.

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Sunday, July 11, 2004

Birthday Favors

Yesterday was DD's birthday. Four of her friends came over and I took them up to Einsteins for bagels. Well, Einsteins calls them bagels, but they're nothing more than rolls. When I first moved out here 17 years ago there was not a single bagel shop in the entire valley, and probably not one in the entire state. We went through such withdrawal that my in-laws actually mailed some to us from NY a couple of times. Then, a few years later, an absolutely wonderful bagel shop opened up near downtown. And the bagels were real! I found out later the co-owners were former lawyers; one was from Manhattan and the other from Syracuse. Needless to say, I called everyone I knew and begged them to patronize the place so it wouldn't go under. Turns out that was unnecessary. The shop did so well, it expanded and expanded and was eventually acquired by . . . Einsteins :-(
They began to use their own recipe for the bagels (which does not include boiling them first) and now we're bagel-less again.

After the ersatz bagels, we headed over to Old Navy and each of the girls picked out a pair of flip flop sandles. Then on to Michaels where they choose some Fun Fur yarn. Then back to our house to watch Legally Blonde while I whipped up these babies:

Cute, huh? The girls were happy; well, as happy as five, 11-year-old tweens can get.

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Friday, July 09, 2004

This and That

No pictures today because the project I've been working on this week is the next sock for the Six Sox Knitalong. I can't spill the beans and show you that, now can I? All I'll say is that it's an awesome sock pattern, written by one of the group members especially for the knitalong.
Another reason I don't have anything to show today is that I went to that bridal shower last night. I didn't have a fabulous hand-knit gift for the bride-to-be, but I did manage to find a magnificent kimono robe at a Japanese store downtown. I think she liked it; she put it on and wore it while she opened the rest of her gifts.

Interesting Links

If you have some spare time this weekend, why not consider making your own swift out of PVC piping. This woman did and she was kind enough to post the instructions on the Web.

Here's another interesting link. At SnB last week, one of the women was discussing how her friend buys sweaters at thrift stores, felts them, and makes mittens and hats from the felted fabric. I've done this, only I've made pillows. I've also frogged new sweaters and used the wool for CIC socks. After I blogged about that, I got many, many email messages asking me which types of sweaters can be frogged and what characteristics to look for. Well, here's an industrious person who's done all the work for you and posted a great article (including pictures!) on how to unravel sweaters to obtain recycled yarn.

Shawl Update

Thanks to everyone who left suggestions on the opening bid and fair market value of my Meadow Flowers Shawl. I think a $50-$80 opening bid is probably where we'll end up. The only reason I need to tell them a FMV, is for tax purposes: both mine and the person who wins the shawl at auction. So it's really unrelated to the bidding itself. And while I agree that hand-knit items generally are undervalued, the standard for this auction is what a willing buyer would pay for the item.

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Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Knitty Pattern

The new came out last week. Coincidentally a friend of mine is getting married soon so I thought I'd make her one of these. Well, after 6 hours of fiddling with the pattern, I decided to cut my losses. Those losses include about 2.5 hours working a provisional cast-on of 122 stitches and using a three-needle bind off to make a picot edging. Here it is pre-frogging:

Damn!! There's at least one error in the pattern (row 11 of the bra). It's possible there are more because I couldn't get 75% of the rows to work out properly; either the lace didn't line up or the stitch count was off. I don't suck that bad as a lace knitter, do I? OK, don't answer that. Maybe it is me and not the pattern.

Well, it's off to Nordstrom to buy a boring shower gift.

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Monday, July 05, 2004

Meadow Flowers Shawl Finished

I finished my Meadow Flowers Shawl Sunday after we got back from the parade in Park City. Isn't it great:

Before I started knitting, I Googled to see if any other bloggers had made this shawl. One knitter noted that the pattern had an error, but I found that the pattern was correct. You should following the instructions in the book.

I went to a friend's house Sunday for fireworks and showed it to her. She's on the Utah Legal Aid Board and was thrilled when I told her I was donating it to the silent auction. Here's my question fellow knitters, what should she set as the opening bid? It shouldn't be too high or bidders will be discouraged, but it shouldn't be too low either or someone will walk away with too good of a bargain. She also needs to know the fair market value. Any thoughts on these two questions??

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Sunday, July 04, 2004

Vote in November!

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Friday, July 02, 2004

Meadow Flowers Shawl

Here's a picture of the shawl I mentioned earlier this week.

I actually finished the body this morning but didn't have time to take a picture. I'm hoping to complete the edging this weekend. I don't have work on Monday but the kids are off to camp so I should have a nice, quiet block of time when I can focus. The pattern, though, is extremely easy. Well, compared to the Faroese shawl I just made. I only messed up once and that was because I brought it to Stitch 'n Bitch on Tuesday night and foolishly tried to work on it while I chatted incessantly.
The pattern is from the book Knitter's Stash; one of my all-time favorite knitting books. I've been eyeing it for at least a year but Sharon's post about it got me thinking again. I'm seriously thinking of donating the finished shawl to the Utah Legal Aid fundraiser. Last year I knit some Barbie clothes that sold for $150.00 so I think a hand-knit shawl would bring in some $$.

Have a great holiday weekend!

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Running commentary on my unending quest to knit up my stash.