Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Take My Advice

Hi Hill:

How’s it going?

Congrats on your “win” in FL.

I saw you in KCMO last night on CNN. I was watching the election returns, but I confess I had the sound turned down. You looked good but tired. Get some rest.

Listen hon, stop whining about how it’s harder for a woman to campaign than it is for men. Women know that, and men don’t care.

I also saw Bill speak on Saturday night after Obama took SC. He went on and on about HIS accomplishments. What’s that got to do with the price of pantyhose in Peoria? You need to put a muzzle on that man and keep him on a very short leash.

Btw, what IS the price of pantyhose in Peoria? Have you hit any outlet malls on the campaign trail? More importantly, have you found any good yarn shops?

I saw you on Face the Nation a week or so ago. Every time Tim asked you a hard question you dissed Obama. What’s that about? When people ask you hard questions, answer them. People want to get to know you. Charm them. Show them your playful side. Tell them about that New Years Eve party when we played Truth or Dare and you drunk-dialed Dick Cheney or do your Anne Coulter imitation. That still cracks me up every time.

What’s this BS about you being the best candidate because you were First Lady for 8 years? Would you hire me to fly Air Force One just because I’ve been married to a pilot for 5 years? Take my advice, sweetie. You need a new strategy. Your current strategy of casting Obama as “The Black Candidate” and riding Bill’s coat tails or hiding behind his skirts is going to set the Women’s Movement and the Civil Rights Movement back 50 years. Gives voters the impression you’d do anything to win. Reminds them of W in 2000. You don’t want people confusing you with a Republican do you? I didn’t think so.

Right now you should be playing up Obama’s youth. No one wants a a gynecologist or a president who’s younger than they are. Trust me. On the other hand, they might like to see a Clinton-Obama ticket. If you don’t want to disenchant the African American community, you’d better make nice.

So call me if you need help fine-tuning your message. Next time you’re in the neighborhood we’ll send the guys sailing and the women will have a good old fashioned weenie roast. Heh.

Hang in there.



Monday, January 28, 2008

Aran Pocket Shawl - Finished!

I finished the Aran Pocket Shawl about a week ago, but I haven’t posted about it because I was hoping I could get Dave to take a photo of me wearing it. Unfortunately, our schedules just haven’t matched up. When we did spend time together this weekend, we were slugs – meaning I wasn’t wearing makeup – so I didn’t ask him to take my picture.

This is a crummy bathroom mirror shot, but at least it’s something, I guess.

Pattern: Aran Pocket Shawl
Book: Folk Shawls by Cheryl Oberle
Yarn: Peace Fleece worsted weight, about 5 ½ skeins
Colorway: Zarya Fog
Needles: Addi Turbo circs, sizes 6 & 7
Started: 1/10/08
Finished: 1/22/08

I’m really pleased with this shawl and have been wearing it like crazy. It’s long, but I don’t care. It’s warm, and I love the way the gray has a bluish/greenish tint to it. I’m also really happy with the stitch definition.

The pattern called for 1,540 yds of yarn, but I used way less – about 1,100 yds. The pattern also called for 28 pattern repeats. I quit after 26 because I was afraid the shawl would be too long. It’s a good thing I did. Before blocking the shawl was 75 inches long. Afterwards it was 81.5 inches. It’ll probably stretch to even longer proportions as I wear it because of its weight. Before blocking the shawl was 22 inches wide, and that’s how wide it was pinned out after immersion in water. I haven’t measured the width since then.

I decided not to add the pockets because I wanted to drape it as you see it in the photo, and I was afraid the pockets would look wonky that way. I love this shawl so much that I think about making one in another color sometime – perhaps in browns.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I Forgot...

I'm short. I'm only 5 feet tall.

Last night I completed the 26th pattern repeat (the pattern calls for 28) of the Aran Pocket Shawl. Since I went down a needle size I expected to have to knit additional repeats to get the 83 inches specified in the pattern. Luckily, I decided to try it on for length.

It was pretty long - almost too long. Then it dawned on me that the model wearing the shawl in the photo in Folk Shawls is probably tall. Maybe I don't need an 83 inch shawl.

So tonight I cast off.

Prior to blocking the shawl was 75 inches. Pinned out after total immersion, the shawl is now 81.5 inches. Looks like I'm going to get a long shawl after all.

If it dries over night I might be able to wear it to work tomorrow. Then I'll decide whether to add the pockets.

As promised here are pics of the yarn I purchased at Fine Points on Saturday:

Yarn: Koigu - KPPPM
Colorway: P828-65

Apparently, no amount of photoshopping is going to allow me to show you the true colors of that yarn. I tried. I really did. It's much browner and darker in person, and there's some teal in there.

Yarn: Koigu KPPPM
Colorway: P151-20

The colors in the photo are pretty close to the real thing.

Don't worry T. I plan to bring them to Knit Nite so you can see them.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Very Cold Road Trip - But It Was Definitely Worth It!

The Cleveland Boat Show began last weekend and ended yesterday. Over the past few weeks Dave mentioned it several times in passing, sounding kind of wistful. However, I didn't think too much about it. On Friday night I was really wiped out and my guard was down. (After the cruise and the holidays these 5 day work weeks are killing me.) Dave chose that moment to suggest a road trip. Cleveland is about 4 hours from Dayton, and he suggested we just drive up for the day.

I groaned inwardly. The temperatures were expected to be in the single digits, and since Cleveland is right on the lake it was bound to be windy. Then I saw an opportunity. This would be a chance to visit Fine Points, a yarn shop that claims to have the biggest inventory in Ohio. When I suggested it, I think Dave groaned inwardly, but he agreed.

Cleveland is Jeanne's turf, but there wasn't time to contact her before we left.

We were on the road by 9:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. Dave announced that we would stop at Fine Points first. As we approached the outskirts of Cleveland he told me I could have 1 hour in the store. I nodded, pretending that sounded fair and reasonable.

To get to Fine Points from the south you have to drive through some "iffy" inner city neighborhoods. Dave was doubtful that a high-end yarn shop would be located in that part of town. We spotted a late model Bently sports car going in the same direction. I confidently told Dave the Bently was headed to Fine Points, just as we were. He scoffed at that. At one intersection, the Bently went straight but we turned. Sure enough, when we pulled up in front of Fine Points 5 minutes later, the Bently was parked across the street.

The store was packed with merchandise and customers, and there were plenty of friendly sales clerks to assist everyone. We never did identify the owner of the Bently. Dave waited in a cosy seating area near the front window where a friendly knitter was happily ensconced and glad for the company. I tried to take in the store.

This is the view from the cash register. It's a blurry picture, but it's one of the few areas of the store that are open enough to stand back for a broad photograph. The rest of the store is too crammed with name brand yarn to be able to step back very far.

The Rowan was on this wall. You can see part of it, but the wall continues to the right. Facing that wall are cubbie holes crammed with Debbie Bliss.

The Noro was stashed in the cubbies on this wall. The Colinette was displayed above.

The Fiesta yarn was kitty-corner to the Rowan wall. I got to fondle La Luz for the first time. Yum!

The store is so crammed with merchandise that they put out only a few skeins of every colorway. The rest is stored in the basement.

There was more yarn and lots of knitting books and patterns upstairs.

That's where I found the Cascade and the Manos. Fine Points also sells "Art to Wear" apparel, and that's upstairs, too.

By the time I got upstairs my head was spinning. The clock was ticking, and I was having trouble focusing on yarn for purchase and possible projects. It was overwhelming. A sales clerk laughed at me, and told me that's a common reaction. Eventually I got a grip and settled on some "souvenires." I'll post about them tomorrow.

Despite Dave's initial time limit, he was really patient and a really good sport. I managed to get in and out of there in less than 90 minutes, which is probably record time. I can't wait to go back, let me tell you.

From there we went to the International Exposition Center. The place is huge, but some boats were too big to put up the masts and sails.

Only the smaller boats were displayed with sails.

The sail boats ranged in size from sunfish to 45 feet. We didn't even look at the power boats.

Visitors were able to climb aboard the boats and look at the interiors.

This Hunter was about 35 feet, I believe. It was comfortable, but the 45 foot Beneteau was incredibly spacious. Its interior was really beautiful, but there were at least 5 people roaming around below deck, so I didn't get pics of that one.

This is a V berth (sleeping area in the bow) of a mid-sized boat (30 -35 feet - I can't remember exactly.) Since the cabins are below the water line, the interiors often don't get much natural light. We liked the interiors that had lighter woods and fabrics - but we would have been glad to take any of those babies home.

With the long drive home ahead of us, we stopped in Medina for dinner and stumbled into what looked like a little Italian restaurant called Santo Suosso's. When we entered, we were happy to see a number of empty tables. However, the hostess explained that they were all reserved. We opted to dine at the bar. We weren't the only ones. The restaurant quickly filled up, and we discovered there were at least 2 more dining rooms - both full - in the back. The food was more than just a pleasant surprise. It was outstanding. Next year, if Dave wants to go to the Cleveland Boat Show, I'll be more than happy to go with him - so long as we can stop at Five Points and Santo Suosso's along the way.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Aran Pocket Shawl Progress

I’m still really enjoying knitting the Aran Pocket Shawl. Memorizing the pattern didn’t take long at all.

The little flecks of color in the yarn (Peace Fleece worsted in the Zarya Fog colorway) keep me entertained, too.

I went down a needle size and got gauge widthwise. Lengthwise may be another story. It’s hard to tell how long the shawl will be after blocking because the basket weave pattern is kind of puffy right now.

My first attempts at photographing the shawl utterly failed to capture the basket weave pattern. When I asked the expert, Dave mumbled something about needing to create shadows. Of course he was nowhere to be found when I took these pics.

This one's kind of dark, but if you look carefully you can make out the basket weave effect.

Here you can see it's puffy and some of the flecks of color that break up the gray.

I draped the shawl over the back of the chair in another attempt to create shadows that would illuminate the basket weave pattern. However, the effect was sort of distorted.

Maybe you can see it here.

Right now the shawl is 36 inches. The pattern calls for 83 inches. I want it to be long and wide so it will keep me warm. It's snowing out, and the temps are supposed to drop to well below freezing. Of course, at this rate the shawl won't be done until the weather warms up.

Monday, January 14, 2008

John's Hat

Saturday we took John shopping for an interview suit. He plans to co-op next quarter. His major is industrial design, and he said he wanted to look like a designer, not a banker. I wasn't sure what that meant, but John and the salesman put together a rather impressive look. John was pleased. He tried to act nonchallant when he looked at himself in the 3-way mirror, but he couldn't quite hide his delight. I so wanted to get a photo of that, but I knew he'd never forgive me for bringing the camera into the store.

I was torn between marveling at how grownup he looked and heartbreak at how grownup he looked. Made me farklempt.

Afterwards he did blog duty despite his lack of enthusiasm.

Here's a closeup. His patience was wearing thin.

Pattern: Skip
Book: Hip Knit Hats
Yarn: Malabrigo worsted weight merino, less than 1 hank
Colorway: Azul Buscando
Started: 11/25/07
Finished: 12/22/07

The hat did not take a month to knit. The pattern was simple. I just put it down in the middle to work on something else. The sunshine made the Azul Buscando a little bright, but in flatter winter light it looks just fine.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Crummy Pics But a Happy Knitter

Where has the week gone?

My friend Jennifer had baby #6 on Monday morning. Her first 5 are boys, so she had an expensive test to find out the baby's gender well before it was born. The test said it would be a girl. There has been much joy and anticipation. The test was wrong. Jennifer delivered a beautiful, healthy baby boy. Jalen Rashad. Like all of the others, he's a sweetie. Did I remember to bring my camera to the hospital? No. Rats.

On Wednesday night the Knit Wits got together for a post-holiday dinner. Teresa's sister is an artist, so T commissioned dolls for each of us. Her sister Cyndi really captured the look on my face when Dave discovers I've bought more yarn. (Thanks T! I just love it.)

I've been itching to knit something more substantial than scarves and socks, so I placed an order for some Peace Fleece worsted weight between Christmas and New Years. Peace Fleece was closed for the holidays until January 8th, so it's been quite a wait. The yarn was delivered yesterday.

Last night I cast on the Aran Pocket Shawl from Folk Shawls. (That's the Zarya Fog colorway.) I've really wanted an APS, but I was worried that all of the seed stitch would drive me crazy. Instead I've found this pattern really engaging and fun. The pattern is interesting yet soothing like a repetitive lace pattern, but you can see the fabric emerge as you knit without having to wait until it's blocked. Of course, I'm still in the throws of new love. Above you can see 2 pattern repeats. We'll see how I feel when I get farther into it. The pattern calls for 28 pattern repeats altogether.

Speaking of where did the time go, I spent the morning at home because I have to work late tonight. Now I'm off to a meeting. Where did my morning go?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Spinning My Wheels

My knitting is going nowhere fast. Friday night I got stuck in traffic on the highway for over an hour. By the time I got home I was too tired to knit.

Saturday I finished the Sapphire blue Japanese Vines scarf.

Don't let the photo fool you. I still haven't woven in ends.

Then I picked up the Dream In Color sock I started on the cruise (second week of December).

Shortly thereafter I finally admitted to myself that I don't like knitting socks with 2 circs, and that sock is never going to get finished if I don't start over on DPNs.

I didn't want to act too hastily, so I put the DIC sock aside and cast on a sock with some Socks That Rock light weight yarn. When I knit a sock with DIC, I use size 0 DPNs and cast on 52 stitches. After a false start with the STR I found that with size 0 DPNs a cast on of 48 stitches does the trick.

So I knit merrily along until I became unhappy with the pooling. I'm not sure whether you can see it in these photos, but all of the light blue appears on only 1 side of the sock.

And all of the green appears on the other side of the sock. So, 1 side looks light, and the other looks dark. The pooling if very apparent.

In desperation I pulled the yarn from the center of the cake and knitted alternating rows from the opposite ends of the yarn. This added some light blue to the other side of the sock farther down (here down is up - near the needles, because I started at the cuff), but the pooling is still a problem.

Last night I put that sock aside and cast on another Japanese Vines scarf (my current default project) once again using Cherry Tree Hill SuperSock Solids, this time in the Tangerine colorway.

It's pretty sad when one can't count on socks as a default knitting project.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

I Meant To Do That

No one's ever accused me of being technologically competent. Come to think of it, no one's ever accused me of being cool under fire either. So imagine my dismay yesterday, when I plugged my trusty flash drive into a new laptop with the intention of displaying a PowerPoint presentation to a room full of healthcare providers, and this popped up on the large wall screen for all to see:

I offered no explanation, but concentrated on manipulating the machine in hopes of displaying the appropriate slide show. In the meantime the laptop kept offering to display a slide show from the open file. Yikes.

Eventually, one of the participants helped me access the appropriate slide show, and I carried on. I never did explain.

Scarf fever continues to rage around here. The second Japanese Vines scarf is off the needles and waiting to be blocked - hopefully tonight. In the meantime I cast on a Midnight Moonlight Scarf from Scarf Style with some red Cherry Tree Hill SuperSock Solids. I'm really sorry that CTH is phasing out the SuperSock Solids, but I love being able to get it on sale.

Tonight is caucus night in Iowa. I'm looking forward to watching the coverage on the tube while I knit away.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Scarf Central

Happy New Year!

While I haven't been blogging lately, I have been knitting. Love those 4 day weekends.

Below is my first attempt at a Chevron Scarf.

I started this on the cruise, and quickly abandoned it - not because of my short attention span, either. This one's headed for the frog pond because I'm just not crazy about how the two colorways (STR Fire On The Mountain and Lapis) look together. Even if I liked them more, it would probably still get frogged because the fabric just isn't soft and fuzzy like a scarf should be. I think the very qualities that makes Socks That Rock yarn knit up into such wonderful socks do not lend themselves to comfy scarves. But maybe that's just me.

Moving on.

Behold! The Japanese Vines scarf in Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Solids, colorway: Turquois. (Actually, I think the color is closer to a lovely teal. In my opinion, the colorway called Teal is a bit too dark and muddy to be a true teal.) I can't tell you how happy I am with this scarf! The stitch definition is excellent, as is the hand and drape.

The Japanese Vines pattern was a bit of a challenge at first. For the longest time it felt like I was taking 2 steps forward and 1 step back. Luckily, it wasn't too terrible to tink back, because the rows are so short. Eventually, I got the hang of it, and as soon as that sucker came off the blocking board I cast on another, this time in CTH Supersock Solids, colorway: Sapphire.

As is true of most lace, it doesn't look that impressive before blocking. The hand isn't that impressive, either. This one should be finished tonight or tomorrow. Then I'll have to decide what to knit next. Another scarf, perhaps? Discounted Name Brand Yarns has CTH Supersock Solids on sale for a great price, so I've ordered a few more colorways. What am I going to do what all of these scarfs? I haven't a clue.