Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Rowan Summer Tweed Cardi - Finished!

When I (Ms. Instant Gratification) finish something I like to wear it immediately. So this morning I dressed with care: brown linen slacks, cream colored shell, and red Rowan Summer Tweed cardi.

When I left the house I was surprised by the intense heat and humidity. Since I was a few minutes early, this presented me with a dilemma. I could:

  1. Go back in the house and change into something cooler;
  2. Stop for gas on the way to work (the gas tank was about 1/8 full); or
  3. Do both and be late for work.

I took off the cardi, placed it in the car, and stopped for gas on the way to the office. (Every once in a while I do the right thing.) I may put the cardi back on once the AC cranks up.

Dave took this pic last night. He was concerned because it doesn't show the seed stitch detail well. I assured him readers can scroll down to see detail in pics of the sleeves and individual pieces.

Here are the specs:

Pattern: Mine
Yarn: Rowan Summer Tweed, about 7.5 skeins
Colorway: #537 Summer Berry
Started: 7/14/07
Finished: 7/31/07

One of these days I'll pick up "hooks and eyes" and sew them on so the jacket can be worn closed.

The sweater is warmer than I expected. It'll be nice in the fall, but I was hoping for something a little lighter for summer. As I've mentioned before, with soaking the color has faded from a rich, dark red to an almost brick red. It's pretty tho'. I like it enough to make a second one in another color.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Seam Hell

Seaming a cardi takes forever - at least when I do it. I started at 6:30 p.m., stopped at 10:00 p.m., and I've still got one sleeve and two side seams to go. The shoulders are the most painstaking. Purists maintain they must be sewn, but I get much better results when I use a crochet hook and slip stitch. I know it's shocking that I would admit such a thing on the Internet - but there you have it.

I get the best results when I pin the pieces to the blocking board Nancy gave me. It's nice because I can hold it in my lap while I sew. Thanks again, Nancy. I really love that thing.

Today marks the first day since I pulled the Oakley Shawl out of the UFO pile that I haven't knit at least two rows on it. I more than made up for that while the red Rowan Summer Tweed cardi was blocking yesterday. There are now 169 stitches on the needle. The directions say to cast off when there are 175. I've used up 3 balls of yarn and part of a 4th. The shawl is approaching the finished size given in the pattern. That means I'll have at least 2 balls of yarn for the fringe. Is that excessive? Should I make the shawl a little larger than the pattern directs? I'm not sure how to proceed, but I probably won't do anything until the RST cardi is finished. Must. Get. Out. of. Seam. Hell.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Quiet Weekend

The foot, she is healing - 'though not as fast as I'd like.

The above pic was taken on Friday night - 10 days after I sprained my ankle. You can't really see it, but there's a nice swollen black and blue area just above the toes, too.

Needless to say, there was no bicycling this weekend. Dave worked, so there wasn't any sailing, either. Thank goodness for the Tour de France. Yes, I watched it to the bitter end. Saturday's time trial was actually very exciting - even though I hadn't been rooting for any of the top 3 contenders. As a bicyclist, I have to admire the competitors' grit and raw power. Anyone who can ride a bike for 20 days through the Alps and the Pyrenees is amazing - especially at average speeds of 25 mph. Dave and I generally average 12.5 or 13 mph on gently rolling terrain in not too windy weather. On a good downhill, with a tail wind, we might reach 18 - 20 mph.

In addition to spectating, there was lots of knitting. As of this afternoon, the red Rowan Summer Tweed cardi is blocking - FINALLY.

On Saturday I doubted my tried and true formula, and decided to add an extra inch of sleeve width on the first sleeve just to be on the safe side. When I got to the sleeve cap, I realized I'd erred. The sleeve cap would be 6 inches high instead of the required 5 inches or so because there were too many stitches on the needle. Since I am me, I knit on figuring I could compensate somehow. However, when I knit the second sleeve I came to my senses and stopped increasing when the sleeve was the appropriate width (13 inches). That necessitated some serious frogging on the first sleeve. This morning I grit my teeth and did the right thing. I ripped back to almost the halfway point and re-knit the thing.

That blocking board was a gift from Dave. He picked it up at a garage sale and surprised me with it. It's treated cardboard, so he wrapped it with an inexpensive plastic sheet that would normally be used to protect floors/carpets when painting. The plastic needs to be replaced - but the board has held up just fine. The grid of one inch squares makes pinning wet garment pieces a lot easier.

Once the Rowan Summer Tweed cardi was pinned out, I focused all of my attention on the Oakley Shawl. Maybe, just maybe, I'll get that thing finished this week.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sleepless In Ohio

It's 4:52 a.m., and I've got a touch of insomnia. Might as well post an entry to the blog.

Last night I bit the bullet and ripped back the sleeve of the red Rowan Summer Tweed cardi to an inch above the cuff in order to begin the increases closer to the wrist. Here is a pic of my progress so far. It doesn't look that different from the last photo of that sleeve, does it?

Below is a current photo of the Oakley Shawl. It doesn't look that different from its last photo, either. It's grown, though. There are now 153 stitches on the needle. I believe there were 124 stitches when I plucked it from the UFO pile. I'm also near the end of the 3rd ball of yarn. (Hey, I have to measure progress where I can find it.)

I'm not sure what the insomnia's all about, but I should use this time well. It is now 5:14 a.m. I could write a sonnet, learn to paint, clean out the garage, or knit. What would you do?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Say It Ain't So

Michael Rassmussen has been pulled from the Tour de France by his team Rabobank allegedly because he lied about his whereabouts when he should have appeared for a non-race-related drug test. Apparently, that's a violation of their ethics code. There has to be more to the story than that. His performance has been super-human. One has to wonder if his performance was illegally enhanced. Time will tell, I guess.

In addition to Alexandre Vinokourov, an Italian rider has tested positive for doping. He was led away in handcuffs. This is all so disappointing. The Versus.com website says the remaining 3 top contenders for winning the overall race have never been linked to doping. At this point, it's hard to maintain my enthusiasm. Watching the TdF has become like watching World Wrestling Federation events. (Not that I do that. I don't.) Are any of the competitors for real?

Let's talk about a happier subject. Knitting. That's the ticket.

Below is a pic of the back and two front panels of the red Rowan Summer Tweed cardi. I really like how this one's turning out so far. I'm really anxious to block it because the fabric will become even nicer.

I took the below photo of the sleeve early last evening then made some significant progress before I went to sleep. It's possible I could have finished the sleeve if I hadn't put it down to knit 2 long rows on the Oakley Shawl. (Re the Oakley: There are about 150 stitches on the needles, and the directions say to cast off when there are 175 stitches. I'm getting there.)

I've been debating whether to rip back the sleeve to within an inch or two of the seed stitch cuff. This is the second light weight cardi I've made that's meant to be worn over warm weather clothes. The first was the linen jacket made with Maggi Knits Linen that was expected to stretch significantly, so I made the sleeves snug. This time around I really wasn't sure how wide to make the sleeves. I cast on enough stitches to give me my standard cuff of 8.75 inches. Without a long sleeved top under it, the cuff seemed really large for my small wrist. To compensate I did not begin to increase the width until the sleeve was 15 inches long. This may have been a mistake. The sleeve now seems a little too close-fitting around the forearm. It's hard to tell whether the sleeve will expand enough in the blocking process or not. It seems like a close call. A wise knitter would rip back right now, wouldn't she? I may swim up the river of denial a little longer.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

This is still a knitting blog!

Don’t let photos from the lake fool you.

No pics today, but some links to other knitter’s beautiful FOs.

Clicking around on ravelry.com I discovered the Sunrise Circle Jacket by Kate Gilbert. (I’m late to the party, as usual. This free pattern appeared in the Spring 2006 issue of Interweave Knits. ) My obsession has been growing ever since.

At first I had my doubts. The jacket is designed so that 2 half circles overlap to form the front. It calls for Karabella Soft Tweed, which is 100% wool. I like jackets and cardis that can be worn open – especially if they’re wool. I was afraid this jacket would be too warm to wear and/or would look funny if worn open.

A little Internet research turned up the following jackets: (The knitter's name will link you to her blog. The SCJ will link you to a photo of her jacket on Flickr.com.)

Hope’s SCJ – Talk about gorgeous!

Moni’s SCJ- The buttons need to be moved, but it’s made with Rowan Summer Tweed not wool, with size US 3 needles.

Marjan’s SCJ – In pink RST. Made with size US 5 needles. I like the way she pins it closed instead of using buttons or toggles.

Nicole’s SCJ – does not overlap in front. Now that has real possibilities.

If I make the Sunrise Circle Jacket I think I’d like to use Rowan Summer Tweed, but I’m a little torn about whether to order the RST right now. I should probably finish the red RST cardi that’s currently on my needles before I commit to making another project with that yarn. I’m using size US 8 needles. RST is a little stiff and not smooth, but with the size 8s it’s fine to knit with. The thought of knitting with RST and smaller needles does give me pause. Moni commented that she found it downright painful to knit RST with size 3 needles. If I can’t get a usable gauge with size 5 needles or larger I might not be able to use RST for the Sunrise Circle Jacket. (The pattern calls for size US 7 needles. That gives me hope.)

On the other hand, I’ve just started the first sleeve of the red RST cardi. It should be finished by the end of next week. It’ll drive me crazy if I have to wait for yarn when I’m ready to begin a new project.

In the meantime, Webs is out of RST in a number of colorways, and they tell me it’s on back-order. They have no idea when they’ll get more. I really HATE to spend more than I need to for yarn, but in this case I just might HAVE to get RST somewhere else. Dear Readers: Please drop me an email or comment if you know where I can get a good deal on Rowan Summer Tweed.

Non-Knitting-Related Comments
As you know, I really admired Alexandre Vinokourov for winning Stages 13 and 15 of the Tour de France after taking stitches in both knees and an elbow for an injury in Stage 5. Now it turns out he failed a doping test. He and the rest of Team Estanza have withdrawn from the race. I don’t understand why riders use doping methods (in this case an illegal blood transfusion) when they know they’ll be tested if they win a stage. It’s sad that fans can’t be sure whether an athlete is genuinely a winner or is merely cheating in this amazing competition.

On a happier note, there’s good news from the Ohio Supreme Court. They just issued an opinion that people who are not married but are “living as a spouse” fall under the protection of the Ohio domestic violence statute. The decision affords legal protection to victims who shouldn’t have to be married to their abusers and will help the criminal justice system hold unmarried abusers accountable for their conduct. Yay!

Monday, July 23, 2007

September in July!

So. Sunday.

The TV weatherman compared Sunday’s weather to September – sunny, warm, and without humidity. It was also pleasantly windy – perfect for a day at the lake.

People engaged in various kinds of water fun.

There was water skiing.

There was inner-tubing.

Best of all, there was sailing. The most sailboats we’ve ever seen on the lake at any one time are 4. On Sunday there were 10 sailboats, including ours.

I tried and tried to get a bunch of sailboats in the same shot, but 2 or 3 was the best I could do.

We sailed around for a while, then sailed into the “No-Wake Zone” and dropped anchor. Dave read Cruising World, and there was knitting. I got through the waist shaping on the second front panel of the Rowan Summer Tweed cardi.

Sailing sounds so romantic doesn’t it? They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. With Dave, all it takes are a few nautical terms. You should see him try to hide his smile when I use terms like “underway” or “coming about” or “main sheet.” (On the BOAT. NOT in bed. Your minds are in the gutter.)

However, in the bright afternoon sunshine we wore hats and sun screen for protection. We are not hat people.

In his cap, Dave resembled Larry the Cable Guy.

My hat didn’t exactly lend me the glamour I was going for, either.

So much for romance.

Fabulous Weekend

The weekend was just wonderful. Dave worked during the day on Saturday, so I tried to make every minute count - meaning I did a lot of knitting. On Friday night I finished the back of the Rowan Summer Tweed cardi. On Saturday, I managed to finish one front panel. On Sunday, I got through the armhole shaping on the second front panel. Meanwhile, I stuck to my 2-row a day regimen on the Oakley Shawl. Pics tomorrow or the next day, I promise.

The Tour de France was really exciting. Saturday was the first time trial. Competitors tend to specialize - some are good in the mountains, others are sprinters. The sprinters usually do well at time trials. There are prizes for all kinds of things besides winning the overall race. Everyday, there is a prize for the guy who wins that stage of the race. There is also a prize called The King of the Mountains. Michael Rassmussen is a Dane who has won the King of the Mountains several times (5?) in years past, but was not expected to be a contender for the overall race. S0 far he's surprised everyone. He took the yellow jersey (lead) on the 7th or 8th stage and has managed to hold on to it ever since. Saturday was stage 13, and Rassmussen was expected to lose so much time at the time trial that he would relinquish the yellow jersey. However, he surprised everyone. He placed 11th in the time trial and did well enough to remain a full minute ahead of all of the other competitors in the overall race.

Another big surprise was the winner of the time trial, Alexander Vinokurov, from Kazakistan. When the race began he was considered a serious contender to win the overall race. However, he wiped out early on, and took stitches in both knees and an elbow. He's been struggling to stay in contention ever since. On Saturday he came roaring back to win the time trial handily - putting him back in contention.

Yesterday was another story. It was the riders' first day in the Pyrenees. Rassmussen's a climber and did well - placing second and retaining his lead in the overall race. Vino faded and could not even stay with the Peloton (pack). Without Lance Armstrong and Jan Ulrich, the race is wide open, and it's getting more exciting every day.

On Saturday afternoon I watched the Masterpeice Theater movie: House of Cards. If you like that sort of thing, I highly recommend it. It was excellent. Susannah Harker, who planned Jane Bennett in Pride and Prejudice is in this one. It was sort of odd to see Ms. Harker saying and doing things Jane Bennett would never think of doing.

Saturday night Dave and I went for an evening sail. We got out on the lake at about 8p, when the sun was low in the sky.

The weather was perfect, and there were other sailboats on the lake.

It took a while before we were able to get close enough to get good photos.

There was more good sailing on Sunday, but I'll tell you about that tomorrow.

Friday, July 20, 2007

This and That

I apologize up front for this disjointed post - it's being written on the fly, and it IS Friday. I need a weekend.

Thanks to everyone who expressed concern and wishes for a speedy recovery for my hurt foot. It is much improved, and I was able to drive to work this morning.

Last night my son Brian called from Boston to ask about my injury. It turns out he’s taken to reading my blog to keep tabs on his mother. A college boy reading his mother’s knitting blog. Who knew? I was half asleep, but I seem to remember that Brian cautioned me to keep it clean. I believe he said “You never know who’s reading your blog.”

In knitting news: Directions for the Oakley Shawl have me puzzled. The pattern calls for 6 balls of Berocco Suede, and directs you to add one stitch per row, and cast off when there are 175 stitches on the needles. As of last night I’ve got 135 stitches on the needles, and I’ve only used up about 1.5 balls of yarn. Even if the last ball of yarn is used just for fringe, I’m dubious that I’ll be on the 5th ball after another 40 rows. . It also doesn’t look as if a mere 40 rows are going to make the shawl big enough, either. I can no longer count on being finished with the shawl in another 20 days (assuming I stick to my plan to knit 2 rows a day). How disheartening.

Under the heading of 'possibly useful information', I thought I'd share/ramble on about the following:

  • In an email Nancy shared this valuable snippet: “Learned something interesting from Brenda (owner of One More Stitch in Cincinnati) the other day. I was bitching about some yarn not giving me the yardage I expected. She said one of the manufacturers told her yarn is packaged by weight only. If there is high humidity or a lot of dampness in the air the yarn will weigh a bit more and have less yardage than is listed on the label. The manufacturer said the difference can be as much as 3%.”
  • By chance I decided to check the size of my Denise size US 7 needles. According to the measuring card, those needles are really a size US 8. That was a surprise. I haven’t had time to check to see if the other sizes of Denise needles run large, as well. The measuring card seems to be accurate when I use it to measure other needles.

  • And finally, I tried to take a photo that would show the difference between a blocked swatch of Rowan Summer Tweed (top) and the unblocked fabric (bottom), but I doubt you can see it here. The fabric bled in the blocking process. The swatch is still a rich, gorgeous color, but it’s a bit duller than the unblocked fabric. The yarn is stiff to knit with, but the blocked fabric has a nicer drape and hand than the unblocked fabric. Fabrics made with RST may also grow in the blocking process. Before blocking, my gauge for seed stitch (size US 7 needles) was 4.25 st/in. After blocking the gauge was 4.38 st/in.

Plans for this weekend include knitting and watching the Tour de France. There will be no bicycling, but there will be no complaining about my foot injury either. It's hard to justify whining when you see how much agony the TdF competitors endure in their quest for the yellow jersey.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Copper Callista Tank Top - Finished - At Last

Ouch! I hurt my foot last night. I wish I had a hysterically funny story to explain how it happened, but alas that isn’t the case. I was walking outside a store and failed to notice that the sidewalk dropped about 3 inches until I went down. My right foot rolled, and all of my weight came down on the top of the foot. Luckily John was there to save the day. He drove me home, and in record time settled me on the sofa with my foot elevated on pillows and an ice pack. Between that and Ibuprofen I think we were able to minimize the swelling. Now there’s a goose egg-sized bump just below the ankle bone that may or may not be visible in this pic.

It’s still pretty painful, so my friend Jane drove me to work this morning. Thanks Jane! Luckily my only meeting is at my office today. Tomorrow is another story, but as Scarlet O’Hara would say: “I’ll think about that tomorrow.” There are worse things for a knitter than having to stay off one’s feet for a few days.

Once the Ibuprofen kicked in I was able to finish the Copper Callista tank.

The specs are pretty much the same as for the Moroccan Blue Callista tank:

Pattern: Mine (Actually a major modification of the Lacy Tank pattern that appeared in the Spring/Summer 2004 issue of Vogue.)
Yarn: 5 skeins of Elann.com Callista in the Copper colorway. (I used very little of that 5th skein, though.)
Started: Thursday, July 5
Finished: Wednesday, July 18

I made this one a shade smaller than the Moroccan Blue tank. I dropped the neckline a tad and shorted the shoulder straps ½ inch to compensate. The neckline’s a bit lower than I planned, but it looks fine.

This project should not have taken as long as it did. I allowed myself to get distracted by other things, such as swatching the Rowan Summer Tweed, the Oakley Shawl, and life in general. I know it will bore you readers to tears (all 4 of you), but I still love garments made with Callista, and will probably use the yarn again.

For those of you who are keeping me honest, I knit 2 rows on the Oakley again last night. At this rate I should be able to wear it fall 2017.

Incremental Progress

Ms Instant Gratification here, and I'm a bit frustrated.

For the past two nights I've had to run unexpected errands that cut into my knitting time. Each night I've knit the obligatory 2 rows on the Oakley Shawl (if I don't do that first it won't happen), a few rows on a cardi I started this weekend in Rowan Summer Tweed, and work on finishing the Copper Callista Tank. Two nights ago I sewed the side seams and crocheted the edging on one armhole of the tank. Last night I crocheted the edging on the other armhole. This morning I sewed one shoulder seam and crocheted the neck edging before I had to leave for work. Hopefully, I'll be able to sew the second shoulder seam and weave in the ends on this baby tonight. This drawn out finishing process is ridiculous. I should be wearing that tank today!

On the other hand, my son John is coming up for the night, so my knitting time may be limited yet again. I don't want to complain because I don't get to see him nearly enough. BUT, he will expect dinner (take-out anyway) - which will no doubt cut into my knitting time, and then we will probably have to go out for a milkshake. The kid lives on milkshakes and fast food.

His older brother, Brian, commented on his blog yesterday that if someone gave him a free association test and gave him the phrase "frozen pizza" he would immediately say "Mom!" That pretty much says it all about my cooking ability. I usually keep frozen pizzas in the freezer. It's up to the boys to warm them up when they get hungry. It's a good thing both boys are no longer minors or Children's Protective Services would be at my door.

Once the Copper Callista Tank is in the FO column, I can concentrate on the Rowan Summer Tweed Cardi. Below is a photo of the back panel. The size 7 needles make a nice change from the size 3 needles I've been using with the Callista and the size 4 needles I used with the MaggiKnits Linen for the linen jacket. If I ever get some time to focus on it, this cardi should fly off the needles, right?

There's no point in including a photo of the Oakley today. I've knit 2 rows since I took the photo in yesterday's post. At this rate it will be ages before there's enough progress to merit a photo.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Oakley - Patience Is Not My Long-Suit

About a year ago I started the Oakley Shawl with Berocco Suede Yarn. I've long admired the shawl and wanted one for myself. In April 2006, Elann.com put the suede on sale for $4.98 a ball, so I bought some.

I did a little Internet research first. Knitting Wench made what she called a "Claponcho" based on the Clapotis at Knitty.com with Berocco Suede. She observed that the suede is a ribbon yarn, and she recommended unraveling a little of the yarn at a time while keeping a rubber band around the ball, then stopping to untwist the yarn periodically. I found a modified version of this technique works better for me. I unravel enough yarn to knit an entire row. Then the yarn only needs to be untwisted once or twice toward the end of the row.

The pattern calls for 6 balls. By the time I started the second ball I had become disenchanted with the project. As the rows get longer and longer, it takes more patience to knit each row. The fabric also had a little bit of a rubbery feel to it, which I found displeasing. Eventually, I put the project down.

This weekend I picked it up again. I still want an Oakley Shawl. This time I've resolved to knit 2 rows a day. This will be a test of my self-discipline as a knitter. I'm not exactly well known for my self-discipline in general, but so far I've stuck to this regimen for 3 whole days.

Last night I also began seaming the Copper Callista tank. Hopefully it'll be finished tonight, and I'll be able to add it to the FO gallery. Pics soon.

Monday, July 16, 2007

What a Difference a Fan Makes

Yesterday I finished knitting the Copper Callista tank top. Teresa was right. A fan makes the blocking process go much faster. I prefer the total immersion method because I have more confidence in the results. However, it can take forever - especially with cottons and linens, such as Callista yarn. I soaked and pinned the back and front panels late morning yesterday, and they were just about dry by bedtime.

There was other knitting this weekend, but I'll tell you about that tomorrow.

It was so affirming to read Yarn Harlot's July 12 post about the Nebraska rape case. I can really relate to what she said about making a choice not to be angry all of the time. It isn't by accident that I work for the most feminist agency in town.

It's been a rough few weeks. Ever since the body of Jesse Davis was found in Akron OH, the Domestic Violence Hotline (937-222-SAFE/7233) has been ringing non-stop. That case hit home for a lot of women, and they began calling the Hotline for help and advice. You don't have to be in an emergency situation to call a Domestic Violence Hotline. The advocates are there to listen if you just want to talk. They will help you assess how dangerous your partner/abuser/stalker is and do some safety planning tailored to your particular situation. They will support you in your decisions - including if you plan to stay in your situation. They just want to help you be safe.

Saturday was the agency picnic. I work with a lot of intelligent, fun women. K, an attracitve woman in her 20s observed that most guys she meets in bars tend to be turned off when she tells them she's a victim advocate at a domestic violence agency. She said she's taken to telling them she works with animals at a zoo. She was joking. Sort of.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Swatching Rowan Summer Tweed

I get paid to go to meetings. I don't have to dress like a lawyer, but I should at least attempt to look professional. I'm DONE with suits. I won't wear one unless I absolutely have to. And I'm sick, Sick, SICK of blazers. So the challenge is to find clothes I like that still look professional.

I'm always looking for cardi/jacket patterns I can wear to work. For the most part I like clean lines and a tailored fit. Most people have a favorite sock pattern. I have a favorite jacket pattern - more of a formula really - that I can modify depending on the yarn at hand. That's what I used with the MaggiKnits Linen to make the linen jacket. (Granted, the tassels hid the clean lines on that one.)

While I contemplate my options, I've been swatching Rowan Summer Tweed. The yarn gets mixed reviews from other knitters. It's stiff and not easy on the fingers, but I like the hand and weight of the swatches so far.

I've swatched RST in plain old stockinette stitch,

seed stitch, and

in the stitch from the pattern called "My So Called Scarf."

I really like the stitch from My So Called Scarf because it lies flat and has a woven appearance. I made a jacket using that stitch and Malabrigo worsted weight merino that came out really well. (Dave's not here to take a pic for the blog. Sorry.) The problem with that stitch is that the cast off is wonky. I've experimented some but haven't been able to get a firm cast off using that stitch pattern. The fuzzy, stretchy, self-felting properties of the Malabrigo compensated for the wonky cast off, and the jacket turned out fine. However, RST is cotton and silk. It doesn't have those properties, and I'm afraid that if I attempt a jacket the shoulder seams will look bad.

To my surprise, RST knit in stockinette with size 7 needles gives a really nice hand. The fabric is lighter and airier (is that a word?) than I expected - which is what I'm looking for in a summer/early fall jacket. That could work. Now if I could just settle on a pattern...

Last night was Knit Nite. Vicky hosted the Knit Wits in her lovely garden. I got there late but it didn't begin to get dark until 9:20 p.m. or so, and it was nearly 10:00 p.m. by the time I got home. Ellenmarie began to seam a wool jacket she started last winter, I believe. She used my jacket pattern/formula and some amazing yarn she bought in Ireland. The knitted fabric is gorgeous, and when it's finished we're going to post pics and specs. I can't wait to see it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Knitting is Happening

The Copper Callista tank top is coming along - but not as quickly as I'd hoped. I had this dream of finishing it in time to wear with the linen jacket when it gets a little cooler on Thursday or Friday. That's not likely to happen.
The back panel is finished.
But I've only started the front panel.
One thing about Callista - it seems to take forever to block when I use the immersion method.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Knit Wits Go North
(Right now I can't get Blogger to title my posts properly. Sorry for any confusion this may cause.)

On Friday night the Knit Wits visited Ewetopia in Troy OH. (Well, most of the Knit Wits went. Holly and Molly couldn't make it. We missed you guys!) When we walked in the door Deb Matthews, the owner, said "The Knit Wits are here!" What a nice welcome! Ellenmarie organized this trip. Either our reputation preceded us, or Ellenmarie told Deb we were coming.

Deb graciously agreed to let me take photos for the blog. This is the view from the front door.

On two Friday nights a month Ewetopia stays open until 10:00 p.m. They order pizza, and knitters come just to hang out and knit. Someone said they've had as many as 30 knitters on those nights. When we got there around 6:00 p.m., a group had already gathered at the table.

Below, a knitter consults with Deb. (She's the one standing, on the right.)

Ewetopia's selection includes Mountain Colors (there are several hanks on the display, below), Jamieson's, Dale of Norway, and Rowan yarns.

They also have a nice selection of Chris Bylsma patterns. This is the Crayon Box cardi.

While we were there, a knitter arrived with home-made brownies to add to the array of goodies.

Below is a pic of Teresa checking out the needles at the back of the store.

From left to right: Teresa, Molinda, Vicky, and Ellenmarie.

After our shopping spree, we walked around the town square then went to a restaurant for dinner. We made good use of our time while we waited for a table.

Molinda and T checked out an issue of Interweave Knits.

Ellenmarie worked on a tank top.

Vicky laughed when I asked her to pose for the blog, and Molinda was amused.

Dave was off beginning on Friday. Last weekend we rode our bikes along the Great Miami River from West Carrollton to Miamisburg. On Friday morning we explored the new extension of the trail from Miamisburg south to the northern edge of Middletown. Along the way, we rode past some historic mansions in Franklin. It was a pleasant ride.

Bicycling in the Miami Valley can be deceptive. There are 3 rivers in the area: the Great Miami, the Stillwater, and the Mad River. They all flow south into the Ohio River. When one rides a bike from north to south, one is traveling downhill - however gradually. This may not be apparent until one turns around to go back to the car. Such was the case on Friday morning. The ride back was more strenuous than the ride out. The total mileage was 11.7 miles.

On Saturday we rode from the west side of Springfield to Urbana. Urbana is within 10 miles of the highest point in Ohio. It was uphill all of the way out, and we felt it. This was the first time we've ever ridden that trail, and it was fun. There were some challenges though. There are a number of points where the trail crosses railroad tracks. At each of these crossings, there are signs that say: Stop, Look, and Listen. The plant growth is such, that this is good advice. However, when crossing railroad tracks on a bicycle it's important to cross at as close to a 90 degree angle as possible and to cross with a bit of momentum. If a bicycle fails to cross the tracks properly, the front wheel can get caught in the tracks. You can taco a wheel that way. Then it's a long walk back to the car.

There were also a few road crossings that required some caution. The corn is now high enough that we couldn't see over it from our bikes. When we got to road crossings, we had to stop and peer around the corner of the corn fields to see if it was safe to cross.

The ride back was fast and pleasant, as it was downhill most of the way.

Saturday night Dave and I drove back up to Urbana to watch fireworks. His program has a base at the airport, where the fireworks were set off. The public was restricted to the side of the airport buildings that faced the road, but we sat on the helicopter landing pad facing the runway. The helicopter crew was paged out on a flight 10 minutes before the fireworks began, so Dave and I were left to watch the display by ourselves. The fireworks were set off from far back on the runway. The fireworks were fabulous, and it felt like we were watching them from the privacy of our own backyard. It was a magical evening.

It has been a wonderful week of vacation. I spent time with friends, visited 3 yarn shops, sailed and rode bikes with Dave, and had plenty of time to knit. Now it's back to the real world.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Linen Jacket - Finished!

The whole country (at least the part that's not under water) is having a heatwave, and it's all my fault. I finished the linen jacket, and I'm dying to wear it. The jacket is warmer than I expected, so the weather will have to be cooler to wear it - hence the heatwave. My apologies.

Here it is:

The jacket is hard to photograph because it's off-white. It fits well, and turned out well - if I may so myself. It's a definite departure from my usual "uncomplicated" style. I'm sure Nancy will hate it. Dave hasn't said so, but I'm sure he thinks it's "foo foo" - his word for too fussy. I love it.

Here are the details:

Started: June 18, 2007
Finished: July 4, 2007
Yarn: MaggiKnits Linen - Colorway: Natural
Amount: I have no idea. (Sorry.)
Pattern: My own, sort of. I borrowed the collar from the Vera Jacket designed by Mags Kandis of Mission Falls fame. I borrowed the seed stitch border and tassles from Maggie Jackson of MaggiKnits fame. (Check out the photo of Maggie Jackson in the lower right corner of the designer's webpage. She's wearing the jacket that served as inspiration for mine.)

I owe a million thanks to Robin, for the valuable advice she shared. She cautioned me to make the jacket a size smaller because of MaggiKnits Linen's propensity to stretch significantly. I took this advice seriously - even though I was really worried when I knit it. The first time I tried the jacket on, the sleeves were the snuggest fit I've ever made (on purpose). Within a day they stretched to a comfortable yet snug fit. I made the sleeves about 3/4's of an inch shorter than I normally would have, and they've already stretched enough to fit fine, but it will be okay if the sleeves stretch a bit more. I left the cuffs open. If the sleeves continue to stretch, I'll seam the cuffs. If that isn't enough to get a good fit, I'll add a little elastic. (I hate elastic around my wrists and hope it doesn't come to that.)

My original plan was to use hooks and eyes to close the front. If I did that now, the jacket would pucker along the front opening. It looks fine open, so I'll wait to see if it stretches enough to add the hooks and eyes.

This is a project I've been thinking about for two years. It turned out pretty much as I'd imagined. That doesn't happen very often - not to me anyway. I'm really pleased with it.

Another Great Yarn Shop

One of my favorite yarn shops is Knit On! in Northern Kentucky - just across the river from Cincinnati. In the past someone has always driven me there because I always get lost in Kentucky. (It's like an unwritten law or something. When I was in law school at NKU I stopped accepting invitations to parties held in Kentucky because I could never find them.)

On Monday after I left One More Stitch I decided to see if I could find Knit On! by myself. The directions on their website were really good. I found the store without getting lost, and I only got honked at once - for being in the wrong lane at a light. Not bad.

It was worth it. Knit On! is an amazing store. There are 4 rooms crammed with great yarn.

When I arrived, there were no other customers in the store, and the saleswoman was teaching her granddaughter to knit. She and I called the owner, who gave me permission to take pics and post them. Then the saleswoman let me stand on a chair to photograph the front room. Above is the back wall.

This wall is in the front room, and so is the wall in the photo, below. (If I were stranded on a desert isle I could be content for a long time with just the yarn on that wall alone. You can't see the Elsebeth Lavold in this pic, but it's on that wall, too.)

Unfortunately, I couldn't photograph the room with the Malabrigo and Manos Del Uruguay because it was too dark and crowded.

This is one corner in the third room.

And this is the one wall in the final room.

I believe Knit On! has the widest and deepest selection of yarn in the region. They are the only store I've found so far that carries Koigu. So I bought a souvenir.

Now that I know how to find Knit On!, I plan to visit more often.

The linen jacket is done but pics will have to wait until tomorrow. I finished the thing at 1:40 a.m. Dave was asleep. I was asleep when he left this morning, and he won't be home to take a pick until this evening.