Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fair Isle progress

The cardigan body is done. I worked out the numbers for the sleeves earlier today. I'm planning to put a collar on as shown in this schematic:

The collar will have corrugated ribbing to match the band at the bottom of the body and the button bands will have narrower corrugated ribbing. The sleeves will have a deeper cap than shown in this schematic. I'll have to work on that drawing separately.

Monday, August 27, 2007

More Spinning and other stuff

Here's a little pile of the 3 ply black and white marled yarn from the Brown Sheep mill ends. Click it to get an interesting closer look. I haven't quantified anything about this yarn yet, but so far, it's one fairly big skein and 3 mini-skeins and looks to me like a DK worsted weight. (edited to add: I made a little sample from one of the mini skeins and it looks good on US #7 needles, getting 17 st/4 inches/10 cm.) I hope to make a bunch more of it.

I'm very nearly done the body on the Fair Isle cardigan: about 8 more rounds. Then I get to figure out how to make my sleeves with a steeked sleeve cap and matching pattern bands from the sleeve to the body. That's one big advantage to drop sleeves. I didn't take another picture because it hasn't changed that much since the last one.

I thought I'd reply to a few comments from the last post.

Peri and others who commented on the school registration: Every year we need to go to each kid's school and stand in long lines to fill out paperwork and pay fees. They used to send home a stack of forms for correction and signature the first day, but I think they had a hard time getting them all back. So, they set up stations around the gymnasium and one must file around handing in the health form, the emergency contact form, the money, etc, and set up a lunch money account (if desired) and check on the bus routes (if applicable). The elementary fees are only $35 a year, but the middle school ones are a shock. A large part of it is rental of the band instrument, which we could avoid if we were willing to buy a bassoon. ;-).

Becky, I think PMS is a big part of my moods, too. I definitely have one or two days a month when I just want to be left alone. My kids seem to sense that this is what I need, so they get in my face even more. Unfortunately, my cycles are so short that I spend two-thirds of my time either having PMS or having a period. No fun.

For all who expressed concern, thank you. If I feel like things are not right once the school year starts and my stress level drops, I'll talk to my doctor. I seldom get depressed in the winter, although I do have an urge to hibernate. But this summer has been difficult weather-wise. I enjoy a nice rainy day, but three weeks of dark dismal rain and being cooped up with my kids, who prevent me from pursuing any creative thing of my own that might buoy me up... well, that's too much. And they fight all the time.

Magatha, I'm glad you could see the humor in my quandary, too. I had a chuckle about it as I realized what was going on.

So, just this week to get through. Then the three day weekend. And then it's my time!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

August and Everything After

Ah, lets see. I've been doing a bit of spinning...

This is from the Brown Sheep mill ends. It's a three ply yarn using two strands of the dark and one of the light. Before I go all out on this, I wanted to make a small batch to see if I'm happy with the result. And I am. These photos were taken while it was still wet, hanging on the clothesline. Tomorrow I'll get a few more of the dry skein. The mohair in this yarn definitely wants to fuzz out, which is ok with me.

I hadn't done much spinning in the last week because my left hand and wrist were acting up and I've been working on the Fair Isle cardigan some and also in the throes of the late summer miseries.

As you probably know, if you read the newspaper or catch the news, it's been a rainy time here in Wisconsin. I haven't personally been affected by flooding, since my house sits on a little high spot in my neighborhood. But I have been affected by the unrelenting rain, grey skies, mud, humidity, and being cooped up with my kids while counting down until the school year starts. Today, thankfully, the weather finally shifted and The Big Blue H*, as I call it, came sailing in from Canada bringing nice cool, dry, high pressure system air. We've opened the windows and we're airing out.

During the monsoon, I managed to get school supplies for the boys, handle both of their school registrations, and buy them each a new pair of shoes. The school registration was a royal pain, especially the middle school one. The parents were required to wait in a line which (not exaggerating here) took about 50 minutes just to pay the fees for the coming year ($222), so they could claim their receipts and move through the rest of the process. No receipt, no schedule. When I am in charge of the universe, there will be a better way to handle this. I would put the info online in a password protected account, and let each parent look up the number they owe before appearing for registration. Then, motivated parents could mail the payment ahead of time, have a receipt and a schedule mailed back and skip the whole waiting in line part. Middle school registration took me about 1.5 hours (again, not an exaggeration) for the sole purpose of correcting one phone number, paying my $222, and signing a few forms. There's got to be a better way.

So, Thursday afternoon I was feeling down and I've been wondering if I'm hovering around the edge of depression this summer. I have a history of depression, though not recently. But I'm always aware of that potential: that I could again lose 5 months of my life because I have my head under a pillow, wishing I didn't have to get up and face life. So, Thursday afternoon, I found a depression screening quiz online. I took it and came up with the recommendation that I seek psychiatric help for my depressive symptoms. Today, the sun is shining, the air is not so heavy, and I feel fine.

But, in regards to that screening test, I found this amusing:

7. Do you feel that it takes you longer than before to make decisions or unable to concentrate?

A. Never
B. Rarely
C. Sometimes
D. Very Often
E. Most of the time

I sat staring at question #7 for about 10 minutes, trying to decide if I was finding it harder to make decisions than before. I just couldn't decide which answer seemed accurate. Finally, I saw the irony in my predicament and went with C. Sometimes. But, as I say, today with a shift in the weather, I feel miraculously better. Go figure. If the pharmaceutical companies of the world could figure out how to bottle and sell nice weather, maybe no one would need Prozac again.

Last Saturday Knitting met this afternoon. It was absolutely delightful company. Molly Bee, Baxter Knits, Mousey Blog, and Molly Bee's friend Ann were there. We missed having Laura/Yarn Thrower with us, but we hope she'll make it in September.

*The Big Blue H refers to the standard weather map way of denoting a high pressure system, otherwise known as the Canadian High.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Knitting News, in brief

Seen in our back yard.

Edited to add: About 7 years ago my husband and older son built the bat box and painted the design on it. They followed plans they picked up at a state park. It sat empty for the first season or two it was up. Several years ago we saw the squirrel tails hanging out and realized that flying squirrels had moved in. For a while my husband had a little black and white video surveillance camera mounted in the tree and pointed at the box. We ran the cable in through a window to a tv and every night we watched Squirrel Cam. (It had infra-red, too, so we could watch at night.) We put up a suet feeder near the house so we could watch them feed. Our cat kills a lot of flying squirrels (very sad; we find the tails) but we seem to always have a resident family living in our bat box. It's a big surprise to everyone that they live around here and right in the city.

I am counting down the days until Sept 4. It cannot come soon enough.

I've done very little interesting knitting this summer. Or so it feels to me.

Here's the progress picture of the Fair Isle cardigan. I'm most of the way through the body. With a bit of dedicated knitting time, I'll be on the sleeves soon enough.

The colors are more muted than they appear in this picture. It's very grey here and I had to use the flash, even out on the porch.

I made a sock for Scott a couple weeks ago, but I need to start that pair again. Sock 1 was too small. He needs a really deep heel flap in addition to a ridiculously long foot. I hope the one I finished will fit Owen, so I can finish that pair and it'll fit someone. Better than having to start all over.

I'm ready for a month-long nap.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Separated at Birth?

Prince Charming from the Shrek movies

A male model from Knitter's magazine

The new Knitter's arrived in my mailbox yesterday. I have to say, I think that maybe someone at XRX has a finger on the pulse of real-world knitters. Finally. They have dropped the gawd-awful poetry (using the term loosely) that used to appear on each section-header page. The percentage of downright fugly designs has dropped way off, and there are several really attractive patterns. I like Judy Anderson's Frosting, Lois Young's Etched Copper, Norah Gaughan's Urban Vest, and several others.

Knitter's has been such a whipping boy for the snarkerati set for so long, it's kind of disappointing to see it morphing into something (gasp) good.

But I think I'll adjust.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Home from camping, with everyone tired and cranky. The weather was hot and steamy, and it stormed some, too. No one slept well. I hope to have some knitterly content sometime, but I'm beginning to think it might have to wait until school starts.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Knitting Camp (the other one)

It was a great time at the Other Knitting Camp in Wisconsin. Participants came from three states. There was no structured workshop, no class, no market, and no high-priced tuition. We came and sat and knitted away and stopped for meals. It was like a 45 hour S'n'B.

I wasn't very thorough about getting pictures of all the individuals and I try not to publicize bad pictures of people. But here we all are:

Click to make it bigger.

A few other random pictures:

The weather was tending toward hot and humid most of the time, with substantial rain from about midnight last night until 6 this morning. But our spirits were not dampened!

We all agree we need to do it again next year.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Fall 07 Interweave Knits

I got the new IK today. On the whole, I think it's a good solid issue, with the usual range of offerings: a few original interesting patterns, a bunch that are rehashes of stuff we've seen before (but quite serviceable), and a few real clunkers. I have a bias against super bulky yarns in general, so Teva Durham and Wenlan Chia don't impress me too much. I was quite taken with the Minimalist Cardigan, the Tangled Yoke Cardigan, the Mirepoix Bodice, and a few others. Most of the patterns would never suit my body type, but if I didn't have the permanently six-months-pregnant-looking belly, maybe I'd consider a few.

One thing I did notice, in a bad way, was this:

Who can argue with another Kathy Zimmerman cabled sweater? It's not the design I noticed but the sloppy execution.

Here's the detail:

I think those two cable lines that bend outward on either side of the center should have just gone into the neckline and stopped. And the pickup for the collar looks kind amateur to me.

I know that magazines demand incredibly tight turn-around times from designers, so I shouldn't be surprised to see the occasional rush-job on finishing. I wish it could be different.

The other thing I noticed (and chuckled about) was the garment in this ad:

Talk about finishing gone awry! It kind of looks like a straightjacket that missed the mark. Do you think that dangling flap will stay artfully placed just so after she moves?

Me neither.