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Friday, October 30, 2009

Have a Great Weekend!

I won't bore you with another picture of the Juno collar today. It's going to look remarkably the same as it did yesterday except longer until I get it finished.

Mom and Dad closed on their house this week and the movers have dropped off their stuff. Yesterday Barclay, Shibori, and Cinnamon moved over to the new house and they all seem to be happily exploring their new surroundings that are filled with boxes with all their stuff. The cats are particularly happy with the new set up, seeing as there are all sorts of kitty cat tunnels, hiding places, and short cuts they can take. Mom and Dad have a lot of unpacking to do, unless they decided to adopt a Corrugated Chic decorating theme (which they so far aren't embracing - I'll give them a couple more days to think about it).

Ramius is thrilled that the Invading Hoard has left, but Finn seems a bit lonely and sad that his buddy left. We will be getting him and Barclay together for doggy play dates so they won't be apart for long. Since Mom and Dad are an easy walking distance from our house, the dogs will still get to spend plenty of time together.

I hope everyone has a great weekend! Watch out for the little ghosties and goblins. Mine is Jango Fett this year and it's the first year in about 4 or 5 that he's not wearing black!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Yesterday and More Juno

First of all, this is what we did yesterday:
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Yes, Caleb got braces! He's been in expanders since the first of September and they are actually still in his mouth with the braces, but yesterday his orthodontist trimmed the top expander out some and put brackets on his top, front teeth. Caleb chose the red rubber bands. He'll get braces on his lower teeth next month when they take out his lower expander. He's very proud of them and has even shown them to Ramius. (I don't think he's shown them to Finn, but Finn tends to kiss whatever part of Caleb he can reach, so it might be best not to show Finn.)
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I've also gotten a little more done on the Juno collar. I'm now past the 5th repeat. I haven't measured it against the neckline, but I think I've probably got enough collar for the right front and might even be partway into the back neck section. As I said in the last blog post, each repeat really goes pretty quickly. What I've found though, is that working in black yarn isn't very easy to do at night (we desperately need better lights around here) and in order to save my sanity and avoid frogging in the morning, it's better if I only work on this during the day.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Juno Collar

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I decided that the best solution to the cabled edge on Juno's collar was to follow the suggestion of the commenter and add a selvedge stitch to the inner edge of the collar. I frogged the few rows I had and restarted with an extra stitch. This means that there is an extra stitch on the outside of the small edge cable on the inside of the collar and not on the outside (which I totally could have compensated for if I had been thinking, or if I wanted to start a third time, but I didn't), but I think that since I'm working in black, it will just disappear and not be noticeable unless I point it out.

So far I've worked a little more than 3 repeats of the cable pattern and it's really going pretty quickly. I will probably just keep going on this (which means lots of blogging of black cabled stuff) until I get it finished because I'd really like to get Juno all done and wearable.

In doggy news, Finn and Barclay have become delinquents. We came home one day (Mom and Dad are back in town now) and found that they had dumped out the kitchen trash and chewed stuff up and made a big mess. The next day they got a loaf of bread off the counter and ate the entire thing (1-1/2 pounds of whole wheat - yeah that was fun). We've decided that Barclay is the brains behind the operation (Finn has never done stupid puppy stuff and he just isn't smart enough to carry out this kind of nefarious plot) and Finn is his henchmen - Barclay couldn't reach the bread on the counter - he's too short. Our suspicions were confirmed when we put Finn in his crate the next time we left and Barclay got into the trash again all by himself. Who knew such a cute little Sheltie dog was an evil genius?

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Former Sweater

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This past weekend this yarn was a sweater. It was an oversized sweater that didn't fit well and I've been planning to take it apart and ravel it for a while. The yarn is from Beaverslide Dry Goods and I think the color may have been Jersey Cream - I purchased it a long time ago. It's an aran weight yarn and the sweater that it used to be was knit at 4 stitches per inch.

I'm loosely thinking about making it into a top down, raglan, V-Neck, cardigan, but since it's going to be a while before I get to it, I'm not fully committed to that idea yet.

As much as I enjoy knitting, getting to frog an entire sweater is pretty fun too!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Crochet!

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I finished my Crocheted Star Flowers Scarf and got it blocked! I ended up using 3 1/2 balls of the yarn which was JoJoland Melody Superwash in color MS 26. I used a 2.75 mm hook (Size C) and the star motif is Motif #49 from Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs. I joined the stars at the points as I went (I explained this in a previous blog post with pictures and everything), and I made a total of 57 little stars. The finished size, after blocking is 73 inches long by 10 1/2 inches wide. When I blocked it I actually blocked it upside down because the stars were trying to "cup" towards the front. This seems to have worked pretty well because finished scarf lies completely flat.

This was a fun first crochet project for me and I don't think the idea of an entire throw is beyond my attention span. It's entirely possible that the color changes of the yarn kept me amused also.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Juno Returns

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Once I pulled Juno out and figured out where I was, it was pretty fast to add the front bands. Here is a detail of the front bands all finished up! (the left front band is hidden behind the right front band.) I haven't put the buttons on yet because I plan to steam block the front bands and the collar - both before and after I sew it on the neckline. I've also sewn the shoulder seams together but I'm going to wait before I seam up anything else. I want to get the collar on before I add the sleeves (just so I have less to deal with while sewing the collar) and then I'll do the side seams.

I've barely started the collar, so I didn't bother photographing it for today (it looks like a tweedy black worm on a knitting needle - very exciting, no?) As I was working on it, I realized that the directions have you work a 2 stitch cable on the first two and last two stitches of the front. Why? I've got to use the first stitch of one side of the collar to seam it to the edge of the cardi. Isn't a cable there just going to make it almost impossible to seam well and look like a demented pelican did the finishing work on my sweater? Unless anyone who has done this sweater can give me a good reason for this, I'm not working the cable on the inside edge of the collar. I'll put it on the outside, but that's it. (I've already checked for any "selvedge stitches" that aren't given in the stitch directions but are there anyway to make sewing it up easier - there aren't.) I looked at the Juno's in Ravelry, but I only looked at about 20 of them and no one seems to mention this issue.

In other news, Finn has gotten protective of Barclay. Ramius seems to have had enough of the visiting animals so he's taken to randomly chasing Barclay and smacking him around (no claws). Ramius gets in trouble when I see him do it, but like any self respecting cat he doesn't really care about anyone else's opinion. The other night, he went after Barclay again and was chasing him down the hall, smacking at Barclay's rear legs. Finn was farther down the hall and he ran towards Barclay and Ramius and chased Ramius back up on the bed, away from Barclay. Barclay seemed to appreciate it, as he doesn't really understand Ramius' problem and he kept either Finn or me between himself and Ramius all night. The next morning, Ramius walked right by Barclay as if he wasn't even there, which is much nicer than chasing him.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Coming out of Hibernation

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I didn't have a chance to blog yesterday because Mickael and I went to the surgeon to talk about his knee. He has a torn Meniscus. Basically the short story is, the tear is not in a place that surgery will necessarily help, so we're going to wait and see how he feels doing physical therapy and strengthening the surrounding area.

For today's knitting content, I'm bringing something out of hibernation: Juno. I started this sweater in September of 2008 (when we lived in Virginia). It got put away during the whole selling the house/staging/house hunting/moving mess and then I restarted it this past Spring. I got the back, fronts, and sleeves all finished and blocked and then put it away again because it was getting warm here and I knew I wouldn't be able to wear it any time soon.

Now that it's getting into cardigan weather (or at least considering it), I'd like to get this finished up. I have to sew the pieces together, do front/button bands, and do the collar and sew it on. I don't think any of this will be too involved, it's just a matter of doing it. The actual directions have you put a button hole in the collar to hold the ends in an overlapped position, but I'm leaning towards just skipping the button hole. The buttons I've chosen blend pretty well with yarn and won't be terribly obvious and the idea of featuring one right on the collar doesn't seem right. I think what I'll do is just overlap the collar ends myself and pin them that way with one of my penannulars that I've gotten from R.E. Piland at MDS&W (and if you're interested, they do do mail order). They have a Celtic feel to them which will go well with the cabled collar and putting a silver pin on the center of the collar ends just makes more sense than using the buttons.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Autumn Leaves Cardi

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A finished cardi! This is my Autumn Leaves Cardi, all finished in time to watch the leaves turn brown here in Texas.

All the details and mods: The pattern is the Summer Solstice Cardigan. I used Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool in Ruby (color 2055 - which is currently sold out), which I had in my stash and was from two different dyelots. The dyelots seem to be identical, both prior to knitting and after knitting and I've looked at them in daylight as well as different types of artificial light. I was a little short on yardage so I made the sleeves 3/4 length and because the yarn I used was 100% wool, it tried to roll up more at the edges than the design would have done in a linen or cotton blend yarn. To compensate for this, I added garter stitch edges - narrow at the sleeves and neckline and wider at the lower hem.

I really love the way this came out. I chose to knit the 38 inch bust size so I'd have some wearing ease since clearly I would be tossing this over something (being a cardi and not having buttons). This gave me 5 inches of ease which gives me plenty of options for things to put underneath and it gives me enough extra to overlap the fronts and pin it closed if I want to also. This was my first sweater with this type of construction - center back out to sleeves, down from the yoke and then add the neckband - and when I was done, all I had to do was weave in my ends and block it and it was finished. There was no sewing together involved. Despite the simple construction, I wouldn't recommend this for a first sweater unless you have a bit of the OCD. There is a lot going on shaping wise and you have to keep up with what you do on what row. It's not a difficult sweater, but you have to keep up with things. I could definitely see myself knitting this again!

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different

(The Autumn Leaves Cardi is finished but it's still drying from the blocking/washing. It's been raining here for over a week now, but I plan to blog it tomorrow.)

In addition to Barclay, Cinnamon, and Shibori, my parents also left Daddy's orchids here while they went back to Colorado to finish things up there*. Daddy has been growing orchids since before I was born and he takes orchids very seriously. He goes to orchid club meetings and enters them in orchid shows and things (orchid shows are very different from dog shows because orchids don't have to run around the ring to show the judges their gates). Before they left, he showed me what I needed to do to keep them alive, but he also told me little stories about the different orchids - this one is practically extinct; I've never had much luck with this one, but now it's growing pretty well; oh look, this one has new growth; I've had this one since the mid 1970's and so on. By the time he was done with them, I was really worried about keeping them alive because clearly, these were more than just plants - they each had little stories.
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Yesterday morning, one of the two orchids in bud opened, so I thought I'd show you what it looks like. If there are any orchid people out there reading this, it's Phalaenopsis Harriettae 'Georgina Bow.' Yes, this orchid is named after my Mom. (Can you imagine if I kill this one?) It's also an awarded plant I believe. (Or it could be a doctor or a Realtor, there are a bunch of letters after it's name.)
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Here's a close up of it. There is one other plant in bud, but it's a Lady Slipper and apparently they take forever to open their buds. Daddy said it takes them two months just grow the bud spike and it could take another two months or so to open. On the bright side (for these poor orchids who have been putting up with me), Mom and Dad will be back next week so Daddy can take over their care again then.

*Before they left, I explained that I was not guaranteeing the safety of the orchids and also made sure that Daddy understood that their survivability odds were not really in their favor. He said he was OK with that. I've killed one orchid already (hey, I work fast), but apparently it wasn't one of the really important ones.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Front Bands

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I got the body of the Autumn Leaves Cardi finished up yesterday and I've started on the front and neck bands. (Technically it's one band that goes up the front, around the back neck and down the other front.) At this point I plan to finish the sweater up this weekend and get it blocked and photographed by Tuesday's blog post. Fingers crossed that I don't run out of yarn!

By the way, for those of you who are wondering, the pattern is Summer Solstice.

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

More Autumn Leaves

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I've gotten the length of the cardi where I want it and in an effort to curb the rolling edge, I'm doing some garter stitch now. I've worked 6 rows of garter stitch so far (this gives me 3 ridges on the Right Side), but it still seems to want to roll. While blocking will help some, I'm going to keep working garter stitch until I have 5 ridges on the Right Side before I bind off. The pattern doesn't call for garter stitch edges, but the yarns called for in the pattern are more drapey than 100% wool (many of the yarns have linen in them), so they're less likely to roll at the edges anyway. I did a single garter stitch ridge on the edge of each sleeve, so the hem edge will coordinate with the sleeve edge. I'll probably use some form of garter stitch edging on the front bands to tie the whole thing together.

I'd like to apologize for the photography this week. Red is difficult to photograph at any time, but it's been raining, misting and overcast all week so I've been forced to use flash, which causes even more problems. You would think that as many times as I've tried, unsuccessfully to photograph red, that maybe I would stop working with it (seeing as I blog pretty much everything that I knit), but I just love red!

Bit of useless information for those who love that kind of thing: you know how a piece of stockinette stitch knitting will roll towards the Right Side along the horizontal edges? That's because the top to bottom measurement of a knit stitch is slightly shorter than the top to bottom measurement of a purl stitch (which are on the Wrong Side). This makes the stitches roll. And a bonus piece of information: Knit stitches (the Right Side) are slightly wider than Purl stitches (the Wrong side), which is why stockinette stitch will roll to the wrong side along the vertical sides. This is also why garter stitch and moss/seed stitch will lay flat - there are equal numbers of knits and purls on both the wrong side and the right side of the knitting. An even rib (K2, P2) will do the same thing, and even a slightly uneven rib (K4, P2) will behave pretty easily, but if you've ever tried to get a seriously uneven rib to lie flat (K8, P2), you'll find that it doesn't cooperate. The ratio of Knit stitches to Purl stitches is too uneven for the Purl stitches to compensate for the natural tendency of the Knit stitches.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Autumn Leaves Cardi

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I'm moving right along on the body section of the Autumn Leaves Cardi! I've got to try it on again soon and see where I'm at, but I'm getting close to where the pattern says to stop on it. I might add a bit more to the length than the pattern says, but I've got to see where I am on yarn first. I still have to do the neck and front bands, so I need enough yarn left to do them.

I think I'm going to just knit on this project this week because I'm ready to have it finished up so I can wear it. This of course means that tomorrow I'll be blogging it again.

Oh, and just in case there are any bunnies of North Texas who read this blog, could you please get out of my yard by 6:35 AM? Seriously guys, every morning Finn comes out for his morning potties and every morning one of you gets chased out of the yard. If I put a clock outside, do you think you could just scoot back under the fence around 6:30-ish? I mean it would be a lot easier on you to not start out your day by running for your life from a yellow monster. He's big, and he doesn't corner as well as you guys do, but he's faster than you are on the distance runs and one of these mornings, it might not end well. Just something to think about. (Oh, and don't worry about the little black and white monster - he's on a leash because he's spent his first 11 years in an area with bears and mountain lions and he just doesn't feel safe enough off leash to do his business.)

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Star Flowers

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I've finished the third ball of yarn now and I have 48 star flower motifs now. The scarf measures 56 inches long, so I'm getting pretty close to where I want it. There was a question about how I was joining the little motifs together last time I blogged this so I'll explain how I'm doing it.

Disclaimer: I really don't know anything about crochet so this may or may not be acceptable in say, state fair quality competition pieces but it fits the three requirements I had, so that's what I'm going with. Oh, and if you're interested, my three requirements are that the star flower motifs stay together, that I don't have any extra ends to weave in, and that I can figure it out with my limited skills.
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Basically, I'm joining the motifs as I go and I'm using the design of the motif to do it. At the point of each motif, on the final round of crochet is a "chain 3." This makes a tiny hole right at the points. When I'm working the final round on a new motif, I work the "chain 3" through this little hole on the finished motifs. There are two different joins and I treat them slightly differently. When I join the new motif to a single point, I work the second chain of the "chain 3" through the hole in the finished point. When I join the new motif to two points (as shown in the picture above), I work the first and third chain of the "chain 3" through the holes in the finished points. Just a side note, chaining the motifs through the holes does not allow them to move independently like two interlocking rings on a chain. Because the finished motifs have closed holes, I would have to pull the entire motif through the tiny hole (or the ball of yarn) to work them so they could be interlocking but could move separately. When I started this, in my head that was how it worked so it took me a bit of fiddling to figure out that while I could attach the chains the way I had planned, they would anchor each other together at the points instead of having independent movement. I'm sure someone who really knows what they're doing with a crochet hook already knows this but from the comments I've gotten on this project, it seems that I'm not the only knitter figuring out a bit of crochet.

So far this seems to be working and while this might not be enough of a connection for a worsted weight afghan (don't honestly know, I've never crocheted anything else before), it feels plenty secure for a fingering weight scarf. If there's an experienced crocheter who's reading this and feels that they can explain this better, by all means leave your explanation in the comments - you won't hurt my feelings.

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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Knitting Guilds of the DFW Metroplex - Oops!

HELP! About a year ago, right when we found out we were moving to the Dallas area, I was contacted by someone who was setting up programs for one of the local guilds and wanted to know if I would do a lace program. I said yes and I believe I was put on a calendar for a program sometime this Fall. Unfortunately, in the utter chaos of moving, I don't remember who or when I'm supposed to do this program. Please contact me, either by email or by Ravelry PM (PinkLemon) because I need to get some details from you (clearly)!

Thanks so much!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Furry Friday

As I've mentioned, we currently have 5 little furballs in the house right now since Mom and Dad's two cats and dog are staying with us until they get moved down here later this month. In the meantime, I figured I'd give them all a day on the blog since they're just so cute, and let's face it, if I blogged them with knitting, you guys wouldn't pay any attention to the knitting anyway!
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I finally got some pictures of Cinnamon, Mom and Dad's Siamese. He is more shy than Shibori, so it took a while before he'd come out and see me long enough for me to get pictures. He's lighter than Ramius is and he's also a bigger cat. His eyes are icy blue like the underside of a glacier, where Ramius' eyes are aqua blue, like an aquamarine (the aqua eye color goes with the mink coloration of Tonkinese).
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Of course, partway through Cinnamon's photo shoot, his little brother Shibori (the Bengal) started wiggling into the frame.
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Shibori is a shameless attention hog - whether it's a camera or lovin', he's going to be in the middle of everything.
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And he really doesn't care if the lovin' is coming from a human or his little dog buddy, Barclay! Barclay is spending time with his kitties every day - sometimes he just passes out on the floor, but sometimes they play together a bit. Last night Shibori was rubbing on Barclay hard enough to knock him off balance. We had to make the decision for everyone's safety that Shibori and Cinnamon stay in the guest room, separate from Ramius who doesn't like the idea of other cats in his house, and separate from Finn who is trying to welcome the new cats a little too enthusiastically. I know if we had to, we could work past the Finn part of the issue, but Ramius (AKA Leroy Brown) is just too aggressive for this to work out. I certainly don't want Cinnamon and Shibori turning against each other - they have to live together.

Barclay on the other hand has full run of the house since he and Finn and Ramius are getting along wonderfully! Barclay quickly became a member of our "pack" and he and Finn follow me around all day and do everything together. Ever wonder what a doggie slumber party looks like?
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Here's one! The thing that really cracks me up is that Barclay is on Finn's bed and Finn is on Barclay's - they are sharing so nicely! (Not food, Finn wants you to know that he isn't sharing food and when it's feeding time, he's been working on his technique and has beaten his previous eating time record by several seconds. He's been wondering if the US has an eating team and if he could maybe try out for it.)
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Finn also wanted to show you all his new toy. Since Finn was a puppy, he has been ripping stuffed dog toys up and strewing stuffing from one end of the house to the other. Naturally, we made the decision not to give Finn this kind of toy years ago. The other day, he found this Dino-Roar (Fisher Price made them a long time ago and this was mine). He seems to like the noise it makes and he hasn't ripped it up yet, so we've let him keep it. He walks around and squeezes it so it roars (or whimpers) and is really enjoying it. This morning he discovered that Barclay is the perfect height to set the Dino-Roar on his back and chew on it there. Barclay was not amused.
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Ramius thinks Dino-Roars are stupid, but he figures if Finn likes it, that's fine as long as it doesn't disturb his nap. He would also like it if someone would come get these spare cats since the guest room is South facing and gets lovely amounts of sunshine all day long.
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Have a great weekend and don't forget to love your fuzzies!

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Autumn Leaves Cardigan

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I got back to work on my Autumn Leaves Cardi yesterday and I'm about 2/3 of the way done with the body of the cardi (if we assume the body is what I picked up for along the bottom of the sleeve/yoke section). I need to switch it to a longer cable so that I can try it on soon because the cable it's on right now is a little too short for me to get a good idea of how long it is at this point.

Once I finish this section, I do the collar and front bands section - if there were front bands (no buttons, so no traditional front bands here). Then I'm done! No sewing up, just done. I really can't wait to see this one all finished up and I think I'm going to enjoy wearing it. Oh, and because someone always asks, here is a link to the pattern's page on Ravelry - it's the Summer Solstice Sweater.

I have a surprise tomorrow, and it's furry!

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