Sunday, September 30, 2007

In which I crochet

I got home tired but happy, and my eyes were too bleary for much in the way of knitting. So I decided to revert to crochet and make a felted hot pad/pot holder out of the yarn I just bought. The first thing I noticed is how amazingly fast crochet is. Maybe it's my lack of knitting experience, but crochet just seems to fly. In the time I would be casting on stitches, I finished several inches of crochet in the round. Unfortunately, I was in such a rush that I didn't bother to follow the rules for how to make a flat piece of crochet. I just kept going, and in maybe an hour, I had used up the entire ball of thick yarn. And, um, well it buckled. A lot.

Oh well, press on. Let's see if felting will block the buckling out. So I hand felted it, and it did felt up pretty well, though not enough to close up all the gaps that double crochet creates. But with some serious tugging and pressing under a book, I ended up with a hot pad that is more or less flat. A little less, actually. And it looks pretty funky. Kind of 70's, especially the colors, and also just kind of old-ladyish, like something you'd see at Grandma's house (if you grew up in the 50s.)

I could throw it in the washer and dryer and try to felt it a bit more--it's not particularly thick, as I imagined, and it hasn't lost stitch definition. But then crochet has a different texture than knitting to begin with, and I don't think it's possible to disguise double crochet. Oh well--it's my souvenir of Redding, CA, handmade, and it will make a good potholder, if not that great of a hotpad.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

On the Road

So I came to Redding, CA today for a conference sponsored by the Basic Skills Initiative. It was a fine flight, 3 hours total, including a stop in Eureka. I was able to see Mt. Shasta from the airplane, and can also catch glimpses of it from around town here. I worked on the Smoky Mountain Sock most of the way up, and have 4 1/2 inches of 2x2 ribbing done. I also graded a few papers.

When I got here, after a bit of business about how the Chancellor's Office intended to pay for my room, I got checked in and went looking for lunch. I decided to walka round town a bit and see what I could find. I was about to settle for Dairy Quees, when I spotted a local coffee shop called Sue's Java Cafe. I'm so glad I held out for a local place rather than tried and true chain food. This was delicious! I got a bowl of tomato basil soup with sour cream stirred in, which was served with two yummy buttery slices of sourdough toast, and a cup of tabouli (made with couscous and grape tomatoes and plenty of oil) which was also outstanding. And I had an iced latte on the side, which came with crushed ice. Since then I walked all over town, but 2 hours later, I am still feeling stuffed, so there must have been something very filling in the so-called soup and salad! The soup was really good--made from scratch with fresh tomatoes. I had a cozy Irish mystery novel to read, and it was just perfect!

Then I had an urge to find out if there might be a local yarn shop in town within walking distance. I found a sewing machine shop that also sold quilt fabrics (and a cute kit of wool puffs for felting--but I resisted!), and I asked them if by any chance there was a LYS in town. In walking distance they asked? Why yes, I replied. Sure, turn left at the Subway restaurant and walk one block to Sew Simple. This too proved to be mainly a quilt shop (with tons! of lovely fabrics, including some mellow wool pieces that tempted me.) But it did have a small assortment of yarn. And I picked up a ball of Granito by trendsetter, made in Italy 100% wool very loosley spun, in variegated shades of orange to brown with some pink. I thought it was $9.50, but when I paid, it was 50% off! And she gave me a pattern for a cute felted bowl she had made of the same wool. I might make that, or I might make a felted hot pad. In any case, it's a nice souvenir.

Now I must go to my room and think about what it is I am supposed to do at this conference. And then knit.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A small bit of Fair Isle

I decided to experiment with Fair Isle by adding a small design to the mittens I'm making my Dad for Christmas. They are charcoal grey, but when I put in the waste yarn for the thumb I noticed how nicely dark red perks up charcoal grey. So I decided to give it a shot across the finger area.

I charted out a super-simple design of three rows of offset 4-stitch squares, and carefully made sure it would line up. And it did. Except that I forgot that all circular knitting is actually spiral knitting. So at the end, it is offset. But that must be the case in all Fair Isle ever done. I wonder why no one has commented on this?

In any case, it looks fine, and I am now picking up and knitting the thumb. I don't even remember what pattern I am using for these mittens, so it's all kind of seat-of-the-pants anyhow. But they look pretty good.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Smoky Mountain Socks

I did a few more rows on the Pine Tree Scarf, but the sock craving wouldn't let me go, so I put it aside again to start on the socks I want to make Sam for Christmas. The yarn is Fearless Fibers Smoke, and I'm using size 3 needles, which is a bit loose, but the other socks turned out fine, so I'm going to go with it. I have size 2's waiting in the wings in case this seems inappropriate after a while.

I cast on 72 stitches on 9/15 and have a good 2 inches done in 2 x 2 rib. I plan to rib all the way down the leg, for a manly look. The color is very pleasing and the ribbing looks and feels good. Not at all tight, but I think it will stay up all right. Since Sam has diabetes, I definitely don't want the leg to be too tight.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Oh. Is this thing still on?

Ah, yes, I got my Ravelry invite. Finally. And all my spare cmputer time has been spent roaming around there. I don't have the technology to actually put any projects up there yet (ie a digital camera that I control), but it's so much fun looking at other people's projects. Let's say I want to knit the minimalist cardigan (and I do!). I can see a dozen or more people's starts, a few speed demons' finished ones, and see how it looks on real people and in various yarn, and what pitfalls people ran into, and so on. I can see a hundred different incarnations of Fetching! It is so cool! I sent a comment to Cast-on's Brenda Dayne and she responded to me! All the way from Wales! The internet has just become an order of magnitude cooler. Between Ravelry and Etsy, I could spend all my free time online.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

I love Fetching!

Kristen's pair turned out so pretty. Soft, snuggly, charming, fetching in fact! Lush is the ideal yarn for them, too.

So, what next? I guess I can add a few more rows to Grandma's Pine Tree scarf, so that I have some easy knitting ready to work on without having to actually cast on or think. The next couple of weeks looks pretty hectic. I'm really glad to have finished Kristen's socks and mitts for her before she goes back to Chicago. She will feel embraced by hand-knit items.

I love knitting! :-)

Monday, September 3, 2007

Heat and Ravelry

OMG, it is too hot here! This is not the kind of weather that is suitable for even looking at merino/angora yarn. I cast on and knit 2 inches at Borders in the morning on my Fetching gloves--I just love it! And after the super-thin sock yarn, this feels so thick and buttery. But then I came home for lunch, and I tried to knit in the house, but despite a fan right on me, my hands felt sticky and the yarn didn't want to slide across the needles. I may spend the whole day at Borders today!

Last night Sam decided it was not only too hot to cook, it was too hot even to eat in the house. Good call! So we closed up the house and went to Mitsuwa and I had cold noodles (well, they were cool if not cold.) And then we wandered around the shops for a while, and then drove in the nicely air-conditioned car to the 99 Cent store, which was very cool, and shopped aimlessly for a while, and then stopped at Nijiya to get bread. By that time, it was about 8:30 and dark, so we went on home. We knew it would feel warm in the house, but I literally couldn't believe it when I opened the door. It felt like we had left a furnace running. I actually went and checked the thermostat to make sure it wasn't somehow accidentally on. It read 90 degrees. Luckily the patio was cool by then. This morning, the house is still quite warm. I definitely need to find somewhere else to knit!

In other news, I checked my Ravelry status:

* You signed up on July 1, 2007
* You are #11840 on the list.
* 850 people are ahead of you in line.
* 18472 people are behind you in line.
* 36% of the list has been invited so far

Only 850 people ahead of me! That's just 3 digits. There are 5 digits worth of people ahead of me and behind me! Woo-hoo! This looks like fun.

Saturday, September 1, 2007


I finished the Irish Forest Socks, finally!! They're a little bit snug, but I think the fit will work out ok. It took me over 6 weeks to finish them! The only problem now is that it's 92 degrees here, and too hot to even touch wool, much less wear it on my feet!

Tomorrow I cast on Kristen's Fetching gloves. In an air-conditioned location!