Monday, July 31, 2006

Weekend Wrap-up

It was another busy weekend chez J/SJ, but at least this weekend had some knitting-related content to it. To start off with, when I got home from work on Saturday afternoon, I found a box on the front stoop that was finally what I was expecting:

Well, at least half of what I was expecting. This is the yarn for my Sizzle, which I'll be able to get started on once my e-check clears and I get the pattern (PayPal tells me that will be Wednesday). Unfortunately my package didn't contain my blocking wires. The Knit Picks site says that the wires were shipped separately, but on the same day as the yarn, and now they're inexplicably stopped in Leetsdale. I guess someone there had a shawl ready for blocking. No real emergency, since I'm still four body repeats, the edging chart, and a bind off away from blocking on Adamas.

Last night J's parents came over for dinner and to see the place with all the furniture in, and I was finally able to give J's mom her Mother's Day gift. As you can see, she was very excited to get them, so much so that she put them on right away.

How perfectly do these fit? And I was right about the cast on not being too tight on her skinny little legs.

As long as they were here, I took the opportunity to measure J's stepfather's feet for Socks to Be Named Later. He amused all of us when, upon being asked his color preferences for socks, he announced he really likes a nice heathered blue. (I might add that the man is a big Land's End fan, so I assume that's where he's learning his shades and hues.)

Finally last night, during Entourage, I finished Mata Hari #1:


Okay, I'm stretching the truth a little. This isn't officially done. I still need to weave in ends and sew up a poorly placed yarn over on the side of the heel. I cast on for the second sock during my lunch today, but tonight's knitting is all Adamas.

Friday, July 28, 2006

What's that they say about Fridays?

I am so glad that today is Friday; it's been a ridiculously busy week. I actually woke up yesterday convinced that it was Friday, only to be rudely awakened to the fact that it was only Thursday when I hit the shower and really woke up. I have to wake up moderately early tomorrow morning to go to work, but I am putting a ban on the alarm clock on Sunday morning. I need to sleep in.

As tired as I am, I found a reward for getting out of bed in my e-mail inbox this morning: my MimKnits patterns! I am simply itching to start one of the shawls, but I'm forcing myself to finish Adamas first (I'm through 10 repeats of the body chart -- four more to go! -- and the rows are starting to get really long). I also placed my order this morning for Knit and Tonic Wendy's Sizzle, for which I've already order yarn I hope will work from Knit Picks.

Last night I got home from work and saw a package on the front stoop. I got all excited, thinking that my Knit Picks shipment had arrived in record time. Unfortunately, it was not my yarn, but it was a very nice surprise: a professional series blender! J's uncle works for Waring, and this was what we'd requested as an engagement present. I'll have to get to the market this weekend to get smoothie ingredients to try it out.

Well, folks, I did it. I caved and signed up for Sock Wars. I have no doubt that I'll be "assassinated" very early on, which is just fine with me. I'll get just enough of a challenge to be exciting without having to knit socks for people all over the world (as the ultimate champion of the competition will have to). As I'm in a joining mood, I'm also contemplating joining Knit the Classics, which is basically a book club with a knitting element (all the members read the same book each month and complete a knitting project that goes along with the book at the same time). I'm especially tempted because the August selection is Lolita, which I've always wanted to read but never gotten around to. I'm a tad bit concerned I might be over-extending myself. Your thoughts?

I'm off to spend the rest of my lunch hour working on Mata Hari #1 (it's nearing completion). Have a great weekend, all!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

In a galaxy far, far away ...

Have you heard about Sock Wars? I'm so there. (I'll probably be eliminated right away, but at least I'll get a pair of socks out of the deal!)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

All back to normal

Tonight J and I had our first "official" dinner at home (we were out at a charity event last night), so I decided to finally break out my big, heavy Le Creuset pot that I got from my aunt and uncle in December to make a home-cooked meal.

I call this Country French Chicken, my own concoction with Coq au Vin as an inspiration. Very simple "recipe": I browned boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a little bit of olive oil with a couple cloves of garlic, then added two coarsely chopped Spanish onions, a small can of tomato paste, some red wine, chopped carrots and celery, two cans of diced tomatoes, and some haricots verts (known in this country as green beans). Just let it simmer for about 25-30 minutes, then served over some plain couscous. I thought it was a little lacking in flavor/seasoning, but J really liked it and practically cleaned his plate -- something he never, ever does. The best compliment, if you ask me!

Although there was not too much done over the weekend, for obvious reasons, there has been some knitting progress here at our house. My first Mata Hari has rounded the heel and is into the leg portion. Here's the obligatory progess shot:

The color's not quite right here; it looks more purple than the pale pink it actually is. The colorway of the yarn is called Strawberry Milkshake, and that's pretty much what it looks like.

At home, I've been making steady progress on my Adamas shawl; I'm now well into my ninth repeat of the body chart. I'm hoping to be able to put in some good blocks of time on it this week, and I put in a Knit Picks order yesterday for some lace blocking wires for when it's done.

Speaking of Adamas, I think that the Yarn Harlot may be copying me. Did you see today's post? Did you happen to notice what she's knitting? (second picture) She's not only knitting the same shawl, she's using the same yarn, Knit Picks Shadow! Don't you just hate it when famous knitters are always doing the same thing as you?

Of course, the Yarn Harlot isn't copying me, she's just as taken with Miriam's patterns as I am. Mim happens to be having a little sale on her patterns over on her blog. Today I purchased the patterns for her Seraphim and Mountain Peaks shawls and her Eleanora socks, and I can hardly wait to start them. If you haven't seen any of her patterns before, Mim is a really talented designer, and she's super friendly and helpful if you have problems or questions.

Finally, did you see those pretty new thumbnails, over there in the sidebar? J did those for me Sunday night. It had been a while -- the last time he updated them was sometime in March, I think. I appreciated it so much that I decided to buy him a ticket to Stitch 'n Pitch (we'll be there at PNC Park on 8/13).

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Home Sweet Home!

Well, I am officially moved in to our house. The movers showed up promptly yesterday morning, started moving at 7:30 a.m., and were done by around 10 a.m. (which means I officially made it under the four hour minimum, hooray!). I was pretty much unpacked and settled by about 4:30 or so, in plenty of time to take a shower and go out to dinner with my parents and brother. J and I did a quick trip to the market on the way home and then passed out before 10:30. It was a long day, but highly successful, and truly much less stressful than I had thought it would be (especially after being woken up at 5:30 by a thunderstorm!).

Today we went back to my apartment to do a final cleaning, and now all that's left to be done is drop off the keys.

Now that the stash is settled, I'll probably be starting up some additional projects soon. I think my first priority is probably the mate to my original Pomatomus; I think I'll hold off on starting Forecast until it cools down a bit, since the stash lives on the third floor of the house and it gets really hot up there most days.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Is it Friday yet?

Nope, still Thursday. Oh well.

Last night I met up with Jen and Jenn at the Waterworks Barnes & Noble for our monthly knitting night. It was just the three of us for the second month in a row and although we were a tad disappointed that no other knitters showed up, we had a fantabulous time. I'll direct you over to Jen's blog for more details on the fun.

Believe it or not, I still have only two (yes, TWO) WIPs right now. My Mata Haris are coming along very slowly, since I've only been working on them a few rows at a time during lunch a few days at work (unfortunately, although I like driving to work, I am missing out on the bus knitting time I used to have). At home I've been making better progress on my Adamas shawl. Take a look:


I've included my freshly pedicured foot for scale here, but keep in mind it's all scrunched up. Want a detail shot of the lace? Sure you do!


Yep, looks a lot better than the last time I tried to knit this shawl. It's amazing what a proper yarn over can do.

This weekend is the final stage of the move: the furniture comes! The movers are supposed to be at the apartment between 7 and 8 on Saturday morning, so I'm hoping everything will be in and done by early afternoon. Then it's just a matter of putting everything away (but if you ask me, that's a heck of a lot easier than packing it up!) Perhaps if we're really productive, I'll finally break down and start a third project.

In the meantime, off to work on the shawl...

Monday, July 17, 2006

Stash Relocation and Other Adventures in Moving

Well, I am officially moved into J's place -- only now I can call it our place. Need proof? Here's the stash, resting comfortably in its new home:



This may not be exactly its final resting place, since the furniture has yet to be moved in (that's coming this weekend), but you get the general idea. I think that J has gotten used to having the stash around; notice he's made his own addition of golf balls (or perhaps that's just a not-so-subtle hint that he'd like some hand-knit golf club covers?)

Very little knitting was accomplished this weekend, what with all moving and sweating and showering four times in two days. I completed about a repeat and a half on my lace shawl, and I did manage to finish this little item up earlier this evening:


I think blue was the right choice. Can't wait to see little Finn in it!

I'll end this post with a short public service announcement/reminder: this Wednesday is knitting night at the Waterworks Barnes & Noble. I'll find some interesting project to show and tell. Hope to see some new faces there (and of course some familiar faces as well)!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Block(ing) Party

Last night we had a little blocking party chez Knit/Wit, amid a flurry of packing, throwing stuff out, and watching Capote. (Pardon all the crap in the background. I'm moving, you know what it's like. This is one of the tidier spots in the apartment, believe it or not.) Here are my future MIL's socks and the baby sweater for Finn, after finally getting themselves a good bath and a good spot to lie out.

(See, I told you there'd be FO pictures!)
















Granted, the sweater isn't officially finished, but rest assured the buttons will be sewn on and it will be nicely wrapped up this weekend. We may actually hand deliver it to baby Finn in the next week, so I'll see if I can manage an action shot of him wearing it (weather permitting, of course. I'm not going to force a baby into a sweater in 90 degree heat with no air conditioning present.)

Now for the run-down on the socks (I know it's just what you've all been waiting for).
Pattern: Madder Ribbed Socks from Knitting Vintage Socks (Nancy Bush)
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, in colorway Cool
Needles: US 1 Addi Turbo circs (with the assistance of a dpn for the heels) and dpns for the toes
Mods: none

These were a quick and enjoyable knit, and I really didn't have an issue with Second Sock Syndrome with this pair. The simple rib went really quickly on my two circs and was essentially mindless (we're ignoring, of course, the incident during the screening of Superman Returns, during which the purl stitches kept messing me up). I would definitely knit this pattern again, although I'd also like the try the other ribs in the book.

These socks are a little snug on me (don't worry, I did wash them after I tried them on!) but should fit my future MIL just fine, as she is an itty-bitty thing and doesn't have the largish mid-legs/calves that I do.

To update the other WIPs, my Mata Haris are coming along nicely, and I've completed two repeats of the main chart on my Adamas shawl. It occurred to me that I should probably also cast on for my second Pomatomus (i.e., the second one of the original pair, the one I said I'd do when I signed up for the Pomatomus KAL way back when) so that I can finally have that pair completed. Plus, I'd really like to get back to Forecast, but I may let that wait until the weather cools off a bit -- nothing like a lapful of wool on a hot, humid day in Western Pennsylvania, eh?

This weekend I am working and also hopefully moving in the rest of my stuff (at least the stuff I'm moving on my own) to J's. The "official" move -- of furniture and heavy stuff -- is next Saturday, but the plan is for me to be in and relatively settled by Sunday. It'll be interesting to see if we're able to fit all of our stuff in J's townhouse. (Lord help us when the wedding gifts start coming in!)

Anyone else interested in going to Stitch & Pitch? I think I can manage to convince J to come, for those who want to meet him, although he'll be sans stitching.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The votes are in

And the winner is (drumroll, please) .... BLUE! Seems most of you liked the monochromatic look. To be perfectly honest, I was torn between the blue and the gray, so I've let you make the tough decision for me. Thanks for voicing your opinions!

Unfortunately, last night I realized that I'd already moved my sewing basket to J's place, so I will have to wait until this weekend to sew on the button and take a final shot for all of you to see.

Last night, after registering for wedding gifts at William-Sonoma with J (who was such a good sport), I managed to finish up my future MIL's socks. (Yes, I will have to take a picture of those tonight and post them tomorrow.) Suddenly I found myself with only two WIPs! Shocking, I know. So now my cotton/lycra Mata Haris are my travel sock project and my Adamas shawl will be my home/couch project. Or at least until the entire stash is moved to J's and is at my fingertips ...

FO pictures tomorrow, I promise.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

ALMOST Done

Pattern: Seamless Yoked Baby Sweater by Carole Barenys
Yarn: Lion Brand Baby Soft (sport weight)
Needles: Addi Turbo US 7 circs
Mods: I omitted the decorative stitches around the bottom of the sweater and the wrist of the sleeves. I also did paired decreases down the arm to create a more tapered sleeve.

This is almost done. It just needs to be blocked and (here's where you come in) it needs buttons. Here are the options (turns out I had more than I remembered):

Apologies for the fact that this photo is upside down; for some reason I can't get it to flip. So here are the choices, top to bottom: dark gray, dark blue, pearly white, pearly white with hole in back. Which one gets your vote?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Sweater Update


By now I should really know better than to predict when I'll finish a project, because inevitably I wind up making little or no progress at all after making such a prediction. Here is Finn's baby sweater, and as you can see, it's not finished. In fact, this is the sweater after only about a half-hour's worth of knitting time since I finished the first sleeve. I only managed to pick it up at about 10 p.m. last night, after I spent all weekend working, moving stuff to J's place, and visiting with my parents. I am hoping to spend some sustained time on it this evening, once my bathroom is clean and laundry is done (don't I have just the most exciting Monday night planned?!).

Now here is where I need your advice, dear Readers. I am unsure what buttons to use once this is done (if ever it is). I have two options that I've narrowed it down to (and my apologies for not having taken pictures; if there's enough demand for it I'll take a shot of both with the sweater this evening): one is a pearlized white button, the other is a somewhat pearly dark blue. Both are very plain, round, four-hole buttons, very similar to each other, in fact. Because of the stitch pattern on the yoke of the sweater, I wanted to keep the buttons relatively simple so that the sweater as a whole doesn't get too fussy. Your thoughts? White or blue -- or something else entirely?

Oh, and by the way, I'm doing the sleeves using the magic loop method, my first time using it, and I can't say I absolutely love it. Maybe it has to do with the cord of my Addis, which I normally love for being so sturdy, but here seems to fight with me when I try to "bend" it to work the loop.

Friday, July 07, 2006

New Knitty

It's up and, okay, so maybe it's not that exciting. But you know me, I'm nuts for the socks. And oh drool, must immediately knit up Cookie's latest design!

Just one question, though: what exactly does one do with knitted angel wings?

I took the day off of work yesterday and did a lot of knitting on Finn's baby sweater. The body and one sleeve are done. I should be able to finish the rest of the knitting by the end of the weekend, and then I'll need your opinion on buttons. Pictures to come!

Monday, July 03, 2006

More Pomatomi

Here' s another set:

Now before you go and start thinking, "Man, that SJ is one fast knitter, she already finished another pair of Pomatomi!" let me stop you right there. These two socks may appear to be a pair, but except for the fact that they're the same yarn, they're really not. These two were my prototype socks for my pattern reversal work. The one on the left was the original; the one on the right was knit using the mods I published in my last post. For some unknown reason, the sock on the left is also significantly longer and taller (well, the leg is longer) than the one on the right. Like my artistic posing to hide this fact? I never really intended this to be a functional pair, and with one sock visibly shorter than the other I'm not sure that it will ever be one.

Since I finished these up a few days ago I've been working pretty much exclusively on a pair of socks for my future mother-in-law. I'm doing the Madder Ribbed Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks, in a really pretty Lorna's Laces colorway with shades of blue (she specifically requested something that would look good with jeans). I thought I had finished one of the socks:


But, alas, this picture is also misleading. Shortly after I finished weaving in the ends I realized that I had completely screwed up the toe (due to my apparent inability to correctly read directions!), so this morning I snipped off the end of the toe and frogged back to the beginning of the toe decreases. Now I think I've read the directions correctly, so we are a go for socks that will be long enough!

Still on the needles: baby sweater for baby Finn, Adamas shawl, and toe-up Mata Haris

Currently reading: The Knot Complete Guide to Weddings in the Real World (are you surprised?)

Oh, and by the way, according to Jenn, I am now officially Queen of the Popos. Thanks, Jenn, I've always dreamed of being Sock Royalty!