Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Yow! Haven't done that in a while!
So DD#2's Scout troop was doing knitting, and they needed someone to teach, and I volunteered (erm, I've been teaching knitting for 7 years now and have another session starting tomorrow night). Boy, it's been a while since I taught children at that level; last fall's fiber art workshop students were older and it made a big difference. It was fun, though. As expected, it took almost the whole hour to get some stitches cast on. I circumvented (some) frustration by jumping in and doing a few on each child's needles, and assuring them that if it gets loops on your needle, go with it. So then they were off! A whole batch of new little knitters born! It's so cool when they "get it;" I love that part. (no, I'm not verklempt; you don't have to talk amongst yourselves)

Thanks for your comments, everyone! Zowie--somebody reads this now and then. Go figure. I'll get a pic of the Bad Hat On A Head up soon, Tweed, and thank you, you and sep, for your kind words. (My hat still looks like crap. Yours look way better. Pout.)

Now, the Amazing project is--done! Tada! Lookie, lookie! (yes, Ruth, I'm bringing it tomorrow)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

You, said Madeleine, are a Bad Hat.
Well, it's finished. My Almanac-a-long January aran hat is now off the needles. On the plus side, you can see the patterning in the picture. It doesn't get any better in person, trust me. I worked very hard making the light hit from an angle so you could see the wondrousness of all that freakin' left twist, right twist, knit-through-the-back-loop-on-the-cable. I even got very clever decreasing as we approached the top of the hat, but the patterning splays so amazingly that all the decreasing barely made any difference,.

So what has the Crazed Weasel learned from this experience?

Well. I have learned not to use lopi for aran work ever, ever, ever again. I have learned for sure how to do left twist and right twist without a cable needle, as much for the preservation of my ever-more-tenuous sanity as for general technical geek-out. I have learned that contrary to my dear husband's claims, there is indeed a hat in the world that does not look good on me. It is this one. This one looks so dorky that if it were a really hideous color, it would probably be cool. As things stand, it's just dorky. I am not certain, but I feel it is unlikely that the addition of pompoms or tassels will improve matters.

Onward to Chapter February! I've wanted to do that double-knit baby blanket for so, so long. I think I'll save the other 10 (20? 25?) skeins of lopi for a December hurry-up-quick sweater.

Um, well, after I finish the re-knit of lace sock #2, get a lot more done on a commission that came in Thursday, finish dh's Hardangervidda and oh, yes, aren't there some Knitting Olympics going on? So perhaps I should be thinking, baby booties. I really am not going to stress about the Almanac-a-long, it's really fun going through the book and I am enjoying it (all grumping aside), so perhaps a little realism is in order.

So double-knit blanket it is. I may even need to buy yarn for it.

I'm beginning to get nervous.
Not that I'm getting cold feet or anything, but I'm having a little bit of, how shall we say, trepidation, regarding the Chosen Olympic Challenge. In short, I'm in need of some swatching.

I have made good use of the ball winder and swift, of course, and have wound up lots and lots of yarn. Some of it--most of it, even--is for the sweater in question, but some is for future projects. I have some beeeeauuuutiful stuff that I bought at NH Sheep & Wool a couple of years ago, that would make a fabulous Clapotis, but the yardage was so daunting (approx. 490 yds/hank!) that I quailed in the face of winding it. And it languished, petted, but unknit. Well, we'll see about that now. Behold! It's on the far right. Along with some of the yarn for the Chosen Olympic Challenge.

A brief public service announcement:
Have you ever wondered how, oh how, you can get a moderately zig-zaggy cable needle in a size that matches more exactly your cable needs? Hm? Wonder no more! As a public service, Crazed Weasel Labs shares with the Knitting Public (at no cost to you!) the previously secret results of our research:
Um... this is what happens, if you were wondering, when you're knitting away on some wristies for your dear daughter just before Christmas while dh (bless him) drives, and you drop one of the dpns and open the car door. And close it again.



Saturday, January 28, 2006

Yet another team ID - way cool!
Team Boston has now begun organizing, and I'm on it! Whee! They have a spiffy button:

It is way cool. There are other buttons, too. Thank you to everybody working to make this team possible (especially since I am sooooo sucky at figuring out how to make and post things by myself, generally, at least so far).

On this whole Knitting Olympics thing, my middle daughter says we should have medals, for if (when??) we finish. Also (and I really have to bless her little heart), she wonders, what if you finish your project before the Olympics are over?

Pause as I look again at the yarn, the pattern, think about how insane this whole notion is...somehow I think this will not be a problem, but What If? Any ideas, anybody?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

It's here, it's here!
The mailman brought the new toys today! Whee!
Aren't they splendid? Aren't they beautiful? The wooden swift even smells good - a lot like a new set of Scrabble tiles. I am officially enchanted with the items themselves, and the fact of having them in the house. This is Good.

In other news....the design submittals did, indeed, get delivered. We had a few minutes of panic when the interestingly colored file folders I normally use to present design sketches and swatches were nowhere to be found. That was not fun. So I went down to the local shops and hunted around and found nearly nothing, but did go into the new scrapbooking shop on the off chance they might have something that would serve. And they did! It took a few minutes to describe accurately what I was trying to find, which was not, admittedly, helped by my being a bit on the wild-eyed and frantic side. But I went home with some colored cardstock that made simply lovely presentations. Yay. So if there's anything exciting to report, I will.

Now, I occasionally do something that is not knitting. The current project-in-progress is truly, unspeakably cool, if I do say so myself. Here's how it looks so far:

This is done with a kit I bought from The Fiber Loft a couple of years ago, at the TKGA Northeast Conference. I was floored at the time, and now that I'm finally spending the time and doing this, I'm floored still. The finished product is pretty amazing.

The kit is made by a shop, or company, in Tokyo called Mokuba. The technique is called Free Lace. The possibilities for it are mind-blowing, to me, anyway. The trick to it is the water-soluble adhesive and topper material. If it can be sourced, that would be really, really cool. Nihon Vogue put out a book of amazing things one can make with this stuff. It is the sort of thing that not everyone would like, but to my taste, it's fabulosity.

Can you tell I'm excited? More as it develops.

A thank you to Ruth for the encouraging words as I (sob) frogged (sob) the sock. She did agree that it was ridiculously tighter than the first one, so much so that she asked what the heck had been causing so much stress over the last week. Thanks, Ruth. Also for stopping me from cutting off the circulation in my fingers as I wound the frogged yarn. The re-birth of the sock is underway. Ain't life grand?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

This is why I love winter. Look at that!

It kept snowing yesterday, and today - voila! Winter wonderland!

The two younger kids went sledding (after their math was done, of course - I'm not *that* permissive) and were in kid heaven.

Now I must gather my fortitude and gumption and .... frog a sock-in-progress. Aaaaaaaah! It seems I've been a wee bit stressed out the last week or so. The second sock was progressing nicely, and while I noticed that it was a lot more difficult getting the needle tip in to do a k2tog, I thought nothing of it. Until I measured the cuff.

So I will tuck the sorry sight into my knitting bag, ignore it for a while, and go meet up with some knitters this morning to...gulp...frog the sock. Sob. I really want these to be DONE, so I can wear them. I guess I need to relax.

After I get the knitting submittals delivered, I'll be a lot less wigged out.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

I have been defeated by the skeins of yarn in the kit for my Olympic Challenge, and have at last ordered a ball winder and swift from Patternworks - this place is always my source of last resort for supplies. Except for European yarn; that, I order from Europe. Mostly. Anyway, winding the first of many large sized skeins took almost half an hour yesterday. The smaller ones, which are used for the contrast colors at the bottom hems of this project, didn't take *too* long, but the "normal" sized one...that was rather daunting. Of course I kept thinking, I could be using this time to knit. And given the amount of time that winding all those skeins was going to take, coupled with some choicer deadlines over the last couple of months where minutes really did matter, it looks like a good investment. Item One on this year's investments into my work.

Off to a knitting meetup at Border's in Nashua - whoo hoo!

Friday, January 20, 2006

This, for good or ill, is my Olympic Challenge project. Fingers crossed that there are no casualties along the way.

This is the button for Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics, image by JenLa.
You ladies rock!

Fortunately, dear husband does, too, helpfully showing me how to find the link to an uploaded image so that I can - tada! - put in where it belongs, in the sidebar. Yay!

And the Almanac hat is starting to look like a hat, kinda. I'm discovering that Lopi doesn't show much stitch definition. If any. If you look at it and squint, you can sort of tell that something is going on, but not exactly what. Note to self: good thing we are not making a whole lopi aran sweater. That would be a Bad Thing. See for yourself (above).

Also, a mate to the waving lace sock, stuck to the lopi picture. Add to the list of the many things I do not yet know how to do: put the pictures where I want them on the page.

I'm psyched about cracking the problem I was having with EZ's cable-needle-less twists, specifically the rightward slanting one. Figures I would have trouble leaning to the right (groan). The sock is a nice break from the hat, which is beginning to be discouraging in its lopi-ness and non-visible-aran-patterning. Here I'm going to all this trouble, and what do you see? Well, look at it. There really, really is a 5 stitch ribbed cable in there, and some of Fishtrap, but can you see it? No, not really, no, you can't. Trust me - you can't see it very well "in the flesh" either, so to speak.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I might be losing it.
If I ever had it to begin with, that is.

I've signed up to join the Knitting Olympics, which The Yarn Harlot has suggested. I've had a kit lurking in the stash, waiting patiently for me to get around to, and I think this is what I must knit. It is beautiful. It is the correct, authentic yarn, ordered specially from Denmark
for this very purpose. Some while ago. Erm. Yeah. So I think it's within the rules (such as they are) to wind yarn into balls ahead of time, and it's definitely ok to swatch, which I am going to need to do to make sure I've got the right size addi on hand. The deal is you cast on as the Olympic torch is lit, and you have 16 days to finish; until the end of the closing ceremony. A challenge! Whoo hoo!

Such trouble this blogging thing is causing. Good grief.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Ah, teenagers...
Today's sample:
DD#2 and DS are grumping but basically finishing their Latin, in anticipation of being allowed at last (frabjous day! callooh, callay!) to play a video game, and I'm on the phone with someone who had questions about homeschooling (it's been a synchronicity day for that--not Christine but someone I don't actually know), and DD#1, the 15 year old, is having a good old harrumph. She is harrumphing because she needed to ask me how to log in to her online math virtual classroom thing. And I, fool that I am, showed her how. And had the audacity to point out that her tutor may have an office hours slot on the online virtual platform and we'd best check and see if there was one. EGAD.

Anyhow, the two younger ones stop me and wave at me as I babble - mom! look! a rainbow! Sure enough, a gorgeous rainbow, driving staight into the horizon. Beautiful. I call to the teenager. "Come! Look! There's a gorgeous rainbow!" She stomps down the stairs. Glares at the rainbow. Glares at me.

"I'm going to go practice violin," she snarls, and stomps back up the stairs.
Me: "Could you please be a little less hostile?"
DD#1: (shouts) "I'm not hostile!"


Some days are like that. Even in Australia.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Sock the first
First one of two, done--yay! It is comfy, it is warm, and it fits. Go, me!

Still haven't cast on for my re-try of the aran hat for the EZ Almanac-a-long, but I am not stressing about that. I am enjoying playing around with yarn and needles.

It's fun.

Also I have a nifty sock now.

In other news...
I've started reading The Artist's Way, which is proving to be another nifty thing. Now I know what Donna was talking about when she said she was trying to do the morning 3 pages of writing. It sounds like a reasonable idea, as far as unblocking one's creativity possibly *can* sound reasonable--there's a whiff of oxymoron there, somehow.

I do need/want to do some (more) writing. This may be a good way to do it.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Feh. And again, I say, Feh.
Feh. I have had a good rummage in the stash, and discovered that I have ten skeins of lopi in natural--which should, in theory, be enough for something Of Unusual Size. Perhaps even a nice aran, for the Almanac-a-long. I believe I'm still going to do something aran for January. However....as I was rereading today, EZ asks, how did your cap turn out? And I wasn't going to make one, but then I thought better of it and cast on with some other, gray lopi that was also lying around just asking me to do something with it.

I do get a nice 3 1/2 sts per inch on size 10 with this yarn. This is pretty sodding big. I oughta be able to whip something up in a jiffy, right?

Well. We think this will be a trip to the frog pond, to be revisited in the morning. First off, I ran out of long tail as I long tail-ed my cast on, so I threw in a few backward loop. Um, ten, as a matter of fact. Then I knit a round. Then I knit another round. Then I thought it might be time to start setting up the aran patterning. And I seem to have either grossly misinterpreted EZ's charming instructions for a cable-needle-less right twist, or else lopi hates right twisting, 'cause it looks ... well.... like this:

Yuck. The dog thinks so, too:

EZ Almanac-a-long

I got the button copied into the sidebar!
Well, I really have meant to do a knitting year following Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitter's Almanac, for a long time, and thanks to a knit-a-long co-hosted by Franklin at The Panopticon, off I go. January is an aran--any aran, really. I haven't started mine yet, unless you count the design I proposed last week, which I love and might do for myself....nah. Something else. Maybe I'll do the one EZ sketches out in the book. Oh, the possibilities. Endless. Something to savor.

Clearly I'm overdoing it in my excitement over finally figuring out how to work my blog, for which I ask the forgiveness of anyone (HA!) reading this stuff. Will post next once I've picked and started My January Aran.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A WIP - "Waving Lace" socks
Or sock, rather, as it is only one so far.

You can nearly see that I've finished turning the heel and am picking up gusset stitches. Or maybe you can't. It's not your eyes, the picture is a little bit blurry; I'm still nto very good at focusing with the digital camera. Or any camera, for that matter.

Yarn: Lorna's Laces. Fabulous!
This was a Rhinebeck purchase, and fortunately Ruth made sure I didn't leave without enough for a pair of socks. Thanks, Ruth!

Now to get ready to go to the opening night shindig at ART - "No Exit" is opening tonight. I think the Boston Globe (or perhaps another paper?) called it the "much read but rarely performed". I'm looking forward to it.

Up and Running
o it really, really is working. Yay! This is Wednesday. We've had a quiet morning, with Ketchup the youngest cat venturing outside for a few minutes--she hasn't done that in a while, owing to the mountains of snow and ice. Dear children are reading and playing with the dog. The teenager is, of course, still asleep.

Let's see if we can get another picture posted.

There we go. This is (note the darker patch) a wet-at-the-time swatch for a lovely cropped cardigan that will be appearing in one of Classic Elite's spring collections. It's a nifty design.

The lace pattern is sometimes called butterfly lace, because it looks a little like a butterfly. QED.

Clearly I need to figure out how to crop images, because this is pretty silly looking. Oh, well. One thing at a time.

In the news...
This morning's paper says, "Iran provokes nuclear crisis." Oh. Well, that would be bad. Taken on top of the nonsense with presidential eavesdropping, explosions in Baghdad, and gas prices at $2.35 a gallon if you're lucky, it doesn't look like a very good day in the world at large. Locally, we've just had news of another public school teacher arrested on drug charges. Makes me glad I homeschool.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Okay, so I finally figured out what the problem was. A little thing called, browser incompatibility. My Internet Explorer version was ancient, and didn't do stuff, and now I've installed Firefox and all is apparently well.

Now I get the correct toolbars and all sorts of things. Boy.

The panicked kitty at left, here, is Angus. He is modeling a dog sweater that I designed and made last year for a woman who owns a very, very, very small poodle. Isn't he sweet? Said client had another item later, in much chunkier yarn and far more exotic knitting, but we don't have a picture of that handy. At the moment, I'm just thrilled to tiny little bits that I can actually post pictures without it being a five hundred step process. Whoo hoo!

Anyway, please bear with me as I struggle with fonts and things. It may get ugly.

And I'm still struggling with getting this whole blog thing to work--hm...perhaps I should say, I am still struggling to figure out how to work this simple pre-set helpful blogging package. Madre de dios. I did manage to get photos uploaded, but to webspace at my ISP rather than anything else, and now I can't figure out how to link to the uploads. Or change my template to something a tad more modern.

Anyway, I'm on the futon couch in my lovely workroom, escaping the paint fumes that had utterly overcome me. My head hurt, my throat was dry, I was feelng woozy--I'm guessing it's the paint fumes, eh?

We're having a whole bunch of decorating work done--paint, built-in nifty things, the most preposterously expensive wallpaper known to man, some lovely furniture that future generations will probably still be paying for. It goes on, but I can't cope with more than that, really. Suffice it to say that there is painting going on and has been for days, and the first floor of the house is utterly filled with overpowering PAINT FUMES.

Did I mention that my head hurts?

I'm still on blessed respite from any work for hire. I am ambivalent about this, of course; I LOVE having work to do for hire. I love it. I do. But deadlines are actually not inherently fun, and at the moment I have this little window of time where I can knit for the family. So I am. I've finished socks for the oldest daughter, am about to bindoff the sleeves for my cardigan, I have some Waving Lace socks from IK spring 2004 on needles - those are on the gusset pickup, I am determined to finish the sweaters in progress for dear son and dear husband... silly, really, there's so much.

But it's all wonderful.