Thursday, May 31, 2007

And now with 3 columns

I finally found a 3 column template that looks nice, is easy to use and works with the new blogger. The only downside is that I had to save all of the links on my sidebars and will slowly be putting them back. I'm so overjoyed at the prospect, but with 5 back to back conference calls today I'll have time for some mindless multitasking. Maybe I'll knit on dad's sock instead.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Socks for dad

Yes, another new project to distract me from the never-ending Voss sweater. I'm almost done the second sleeve, but my Voss mojo seems to be waning quickly. I want to finish it, so that I can steek it and finally finish it, but since I'm only giving it for Christmas, I have no need to rush.

We're going to visit my father in Calgary soon to celebrate his 70th birthday, as well as so that Dave can see the rockies, go to Stampede and many other fun western things (including going to two yarn shops in Calgary). I'll post pictures when I'm back. I was trying to think of a perfect present, but since he has everything, it's always a challenge. I decided to make him some socks to wear around the house.

I chose to try the Austerman Step yarn with Aloe and Jojoba since I've heard raves about the yarn and felt the need to try it. It is indeed very nice to work with. I'm using 2.5mm needles and find it a bit loser that I would like, next time I'll use 2.25mm needles with this yarn, as I think it will make a nicer fabric.

He's not a big fan of color, so I chose as manly a coloway as possible. I think he'll like them. I hope he'll like them. We'll see in a month.

Like the pictures? I just got a new macro lens for my camera, and will be posting pictures of my garden soon. I my macro lens!

Friday, May 18, 2007

It's a small world

So here I am, dropping off my Mom at the airport for a trip to Istanbul and Greece (lucky her!) and someone shouts out "Maaike!" in the middle of the departure area. I turned around, and it was none other than Kate Gilbert with her cutie little tadpole and Frog. (!!) Knitters are everywhere!

I introduce her to my mother and say that this was the lady who designed the Clapotis scarf that I made and love so much -- and she says to Kate "Oh, you're the one that my daughter talks about all the time" [aside, I think she was thinking about the Harlot]

Erika and tadpole had a couple of really cute kid moments waving at each other. When we left, Erika says to me - "Mommy, can we go to their house to play one day?". How cute is that?

Kate - if you're reading this - I might have to take you up on your offer to go stash shopping while our girls play. I'm really not a crazy knitwear designer stalker.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

FOs from 2006

I have nothing new to show...I have been knitting and there is progress, but nothing exciting or photo-worthy.

I ripped out the top of the Dale sleeve that was causing me grief, reknit it, and now it's just right. Hooray! Now I need to make a second sleeve.

I do have pictures though.

In my pre-blogging days, I made a the Debbie Bliss alphabet blanket for my nephew J - also the lucky recipient of the Dale sweater. My sister-in-law just sent me pictures of J with his blankie. It's so nice to see it "in the wild" and actually being used instead of just sitting on a shelf somewhere.

Here is a picture of the blanket just after I gave it to them (Jan 2006).

Here he is with the blankie.

Here is another picture of J with his blankie

On an unrelated note - at guild last night, we had a professor from Dawson come in to give us a talk about color. Wow. He just blew my mind with some of the concepts and how to find good color combinations. My log cabin blanket that I want to make will be 3 or 4 tones of blues with a little pop of orange.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Look what I made last night

So, I got a copy of this book by Alison Hansel last week and have been wanting to make something - anything - from it. As I was looking through my stash, I noticed that I happened to have some maroon and gold "Smart" so I cast on for a bookmark after work.

This book is great! Lots of great patterns from the Harry Potter movies. Some that I'd make, and some well...not sure I'd want to make "Molly's Technicolor housecoat". Take a look at the book to see what I mean.

I like how it's been divided into "first year", O.W.L. and N.E.W.T. levels for the degrees of difficulty.

I made it to the first set of yellow stripes before I went to pick up Erika, made dinner and went to play tennis. When I got home, I finished the knitting of the bookmark while watching Survivor (from the PVR) and put the fringes in while watching the news.

Voila! Le Gryffindor bookmark. It is a bit chunky so not sure if I'd use it for paperbacks, but it's kinda cool.

Project Specs:
Pattern: House bookmark from Charmed Knits
Yarn: Smart from the stash
Needles: 4.5 mm dpns
Gauge: never even checked
Size: 3.5 cm X 20 cm
Cast on to Bind off: May 3 - 3:45pm to 10pm with a break for dinner and tennis.
Would I make this again: Yes, but with much thinner yarn so that it's not so bulky in a book.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

OK - now what?

The Voss is the never-ending sweater from %#$@#@. Or, to be more positive, this sweater is a learning experience.

As I showed pictures of the other day, I finished the first sleeve. Last night, I finally started the second sleeve. All was looking good. I was progressing. I did the first increases after the ribbing, and things were looking like they were going much better than the first sleeve. I had learned my lesson from the first sleeve. Or so I thought. Cue the ominous music...

Just for fun, I matched up the first sleeve and placed it against the body and noticed that with the last increases I had increased the crap out of the sleeve. At the top of the sleeve, I need to increase every 3 rows 7 times. The picture just above shows the entire top to bottom shot of the sweater. The sleeve is almost three rows of snowflakes high - however the space for the steeks is 2 snowflake rows high. A more close up shot below.

I do like the way that the snowflakes line up on the body vs. sleeve, but I'm stuck to know what I should to about the 'extra' bit of snowflake? Do I rip out the last row of snowflakes on the sleeve and re-knit it without the increases, or will that make the sleeve be too constrictive?

For now, this sweater is being put on hold. I'm going to bring it to the guild next Tuesday to get advice from people much smarter than me. At least I should only have one snowflake's worth of frogging, if that's the route I end up going. I'm also wondering if I can block this sucker to make it less big, but then the rows of snowflakes won't line up. I think some riiipping is in my future. Sigh.

Shoulder Wrap done!

Wow - I amazed myself by finishing this so quickly. Must have been a mix between procrastinating the second Voss sleeve and the lovely feel/drape of this yarn, not to mention that it is all garter stitch and was nice mindless knitting.

I finished with just this amount of yarn left. The little scraps below include the bits I cut off after sewing in the ends and the 25cm of leftover yarn.

Here is the shawl being blocked in Erika's playroom. Those puzzle floor tiles are great for sticking the pins into.

Project Specs:
Pattern: Handmaiden Shoulder Wrap
Yarn: Handmaiden Silk Spun in dragonfly
Needles: 7.0 mm Addi Turbos
Gauge: never even checked
Size: Finished measurements (after blocking) 16" high X 56" wide
Cast on to Bind off: April 20 - April 31
Would I make this again: Probably not. I will make other shoulder wraps, but not in this color or yarn. I would use this yarn again, it's so lovely to knit with - maybe a mini-clapotis scarf one day...

Here are some 'artistic' shots of the wrap.