aswim in knits

Monday, February 27, 2006

Hi, Chris(tine)!

Did I ever mention that out of my small handful of regular or semi-regular commenters, many are named Chris(tine)? Hello to Chris, Chris, Chris Q, Christine, and Christine. Oh yeah, and hi to Kristen too, since that's darn close to Christine.

Olympic wrapup

I am proud to announce that I finished my last Olympic knit -- the Pepto Pink Hoodie -- just under the wire! The buttons were sewn on about 45 minutes before the 2:00 p.m. deadline. There will be a photo posted at some point. Until then, use your imagination and picture this ...

... but in Pepto Pink strawberry with butterfly buttons.

The buttons were sewn on at the Team Boston closing ceremonies party hosted by the fabulous Cara. I had a great time, and got to meet lots of knit-bloggers and knit-blogless in person. I brought my camera and proceeded to leave it on the other side of the room for the entire day. I'm hoping that some less clueless person will post some pix that I can link to!

Oh, I almost forgot to mention -- I won a door prize at the party!! A skein of beautiful handspun (?) superwash merino/silk grey yarn with shiny little beads spun into the yarn. I'm thinking of a pair of fingerless mittens...

And, in non-knitting Olympic action, I watched the closing ceremonies last night. I must admit that I am a total Olympics junkie -- both summer and winter games. Here are some thoughts on the US athletes...

Apolo Anton Ohno: I love his total dedication to the Olympic ideal. Even though he can afford to live somewhere swank, he chose instead to live in the dorms at the Colorado Springs OTC. (I've stayed in them -- they are NOT so swank). He showed good sportsmanship, team spirit, and great focus throughout the games. Oh yeah, and he won a couple of medals too.
Joey Cheek: Another classy athlete, on and off the track, he donated his Olympic bonus to Right to Play, a charity founded by another great skater, Johann Olav Koss. His generous action will give Right to Play a whole lot of attention and hopefully other donations too. Umm, and Cheek took home some hardware too.
Emily Hughes: She stepped into the Olympics at the last minute, yet performed well under pressure. She looked like she had a great time, and I hope to see her again in Vancouver.

Julia Mancuso: Grow up, honey. Lose the tiger ears, and the tiara, and the beads. Represent your country like an adult, not a drunken sorority sister.
Bode Miller: See above, but replace "sorority sister" with "frat boy". How am I supposed to teach my teenaged athletes how to behave when Bode talks about skiing after drinking or smoking up? Ugh.

Well, time for me to log off and get back to work. More updating tomorrow.

Knity Surprise

The Knitty winter surprise patterns are up. I'm diggging Starsky.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Nearing the finish line

Hmmm, knitting on a deadline seems to make for a LOT less blogging!! Since the Olympics is almost over, I guess it's about time to make an update.


You may remember that my Knitting Olympics project is to complete two kids' sweaters for charity. One is an Opptuna sweater made out of some Noro Kureyon leftover from making myself a Klaralund. (I always type Klaralunch instead. I wonder what that says about me??)

I finished this one up last Friday night, and blocked it out. Here is how it looks.

Project specs:
Yarn: Noro Kureyon color 40
Yardage: unknown -- about a dozen small balls of leftovers from my compulsive stripe matching on my Klaralund.
Needles: Size 9 Addi Turbos
Pattern: Opptuna, in the second Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton Noro book.
Size: 6 month size. But it seems kind of roomy.
Pattern modifications: none I did a 3 needle bindoff on the hood, rather than seaming it closed.
New skill: split splicing! Works great on Kureyon!


After I finished that off, I cast on for the hoodie sweater in some pink Cotton Tots. See this pile of Pepto pink?

That's the back and 2 sleeves of the hoodie. I've got the two fronts on the needles now, and am about 1/3 of the way into those. I only cast on around 10 p.m. last night, so I should easily finish them tonight. I'm attending a lecture tonight so I can work on the fronts while I am there ... I'll have to find a nice seat off to the side. This is held in one of those college auditoriums (auditoria?) where the doors are in the back, and the back of the room is actually the MOST conspicuous place to sit.


Did I mention that in addition to my own knitting, I'm also the anchor leg of the MIT Stitch and Bitch Olympic Relay Team? We knit a baby blanket for Afghans for Afghans. Each knitter knit her own block(s), and the blanket was handed off from knitter to knitter, relay fashion, with each knitter seaming her own blocks to the blanket. As anchor leg, I didn't knit any blocks, but added a border to the whole blanket once the 12 squares were all seamed up. Here I am, finishing the border on my lunch hour yesterday...

For a photo of the completed blanket, check out our MIT Stitch and Bitch blog.


See 'em there at the official Knitting Olympics Command Post? I consider ice cream to be the GU of the Knitting Olympics.

(And yes, I am wearing puppy dog print flannel pajamas. Wanna make something of it??)

This is actually a pile of clean laundry that I washed last weekend. I just haven't folded it yet. My husband is mortified that I am displaying our underwear on the internets.

(Note the fiber stash in the large storage boxes behind the lamp.)

More updating after the Team Boston closing ceremonies party this weekend!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Sock Yarn

Sock Yarn
Originally uploaded by GFTC.
I stumbled across this photo this morning, although I now forget how. Apparently, this individual has a serious sock yarn problem! I think this means I can go out and buy a whole lot more before i have to start to worry. Which is good news, since I just heard about the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Sock Club!!!

Friday, February 17, 2006

screeching to a halt

Well, progress has been limited since last post. I started the hood of the Opptuna sweater, and it's about 4" long so far. I think it needs to be 8" before I stitch up the center seam. Then I'll finish the seaming, etc. I think I may finish it tonight!!

I ripped out the placket sweater from LMKG. It just wasn't working for me. And yes, I was using the corrected pattern. It seems to be that the yarn was just not meant to be made into that sweater. So, I cast on for the Cutie Patootie sweater. Meh. Not doing it for me either. I think I'm going to make a hoodie cardigan instead. Specifically, this one ...

I've made it before. It's easy. I know it will work with this yarn. I've had one of those weeks that has left me so worn out I could just cry. So, I don't need to do any futzing around with patterns right now. I just want comfort knitting.

Tonight, you'll find me in my pajamas, on the couch, Olympics on tv, with my comfort knitting. Oh, I can't wait!!!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Olympic progress

I finally started my Olympic Knitting on Monday night, Day 4 of the Knitting Olympics. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I was at the East Zone Junior Synchronized Swimming Championships with my team. 27 teenaged girls, and their parents, for an entire weekend. I got 4 or 5 hours of sleep per night, and drove home from Buffalo, NY on Sunday night, getting in at 3:45 a.m. Monday morning.

These are 2 of our 3 teams -- the girls in the green/blue suits placed 10th in finals, and the ones in the red/orange ones won the meet, taking gold medals in duet, trio, team, and technical figures. (I don't have a picture of our 3rd team, but they placed 15th, which is a great success for them, since the zone meet covers 1/4 of the country, and our 3rd team is still rather inexperienced!)

So, knitting on the Opptuna sweater started Monday. As of last night, I had finished the body and sleeves, and they are blocking on my new gridded blocking cloth (with towels underneath!!)

The Noro Kureyon grows considerably when blocked. It also softens up a lot, too. Once these are dry, I will seam them together and add the hood. I should also have enough yarn left over for a hat. I'll have the reblock the whole sweater at the end, after adding the hood, since the hood is picked up and knit right from the sweater body. If I don't block it, the gauge will be very different, I think.

So, while the sweater piecces are blocking, I started a placket-neck sweater (size 6-8) from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I'm using Bernat Cotton Tots from the stash.

I'm having one problem, though. I'm not sure if I'm getting gauge! I've used the yarn before, and got gauge with 8's. I went down to a 7 for these, since the yarn gauge is 20 sts/4 in, and my pattern gauge is 21 sts/4 in. Yet, I seem to be getting a larger gauge! I will have to get through the 8 rows of seed stitch and knit a few rows of stockinette before I really know what the gauge is doing, though.

My plan is to seam the Opptuna sweater tonight, and add the hood tomorrow night. I'm thinking that I might not make the placket sweater after all. I have always loved ChildHood from Knitty, and I have some white Cotton Tots stashed too. Perhaps I'll re-gauge the sweater for my yarn and make this instead. Afterall, I only said that I'd commit to 2 childrens' sweaters, not that I'd commit to any particular sweaters!!!

Or, I could make a pink Trellis or one of these ... We'll see, after I figure out my gauge dilemma!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Coming soon to a theater near you...

Knitting Olympics? Yeah, working on that. Need to take some photos. Updates soon, I promise

In the meantime, I took the personality quiz at Rum and Monkey. Here's my result...

I'm an apparently intelligent, liberal, tight as fuck, relatively well adjusted human being!

What are you?
Brought to you by Rum and Monkey

Um, yeah. That hit it right on the head. I'm not sure how I should feel about that "tight as fuck" part, but it's accurate. Hmph.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

More weekend updating

While I was hanging out with the in-laws, I also finished knitting the pieces for the Baby Delia sweater. It will be a cute little hot pink roll-neck sweater with a big heart on the front. The heart is a simple intarsia motif that I charted using a piece of knitter's graph paper.

Well, through several episodes of "knitter malfunction", I ended up ripping/tinking quite a bit of the sweater front. I made about every possible mistake that I could have made! I forgot to bind off for the armholes (ahem, twice!!), I dropped a stitch while talking and didn't notice until about 8 rows later, and I didn't follow my chart very well and ended up with a heart that would have extended to the baby's armpits!

But, I persevered and finished all 4 pieces. I'm bringing them on my car ride to Buffalo tomorrow, and hope to seam the sweater and knit the rollneck prior to the start of the Knitting Olympics.

Wanna see? Here are the pieces, my pattern, and a corner of the heart chart.

Clearly, I was sick and tired of my mistakes by this point. Hopefully, a pretty picture will follow on Monday!

I'm in between projects right now, though. The sweater just needs finishing. I still have a sock on the needles, but it's my "travel" project more than a "sit and knit while watching tv" project. I was bored of size 0 needles, so I went in the opposite direction. I cast on for a quick kids' charity hat yesterday, while being chauffeured to work by my husband. It took me less than an hour to knit, and about 15 more minutes to make the pompom on my lunch hour. At least 5 of those minutes were spent scouring my office supply closet for suitable pom-pom making cardboard and scissors.

Here is my teddy bear, Baby, modelling the hat.

(FYI, my teddy has a BIG head!)

Project Specs:

Yarn: Patons Melody (the ball band says "quick and cozy" -- no kidding!)
Fiber: 68% acrylic, 32% nylon
Color: 00908, pastel clouds variegated
Gauge: 8 or 9 sts/4 in
Needles: Size 15, 16" addi turbo, and size 15 Crystal Palace bamboo DPN's for crown.

Pattern: Cast on 36 sts. Knit 2 rows k2p2 rib. Switch to stockinette. Knit until it seems long enough. Use 8-point decrease for crown. Make a pom-pom with every remaining scrap of yarn.

This one's going to Dulaan...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Weekend Update, part I

Wow! I've been productive since my last "real" post -- I have lots of little things to show!

On Saturday morning we drove out to my in-laws, who live in the Land of Webs, to celebrate my birthday. Even before we got to Webs, my M-I-L gave me a swift as a birthday present. This will allow me to wind yarn without the use of a husband!! Yay!

In exchange, we gave her a birthday present too ... a little over-due, as her birthday was in December. Oops! Thom and I made her a notebook with blank pages, aptly named the "cute little pocket journal". It's probably about 3" x 5". We got the kit at our local Paper Source store and assembled it with tools at my mom's house.

Then, we ditched the menfolk and spent some time at Webs. I managed to get the 25% off discount, with some help from my mom-in-law and some friends at work, who chipped in with some purchases-by-proxy. I also got to meet the lovely Cirilia of Skrilla Knits. She works at Webs, and is super helpful, and quite knowledgeable! And, she shares my love of Noro :)

Despite the potential enabling influences of Cirilia and my mother-in-law, I managed to stick to my purchase plans! I had wanted to buy some sock yarn for me, and some for my Sockapaloooza pal. Here it is, all together. All six skeins are Artyarns Ultramerino 4 -- 100% merino wool, and super soft. I made my M-I-L's Christmas socks with this yarn and loved working on them.

The green/blue/purple skeins on the left are for my sock pal. I had a hard time choosing something for her. In the info I got with her name, she said that she did not like pastel colors, and requested wool or cotton (no synthetics) but that otherwise she was wide open to any kind of design!

Here's a closeup where you can better see the colors in the yarn I picked...

These are definitely NOT pastels!

I looked at a lot of different colors, both solid and variegated. My pal has a blog but it's not updated too often, and I couldn't get a great idea of her knitting/yarn preferences. I did get some sense of her color tastes, but there wasn't an obvious direction, like you would get from looking at the blogs of Teresa or Claudia. So, in the end I went with this colorway because it had several good colors in it, rather than just one or two.

Now, I need to find a pattern for the yarn. I'm going to wind it into balls first, and knit up a little swatch. At first, I was thinking of lace, but I think that the "yow-za" colors will obscure most patterns. So, if I do choose a lacy pattern, it will be a simple one! I'm guessing that these colors might act like some Koigu skeins I've seen, so I think I'll go surfing to see what kind of Koigu socks are out there. I might also hunker down with my Barbara Walker stitch dictionaries.

More updating tomorrow ... gotta go take care of some other stuff...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

B is for Books

I'm quite a bit late in posting my "B" entry. Please forgive.

But, "B" still stands for books in my world. According to my mother, I learned to read words when I was 2 or 3. While I still find this unbelievable, I do know that I was an "early reader", as the lingo goes. I remember reading Nancy Drew mysteries in kindergarten and getting extraordinarily bored as the teacher was teaching us *new* words like "cat" and "bus". Then again, that's Catholic school for you ... and one of the reasons I was only there for 2 years! But I digress ...

My family has always had a lot of books around. In high school, I used to read anything from the Concise Columbia Encyclopedia to the Reader's Digest Fix It Yourself Manual as I ate breakfast. Yes, I'm that much of a dork.

I still read a lot, although more knitting-related reading as of late. I try not to buy too much in the way of fiction, taking it out of the library instead, as I am only likely to read a work of fiction once. We still have 4 bookcases in our apartment, though. Here is a scattered sampling of our books ...

Of course, there are knitting books...

Some other pre-knitting hobbies, hiding amongst the kiddie lit and Shakespeare...

Recent fiction, and a spot of non-fiction ...

And another random shelf, with everything from a Tolkein boxed set, to a Montreal guide book, to a look at the future of genomic information, written by Juan Enriquez Cabot, a Chiapas-peace-negotiating, Harvard Business School professor who just happens to run a life sciences research and investment firm, go figure!

Eclectic tastes, yes, but there are few things that I won't read!

Friday, February 03, 2006

technical questions

Is there anyone out there who can answer the following questions:

How do I set up my blogger account so that I get an email when someone leaves a comment, and so that I can just reply to that email?

Umm, is that clear?

I have Haloscan installed right now. If I uninstall, I think I lose all my previous comments. Is that right?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Sockapaloooza matches!

Alison sent out the Sockapaloooza matches yesterday. I can't tell you who I am knitting for, since it's a secret, but you'd better believe that you'll be hearing all about her socks!

I can tell you that she does not like synthetic fibers, and does NOT want pastel colors. Other than that, she's open to pretty much any design. Hmmm, lots of room for creative interpretation. I'll be sock yarn shopping at Webs this weekend. I must go surf my pal's blog for a bit ... see if I can learn more about her :)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Happy Birthday to ME!!!

It's my birthday today :) I will be celebrating with Thom this evening, having dinner at Dali, a tapas restaurant in Somerville. I'll be having some gambas al ajillo, cholesterol levels be damned! And most likely, also some vieiras al azafrán (scallops in saffron cream). Yum!

Then, I'll be snuggling up on the couch with some yarn. And some husband :)

I also got some lovely flowers today...

The one on the left is a cyclamen plant from my boss. The one on the right is a mixed bouquet from my co-coach Genia. What nice surprises, both of them!