Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful for improved needles

click to biggify pic

The guys at my house are waiting for more felted clogs, and I have to say, I wasn't eager to get started on them. Being a tightwad, I bought some super cheap Susan Bates circular needles when I made the pair for Mr. SABLE. It took real muscle to get the stitches back onto the needle part from the cable. One day I happened to notice some higher-priced big-ass needles that had something like aquarium tubing connecting the business ends, rather than plastic cable. So, I asked Mr. SABLE if he could duplicate this with my cheap-o needles.

Yesterday, he cut the original cables off, took the plastic needle parts to his workshop, and used his lathe to trim down a bit on the connector end. Then he slid on the tubing. I need to have him take off just a titch from the needle parts of the join: it's not quite smooth yet, but it's darn close. If the tubing works loose while I use them, we'll superglue it on, but I'm pretty impressed with this needle mod.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Progress Pictures

The Kate Cardigan

I decided on a narrow front band that folds to a facing which stabilizes the front bands. I have a few ideas for closures, maybe button loops along the edge and pearly buttons. We'll see.

I'm not very happy with this collar, but not sure I want to take it out and redo. I saw it on a person last night, and I think the collar is better on than lying flat on the ground. I think this collar is a bit too frilly for my personal aesthetic, but, oh well. Interestingly, I think the other side of the collar, the part that won't show in normal wear, is much better. It still has a lacy quality, but it's less busy.

Here's a detail of the fronts at the lower edge:

The Kauni Cardigan

This is coming along. I'd like to get it finished soon. One more sleeve and a lot of finishing details. Last night after I bound off the top of the sleeve, I spent about 20 minutes winding yarn off my cones to get the colors to line up when I cast on for the second sleeve. It would be nice if both sleeves start and stop at similar places in the color scheme.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Knitting Pictures!

This is a simple alpaca watchcap for my brother. This yarn is wonderful! Blue Sky Alpaca sport weight my friend Wendy sent. My brother has lost most of his hair, so I think a nice cozy alpaca watch cap will be a good thing in a Maine winter.

This is a cardigan I'm making for my sister, and maybe I'll make a pattern of it, too. I've done the majority of the knitting on the machine, to speed things up, but I have a lot of finishing to go, still. The blue yarn is waste yarn that's just holding the stitches. I've got a hand-knit length of the same edging from the cuff of the sleeves almost ready to attach to the bottom hem. I have a few ideas for the neckline and I'm quite baffled, as yet, about how to handle the front edges and closing. Mulling mulling.

The color of this yarn is one I knew would be hard to capture in a photograph. It's kind of a loden, mossy, grey-green, more green than grey. The camera caught it more grey than green, so I compensated in photoshop, and indeed, I may have gone too far toward green now. Alas. And your monitor will see it differently anyway.

It's Universal Yarns worsted wool, which I got on sale in the spring at The Sow's Ear. Total bargain project!

In Other News
For those who occasionally ask, Mr. SABLE is still collecting unemployment insurance. We're still doing ok with that. I'd say he's enjoying his little sabbatical from the working world at this point. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Is this Startitis?

On Monday Kathy mused a bit on the nature of Startitis, as opposed to Stop-itis. Hmm. Well, I agree there's often a correlation between the two syndromes, and I agree that they aren't exactly the same. For me, startitis is just that: the compulsion to keep starting more projects, regardless of how many are currently in the pipeline. This often leads to stopitis, but only because I only have one pair of hands and one pair of eyes. So, if I start on something new, I'm not working on the something old. It doesn't mean the something old is necessarily stopped, though, until I realize it's been several months since I picked it up. That makes sense, right?

So, currently I have the Bourgeois Swing Coat, which is cruising along nicely. I will need to pick out the cast-off on the body and knit that a bit longer, but I'm going to wait until I'm done with the second sleeve, so I can see how much longer it can go. I noticed that Webs currently has some of the DiVe Autunno discontinued colors on the Close-outs page, so hurry along and order some, so I won't be tempted. I can tell you from having this project in my lap while knitting, that it will be a wonderful warm sweater in January.

Also I'm working on the long-dormant Kauni cardigan.

I just started a machine knit cardigan that will probably be a Christmas present for my sister, if it comes out ok. That's so fast, it almost doesn't count.

And I started a 2X2 ribbed watchcap for my brother from Blue Sky Alpaca's sport weight.

And I'm planning to machine knit a cardigan for my Dad, too, after I dig out some suitable stash yarn.

Then there's a scarf from Mirasol Hacho, which I started earlier in the fall, but haven't shown you.

I need to get busy with the camera. For that, I think I'll need light, which is sorely lacking in Wisconsin lately.

I know there are some other pending projects slipping my mind right now.

Monday night I got the GI bug that the Little Emperor had Thursday and Friday. It was short, but vicious. I'm almost restored to my right self. I hope Mr. SABLE will finish the meatloaf that was Monday night's dinner, because I know I'll never want to face that again, having become all-too-reacquainted with my dinner around 9 on Monday night.

So, my advice of the day: wash your hands! Then wash them again!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Maybe it's the change in the weather...

I don't know.

I never knit Christmas presents. Well, sometimes someone gets a thing I knit for Christmas, but only if it happens to be ready and done about that time. But I'm not one of those knitters who sets out to make things for a long list of relatives and goes crazy in the process.

First, the whole mid-winter holiday makes me a bit conflicted, which is an essay and a half.

Then my relationship with my extended family (including the in-laws) is a bit laissez-faire, so that throws a little more confusion into things.

And then you have my essentially anti-consumerist mentality.

And I have a hard time knitting for anyone but myself because I always talk myself out of what I think might be a good idea. It'll be a bad choice of yarn or color or style. They'll think it's weird. It'll be too much. and yet, not enough.

But somehow, just now, with the cold air blowing in and snow showers knocking the remaining leaves from the trees, I got the idea of knitting a bunch of presents for folks this year. Not sure where that came from. Maybe I'll see where it leads me.

We've had an interesting time this week. On Wednesday both kids had some troubles related to school. Owen was on the receiving end of harassment on the bus ride home and the Little Emperor was dishing it out to an innocent kid at recess. Mr. SABLE caught the virus we've been passing around, featuring an annoyingly long-lasting sore throat accompanying a cold. And the LE came down with a GI thing yesterday morning. The LE was much perkier this morning but I kept him home today, because I thought it might be bad if the trouble moves south, so to speak, and he were to have a mishap at school. (You know, try to sneak out a little gas and get more than you bargain for... Or maybe you don't know.) So it's been a week of disruptions and grumbling and malaise in our house, even though it's also a week of great triumph and change in the national political scene. Now, we're just hoping for a bit of triumph in the national economic scene. Though that leaves me conflicted, too.

And why should that be? Well, I have this really strong anti-consumerist attitude. And yet, our economy's health is largely judged on the quantity of consumer spending. I know that for our planet's health, it would be much better if everyone tried to stop buying stuff, just for stuff's sake. But as people have done that, because they are living with economic insecurity, then it causes more economic trouble. I'm glad I'm not in charge of solving these problems. They are big and complicated. And the experts are predicting that things will get worse before they get better.

So maybe I'll go cast on a few nice cozy projects that I can give away in December. It seems like a good thing to do on a cold dreary November day, a week before I turn 47.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


My little fuzzy brown bat
I found a brown velour zippered hoodie and pants in the woman's section of a local thrift store. I had to hem the pants up a bit, and used the extra for the ears. The wings and insides of the ears are craft felt. This was a darn-quick costume and made him very happy.

Our other news is that we finally replaced our disgusting old couch.

I liked this furniture well enough when I bought it in fall 1997. I would still like it, if it hadn't been abused for 11 years by wild, crazy, messy boys. Faithful readers of Bezzie's blog might remember my entry into her Ugly Couch Contest. I didn't win, only because my couch wasn't inherently ugly, just worn out. (But I attracted some interesting comments about the state of my housekeeping.) That old couch and chair aren't even worth Freecycling, so they're at the curb, giving the kids somewhere to play trampoline a few more times before garbage collection on Tuesday.

I'd been scanning Craigslist hoping for a good deal on a couch and/or comfy chairs, but was amazed at the bargain I got. This couch, plus a matching big chair and ottoman, plus another big chair (covered to match the throw pillows) with ottoman, all for $200. The really nice guy who was selling it said he had about 12 immediate responses to his posting. Then he added, "I wonder if I priced it too low?" and Mr. SABLE and I both said, "Yes." Because really, we would have called it a bargain to get this very comfy couch for $200, let alone the big comfy chairs and ottomans. The kids are remarkably accepting of the new policy that there will be no eating on the new furniture and no using the furniture as a trampoline.

Knitting progress has been slow and intermittent. The Bourgeois Swing Coat is coming along nicely, but I don't have any pictures to show.