Sunday, September 28, 2008


It rained all day Saturday and much of Sunday this weekend. While this was a tad depressing, it was also an excellent excuse to put off dismantling and storing the pool hardware. (This task involves crawling around under the deck with tools, and swearing a lot--a filter with two hundred pounds of wet sand in it? Nobody's idea of a good time.)

So, that left me only procrastinating on indoor chores this weekend. So in between saying things like, "I really ought to--" I started a sweater:
colorwork sweater

This is based on the one-piece knit-in-the-round sweater from EZ's Knitting Without Tears. Much of the yarn is some very nice merino given to me by a friend. The design is being driven in part by yarn quantities-- the gray is the only yarn I can get more of. So I'm reserving a lot of the green for the sleeve cuffs and yoke. The white shouldn't be a problem- I seem to have plenty and also, from what I've read I'll have to be a little sparing with the decoration on the yoke, to avoid it pulling in. As is not unusual, I'm making it up as I go along.

In other news, I finally shot a picture of the shelves I put up in the garage a couple of weeks ago.

My husband says this will result only in having shelves full of stuff with every available surface remaining covered. My theory is that a judicious combination of getting rid of things we don't use, combined with putting thing the things we do use away when we're done with them, will eventually result in a semblance of order. I have a dreadful premonition that he may be right, though--entropy is on his side.

I finally blocked the Optic Waves scarf. I'll give a FO photo shoot when it's dry.

And I found the mistake that was making the heel of the Trekking Fools sock look weird, ripped back to fix it, and re-knit what I'd ripped. (No picture, it doesn't look a lot different from the last time you saw it.)

So, not unproductive. But I'm still ready for the sun to come out.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I don't usually think of myself as a whimsical traveler, but sometimes, a friend calls you up on a Thursday evening and says, 'Hey, I'm going to New York City on Saturday. Want to come?' And I look at plans for the weekend- some work for my job I hadn't been able to get to during the week, cleaning the pool, laundry-- and realize that I'd really rather hit the road with a sock and some good company. I live north of Boston, so doing this as a day trip was going to take a certain amount of stamina. We were up at five-thirty, on the road at six, picked up our friend at six-thirty, arrived in Stamford CT in time for the 8:50 train and were walking out of Grand Central at a quarter to ten.
Grand Central Terminal

I should perhaps clarify that the stamina wasn't actually mine, since I got in the car and promptly fell asleep for another couple of hours...

We spent a lot of time looking for books at the Strand (we found them), and walking around looking at architecture. The afternoon found us at the Brooklyn Art Museum, and we walked some more before heading back into Greenwich Village for dinner. I liked this street in Brooklyn.

Notes for the frugal- We shipped a boxful of books back to (beautiful tax-free) NH- and it cost less than the NY state sales tax. Yes, shipping cost less than carrying them out with us. (Because when you ship to an out of state location, any tax is paid to the destination state, if applicable.) Whee! And two orders of excellent Chinese dumplings with two drinks, an order of steamed pork buns and a vast sesame pancake cost us $5.75 -that was lunch for two. Who says there aren't any bargains in the big city?!

The sock:
Fools rush sock

The Fools Rush Sock by Cassiana- a lovely design, just enough complexity to be interesting yet simple enough to show off the yarn well. You might remember that I recently used the lace ribbing from this pattern for the fan lace socks. The yarn is Trekking XXL. I'm quite charmed by the colorway- I had no idea what this was going to look like knitted. Clearly, I've been underestimating the potential of these seemingly odd-looking plies.

Sunday, not surprisingly, was a day of sleeping late, staggering around in a daze and knitting something uncomplicated. It rained off and on all day, so I didn't even feel badly about not doing anything. (Okay, the pool still needs cleaning. I feel a little badly about that.) Less complex knitting means the Log Cabin Moderne, now up to about 18 inches on a side. When I can get the cat away from it.
cat sleeping on blanket-in-progress

Also cooking- I keep thinking one of these days we need to declare a 'clear out the freezer month', and not getting around to it. But we made a good start yesterday- some cooked chicken, mashed potatoes, a random can of chicken broth and some ancient frozen corn got turned into *vastly* more attractive chicken pot pies... (there were some intermediate steps involving grilled onions and making gravy, but the end result was lovely). And of course this let us avoid anything as strenuous as grocery shopping (something which should definitely be considered when we run out of pot pie). Although-- what I mainly need is fruit, and I *do* still have that bag of rhubarb in the freezer ready to be made into sauce....generally motivating myself to do something isn't a problem if I can convince myself that it's an alternative to shopping!


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Waste Not

So the other scrap yarn project that I'm working on is a the Log Cabin Moderne baby blanket from Mason-Dixon Knitting. Which is not to say that I've actually read the pattern (I should do that some time), but I've adopted the concept as a way to use a bunch of odd skeins of baby blanket yarn.

Here we are at about a foot square. I've doubled some of the finer yarns to get a more consistent thickness. (I had intended for Woats to model it, but she wasn't in a mood to be photographed.)

All of these are skeins from yard sale box lots or boxes of yarn given to me or my mom. The few that had enough to do anything useful with have long since been used- a log cabin blanket in two colors last year, a baby sweater some years before that.

This isn't for anyone in particular at the moment- but it's a sure thing that if you knit a baby item, soon enough a baby will show up to claim it!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Two by Two

When last we left our knitter, I was wondering whether I would run out of yarn and have to rip back the Optic Waves scarf. I did just barely have enough (it's currently waiting to be blocked), but decided to do one last pass through the stash and make sure I didn't have another bit of that pink yarn lurking in some forgotten corner. If I do, it has eluded me for the time being. However in the course of rummaging through the yarn (two three-gallon pails and a large basket- I'm a real lightweight in the stash department), I realized that I still had a lot of untasked yarn lying around. Specifically, I had a bunch of yarn that I had intended to knit up *before* buying a bunch more sock yarn.


Well, there were extenuating circumstances regarding the sock yarn (I happened to be in a yarn store), but I decided that I might as well take a break from socks and try to do a couple of quick knits and eliminate some of the yarn overage.

Hence, mittens- there was a third pair, but they got given away before being photographed.

I happened to be knitting these at our local knit night (which I managed to attend for the first time a week or so ago), and someone asked what I was doing. I explained that I was knitting mittens- two at a time, flat, on straight needles.

"But, why?!" she asked. (I presume she meant 'why knit them flat instead of in the round?'. Why knit mittens at all, is kind of a non sequitur in New Hampshire.)

Well. There are several reasons to do it this way. For one, I'm faster on straights than on dpns or circulars. And I don't mind seaming, as a rule. But there's a practical reason as well- when I'm using up scrap yarn, it's very important to me to knit both mittens at once. I double wind the yarn so I have the middle in the center of the ball and two ends to knit with, and then I don't need to count rows, I can add stripes at the same time, and best of all? When I run out of yarn, I run out at the same place on both mittens at once. So when I change colors, it looks planned, because the two mittens match. And I use up nearly all the yarn- I'm generally left with less than a yard. And yes, of course I could knit two mittens at once, in the round, on circular needles, if I had them. No doubt when I get around to picking up that size of circular, I'll try it. But this works fine for me.

*pauses to defend breakfast cereal from marauding cat*

Where was I? Oh, yes, using up scrap yarn. Mittens. Of course not all yarn is suitable for mittens. In particular, I had a bunch of balls of fluffy blue yarn, quite likely mohair. Pretty color, but the yarn had been used to knit something else and ripped out, and then wound very tightly so it was all stretched out. By itself, I couldn't think of anything good to do with this yarn. It was too damaged to knit by itself- it just didn't look right when swatched. And even doubled with something else, it just wasn't strong enough for something that gets as much wear as mittens. But I couldn't bring myself to just throw it out, so it has hung around for years. Until last year when hats occurred to me.

I also had a lot of white acrylic, a staple of yard sale boxes. (My theory is that people knit-or-crochet afghans with it, then use up the remnants of the interesting colors on other projects. Then they can't think of anything to do with it, so they stick it in a box with two or three bright skeins on top to disguise it and sell the box as a lot....) Anyway, put together and knit on bulky needles, the duo makes perfectly respectable hats. And since I couldn't face more than one hat? A long, long fluffy scarf chewed through the rest of it.

And now I have room for more sock yarn my yarn basket isn't overflowing, though I have come across a few more odd balls of yarn that ought to be used- but that's a topic for another day.

Monday, September 1, 2008


I'm happy to report that the Rocky Mountains are still rocky.
Rocky Mt Natl Park

Also that the air is decidedly thin for sea-level-adapted creatures like myself. I spent a lot of time pausing to rest while doing things I wouldn't think twice about at home. Like hiking. Walking up stairs. Carrying luggage.

We stayed in Denver, but did a bunch of day trips- in addition to Rocky Mountain National Park, we rode the Georgetown Loop Railroad:
Georgetown Loop Railway
(I should mention here that it's taken me a week or so to get photos downloaded and such, so we were in and out before the place was invaded by Democrats.)

Toured a silver mine (if you go to Georgetown, the silver mine tour is excellent- the interpreters were knowledgeable and interesting):
Silver mine tour

Visited the Garden of the Gods:
Garden of the Gods

Visited the Cave of the Winds (the Lantern tour):
a passage in  Cave of the Winds

Went to Seven Falls and climbed the 200+ steps to the top:
Seven Falls

Hiked around the canyon rim:
canyon rim

And generally had a good time. With frequent breaks to catch our breath.

And there was a certain amount of knitting around the edges. I finished the feather and fan socks:

Note the lace ribbing, which I swiped from the Fools Rush In sock pattern by Cassiana of Too Much Wool, which I am planning to knit sometime soon. (In typical knitter fashion I totally packed way too much yarn. Enough for another two pairs of socks which I didn't even get to start. Fortunately I confined myself to socks- two extra balls of sock yarn wasn't a huge burden. Note the learning behavior! I was strongly tempted to take yarn to start another sweater, but I have Learned My Lesson since the Hawaii trip last year.)

And, I finished off the New Day socks in the post-trip brain-fog over the weekend! Yay, me!

And I have been reunited with the Optic Waves scarf- when I got back from my trip, I decided that two pattern repeats wasn't enough. So I ripped it all back and started over with the number of repeats that I'd originally cast on! Now I'm back to wondering if I'm going to have enough yarn. Stay tuned for the next exciting episode.