Thursday, May 31, 2007

It's Become a Tradition

Here's the visual support to Susan's email about our knitting group knitting together last Saturday.

From left to right: Ellenmarie and Molly.

From left to right: Vicky and Susan.

Molinda on the left, me on the right.
(Sorry this picture is so dark...I fussed with it but couldn't get it right.)

As Susan said, everyone was there except for Holly.
We missed you Holly!

This little group has met on a regular basis for almost 4 years now. It was Susan's husband Dave who so lovingly imparted the moniker "The KnitWits" to our group - we also call the group, The Knit Nite Knitters.

We had a wonderful spot with a wonderful breeze. There was a guy playing acoustic guitar, which was nice but a bit too loud for cross table conversations, but we made up for that when he took breaks. I can only speak for myself but I had a great time and didn't want to leave, but pulled myself away after 3 hours due to other committments.

We've met at the Market the Saturday before Memorial Day and the Saturday before Labor Day for at least 3 years now. I think you can call that a tradition - one that I hope we keep for a very long time!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend - Knitting & Other Fun

A week has gone by since our last post, and a lot has happened.

On Saturday the Knit Wits gathered for a KIP at the Second Street Market. (The photos are on T’s camera. Hopefully she’ll post them soon.) Almost all of the Knit Wits were there: Teresa, Ellenmarie, Mollinda, Vicky (after a FOUR MONTH honeymoon – sheesh!), Molly, her husband Mark, and their baby Ingrid, and me. Ellenmarie’s husband, Tom, came by to be social. Missing were: Holly and Alice (who’s been MIA for a while now). We had a table at the east end of the market, where there was (loud) live jazz. T opened the glass garage door next to us, so there was a delightful breeze. (This explains what I anticipate to be my disheveled “windblown” look, in T’s pics.) People we knew and strangers came by to say hello. It was fun! We’ll have to do that again the next time T has a Saturday off.

On Sunday Dave and I drove out to the boat. I felt guilty about not inviting friends to go sailing, but Dave was worried about the weather. Other sailors took their boats out, but we stayed at the dock.

Dave tinkered.

I knit. I’m wearing the first Basalt Tank, which has turned into a bit of a disappointment. It’s my fault, really. I used Sonata yarn, which is 100% cotton. The garment is heavy, and it’s stretch a bit – making it too low cut in front. It’s fine for sailing, though.

Below is a pic of a boat in a nearby slip.

A thunderstorm blew through. We sat in the cabin and watched the rain come down. Here is a photo of the same boat taken through the porthole.

Not sure you could tell from the photo of me knitting on the Odyssey, but I’ve abandoned the second Basalt Tank. Instead I’m making a “lacy tank” which is a modified version of this tank top, which appeared in the Spring/Summer 2004 issue of Vogue.

Instead of knitting the tank all in one piece so that it ties in the front, I’m knitting the front and back separately. The lacy bottom part of the tank will be laced with ties up the sides. I did this once before using the Microspun yarn the pattern calls for, and it turned out really well. However, I wasn’t so happy with the Microspun. The Microspun is acrylic, so it’s a bit warm, and I’m a natural fiber kinda’ gal. This lacy tank is made with Callista yarn in the Boysenberry colorway. Here's a photo of the front. The back is just flying along. I’ve finished the lacy bottom and have just started the “Bodice Stitch,” which makes up the upper back. I hope to be able to wear it this weekend.

On Monday I watched the last few episodes of Band of Brothers on the History Channel. BOB has become a Memorial Day tradition. (By now my son John and I know the mini-series backwards and forwards.) Later, Dave and I rode bikes around the “neighborhood” (his definition of the neighborhood is rather broad), which included a jaunt through The Greene (a local outdoor mall). Dave has panniers (baskets) for his bike so we stopped for groceries on the way home and picked up some fish to grill.

I had plans to include a photo of the Microspun version of the lacy tank, but once again real life intervened. The house smelled like gas when I got home last night. The utility company advised us to leave the house without turning any appliances on or off and to wait out front for the gas man. Before I left, I grabbed my knitting. (Isn’t that what you would take if your house might blow up???) It was after 7:30p by the time the gas man left. He’d found a small leak at a valve in the basement and was able to stop it so we were allowed to return to our home and cook (well, microwave) dinner. Hopefully I’ll get a photo of the Microspun lacy tank tonight.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Susan’s First Basalt Tank – Finished!

I'm envious of T's beautiful blog photos. Love how pretty her Basalt Tank looks just tossed onto the wicker chair on her porch. While I don't have a wicker chair I had visions of modeling this tank in the sunshine, but it was not to be. I had to work late last night and did not get home until after 8:30 p.m. At least these pics are better than my usual fare - because Dave took them.

Here are the details:

Pattern: Basalt Tank, in Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan
Yarn: Sonata, Colorway: Capri Blue, Skeins: 6
Pattern Size: Smallest
Needles: Size 4*
*Note: I always have to reduce my needle size to get gauge. This time I used a smaller pattern size to get a top that would fit.

Modifications: (See Kelp Knits)

  1. A half hexagon was added at the bottom of each side.
  2. I decreased at the waist by starting with 4 less stitches in the section(s) of the side ½ hexagons and 5/6 hexagons that make the waist, and did not decrease in those sections on rows 10 and 14.
  3. A hem and extra rows were added to the neckline so it could be worn in public.

I found this pattern endlessly entertaining to knit. If you decide to knit this, be sure to download the errata.

  1. In T’s entry on May 16 she included a link to Susan Lawrence’s new smoke ring pattern. T knows I knit smoke rings the way other people knit socks. Unfortunately, the pattern is only available as a kit. I hate it when vendors do that. The 3 available colorways are too muted for me, but I REALLY LOVE the smoke ring pattern. This may be the birth of another obsession. I am merely in the rumination stage. I have yet to reach the I. MUST. HAVE. IT. stage (otherwise known as Critical Mass). Stay tuned to see if this remains on the back burner, evolves into a full-blown obsession, or turns into a passing fancy. Anything could happen.
  2. Pondering continues on the destiny of the Moroccan Blue Callista. Over the weekend I “swatched” a hexagon using size 2 circs and dpns. The hex was too small for a Basalt Tank, but the hand of the stockinette stitch was really nice. (Normal knitters could probably achieve the same result using size 3 needles. My gauge is always way off.) Callista would make a wonderful shawl, but somehow I think this yarn is begging to be a sleeveless top. The question is: Should it be something to wear to work or something a bit “lacier” (but not necessarily “racier”) for play? Do you have any suggestions?
  3. You’ve got to admire T for having the fortitude to knit two PINK Basalt Tanks (one for herself, and one for her granddaughter) in a row. I needed a change of color to hold my interest. (It’s that attention span thing again.)

Hey, T, we need a Finished Objects link/webpage. Do you happen to know how to set that up?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Basalt Tank - Teresa's Version

The front...

The back...

You have to look close or you'd think I was trying to create an illusion. The back is missing a lower 1/2 hexagon - the upper 1/2 hexagon is barely started here.

My goal was to finish the upper 1/2 hex last night and cast on the lower hex, so I could finish that one tonight. Didn't happen. Mostly because was just too darn tired. I went to bed at 10 pm without my knitting. That is VERY unusual for me. So now the goal is to be working on finishing by Friday.

Connecting the back full hexagon allowed me to kind of try Basalt on. I think it's going to be a good fit but definitely a tunic length, which is perfect for me.

I've been contemplating the depth of the neckline. I know it's going to be a bit too revealing but I don't really want to add garter stitch rows there. I'm thinking of making a little lacey rectangle that can be attached with snaps on either side of the neckline. Snap on when I'm wearing it by itself - snap off when I wear it with a tank or over a long sleeved something as a vest.

The rumor is true. Corynna wants me to knit a Basalt Tank for her once I finish mine. I sent her four links to to yarn that I think she might like. She doesn't care about the actual make-up of the yarn - it's the color. Pink. It's got to be pink. PINK! Hopefully, we'll get online together tonight so I can order it tomorrow.

The good thing about knitting a Basalt Tank for Corynna right away is that it will be a fraction of the knitting I put into mine. Smallest size in the teen version, which means less hexagons.

Should be a breeze after my elephantine version.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Pics As Promised

T and I haven't had much of a chance to connect since Knit Nite. We were both swamped with work on Friday. This is the first real chance I've had to give an update.

It's been a full weekend. Dave was off, so we got in some quality time. The weather wasn't good enough to ride bikes or sail, but we drove out to the marina today anyway. Dave tinkered with the wiring, while I knit below deck. He was particularly pleased because he got the boat's auto-pilot to sync with the GPS. He's been trying to do that for two years. He's a helicopter pilot, so he loves "instrumentation." Lucky thing he's a technical wiz, because I am challenged by all things technical - even the copier at work. (You should pity our receptionist.)

Tonight Dave showed me how to set up the tri-pod and use the camera flash. Laugh if you must, but you'll thank Dave later. (At least I hope the quality of my pics improves.)

Yesterday I finished weaving in ends on the first Basalt Tank and got it on the blocking board. (Nancy, I really love this blocking board. Thank you so much!)
Today I resumed work on the second Basalt Tank. I'm using Callista in the Boysenberry colorway. Unfortunately, I can't seem to get the color right in the photo. The Boysenberry is not as cranberry as it looks here. It's pinker than that without actually being pink.

Below is more Callista yarn in the Morrocan Blue colorway. Again, the photo doesn't do the color justice. It's really gorgeous.
My younger son called on Friday with good news. He's going to be a dorm RA next year. The competition was really stiff, and John worked really hard to be selected. I'm very proud of him.

My older son called tonight. He's spending the summer in Boston. This is his first summer on his own, and he's loving it. Brian's already had a mishap or two, but his sense of humor's in tact. You can read about his experiences on his blog. It's quite entertaining reading. (Goodness only knows what he posts on his facebook page. There are some things a mother is better off not knowing.)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The End Is In Sight!

T sent me an email saying that if I want to talk about my knitting it should be done on the blog. I was hoping to have a photo or two to post, but okay, here goes:

The Capri Blue Sonata yarn I needed from arrived yesterday, so I dropped the Boysenberry Callista Basalt Tank and picked up the almost finished Capri Blue Sonata Basalt Tank. (Photos would be helpful, here. Are you still with me? Scroll down to posts from earlier this week for earlier photos.) I finished the neck edging and tried it on. It fits – not perfectly – but well enough to wear. Using pointers from Kelp Knits! I added the 2 half hexagons at the sides, decreased at the waist, added extra edging to the neckline, and plan to add extra edging along the bottom. I also cast on only 20 stitches (instead of the 26 stitches the pattern calls for) for each shoulder strap. I’ll make the next Basalt Tank a little smaller and decrease more at the waist. I’m curious to see how this one looks after blocking, but that won't happen until the weekend. I’m not sure whether I’ll finish knitting the bottom edging at Knit Nite tonight. It depends on how much fun the conversation is.

Along with the Capri Sonata, I received the Moroccan Blue Callista. The stuff is gorgeous! It was all I could do not to drop the Capri Blue and Boysenberry Basalt Tanks and cast on something with the Moroccan Blue. (I’m definitely going through my Blue Period.) I’ll have to let the Moroccan Blue marinate awhile until I decide what to make with it. Photos by the end of the weekend. I promise.

I had the whole evening to myself last night. Cherise is out of town for a conference - it was just me, Dot and Sade.

I got caught up on my DVR-ed Knitty Gritty's - most of which I just fast-forwarded through. I think the only episode I watched all the way through was one with Annie Modesitt. She knitted the fabric for a sling-back chair - which wasn't that fascinating in-and-of-itself - she's just so creative. Oh yeah...I tried to watch Lily Chin show how to crochet with knitting needles but her dialogue was just so darn confusing that I got frustrated and deleted it. I swear that woman has to be on speed!

Didn't' finished the second 5/6 hexagon...not sure why 'cause I got in about 2 hours of knitting? Guess all that remote control stopping, starting and fast-forwarding got in the way. Plus, Dot was really pushy about me paying attention to her. And I got sleepy and dozed a little.

Anyway. Tonight is Knit Nite. I was hoping everyone would be there but seems that's not to be. Maybe one of us should take our camera and get a picture of the group... that we've gone public.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Check Out Callista

While my first Basalt Tank project waits in the wings for the arrival of more yarn, I’ve been playing with the new Callista yarn from Elann. This is the Boysenberry colorway. I like it so much I ordered more in the Moroccan Blue. It’s allegedly dk weight, tho’ it’s noticeably thinner than the Sonata, which is also billed as dk weight. Callista’s not as springy as wool-based yarns, so the resulting fabric is not as stretchy as fabrics made with springier yarns. However, the fabric has a lovely drape and hand. Callista’s just a little bit splitty, but nowhere near as splitty as Lara yarn from The variegation in color knits into a beautiful fabric reminiscent of hand-panted yarn. In short, I really like the stuff. The only drawback I’ve noticed is that one of the rayon strands frayed in a couple of places and broke in one place, necessitating some tinking back to remove the offending frayed yarn.

This is a half a hexagon “swatch” (not blocked, obviously). There’s a small frayed area, so I’m going to rip it back completely. In the meantime, I cast on a full hexagon with the intention of knitting another Basalt Tank. (Photos soon.) This is Basalt Madness I tell you. I'm not the only one to catch it either. Rumor has it T's granddaughter has requested a Basalt Tank.

On Teresa's Needles

I couldn't resist.

I've loved the Basalt Tank from Knitting Nature since I first saw it. It was on my must knit list and then Susan started knitting hers and emailing me about it telling me how much she was enjoying it. I had two summer projects on the needles that had stalled out for one reason or another, so I decided knit it too.

It is really unusual that Susan and I knit the same thing at the same time and even though it's the same pattern we're taken different approaches - mostly because we are very different size-wise. Susan is a teeny tiny little bit of a thang. I make about three of her.

Because of this, I'm making the largest size and adding a 1/2 hexagon between the two full hexagons on the front and back. I'll have to add a few rows on garter to the bottom edge because of the unfinished edges of the 1/2 hexagons. This may make the length closer to tunic length - we'll see.

I'm using Cotton Fleece that I gleened from last year's Stitch 'n Pitch - they had a few extra bags and Susan and I took whatever they would give us!

At this moment I'm on row 15 of my second 5/6 hexagon. I've got 1 full and two 1/2 hexagons to go...I could be wearing this Memorial Day Weekend!

Susan - you need to go check out Susan Lawrenece's latest design...a GORGEOUS smoke-ring.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Hey! We are actually doing this, aren't we?

I wanted the first picture I posted to our blog to be a picture of the small ball of left-over Koigu that was responsible for us becoming friends. I'm very sentimental about that ball of yarn. So sentimental that I put it in a "safe place" - a place so safe that now I can't find it!

What's it been now, Susan? three years? since you read a post on one of my old blogs about knitting with Koigu? You emailed me to ask if I knew of any shops in the area that stocked wanted to knit with it to see if it really was a wonderful as everyone said it was. I emailed you back and told you I would mail you a small ball I had left over from a pair of socks I'd finished - enough to knit a swatch - and found out we live in the same area! I took the skein to your work, where we met in person, I invited you to come knit with me and a couple friends the next time we got together.

That short meeting over a ball of Koigu was the beginning of a friendship that I thank the Goddess for every single day! Since then we've emailed - sometimes 3 times a day! about our knitting and our lives.

I realized a couple weeks ago that I was using our email coorespondences (Thanks to G-Mail and it's unlimited disk space I've never deleted one of our emails...) to go back and see when I started what project or what yarn you ordered from what website. I started thinking that maybe it was time to put all that fiber talk in one place - I'm so glad you agreed!

So. Here we are. Ann and Kay got nothing on us (...but a book and lots and lots of readers...) I've struggled with whether we copying from them and the more I think of it the more I think we are just stepping into a long tradition of coorespondence between friends using Blogger as our medium instead of ink and paper.

So. To the really important stuff.

How is Basalt coming? I'm making good progess. Cast on the last 5/6 hexagon last night. After this I have one more whole hexagon and two 1/2 hexs to go.

Pictures tomorrow!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Getting Started

Welcome. Teresa and I have decided to write a knitting blog together. We email each other about our knitting almost every day, so we thought: “Why not post our knitting diary and include photos?” It may be kind of cheesy to “borrow” the idea from Mason Dixon Knitting, but sharing a blog is a whole lot less intimidating than writing one by oneself. (Besides, I might as well disclose right up front that I can be cheesy sometimes.)

So here goes:

The project du jour is the Basalt Tank from Knitting Nature. It’s my first Nora Gaughan pattern, and I’m loving it. In fact, I raved about it so much T decided she had to drop everything and knit one. There’s something really fun about completing a hexagon, or partial hexagon. I’m nearing the end, and I’m still not tired of it. (This is highly unusual. I have the attention span of a gnat.)

The yarn is Sonata from in the Capri Blue colorway. You’ve got to love Elann! I bought 5 skeins of Capri Sonata last year with a different project in mind. Over the past few days it’s become apparent that I’m going to need more, and Elann still has the correct dye lot. How lucky can a girl get?

Now that I know I can get more yarn, the remaining suspense is all about fit. I’m using size 4 needles and following the directions for the smallest size. However, my gauge is always way off, so the tank will be much wider than the 30 inches the pattern predicts. Hopefully, it’ll be done in the next week so you can see for yourself how it turns out.

Over to you Teresa.