<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d10582443\x26blogName\x3dPink+Lemon+Twist\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLUE\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://pinklemontwist.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://pinklemontwist.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d-8358867803839361769', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A new sock and some new fish

devon1


As of Friday, all I had on the needles was Pattern 15, which is SO not portable, it's actually a finalist to be the Not Portable Knitting Poster Child of 2009. I'm supposed to be working on the collar for Juno, but as usual, what I'm supposed to be doing and what I am doing are two different things. So I decided to grab some sock yarn and start a new sock. I have Cat Bordhi's book which I've only looked at, so I decided that I would knit a pair from that - just to try something new. I wound my yarn from the skeins, grabbed my needles and sock junk (I have a designated sock bag that has all my "sock junk" in it) and sat down to pick a pattern. Then I realized that Cat Bordhi isn't messing around with the idea of New Ways To Make Socks. She wants you to do sock homework before you start actual socks. I seriously considered winging it and just jumping in with an actual sock, figuring I could refer to the directions for the sock homework if I got confused, but then I decided that I'd be better off if I waited and did the sock homework at some point in the future when I wasn't medicated and sleepy.

So later this weekend I picked up Cookie A's new book and decided to start Devon. (Cookie A has TONS of information about designing socks and how to chart things and figuring out what a stitch pattern will look like upside down - personally I just turn my stitch dictionaries upside down to see how the stitches will look on a top down sock. What Cookie A doesn't have is sock homework.) This is Claudia Handpaints sock yarn in Lipstick and I'm pretty sure I got it from The Loopy Ewe. I've just gotten started on it and I love the texture of the stitch pattern. I need to draw off the chart on a notecard, but even with the book following me around, it's a pretty portable project.

Finally, yesterday was a big day for Balto the Betta. He got tank mates. I picked up 3 Neon Tetras (I'll be getting 3 more tomorrow to round out the "school" but I didn't want to stress the tank by adding 6 fish at once.) We named them Bob. They are collectively "The Bobs." Caleb briefly tried to name one Joe and the rest Bob, but then realized that he couldn't really tell the difference between them and name tags were not a practical solution, so The Bobs they are. When The Bobs were adjusting to the water temp in the tank, while floating in their baggie, Balto was circling them like a great white circles a dive boat. I was obviously concerned for The Bobs. Knowing how fast the Neon Tetras can move, I figured they'd be OK though, so I let them out. As soon as I opened the bag, Balto hid behind one of the plants and stayed hidden where he could see The Bobs for most of the evening. He seems to have relaxed a bit and chased The Bobs away from his dinner last night (I'm putting food for The Bobs on the opposite side of the tank from Balto), and now they are all ignoring each other. Or I should say, Balto is ignoring The Bobs and The Bobs are ignoring Balto, but The Bobs are not ignoring each other as they have clearly formed a school (or perhaps a Borg Collective). Ramius still doesn't care.

Labels:

Friday, March 27, 2009

No pics today

I don't have a whole lot to talk about today and I didn't even bother with pictures. I've been sick this week and while today is the first day I'm feeling better, I still can't talk or I start coughing like an asthmatic dragon veterinarian. I've been doing a bit more on Pattern 15's test knitting but it isn't going to look like much in a picture and I also finally got the Juno pieces blocked, but they are covered up by towels to keep a naughty yellow puppy from rolling on them. Once they're dry I can get some measurements for the collar and get that going.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spinning


Believe it or not, I've been doing some spinning lately. When we moved, both wheels had projects in progress on them, so the extra wool and notes were packed with the wheel parts and forgotten about until I unpacked them here. This is the second bobbin of Polworth singles, spun semi woolen, which is why they are so fluffy. These singles are actually fluffier than the first bobbin of singles. I had no definite plan for this yarn, but had originally thought of doing a 3 ply for a sweater. Without a definite plan, I don't really know how I want to spin the sweater yarn, so I'll probably just ply the first two bobbins and use the yarn for lace. I'll still have plenty of Polworth left for a sweater later, when I know what kind of project I'm wanting the yarn for. I'm wanting to spin some laceweight yarn for this (the Polworth isn't telling me it wants to be this project), so I'll probably go stash diving later today or tomorrow and see what I come up with.

Labels:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pattern 15

Fabulous working name for the new wrap, huh? Over the weekend I got a LOT done! I realize it doesn't look like much, but believe me, there was major work done on Pattern 15. I don't know if I mentioned it or not, but I'm wanting this design to have a curve to it - it's still generally stole shaped (or will look that way when worn), but I felt like a slight curve would make it easier to wear. I'm going for something like a crescent moon kind of shape and I figured out three ways to do it. (There are probably more ways to do it, but these three seemed pretty obvious to me.) One way was to start from the neckline of the stole and work increases in a set pattern to make "wedge" shaped pieces and curve it that way. Another way is to start from the neckline and use EZ's Pi shawl directions, modified for a partial circle shape. The third way is to work from end to end (the way I usually write stoles) and work short rows to curve the piece. I chose the first way because I felt like it would be easier to use the lace motifs I wanted to design to use in this wrap.

Once the shaping technique was decided on, I sat down and started charting the lace. When I design lace motifs, I start with the YO's, then go back and add the decreases in the directions that will show off the shapes in the best way. I usually add the decreases on the computer when I put the chart in. I spent all day Saturday doing the computer charting, adding decreases, and finally adding beads. Then I printed all the charts out so I can work from them. By working from the actual charts I'll later put into the pattern, I can "proof read" them as I go. I work with a pen and a highlighter, so if I find a place where there's a mistake (I've already found one YO that had two decreases), I can correct it on the paper chart and highlight it. Then I go back and correct the computer files using the highlighted areas to find my mistakes.

What you see above is the first 12 rows from the charts plus the edging, worked from what will be the neckline, down towards the bottom edge of the wrap. I'm working on a 24 inch circular needle right now, but I can tell I'll be moving up in size very soon. Oh, and just in case you were concerned that the neckline of this wrap might be only 24 inches, it easily doubles that without really trying and will probably get a little bit bigger in the actual blocking at the end. Also, remember that it will increase substantially as I work it towards the bottom edge. This design is going to have a little bit of adjustability for extra length if it's needed and I'll be sure to give lots of measurements once I get it finished to help knitters decide if they need to make size adjustments.

Labels:

Friday, March 20, 2009

This is what I've been doing


The other day Caleb and I went out to the garage to find the fish tank and all it's stuff. We found the heater, filter, lid, light, and box of chemicals and stuff which we brought in and cleaned up. Then we had to uncrate the actual tank. When we moved from Austin, TX to Leesburg, VA the movers built a wooden crate for the fish tank, then wrapped the whole thing in blankets, put it in the crate and there it stayed for 5-1/2 years. It was very safe there. When Caleb and I went to uncrate it, we realized that we wouldn't be able to pull out the nails with a hammer - they were in too deep. There were also some pretty serious staples holding the thing together. Clearly we were going to have to rethink the way we were getting into this.
Caleb immediately suggested a chain saw. This was not a surprise since Caleb frequently suggests chain saws - for every situation. I realized that a small handsaw would probably get us into the crate so I grabbed that. Caleb wanted to know why not use a chainsaw. That led to a discussion of the right tool for the job. I pointed out that while a chainsaw is helpful in some situations, it just won't do for every situation. He thought about it for a minute and then agreed that sometimes you need an alien plasma rifle too. Thinking outside the box - that's my boy!
We got the crate opened, Mickael brought the fish tank inside and we got it set up (it's a 20 gallon, not a 10 gallon - I realized this when I was dumping gallon number 8 into it from my 1 gallon pitcher). We've declorinated the water and added bacteria to get the ammonia/nitrate/nitrite cycle going and we're almost up to temperature with the heater. The bacteria will be ready to have fish added by tomorrow afternoon, but I'm still trying to bring down the pH. Once we get the pH down where it needs to be, we should be ready to get some fish. We are planning on moving Balto the betta upstairs to this tank (he's been through a lot, he deserves a bigger place to live). This has meant rethinking some of the fish we were planning to add to the tank since we don't know Balto's opinion of other fish. (We do know that Balto talks smack at the sofa a lot -red floral - and he'll get sassy with us if we're wearing bright colors, so I'm assuming he's not just going to ignore other fish.) After spending way too much time figuring out what kind of fish can go with betta's, we've decided on Neon Tetras (they're bright colored but they move fast and don't mess with other fish) and some Cory Cats. Everything I found said both of these work well with bettas. I'd love to get some fancy guppies (did you know there are show guppies - the idea of a guppy show just cracks me up), but opinions seem to be divided as to whether or not guppies and bettas get along - it seems to come down to individual personalities of the fish involved.
So for now we're waiting on the water to get sorted out and then we get to go fish shopping!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

And now for something completely different...

Yes, that is crochet. Just to recap, back in October/November sometime when we first found out we were moving (it's all a blur really - I went from October straight to March) I got a catalog from Garnet Hill and I saw this throw. I couldn't get it out of my head.

Now anyone who lived through the 70's saw crochet at it's scariest, but I was doubly traumatized because it was all done in acrylic. I am allergic to acrylic - seriously, I get a rash in 30 minutes. So when a great aunt lovingly crocheted me an afghan, I ended up with an itchy rash. It was really quite enough to put me off crochet for the rest of my life. (Before I start getting hate comments from lovers of crochet let me again point out: the 1970's and a rash - it's not personally against you, it's my own personal childhood trauma.)

So, the throw stuck in my head but what with the staging of our house in VA, getting it on the market, house hunting in TX, buying the house and moving to TX, there was just no time for me to really mess with the crochet. I did pick up the Visual Quick Tips Crochet book (there's a big one too, I got the pocket one) and later got the Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs. I haven't gotten any yarn yet and only played around with the little hexagon you see there in some leftover sock yarn. I clearly have to figure out how to handle the yarn ends but I'm thinking more and more about ordering some yarn to do my own crocheted throw. I haven't yet decided what yarn I want to use, but I know I want a fingering weight wool that comes in a decent range of solid colors (the outside ring of the hexagon above is Louet Gems Merino in Fingering weight and that might be the yarn I use). Anyone have any other yarn suggestions that will fit the bill?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Sleeve and a Half

junosleeves2


I've finished the first sleeve of Juno and I'm more than halfway through with the second sleeve. I figure I've got less than 2 hours of knitting to finish the second sleeve. I still haven't blocked any of the pieces of this cardi, so I'll do all of them together either later today or tomorrow before I start the collar. The collar is cabled and the stitch pattern is uncharted so I'll have to chart it myself before I start knitting it.

It's Spring Break here so I've got a sidekick this week. Yesterday he was very helpful with the groceries and I think we're going to start unpacking our big fish tank today so we can start getting it cleaned out. We have a 10 gallon tank that we got when we lived in Austin, TX but we never set it up in Virginia. Caleb has been wanting to set it up so I think I'll let him help me clean it out and get it going. We'll see how much we get done today.

Labels: ,

Friday, March 13, 2009

One Sleeve

junosleeve1


Yes, this is one sleeve for Juno. I know, I always knit both sleeves at the same time, just like I did the fronts for this sweater, but I decided not to this time. Why? I'll tell you! Juno is knit at a pretty big gauge (4 stitches per inch), which means there aren't many stitches across each sleeve. If I'm juggling 2 sleeves and two balls of yarn at once, at this gauge I'm spending more time untwisting the yarn and sorting things out than I am knitting. (No, I can't knit with the yarn twisted up and the sleeves hanging wonky-like. It bothers me. I've tried, but I'm just too OCD to do it. I'm OK with this.) Realizing this, I decided, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE, to knit the sleeves separately and just keep really good notes (which I already did for some reason). This is so exciting! I'm really pushing the envelope here, in a knitting kind of way. If you put knitting in envelopes, which we usually don't, but you know what I mean.

Who knows where this will go - fronts knitted separately, more sleeves knit apart from their twin, anarchy, chaos - who knows!

Have a great weekend, I'll try to keep things under control around here.

Labels: ,

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Start your engines...


OK, maybe it's not time to start them just yet, but at least make sure you've got a full tank of gas and feed the pit crew. I'm ready to start designing a new wrap pattern and this is the yarn I'm going to use. This is Fleece Artist Suri Blue in Wine.* Suri Blue is 50/50 Suri Alpaca and Blue Faced Leicester and it's almost between a laceweight and fingering weight yarn. I have two hanks of 600 meters each, but I'm 99% sure I'll use more than one hank for the wrap, despite the slightly heavier weight yarn. There are size 6 seed beads on their way to me and I'll show those when they get here.
So, what can I tell you about this new design? It's not going to be a rectangular stole shape, but it will be a tweak of that shape (more of a tweak than Swan Lake, or maybe just as much of a tweak but in a different direction - still with me?) I'm not ready to reveal the main theme just yet (and it doesn't have a name right now), but I can tell you that I want to play with a ruffle again. I liked the ruffle ending on Hanami and I want to have a wrap with a more prominent ruffle. Something with a Spanish feel (and the sangria colored yarn works with that too). I have been trying to figure out how to shape the stole and, like most things in knitting, there are several ways do that - I'm just trying to pick the best one for this situation. I'll only show this design when I have something to really show, so it might be a couple of weeks before I blog about it again since at the moment, all I have is the yarn. Nothing's charted, nothing's finalized in terms of how I'm going to shape it, and I don't have any beads yet to start the knitting if I did have the rest of it nailed down. Hang in there with me and I'll reveal more soon.
*When I blogged the designing and test knitting for Hanami, several people went ahead and bought yarn for it before the pattern was even written and released. Just in case this happens again, I'd recommend a light fingering weight yarn such as Suri Blue because I'm not sure this design will be adjustable in length and width** (since I don't know for sure how I'll shape it). I'd also recommend a solid, or handdyed solid yarn. I don't know how many beads the design will have when it's all charted and finished, but I picked up two containers of beads from the Bead Wrangler (link above) and each container of size 6 seed beads has about 480 beads in it. This gives me plenty of wiggle room design wise. I'll give final numbers when I have them, but here are basics for anyone who wants to plan ahead.
**I am shooting for a length of 72-80 inches and a width of 18-24 inches for this wrap. If you will need these sizes larger or smaller, I'd recommend waiting to purchase your supplies. If I can figure out how to make the wrap adjustable, I will. Otherwise, the only adjustments will be through yarn and needle size. I'll explain more of this later if it becomes an issue.

Labels:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Fronts Done!

junofrontsdone


I have finished the fronts to Juno! Now I just have the sleeves and the collar to do (and the front bands, and weaving in the ends, and sewing on the buttons). I will probably block the fronts and back this week so I can get a good measurement on the neckline for knitting the collar. That way they can be drying while I knit the sleeves. Maybe I will get this finished sometime before Summer! It's cold and rainy here today, so I hope to get some knitting done once my caffeine kicks in and I get the house straightened up this morning. (The stitch markers are so I can tell which side is the right side of the fronts without having to really look. Theoretically, this will help me sew the pieces together properly. Realistically, this will be dependant on my caffeine levels on sewing up day.)

I'm ready to start designing a new pattern and to make things a bit easier on myself, I will be blogging the designing and knitting - come back tomorrow to see what's going on around here!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The first pair of 2009 socks!

trekkingwafflesocksdone


I finished up these socks over the weekend, making them the first pair knit only in 2009! To recap the details, these are knit using the waffle stitch pattern on the legs and stockinette on the feet. The yarn is Trekking XXL, color 133 and I used US 1's.

I also finished unpacking my sewing/knitting/spinning room and I now have my swift and skein winder set up. I'm going to try to finish up Juno before I start anything else though (including socks), so you might be seeing a bunch of black, sweater shaped blobs over the next few days. If it gets too boring, I've got some fuzz babies here that can help fill some blog space.

Labels:

Friday, March 06, 2009

It's the end of the world as we know it

Do you see this? Ramius is allowing Finn the Repulsive* (Ramius' name for him, not ours) to sit next to him. Sunshine is a pretty powerful cat sedative! I actually got this picture a couple of days ago and a day later Finn sat so close to Ramius that THEY WERE TOUCHING! Unfortunately, I didn't have the camera with me then. When I told Caleb about this whole series of incidents, he began singing, "It's the End of the World as We Know It." I think that just about sums it up around here. I'll be watching them very closely this weekend to make sure they're not trying to take over the world or anything.

*Ramius loves big dogs. He adored Bear, our previous Golden Retreiver. When Finn came to live with us, he was not a big dog. He was a small dog and therefore not to be trusted, played with, or otherwise even acknowledged in Ramius' book. Unfortunately, while Finn is now a big dog, Ramius' opinion of him hasn't really changed that much. Finn thinks it's a bit too much fun to "chase the kitty" for Ramius to really feel like he's worth the effort. On the other hand, Ramius loves my in-laws Golden Retreiver, Zack, who he met when Zack was full grown. When Finn saw Ramius rub against Zack, purring and clearly loving on him, Finn did the doggy equivalent of dropping his jaw.

Labels: ,

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Armpit

junofronts3


Inspiring title for a blog post, no? I've actually reached the armhole shaping on the Juno fronts, so yes, I'm at the armpit of the sweater. On the next row, I'll actually begin the front neck shaping (Juno has a deep V neck), so then I'll be decreasing stitches on both edges of each side and I should be able to finish the fronts up reasonably quickly.

The main problem is that I don't have good lighting in the family room at night (must get a better lamp situation) so I only work on Juno during the day (the bad lighting combined with my general skittishness on this sweater due to monumentally stupid mistakes made while knitting with "moving brain" mean I just don't attempt working on this after dark at all). This has pretty much meant that I only get to work on it on the weekends because I'm usually pretty busy during the day.

I'd love to get these fronts done this weekend and move on to the sleeves. Actually, I'd love to get the whole cardi finished and move on to something else. I like the pattern, and I like the yarn, and it's not difficult to work on, but I want something lighter weight*, in a lighter color, and different to work on.

*I realize that knitting with lighter weight yarn means more stitches, which means longer knitting time, but at this point, I'm having a really hard time seeing why I need a heavy, black cardi. I'll be happy to have it in December, but right now, I'm just not feeling it.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

One Down...

trekkingwafflesock2


I finished the first Trekking sock last night! I definitely needed something really simple to work on. I decided to work the foot in plain stockinette stitch instead of continuing on in the waffle stitch. No real reason behind the decision to change stitch patterns, I just decided to.

I had theoretically planned to make my socks identical and I made a note when I cast on for this first sock, where the pattern was in the yarn and where I put my slip knot. Unfortunately, I passed that spot in the repeat when I started my toe decreases. If I make the second sock match perfectly, I'll have to pull out almost a full repeat's worth of yarn to get to my starting place. I could of course use it at the second toe if I run out of yarn (in the right place for the repeat), but I think I'm just going to let the second sock start where it may. When I spin yarn for socks with handpainted rovings, I always have slightly different socks instead of identical twins and it's not like I'm using some really complex stitch pattern on these socks so I'm not losing that in the color differences.

Labels:

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Something New

trekkingwafflesock1


I finally finished all my 2008 socks! So, of course I started a new pair of socks. Introducing the first pair of socks for 2009 (although right now, it's not a pair, it's just a partial sock - work with me here).

I still haven't unpacked my ball winder and swift, so I grabbed a ball of Trekking XXL yarn - it comes packaged in a pull skein, so I didn't have to hand wind it. It's color number 133 and I'm pretty sure I got the yarn from The Loopy Ewe - they have it in stock right now anyway. I looked around at sock patterns for a bit, turned through a few of my sock books, and then I decided to just use the stitch pattern from the Blueberry Waffle socks. The stitch pattern is a four stitch repeat, so I just plugged it into my generic sock and I was off. This is probably my fourth or fifth pair of waffle socks, but this is the first pair I've knit with fingering weight yarn. The others have been from handspun which was more of a sportweight or DK weight. This stitch pattern is a bit like knitting comfort food for me - when my brain is tired and I just want something easy, I turn to this sock pattern. I needed a sock with no cable crossings, no chart and no thinking, and as you can see, it's moving along nicely.

Labels: