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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A Wish List

Well, I got the directions for Step 5 of the Mystery Shawl, but I don't think its going to be as big as I'd like. So,I've decided to do some more repeats of Step 4 before I start Step 5. Right now, the shawl looks the same as it did and I'm not done with Step 4 part 2 yet, so I won't bore you with a picture. I've also decided to add beads to Step 5 so I'll be sure to include you all in the madness when I get there. No progress on Snow Cone, so there are no pics of that either. So, you ask, why are we here today? Because I have decided to share a few patterns that I think are really cute and I will eventually knit, but since I've got too many things on the needles right now anyway (there are also Christmas projects on the needles that cannot be spoken of here), I'm not starting anything else right now. Of course, just because I can't start anything doesn't mean I can't look...

First is Annie Modesitt's Silk Corset Tank. I love the shaping and detail on this top. Its just gorgeous. I've seen several of them finished up and they look beautiful on a person too. I would probably do mine in a single color instead of two colors, but by the time I get around to it, I might change my mind. I probably won't be ready to knit this until Spring, but I won't really be able to wear it between now and then anyway.

Then there is Jenna Adorno's Hopeful. This is the cutest top! I love the shaping and the little neck tie thing. And of course, since she's donating 120% of the purchase price to Breast Cancer research, your actually doing something good just by purchasing the pattern. I think I would want to make mine in Pink Ribbon Pink, but I could also see it in the gorgeous, rich colors that are everywhere this Fall. Unfortunately, no time to make it this fall. Oh well, it definitely goes on the Spring to do list.

The last pattern that I can't get out of my head is Satchel from the latest Knitty. I can see the big one, in charcoal grey and then embroider the flap with bright colors after felting it. I would also probably line it just because felted wool is kind of grippy and lining would make it easier to get stuff in and out of the bag. And afterall, it would be a girl satchel for me. The other change I would make would be to make the strap wider and put a pocket on it for my Mini iPod. Then I figure I'd be ready to go anywhere!

Friday, August 26, 2005

More White Tank

I'm just past the armhole shaping on the White Tank, which shall hereby be known as ...(drumroll please)...Snow Cone. Both Mindy and Robbyn suggested Snow something names and for a summer tank, I couldn't do a snowy name, but the idea of a summer treat, that drips all over the place as a name for a white tank just works. So, Snow Cone it is. I'm trying out different backgrounds in hopes that something will show up better. Today, we have a red chenille throw. It works a little better, but I think I'll keep looking. Just a side note, I'm starting to think I might not have enough yarn for this. This is recycled yarn from a tank from last summer that I didn't like and I actually made this one smaller, hoping it would fit better, but the first tank had a lace panel up the front and this one doesn't. I think the slipped stitches probably use less yarn than I would use if it was Stockinette, but I'm starting to freak out. Oh well, I'll figure it out later.

We got the final clue in the Mystery Shawl this morning, so I hope to finish that this weekend. I'm thinking about adding beads to the edge of the shawl so I'll have to figure out if I want to do this or not. Hope you all have a great weekend. I've got some knitting to do.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Dear Ramius...

Dear Ramius,

I know you're a cat, and that means you're nocturnal. I respect that. There are a couple of things I think we should discuss though. You are not the President, the Queen of England, or Batman, and therefore, do not have a theme song. For this reason, it isn't necessary to announce yourself when you walk into the bedroom at 2:45 AM. There has never been a band in the corner, just waiting to play your theme song when you walk in. Its 2:45 AM, we just don't care that much that you walked into the room. Do it on roller skates with a flaming baton and we'll talk.

Also, I know that you feel Caleb's naptime/bedtime are events to be celebrated. I understand this. There are days when I celebrate these things. I have found however, through careful observation, that standing outside his door and meowing at the top of your lungs is not the best way to really appreciate the fact that he's asleep. Trust me on this one.

Finally, don't try to tell me that when you yell at me when I'm in the shower you are trying to conserve water. We both know you just want to get into the shower and watch the drips slide down the walls. Overall, you're doing a great job being a cat. The sofa has never been held down so well and as for scaring off the elephants, I've never seen one in our neighborhood. Keep up the good work! Thank you for your time, you can go back to sleep now.

Love, Melanie

P.S. Thanks for letting us sleep in your bed!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

More White Tank

I've been working on the White Tank (which desperately needs a better name). I've made it past the hip decreases and I'm about to increase again. You can see the slipped stitches making the vertical stripes better in this picture. I'm going to be working on this tank a lot, so maybe I can finish it and wear it before Fall gets here. Unfortunately for you, that means a lot of boring White Tank pics on the blog. I hadn't realized how hard it was to get good photos of white things. So, to make things more interesting, how about you guys make suggestions for names in the comments and I will try to find something to amuse you, so you don't all stop coming to the Pink Lemon Twist because you are tired of the White Tank.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Mystery Shawl, Step 4

I finished Step 4 of the Mystery Shawl last night. This was a really easy zigzag pattern, but you had to pay attention because there was a Knit One between each Yarn Over and its decrease. Normally they are right next to each other, or several stitches away from each other. I've never seen it with one stitch between them. It made a chevron pattern that is kind of 3 dimensional. I don't know if it will stay that way once its blocked or if it will flatten out. On Friday we get the last set of directions for this shawl so I'll get to finish it up and see what it looks like. This yarn is great to knit with, but its very hard to see what the pattern looks like. I can't wait to block it so I can see the whole thing at once!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Something New

I started a new tank yesterday. I rewrote a few things on the Shapely Tank Top pattern that should make it fit me a little bit better and I'm doing it in a slipped stitch pattern which will give me some vertical lines which are always nice to have. I'm making it out of the Cotton Ball color of Brown Sheep's Cotton Fleece yarn which was originally another sweater, which I didn't like so I frogged it. You can just barely see the slipped stitch lines on what I've done above. I'll try to get a better picture of it. Hopefully it will show up better once I've done a little more of it. I'm almost to the beginning of the waist shaping now.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Red Square

Yesterday, while Caleb napped like a tiny angel, I looked at my projects and tried to decide what I wanted to do. Did I want to work on my second Dr. Suess sock? No. Did I want to finish the back of Gryffindor Mourning? No. But it only has a couple more inches to go? No. Did I want to work on the lace Mobius I started ages ago? What lace Mobius?

I decided the best and most sensible thing to do was to start something new. I got out my Hazel Rose Loom (7" square, walnut) and some stray mohair yarn that had no purpose in my stash and went to town. The funny thing is, this isn't really even a project. I kinda had in my mind that I would make as many squares as I could out of this yarn (I have this dark burgundy - looks lighter with the flash, a creamy pale beige, black, and a tiny bit of periwinkle) then try to figure out what to do with squares. I would love an afghan type thing or maybe a crazy shawl/wrap creature so I don't freeze my patoot off all winter. This is the first square. I was a little freaked out that the edge loops would get lost and I wouldn't be able to connect them so I threaded some scrap cotton yarn through them to make them easier to pick up later. Then I realized that the fluff from the mohair held the edge loops open, so I stopped doing that on the other squares I made. I made 2 more last night while I watched Diamonds Are Forever. James Bond is great for knitting, since I've seen all of them 500 times, I don't have to watch to know what's going on. While I was doing this, I realized that what makes mohair so terrible to frog (unravel knitting for you nonknitters) also makes weaving "interesting." By interesting, I mean that it doesn't want to be woven at first. Then it doesn't want to be pulled through, it starts making friends with itself very quickly and gets happy where it is. On the other hand, once you get into a rhythm with it/beat it into submission, it keeps its tension very easily and doesn't try to relax on you and make part of your weaving looser than the rest which is kind of nice. This got me thinking about Angora Goats, the source of mohair. I realized that I have never seen more than one Angora Goat at a time. The pictures I've seen are of one goat. At fairs, one goat per pen. I think I know why this is: Mohair sticks to mohair. If the goats come into contact with each other, you probably get a clump of goats stuck together like Velcro. Mating season must be a real problem for Angora Goat farmers.

Once I decided that the farmers probably had ways of dealing with their own issues and didn't need my help, the muse kicked in and I thought of all kinds of things to do with these squares. The best idea I had (keeping "best idea" in the context of 10:00 pm, watching James Bond, and wondering how Angora Goats stay unclumped) was to put several squares (9 or 16) into a large square and then pick up the edge loops around the outside and knit a lace patterned border. You'd have to increase at the corners to keep the border laying flat, then do a decorative lace edge to bind off and you have a kind of Shetland Shawl woven hybrid. I might have to play with this idea more, when I have enough yarn to do it all in one color. In the meantime, for their own safety, please keep your goats separated.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Mystery Shawl, Step 3

Well, I finished Step 3 of the Mystery Shawl. It is now 279 stitches across. This clue made a lacier pattern. It looks like little sets of diamonds separated by zigzaggy lines. I loved knitting this part. The patterns were very easy to memorize - perfect for knitting in front of the TV in the evening when my brain just doesn't want to think anymore. We get Step 4 on Friday and I can't wait to see what Renee has designed for us next. So far, I haven't had any trouble keeping up with this and I must say, its really been fun to do. I love not having to think about what I'm knitting - since I have no clue what I'm knitting, and getting the instructions piece by piece means I can only do so much at a time so I don't have a huge project hanging over my head. Now it gets put away until Friday, and I can work on one of my other projects completely GUILT FREE!

Monday, August 15, 2005

More Gryffindor

I'm still knitting on the back of Gryffindor Mourning. As you can see, I'm in the armscye shaping part. I hope to finish the back today and get the front cast on. I am enjoying knitting this - its nice to have some plain stockinette to work on in between the charts of lace knitting. The fact that there is no chance that I can wear this anytime soon (it was 2000 degrees outside all weekend), does put a damper on things though. I also knit on the Mystery Shawl this weekend and I'm almost done with Step 3. I'll try to get some pictures of it for tomorrow, but its kinda reached that point where its too big to spread out on the needles.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Mystery Shawl, Step 2

Here is Step 2 completed on the Mystery Shawl. It looks like baskets to me (upside down in the picture). I'm really enjoying knitting this and I love the way the yarn is working out. I'm using Continental Blue from Handpaintedyarn and its one of their more solid colors. It doesn't show up in the picture well, but there are lighter and darker places in the yarn which makes the piece interesting but aren't so busy that they distract from the lace pattern. I can't tell you how amusing it is to me to be knitting along and have the color darken or lighten. Anyone else out there this easily amused?

I was tagged by Micky for an idiosyncrasies Meme so here goes. 5 weird things about me:

1. I don't like other people looking at my food. This is why I don't like buffets.

2. If anyone else has read the paper, I can't read it. Its all out of order and just messed up. Even if they put it back together, it never really works.

3. When Mickael is out of town and I lock up the house for the night, I always touch each of the locks. Even though I can see that they are locked, I touch them. I guess that way I can't be lying in bed later wondering if something wasn't locked but it looked locked.

4. I always walk on Mickael's left side, but put Caleb on my left side. Crazy huh?

5. I talk to myself when I drive. This makes Mickael nuts, but it helps me for some reason. Also, I concentrate better when I drive with the radio on. If I'm in heavy traffic or a bad storm without the radio on, I can't really pay attention to what I'm doing. Once I turn the radio on, I can sing along and pay attention to the road. This is probably why Caleb thinks the radio has to be on for the car to run. If he can't hear it, he'll let you know that there should be music on.

OK, so there you go. I'm nuts, I know, and now you know too. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Back to Gryffindor

I started the back of Gryffindor Mourning last night. It was nice to work on something that doesn't have charts. I've got 3 more rows until I put in the little stripe of Honey, then its back to Hollyberry red for the top section. I really like the way the Knit Picks Merino Style yarn feels and I will definitely be using it again. Actually, I've been very happy with everything I've ordered from Knit Picks new yarn line. I'm going to work on the Mystery Shawl today and hopefully get Step 2 done since Step 3 is posted tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

One more time

OK, here are some shots with me and the Peacock. I promise I will have something new to talk about tomorrow, this is the last day of All Peacock All the Time. Here we are in the window. I love how sheer the thing is, but you can still see the lace pattern. Here I am, wearing the Peacock. Despite the fact that its huge, it only weighs 4 ounces, so its very lightweight. And here we are in front of a wall (versus in front of a window). I was kinda starting to feel like Batman by the time we got all these pictures. Tomorrow we return to our normal blog programming...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

It is finished

Well, after more than 7 months, I've finally finished the Peacock Feathers Shawl! I took a break from it in March or April and sent it on vacation and that seems to be just the thing it needed because I don't feel like it took long to finish, once I started it again. I finished the crochet bind off yesterday afternoon and then pinned it out for blocking. You can see that my blocking supervisor was present to make sure it was done right.

It only took eleventy million pins to get it pinned out. The finished shawl measures 88 inches across the top side and 43 inches from the top edge to the bottom point (measuring down the center spine of the shawl), so its a pretty big shawl. This morning, this is what I had:

Isn't it gorgeous? I love the way this looks! The little crocheted loops don't even look too wonky. None of them is freakishly bigger or smaller than the rest so I must have been fairly consistent with them. Here is a close up of the tip of the shawl:

I love how she designed a feather to go at the point as a way of finishing out the center YO, k2, YO thing. Those big eyes in the lower peacock feathers? Those are triple Yarn Overs! You can probably drive a Mini Cooper through those but I love the way they look. To recap, the pattern is from Fiddlesticks Knitting. The yarn is 4 ounces of Jaggerspun Zephyr Woolsilk in Peacock. I used the needle sizes called for in the pattern which I think was a size 4, but I did it all on straight needles (14 inch Crystal Palace Bamboo) since I have issues with circulars. The pattern is very well written, all mistakes are my own. For anyone who wants to do this pattern I would suggest two things: get a bunch of stitch markers and put them where she says to, and copy the charts using a mirror image function so you don't have to reverse the shaping in your head. I'll try to get some pictures of me wearing the shawl later today (when I'm wearing something other than PJ's).

Monday, August 08, 2005

My Mama Didn't Raise No Hooker

Do you see what's sitting next to the knitting needle? Yes, its a crochet hook. Wait! Before you all make a mad dash for the door, look at what its sitting next to...THE PEACOCK FEATHERS SHAWL! That's right, I'm doing the bind off on the shawl that just wouldn't quit. I said all along that I wouldn't do the crochet chain bind off that she used in the pattern, but by the time I made the last knit stitch (9:04 PM EDT last night), I just wanted it finished. I wanted my stitch markers back. I want to get this off the needles, blocked and DONE. I didn't want to swatch or put any more thought into it. So, I'm hoping that I don't get caught on the first thing I walk by, and I'm putting in the crochet loops as the pattern directs - well, sort of as the pattern directs. See, I don't crochet. The only reason I own crochet hooks is to pick up dropped knit stitches. I used to do the crochet chain for a provisional cast on - I've done it lots of times - I've done it right, one time. (I now do the chain over a knitting needle and it works every time.) So I'm supposed to gather up some knit stitches off of the knitting needle and then make a chain loopy thing thats 8 chains long or something. The problem is, sometimes I drop the loop in the chain of 8 and I have no idea how to count the little chain thingy, so I don't know if I have dropped one or not, so I just stick the hook back in and keep going wherever I left off. If this was knitting, I could look at it and figure out exactly what I had dropped and how to fix it. Dropped stitches don't scare me in knitting - I've been known to drop entire cable sections and redo them if I have one of the cable crossings wrong. Crochet? I'm like a blind man at a strip club - I could sit there all day and not know what I'm looking at. And lets not even get started on tension issues. Does crochet even have tension or gauge? No clue. Anyway, I hope to finish this tonight. Then I get to block it and see what on earth it looks like. Hopefully my mistakes won't be too huge and obvious.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Houston, we have sleeves...

I finished the sleeves for Gryffindor Mourning. Here they are blocking. As usual, the camera is making the colors lighter than they really are. I'm really happy with the way the colors are working in this sweater and I think I'll really enjoy wearing the sweater. The yarn is so soft! The big news around here is that Mickael is coming home today - he's been overseas for almost 3 weeks. Can't wait to see him!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A Mystery Begins

If you pay attention to the sidebar, you'd have noticed a new button a couple of weeks ago. Its for a Mystery Shawl Along done by Renee and yesterday was the launch date. I've already done Step 1 and this is what it looks like. As you can see, its shaping is like the Peacock Feathers Shawl - it starts at the center top and increases to the bottom point. The yarn I'm using is from Handpaintedyarn.com and this is Continental Blue in the laceweight. This is obviously one yarn that isn't going to show much pattern until its blocked. I mean, here it is pinned out to kinda show you what it looks like and all it really looks like is someone dropped their plate at Papa Smurf's Big Spaghetti Dinner. You'll just have to take my word for it that its pretty. So far it has some zigzaggy lines. Renee is doing this similar to the Mystery Stole I did, each week we get a little more of the directions, so next Monday, I'll get to do more. I can't wait to see what this looks like and its really nice to sit back and let someone else do all the design work!

Speaking of design work, Jenna aka the Girl From Auntie, the brains behind the uberpopular Rogue pattern, has a new one out: Eris. If you have never done one of her patterns, I highly suggest that you give them a try. The patterns seem huge (Rogue is 19 pages, Eris is 40) but she charts EVERYTHING and holds your hand through the entire project. There are no, "repeat for other side, reversing shaping" things here, she spells out the reverse shaping and walks you through it. Also, Rogue has the perfect combination of cables where you have to concentrate and stockinette where you can knit on autopilot. Its not boring at all, but also not overwhelming. I seriously think someone could learn how to do cables on Rogue and not have a bit of trouble. I will definitely be getting Eris, I'm loving the cardigan version and I think the KnitPicks yarn with wool, alpaca, and silk (Andean Treasure? I don't know, the worsted one) will be wonderful for it.

Finally, I just want to say thank you for all the lovely complements I got on my win at the fair. You guys are so sweet! Big hugs to everyone!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Blue Ribbon Knitting

Remember this? Its the Mystery Stole aka Leda's Dream. Well, last week was the Loudoun County Fair and because of the suggestion over at Mason Dixon Knitting that we enter our knitting in fairs, I entered it. I didn't plan it to enter in the fair, it just worked out that this was done and then the fair came up (found out about it the Friday before) so I thought, hey, why not? So last Sunday afternoon, Caleb and I found ourselves over at the fairgrounds standing in line between a woman with blackberries the size of golfballs and a little 4-H er with a pictorial explanation of "The Castration of Goodfella." Goodfella is a horse and is probably a little tender at the moment if the pictures are any indication. While I totally get the 4-H value of such a project, seeing in full color photographs is a little unexpected. Anyway, we checked in the stole, took our claim ticket and left. I felt like it was pretty good, but you never know what you're going to be competing against or who the judges are. For all I know the judges have been permanently scarred by lace knitting because their moms wrapped them up in lace blankets as babies and they used to get their toes and fingers stuck. I mean, you never know. So Thursday, we went back so we could see the fair and check on the stole. This is what we found:
A BLUE RIBBON AND A BEST OF SECTION RIBBON! I couldn't believe it! I'm still giddy from it all. I forgot to take my camera to the fair, so I had to wait until yesterday to pick up the stole and the ribbons to get a picture and tell you guys. Anyway, I had to share what happened. This is pretty big for Chez Pink Lemon. I'm trying to figure out how to wear the ribbons around my neck now.

By the way, the blackberries won a first place and Goodfella came in second, in case you were wondering.