Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Virtual Knitting in the Car

No, I haven't taken to terrorizing the drivers of Southern California freeways by knitting while I drive. However, I have found a way to enjoy knitting in a way that makes Mr. Engineer certain that I have slipped a cog. I could say that this is all his fault. Mr. Engineer gave me a really cool MP3 player for Xmas this year. I didn't go for the bitten fruit. Instead I now have a sleek, black Philips GoGear. This baby and its 30GB drive hold every single one of my ripped CDs. I cannot express how fun it is to click Music:Genre:Blues:Shuffle All. Way cool.

Luckily, there is enough extra space on the disk to hold my newest addiction. I have discovered podcasts! First, I found Knit Cast. Marie Irshad brings all sorts of wonderful people to my ears. I can commute with Debbie Bliss or Kate Gilbert. I am now impatiently waiting for the next episode. Until then, I am catching up on Brenda Dayne's Cast On. Brenda cracks me up and makes me wonder if I have the material and guts to try this out. Maybe later in the year.

For now, there are other priorities. Mr. Engineer surprised me with the news that he has taken care of one of my to-do list items and is organizing a trip for my sister and her hubby to visit us! As excited as I was to hear this, I was immediately filled with the horror that comes with the knowledge that I now have to clean the craft room! Buried in that room under bags of yarn and boxes of stuff is a sleeper sofa. I will find it. I'm sure it is in there. I have two months. Wish me luck.

I think they will like the sunrise here:

Monday, January 30, 2006

Sometimes, Life Isn't Fair, So I Knit

I've been away from the blog for a bit. Life got too real. Fresh from the news that Jo's friend does not have cancer and will happily regrow her hair and live a good, long life, I received completely the opposite news about one of my friends. One of my work friends is now home recovering from brain surgery and heading down a long, scary road. As Jo will tell you, if you have the choice of brain tumors, the one that you do not want is a glioblastoma multiforme. This villain sneaks in and reaches its tentacles into the brain. Left untreated, the prognosis is three months. Treated, the outlook improves to 6 to 12 months. The friend who is now wrestling with this demon had two tumors. One was removed (or as much of it as could be reached was removed) and the other was firmly entrenched around his optic nerve. My friend has started treatments and his family has a firm support structure and excellent health insurance. Still, it stinks. This friend has two young sons, one of whom is almost exactly the same age as Young Man. I can't think too hard about this or I will not function.

What I am doing instead is knitting. More compulsive knitting. Durrow is now almost 50% complete. The back and one sleeve look really good. I'm still getting used to the idea that Rowan Denim will shrink in length and this will all fit perfectly. I've made two swatches for FLAK. The Baruffa 7 Settembre just won't do. It is too thin even with US5 needles. I then got the idea from one of the FLAK members to try Cotton Fleece. This may fit the bill. The last thing I need is another wool sweater so this may be a good choice.

In my sock knitting, I have finished Whitby just under the wire. I knit most of these while watching lacrosse games. The other parents get a kick out of me knitting and cheering. It mostly works.

I used Lambs Pride Superwash worsted and US2 dpns. The color is Peacock and it is lovely!

They are a bit tight to get on and off, but they are really comfortable and warm when on. If I were to do it again, I would probably go up to US3s, but I am happy with them.

What is this? Why, yes, I am Jaywalking!

It took three cast ons to get going. After hearing so many people whine about how tight these socks are in the heal, I started out with the larger size. Two inches in, I could tell that these were way too big. Then I tried going to the smaller size, but with US2 needles. Not only were these too big, but the yarn (Wildfoote handpaint) was showing some unpleasant pooling.

I finally went down to the original pattern and the original needle size (US1) and I think I have it.

The other thing that I am doing is looking at the world, enjoying every day and hugging my family even more than before. Sunsets are especially striking. Enjoy every one.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Earning My Buttons

Sandy has a great new button and I had a great sunrise. What a combination!

Durrow is coming along nicely. At lunch today, I was certain that I had entered the Knitting Twilight Zone. You know, where you measure, knit several rows, remeasure, and discover that the length hasn't changed. I should have the back finished before lights out tonight. Next up is a sleeve!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

What is That?

Well, it is on the needles. What could it be? Let's start with what it isn't.

It isn't Whitby even though good progress is being made on these during lacrosse games. Unfortunately, it rained through Saturday's game so knitting was called off (but not the game). The yarn is Lambs Pride Superwash worsted and the needles are US 2 dpns. These would have been perfect to keep my feet warm during Friday's match. I did get them long enough to warm my hands! Dig the sock blockers? My sister made them for me for Christmas. I'm the luckiest little sister ever!

It also isn't Am Kamin. I have technically started on that since I think my swatches are working. Current yarn is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran.

It certainly isn't Jaywalker. I've wanted to make these even before Kathy's pattern came out in MagKnits. These will be the next socks on the needles, but they haven't made it yet. I suppose that this technically doesn't count as a progress update.

There is no way that it could be the SixSoxKnitalong pattern. That one is lined up behind Jaywalker in the sock queue.

No, it isn't FLAK either. I haven't even begun swatching for the Follow the Leader Aran Knitalong. These are top contenders for yarn pre-swatch.

What it really, really isn't is the Surprise project.

(What, did you think I was going to publish a progress pic when I know the recipient reads this?) I must get going on this, but I'm having doubts about how it is turning out.

No, it is none of the items that were on the needles at last update. It is Durrow. I could blame Kay, but that would not be fair. I thought Durrow was fabulous when I first saw it, but I couldn't figure out how to transform it into a sweater for Young Man. Then Kay introduced all of us to her Rowan Denim version that fit her son. To send things completely over the edge, I found a stash of discontinued black Rowan Denim. Now, I am knitting furiously to have this ready for Young Man before the weather warms up. Obsession: It isn't always pretty, but the process is fun.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Sometimes, You Just Have to Do Something

I'm a fixer. Really, I am. Okay, so you may have gathered that I am also more than a little obsessive-compulsive and I want to do everything. This is all true. Once upon a time, Mr. Engineer and I were reviewing our life goals and I think I surprised him a little with one of mine. I want to change the world. At the least, I want to make a difference. So far, I haven't figured out how to make an enormous change, but I continue with small changes. We donate money to worthwhile causes like the Red Cross and AIDS research. We donate time to worthwhile endeavors such as cleaning up our local parks. We try to raise Young Man to be conscious of his surroundings and to treat everyone and everything with respect.

Too often, these small things just don't seem to be enough. After 9/11, I had to quilt. I can't explain it, but I had to make a quilt. I made a child's quilt that I donated to be given to a child who lost someone that day. On a more personal level, Young Man's wonderful first grade teacher just gave birth to her first child knowing that her baby has Spina Bifida. Again, I made a quilt. This time it was a large, soft, colorful one to give the family the hug that I cannot give from so many miles away.

Last week a post from a friend hit me again and I had to do something. Jo and I have been posting together in cybercommunities for years. I know her well enough to know that she doesn't go to bat for just anyone. When she posted about her friend who has ovarian cancer, it hit me harder than most such posts. Maybe it was the age of the friend (27) that reminded me of my sister's brush with cancer. Maybe it was Jo's offer to shave her own head after shaving her friend's. Whatever it was, I knew I had to help somehow. I pulled some Fun Fur from stash and a pattern for a No Hair Day Hat and put together a fun, fuzzy hat that is very nearly the same color as my own hair. Then I found the ball of Rowan Calmer that followed me home from the LYS one day and made another Shedir. This particular ball of Calmer does come with a story. The day I bought it, I was looking for something else and it fell into my basket. It isn't a color that I wear, but I love the feel of it so I bought it. It seems to have worked well and I hope that these two offerings give some comfort to Jo's friend.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Answers and a Welcome

I am finally going to address Kathy's meme from December. Last week, I could have posted that very few of my non-cyberfriends knew about this blog. I had revealed it to some, but most of the people who stopped by found me by way of one or another knitalong or other posting. However, late last week I did something that I may or may not regret. I added the URL for this blog to the annual New Year's letter. Now friends from elementary school and far-flung relatives have the address and may or may not come to visit.

Therefore, if you are visiting after reading the holiday letter, welcome! I ramble about many things and share a few photos of Young Man and lots of photos of knitting. I do maintain a few ground rules, so your cooperation, should you leave any comments, would be appreciated.
  1. I try not to use any real names here. Cyberspace isn't nearly as anonymous as we would like and no one really needs to know Young Man's real name.
  2. This blog is my main gallery for showing off various knitted items that I have created. That means that those of you who may be recipients of my craft may see things destined for you. I apologize for ruining any surprises and/or causing you pain because of the wait to receive your goodies.
  3. The opinions expressed here are mine and should not be held against any other resident of Chez Engineer or other chapters of Engineers Anonymous.

Knit on!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

New Year New Look

It seemed time for a change, so I picked up a different template. I'm sure there are a few bugs to work out. Before I jump headlong into 2006 blogging (yes, I know that it is already 10 January), I have a little unfinished business regarding finished business. Yes, it is time for the brag sheet. Here are the fiber objects that I finished in 2005:

  1. 13 knitted scarves ranging from frou-frou to lace
  2. 2 pairs of felted slippers (Fuzzy Feet)
  3. 2 knitted shawls (Clappoti and Kiri)
  4. 2 knitted hats
  5. 1 knitted poncho
  6. 1 knitted child sweater
  7. 2 knitted baby sweaters
  8. 2 felted handbags
  9. 1 felted gift bag
  10. 12 pairs of knitted socks
  11. 1 pair of knitted armwarmers
  12. 1 knitted mobius wrap
  13. 8 itty bitty knitted sock ornaments
  14. 1 crocheted scarf
  15. 1 crocheted wrap
  16. 2 medium-sized quilts
  17. 1 Technicolor Dreamcoat
  18. 4 mob caps
  19. 4 tricorn hats

Not a bad list. 2006 is already shaping up to be a good knitting year. I have major stash acquisition issues thanks to a few sales and weakness of resolve. Is it my fault that the LYS had black Rowan Denim? Stop asking what I was doing on the floor looking in the bottom shelf when it was across the aisle from the yarn I was only going to get today! I respectfully refuse to acknowledge the accusation.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Back To Work

Yes, today was back to work day. Many of the goals of the time off were met, but the annual holiday letter is still just an idea. Ah, well, the games played with Young Man were more than worth the trade off.

The knitting needles are back in action and the first FO of the year is ready and on my feet!

Pattern: Child's First Sock (shell pattern) from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush
Fiber: KnitPicks Essential
Needles: US1 dpns
Review: The pattern is great. It was easy to memorize and fun to knit. This was the pattern that made Disney line standing almost tolerable. My tension was a little off on the second sock and it is a bit smaller than the first. Both are just big enough for my feet. I'm not particularly fond of the yarn. It is okay and the price can't be beat, but I like Wildfoote and Opal better.