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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Coraline

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Last night I started the smocking part of Coraline's yoke. I've never done a knitted smocking stitch so it was all very new and exciting. I've only worked one repeat so far because it's not a particularly fast stitch to work, but I think I'll get faster with a little more practice. It's not difficult to do (assuming I'm doing it correctly), but it's very different from anything I've done before. You'll probably see Coraline again tomorrow, because I'd really like to get going on her - I can see the finish line on this cardigan and now that the temperature has started dropping around here (we're only in the mid 80's for highs right now - break out the mittens!), I can actually see myself wearing a cardigan again soon.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mohair Bias Loop

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As expected, the Perfect Portable Project, version 2.0* is zipping right along during my waiting-for-Caleb-time. I'm somewhere around the halfway mark. I think. I haven't measured it yet. I actually briefly considered putting it away yesterday so I wouldn't finish it too soon, but then I remembered that I have yarn for another one here in the stash, I should have enough yarn leftover from this skein for a second one just like this (Christmas is coming faster than any of us want to admit), and I happen to know where to get more yarn, if I should happen to run out. I realize the loop scarf may be a trendy or dateable thing in years to come, but if you look at the pictures on the link above, it can also be worn as a capelet (technically a classy poncho) and as a cowl, so I think that if I get a little crazy with these, it will be OK. I think it's important to tell myself that periodically - it will be OK.

*Perfect Portable Project, version 1.0 is the Silky Alpaca Lace Shawl that I knit twice during the Summer and Fall of 2009. Acres and acres of mindless garter stitch, perfect for sitting and waiting. Someday I will have a whole list of perfectly mindless patterns for sitting and waiting and talking to strangers who are wondering what I'm crocheting that would otherwise be mind numbingly boring.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Metro

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I've finished the back of Metro and the shoulders are joined. The front collar is sitting on stitch holders waiting to be finished and sewn down along the back neck, but I'll probably finish it last. Next I'll do the sleeves. I did try it on once I got the shoulders bound off together and it fits just like I wanted it to. (It's nice to see that it's going to fit the way I was hoping for. Some things don't.) We've even had a cold front come through this weekend (highs are to be in the high 70's to low 80's this week) so I might actually get to wear it soon!

Someone was asking about the color of my Metro last time I posted about it. The yarn is black and if I had to be specific, I'd say it's a cool black. It does have alpaca in it which tends to catch the light more than wool does, and this makes it a bit easier to photograph than it would otherwise be. Of course, I also tweak the colors in the photo a bit so you can see the details of the sweater in the photos. In today's picture, for instance, I lightened the whole thing, which left the background (my carpet) overexposed but at least you can see the details of the knitting. I'm working under the assumption that the majority of you are here for the knitting, not the carpet.

I'm off now - got to get groceries, run errands and all the other things that have to be done on Mondays!

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Autumn Mist Cardigan

Autumn Mist cardi
New from Georgina Bow Creations!

Classic lines and elegant details make Autumn Mist a cardigan you will reach for as soon as you feel Autumn's chill. Lines of lace accent the hem, back and sleeves as well as the flattering V-neckline. Wear it with a cami or shell when the weather begins to cool off and then when the temperature really dips, wear it with a turtleneck or long sleeved tee. No matter how you pair it, it will be the perfect layer for three seasons of the year.

Autumn Mist cardi backview
The main sweater is knit using a laceweight yarn and fingering weight yarn held together, while the front and neck bands are worked using the fingering weight yarn alone. Choose your favorite color in both yarns or mix colors to make the sweater uniquely yours. The sweater is worked from the lace shaped hem up to the underarm in one piece to make seaming and finishing minimal. Stitch patterns are given in both charted and written out format and thorough instructions guide you step by step through the knitting process. Sizes included are XS-3X (finished bust size 32-56 inches).

Shown in Knit Picks Gossamer (now discontinued) and Knit Picks Gloss Fingering. Knit Picks Shadow Tonal could be substituted for the Gossamer.

$6.00
 Add to Cart

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Metro

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I finally got started on the back of Metro yesterday. I should be able to get it all knitted up fairly quickly since the back is much simpler than the fronts. Right now there's just not that much to see, just a black sweater-in-progress. I would distract you with a picture of Ramius, but he's giving me dirty looks since I just gave him his medicine and Finn is curled up asleep in the other room (he can see me where he's at, if he opens his eyes, but he likes to sleep on the wool rug more than the tile floor of the kitchen - can't blame him).

I love this time of the morning - everything is quiet around here, Caleb and Mickael are off at school and work, and it's just me and the boys. I've got a cup of tea next to the computer (must. have. caffeine.) and I can sit here and watch the birds make pigs of themselves at the birdfeeder, watch fluffy clouds roll by and just take a minute to myself before the day really gets going. Soon I'll be getting laundry together, cleaning up the house (how is it possible that Finn still has hair on his body?), and getting myself cleaned up and pulled together so I can get errands run and everything taken care of, then I'll be off - here, there, and back and forth. I won't have another bit of quiet time until after dinner, right before bed - if I'm lucky, but right now, this is my time to breathe.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A New Perfect Project

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Right now, neither of the two cardigans I'm working on is really portable. This is a problem because every weekday afternoon I have about 40-45 minutes sitting in the Pick Up Line at school, and most weekday afternoons I have 45 minutes of sitting at the gym while Caleb works out. Since I can knit, there's no point in just sitting there like a lump bird, but because I can't really spread out a big project either place, anything with charts or complex shaping where I might be strapped to a pattern just doesn't work. Also, simple designs are easier to knit and talk to other people. Last summer I found the perfect project for portability - the Silky Lace Alpaca Wrap. Now, this should come with a warning because if you're not spending a mind numbing amount of time waiting on a critter to do what critters do, you might poke yourself with a knitting needle just to relieve the monotony of acres and acres of garter stitch. If however, you find yourself very familiar with certain parts of the Pick Up Line or know which seats in the parent waiting area are to be avoided because they eat the parents sitting on them, this might be the perfect project for you. I found it to be so perfectly portable and mindless that I knit two of them last year. The first was for me and the second was for Mindy for Christmas (done in superwash sock yarn for hers - easy care for the non knitter).

The other day, when I joined the sleeves to Coraline, I lost my portable knitting project. (Knitting a sleeve is portable. Knitting a yoke with decreases and a stitch pattern and a body and sleeves flying around, is not portable.) Fortunately, Ravelry saved the day. I had run across this pattern and saved it as a favorite. It's meant to take 2 skeins of Kid Silk Haze, which I fortunately have in my stash. (A more economical alternative would be Elann's Silken Kydd - almost the same yarn, half the price of KSH, but fewer colors, and I also have some in my stash.) I was all prepared to start this with some creamy white mohair gorgeousness, but then it hit me - I had something else I could use - some Blue Moon Fiber Arts Silkmo! Silkmo is 64% kid mohair, 20 % mulberry silk, and 16% nylon (when I went to link this, I found that the fiber content has changed slightly - it's now 70% kid mohair, 20% mulberry silk and 10% nylon. I might have to get some of the new version to test it out, for scientific purposes and all). It's very similar looking to KSH and Silken Kydd but the core is not quite as shiny. (My guess would be that it's the addition of nylon, which adds strength to the yarn, but isn't as shiny as silk.) The color of Silkmo that I have is Lunasea, which is a varigated yarn. I had purchased it a while back and actually started Atlantis in it, but soon realized that it was too varigated for the look I was going for. It got stashed and forgotten, until I realized that the Mohair Bias Loop would be perfect for a varigated brushed mohair yarn! One provisional cast on and some sitting around time later, I have the start of my very own Mohair Bias Loop! It's mindless, it's portable, it's easy, it's fuzzy and it is definitely a contender for the title of Most Perfect Portable Project! (And I might come back later and knit a dressier version in the solid cream, like I had originally planned!)

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Coraline

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I've got sleeves attached to the body now! I've read through some of the Ravelry projects for this pattern and there were some others that used a yarn with a different row gauge than the pattern was written for, so using my own ideas and their own, I think I've got a plan. I'm fixing to start the smocking part of the yoke (the fancy stitch area) and I can't wait to start seeing what that looks like in my handspun. I also know now that I'll have plenty of yarn to finish this cardi. I had more than enough according to the pattern requirements, but getting 8 rows per inch instead of 7 means I'm using more yarn. Fortunately, I had 3 skeins to start with, with about 500 yards per skein. I'm almost through with the second skein at this point and I'll be winding the third skein today so it's ready to go. I might even have enough yarn left over for mitts (or something)!

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I'm sitting here blogging this morning with a warm, purry lap warmer, so I grabbed my iPhone and got a picture of him. This is the Pink Lemon's eye view of Ramius. Can you see his little paws just below his nose? So cute. And since I saw it when I was sending Ramius' picture to Flickr, here's one of Finn in black and white from a couple of days ago. (Both pictures were taken using the Hipstamatic app.)
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Drive By Blogging

No time for a full post today! Finished mitts! Love!
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Friday, September 17, 2010

Almost Mitts

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I started the second mitt (Susie's Reading Mitts) yesterday and made it to the top turning row by bedtime last night. With another 30 minutes of knitting time, I should be able to finish the hem and sew it down and weave in ends. Then it's just a matter of finishing thumbs and I'll have finished mitts.

Once I have these done, I want to really get going on Coraline and Metro. I think I'm closer to finishing Coraline than I am Metro, but I'm thinking I'd really rather have only one cardigan on the needles at a time right now. When I was doing a Featherweight Cardigan, I was using that as my Drag-Around-And-Knit-In-Public project, but neither Coraline or Metro really fit that category well. Having two cardigans and a portable project (and a pattern I'm supposed to be finishing up), plus the Babette (forgot about that one, didn't you? Me too.), is a little much to be working on all at once.

I've decided to do something new next year, although I really can't take credit for the idea. If you read the Yarn Harlot, you know she made herself a Self Imposed Sock Club this year. Basically, she went stash diving and picked a dozen yarns and a dozen patterns, bagged them all up and once a month, she grabs a bag and knits what's in it. Well, I've always been interested in a sock club, but I know I'm not going to love every pattern and every yarn that comes to me if I join a "real" sock club. Also, I already have a decent (or indecent, depending on how you look at things) sock yarn stash and really don't need a new skein showing up on the doorstep once a month. When I started thinking about the Harlot's plan, I realized it was pure genius. About the same time, I found Romi's eBook Seven Small Shawls (if you buy it as the eBook, you get three bonus patterns that won't be sold separately later). She has already designed three of the seven shawls and one of the bonus patterns. The shawls are all intended to use about 100 grams of fingering weight yarn (that's how much you need for a pair of socks also). Here was another way to burn through some sock yarn! Since it's a Self Imposed Sock Club, it doesn't have to be a sock club at all. It could be a Self Imposed Sock and Shawl Club! Then I mentioned the idea to Mom and she was interested in doing the same thing (but with her stash and with her pattern choices) but didn't think she could do one project a month. Well, since the whole thing is our own choice, I didn't see any reason she couldn't pick out six projects and start one every other month - I mean it's self imposed after all, we can make up our own rules, right? So she's going to join me on this in January and I'll be blogging her finished projects also. I think that once I get some of my current WIP's finished up, I'll go start sorting through sock yarn and patterns and start organizing my little Self Imposed Sock and Shawl Club. Then maybe I'll forget about some of what's in it before January and it will be a little surprise each month when I grab a project. (Yes, I have a short enough memory/attention span that I can surprise myself with stuff I have already. Don't judge.)

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Coraline Sleeving

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I've been sleev-ing on the second sleeve for Coraline. I'm about 2/3 of the way done with it now. Hopefully the next time you see it, it will be attached to the body with the other sleeve. I'll have to sit down soon and figure out how I'm going to compensate for my different row gauge on the yoke section. This is what I get for using a handspun yarn instead of a commercial yarn. Since I didn't spin the yarn specifically for this project, it acts differently than the commercial yarn the designer used to write the pattern, and I'm getting a completely different row gauge. Hopefully my math abilities are up to this (fingers crossed, everyone).

In family news, we've been having a little bit of drama with Caleb around here. Last Thursday his pinky finger got smashed in PE (it wasn't intentional, it was one of those freaky kid accidents). The school nurse called me and suggested I come look at it because she thought it might be worth taking him to the doctor. When I saw it, I decided yes, it was worth taking to the pediatrician, who decided (upon seeing it for himself), that it was worth getting X-Rays to make sure it wasn't fractured. Fortunately, it wasn't fractured, just smashed really badly, but in a couple of days, he was down to just a band aid over the fingernail for aesthetic reasons. Yesterday, I got a call from the school nurse and he had tripped at the end of recess, running to get in line with his class (apparently, the first class to line up gets 4th grade money). His palms, right elbow and left knee were pretty scuffed up, but she had bandaged him and sent him back to class, she was just calling to let me know what was going on. Sure enough, when I picked him up at the end of the day, he was one banged up little guy! So far this year (and it's just getting started which is terrifying to me), I've talked to the school nurse more than I did when he was in K-3 combined! She's very nice, but I don't really want to talk to her anymore. If this keeps up, we'll have to add her to the Christmas gift list - that is if Caleb survives 4th grade. I'm really dreading next week.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Metro

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I've finished the fronts of Metro! I've got the shoulder stitches and what will be the back neckband stitches on holders now waiting for me to do the back. This is really moving along pretty quickly (when I knit on it of course). It's a thicker yarn on bigger needles than Coraline also, and that always helps. I was laying it out for it's picture this morning and realized I need to pick the cat and dog fuzz off of it, but then I realized that it would ALWAYS need the cat and dog fuzz picked off of it, so I just left it until I finish knitting it. Then I'll get off the fuzz and they can re-fuzz it for me.

Speaking of dogs, I have a question for those of you that run. There was an article in Runner's World about running with your dog and apparently Golden Retrievers can run with you as long as your run is 10 miles or shorter. The distance isn't a problem at this point and I would start him out slowly, like I started out - maybe a little dog bed to 5K? Then the article mentions that you really shouldn't run with your dog if the temperature is over 70 degrees because they over heat. So here, that means he gets to start running in October or so (if we're lucky) and runs until March or April. Then when the temperature starts rising, he can't run, but he's in really good shape and has all that extra energy and if your dog is used to running 20+ miles a week (just for example) and then stops, that's how you have doggy behavior problems. I mean it's not like you can walk him for the distance he's used to running because you'd still be running for training and then you'd have to walk the dog and you'd spend all day walking and running and you'd never get any knitting or anything else done. So my question is, when you live in a place like Texas that likes to challenge the record temperatures of Hell for 6 months out of the year, is running with your dog a good idea or does he just get really sad when it gets warm? (I'm thinking it would be fun to run with Finn, but I'm not sure how to channel the extra energy in April when it gets warmer, and I don't want naughty doggy issues.)

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A New Mitt

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I love fingerless mitts. I love to knit them and I love to wear them (when it's not so hot outside). Sometimes, when I've been doing a lot of knitting, I sleep in them to keep my hands warm. I ran across this pattern a few weeks ago and I just fell in love with it. It's simple, has a long wrist section, and has just enough detail to keep it interesting. A little bit of stash diving turned up a perfect yarn. The pattern is Susie's Reading Mitts and the yarn is from Tess Yarns. I purchased it at my very first MDS&W, which would have been 2004. It's a merino and silk blend and it's probably supposed to be worsted weight, but I believe that knitting a yarn tighter than it was "meant" to be knit, makes for finished knitting that will wear better. (The pattern is written for a DK gauge.) This is important in something like a mitt that will be subjected to abrasion while it's being used.

This is most of the first mitt - it's still missing it's thumb and the thumb stitches are sitting on waste yarn right now. I'll knit the second mitt to this point and then do the thumbs together - for some reason this is how I do all my mitts. Anyone else have a fingerless mitt problem out there? (Although, really, it's not a problem. I can quit anytime I want to. Really.)

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Monday, September 13, 2010

A Sleeve!

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I got back on Coraline this weekend and I finished the first sleeve! Now I know how long to make the second sleeve, so it should go pretty quickly. I also washed and blocked the sleeve just to make sure that the gauge would stay the same like it did in the swatch (swatches can lie). Sure enough, the gauge stayed the same, which means that I might need to adjust for the yoke a bit since my row gauge is different from the pattern.

I love the way the knitting changes after it's washed. This is handspun yarn and it was spun with a pretty high twist. It was washed after I finished plying it, but when I knit with it, it feels very crisp. Not scratchy or rough, it just feels crisp. Once I wash it, the yarn really relaxes into the stitches and the knitted fabric becomes soft and drapey. And of course, I'm still amused by the tonal stripes.

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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Metro

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I have divided the fronts from the back, and we now have underarms! I've also started some of the cables on the left front of this sweater. I decided to work the fronts together instead of one at a time, just so I'd make sure the shaping matches. (Yes, following the directions would also help, but if I make a mistake on one side, if I'm working them together, I'm more likely to make the same mistake on the other side and then they still match.) Right now the back stitches are just waiting for me on a holder while I work the fronts.

I want to note that while this sweater looks pretty simple (which I think is what will make it extremely wearable), there are a lot of little details to it that aren't really obvious, but that will make it fit better. The pattern is very well written and walks you through exactly what you should be doing and when. That's always a nice thing for a pattern to do, in my opinion.

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Mitts + Moebius = Matching Set!

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Since I had about 200 yards of yarn left from my Moebius, I decided to do a pair of mitts to match. This means that I now have a matching set of scarf/mitt things. First ever, in my closet, handknit (and handspun) set. Actual, real life matchy matchy set. (I might be just a little bit excited about this.) These are the Blonde Pulsvarmer mitts that, like the name implies, are really pulse warmers - there is no thumb and the lace comes up over the hand a bit. Its a free pattern and I thought the lace was similar to the lace edging on the Moebius. I cast on an extra 20 stitches to make mine a little longer on the arm and I did one less repeat of the lace than the pattern calls for because they were plenty big to go around my hands and arms. Otherwise, I knit them to the pattern. (Also, I did knit two of them, but could only photograph one on my arm because the other hand was holding the camera. Didn't want you to think that my right arm was left out in the cold.)

Bea had a question about the blocking of the Moebius from yesterday's post. I can't really take credit for figuring out how to block it, because if you go through the projects for the Wave of Color Moebius on Ravelry, several of the people who made it took photos during blocking. This was a huge help, because like Bea mentions, the twist is a bit problematic. What I did was pin out more than half the points in a circle and let the remaining points flop as they wished. Then I sprayed the pinned ones with water and let them dry. Once they were dry I unpinned them and pinned down the remaining, unblocked points (and a few already blocked points, just for good measure), sprayed them down (very carefully so I wouldn't mess up what was already blocked) and let those dry. At this point, all the lace was blocked but the center of the Moebius (where the cast on was) was not as smooth as the rest, so I slipped the Moebius over the end of the ironing board, stretching it a bit and sprayed just the middle with water - being VERY careful not to re-wet the points - let that dry and then turned it around so the section that was underneath the ironing board was on top (I kept the twist under the ironing board), sprayed that and let it dry. It sounds like a very involved process, but even though there were essentially four different blockings, it's a small piece so pinning out didn't take long, and in light, fingering weight yarn things dry quickly when the ceiling fan is running above them. I was able to get the whole thing done in a day.

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

A Finished Moebius

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I did get the Wave of Berries Moebius finished over the weekend and I got it blocked (that was interesting). This morning, to get a good photo for the blog, I recruited our favorite knitwear model (you guys are always asking for modeled shots of the finished pieces), and discovered that he's forgotten how to model knitwear. That and his father was standing behind me waving his arms around, getting the model all riled up. Fortunately, the Moebius is basically a collar and if there's one thing that fits on Finn, it's a collar, so even after getting up and running across the room to Mickael, he was still wearing the Moebius and just needed to be put back into a stay.

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Then he decided to lay down (the Moebius works for that too).

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Finally, I got him to sit still and got a good picture without making his eyes glow (it's overcast and rainy here this morning). So here are the details - the pattern is the Wave of Color Moebius, knit as the pattern directs. I used US 7 needles (4.5 mm) and my own 3 ply, BFL handspun which was a light fingering weight. This was a fast project and it only took about 350 yards (I can see this being a nice potential gift project). I do have some yarn left over, but I'll show you what I'm doing with that tomorrow, once I finish.

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Friday, September 03, 2010

Wave of Berries

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I'm working on the edging of the Wave of Color Moebius! In fact, I've only got about 10 rows left until I bind off. I tried to get a picture of the edging so far, but you know how unblocked lace looks. (If you don't know how unblocked lace looks, look at the picture - see how you can't really see anything? That's how unblocked lace looks.) I plan on finishing this this weekend - if not today - and the next time you see it, it will be blocked. This has been a nice, fast project which was exactly what I needed to break up the two cardigans a little bit. Now I feel ready to jump back into them.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! If you're here in the US, you should get a 3 day weekend. I'm looking forward to having an extra day with Mickael and Caleb, but right now, just this minute, everything is peaceful and quiet. It's cloudy outside, the temperature has dropped and it's lovely and breezy. I'm sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of tea, Ramius is in my lap and Finn is asleep under the table. I'm letting some butter soften on the counter so I can make oatmeal cookies later today and tomorrow I'm going to make a big pot of gumbo. It will be the first time I've made gumbo in this house and Finn will be helping every step of the way (he loves "helping" me make gumbo). It will also be the first time this Fall for the big red pot to make an appearance. I love making soups, stews, chili, and any number of things in the big red pot, but I don't like to make them in the Summer. I know the temperature won't stay cool, yet, but for the next couple of days, it's cool enough to start using the big red pot. Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, September 02, 2010

Look At The Dog!

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Because I have no knitting to show today! (Doesn't he look like he's talking in this picture?)

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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A Sleeve for Coraline

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I'm still working on my first sleeve for Coraline. It's not going terribly fast, but it is going. I think I have a tighter row gauge (and my yarn doesn't grow when blocked) than the pattern calls for. This means I have to keep going round and round and round. Fortunately, it is pretty mindless knitting and works well for public knitting. It just doesn't make the most interesting blog pictures (or posts for that matter). I'm going to have to take a look at the pattern and compare the pattern gauge to my own gauge because if I'm really off on row gauge, I might have problems with the yoke section. Usually if you're getting stitch gauge you'll be fine because row gauge is less crucial (particularly if the design just says to "knit for X inches." I think in this design, row gauge is going to be just as important. On the other hand, I wanted to use my handspun for this, so I may have to make some adjustments.

In running news, I have a little bit to share. First of all, it got hot again - 81 degrees and 85% humidity at 6:00 AM (before the sun is up), so I was definitely slimy when I finished - I live such a glamorous life. But the news is that I went 3.14 miles total! I've never gone that far before and the important thing about this is that a 5K is 3.1 miles. The 3.14 miles I did this morning does include warm up and cool down distance, so I'm not yet running the total distance, but I ran most of it and survived to tell about it. Little victories are even more fun when you're easily amused like I am!

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