More Motivation

I’m still working along on the white sweater, and while I feel so close to done, the last stages are taking forever. The shoulders were originally bound off in the stairstepped rib shown below.

The resulting seams were particularily egregious. I initially tried using a kitchener stitch, then a straight seam, but the ribs didn’t match up and it looked terrible. I can’t say that this pattern has been stellar on the details. So, I ripped it back and reknit it with live stitches and matching ribbing so that I could do a three needle bindoff, which looks much better.

Then, I picked up the stitches for the ribbed collar and started knitting away. It’s taken longer than expected, and every time I try it on I decide to knit “one more inch”. One of these days, I ought to be getting close. And after Thanksgiving, where I stayed with my wonderful aunt Carol, I now have added impetus to finish quickly. She has been making beautiful beaded jewelry for ages, and when I admired a pair that somehow hadn’t sold in her last show, she gifted me with them. Wow!

They’re particularily lovely with this sweater, which is so cool because I didn’t have anything to match it. And such a pretty shape and perfect length. I’m delighted by them.

So, I have “one more inch” of the collar, seaming the two sleeves to the body (they’re already sewn into tubes), and sewing in the zipper, and the earrings will be ready to wear. :-)

Cross one off the list!

I’ve always been a believer in keeping things more-or-less in their place, and then succumbing to organizing fits when they strike. I’ve kind of been due for one recently, especially with the addition of new shelves and a recent room re-organization. When Kevin was building his computer, we also switched our desks, so that now I fit in the alcove, and his desk T’s against the wall. That move created a ton of paper and debris, and I hadn’t gotten around to sorting everything. I bought a new set of shelves (to hold the new printer!), and had gotten them set up, but still had stacks of paper piles around them. Before leaving for Boston, a mood finally struck and so I stayed up way too late and finally got everything in its place. I was able to recycle the printer box entirely filled with unneeded paper, get everything into binders, send off a ton of mail, and clear my desk of about 20 post-it’s worth of to-do lists. Utterly satisfying. By that point it was a bit past three and I still had three complete and empty shelves to fill, so I started in on the college-textbook/sewing-and-knitting/postcard-collection/random-unfiled-memories corner of the room. A mere two hours later, it was all folded, filed, or recycled away. I have a good forty books to either throw away (the Visual Studio 2000 users manual) or sell. Does anyone know of a good used bookstore in the Seattle area? I’d love to do one trip!

Near the bottom of that pile, I found my red fingerless gloves. They’ve been sitting there (at 95%, according to my progress bars) since January 28th. I started them with the last bit of the red Cotton Fleece, just to finish out the football season. (By now, this yarn can be credited with two Superbowl championships and a World Series for Boston. Not bad.) The pattern was of my own invention, and relied heavily on three lace patterns from my stitch reference. After starting the second glove, I realized that I would never finish with the amount of yarn I had left, so I shortened the first one to give it a better shot. That’s where the project stalled.

So, with adrenaline at 5am, I picked up the needles, found my pattern notes, and started knitting again. This time I ran out of yarn right before putting the back of the hand and the palm on holders to work the thumb. I blocked the thing before finally heading to bed, then sewed it up once I got back. I think if I modified the fern lace to be four stitches wider, and subtracted that from the 2-stitch purl borders on each side, this would be a fun sampler-pattern to work on again.

Here are the tops:

I love how the lace pattern makes the arm-edge scallop.

And here are the palms:

Happy Post-Thanksgiving!

We’re back from our week in Boston, which was as wonderful as expected. (We saw family! And the city! And my church! And it snowed!) Somehow I managed to get home without taking my camera out of my bag once, so the only picture I have of the trip at the moment is the *pretty* yarn I bought at A Good Yarn a few hours before we left. A scarf, perhaps? It would suit, given how incredibly cold Seattle has gotten in our absence. :-)

Halfway done

Since the pattern fiasco on Monday, I’ve been working on recovering the progress I thought I’d made. I’m finally back to the shoulder decreases. I won’t have much knitting time tonight, but it’s finally a reasonable goal again to have this blocking by bedtime.

I took a few rushed photos this morning. The color didn’t come out at all in either of them, I think because of the mohair halo. I’ll have to try again later — in reality, it’s the same tone but much darker. So neither of the pictures are stellar, but here’s the progress with the flash and stitch detail (left) and without the flash for cable detail (right).

For all the angst, I’m still enjoying this sweater a lot, and loving the yarn. I’m still not entirely sold on mohair for future projects, but the yarn is so soft and, well, bulky to knit with that I’m not regretting my choice, even though I’ve been covered in grey fuzz for the last few weeks (it looks like I’ve been wrestling a rabbit).

I’ve asked before, but is seaming a bulky sweater any different from seaming regular knits? It seems to me (no pun intended) that sewing everything up with the bulky yarn would create an incredibly thick and obnoxious seam. What alternatives do you know of? I’ve heard of dental floss but I’d rather not (seems like it would show through). I think I remember reading something about using embroidery floss, but I’m worried the elasticity would be too far different from my 85% wool/15% mohair… Any helpful suggestions?

Thank You, Shar & Dave!

As is my wont, I’ve been hoarding the yarn gift certificate that my brother and sister gave me for Christmas last year. :-) Last Friday, though, there was a sale, so I headed over to go find pretty things.

This was the first:

Lovely mercerized cotton for a beaded scarf. I love how sleek and shiny cotton is. I’ve been holding onto this gift certificate with vague thoughts of finally learning to knit with beads, and this color called to me. I’m thinking a gradient of orange/salmon/yellow for the beads? Something fiery? I don’t want it to look too Christmas-y (ie. no silver or gold) and I’m not really seeing white or black in my mind’s eye. I don’t have a pattern yet (may try to make one up?), but I’m hoping to make it to Beads and Beyond in Bellevue on Saturday. I’m amassing rather a collection of red scarves, so I probably should have branched out, but this was too lovely not to get. Instead I may just need to find more black sweaters to wear them with.

My second purchase was this:

Gorgeous dark green Cascade 220 for a hooded vest. I’ve been thinking of knitting one since September, though my original yarn of choice was a highly variegated Manos del Uraguay in Rosin (#26). The color was an amazing mix of dark roses, almost to brown and purple, and I thought it would make a great vest in a basketstitch. Unfortunately, they only had three skeins. Since then, I’ve been lurking about and seen over ten versions of the color, and none have been even remotely as saturated or beautiful, so I’ve kind of given up on finding it. The hazards of kettle-dyeing. Luckily I didn’t buy the ones they had assuming that I could find a matching batch later!

In any case, I still want my vest, so this is a great substitute. :-)

So, Merry Christmas ’04 to me — thanks, Shar and Dave!

It’s alive!

Thanks for the comments on the too-cool tulip mode. I was playing more with my camera last night after I found this online manual. I didn’t have time to load any of those pictures this morning, though, so instead a story:

On Saturday evening, Kevin was watching the shrimp and was surprised to discover that he had a food pouch under his stomach that we’d never seen before, and that he kept rearranging the contents of it. I came over to look, and having eaten lobster and avoided the green under the tail, thought that actually “he” was laying eggs! There looked like a few hundred small yellowish-white eggs, that he kept combing through and shuffling. He (I just can’t change the gender mentally. Just like I keep calling Clack “he” and Click “she” even though I know it’s the other way around.) spent the rest of the evening digging through the pouch, and by the morning they were gone. You can see him arranging the two full yellow pouches on his stomach here, even though the individual eggs are too tiny to see:

We briefly felt bad that “he” was lonely and had no one to mate with, but came to our senses. 55 gallons is too small for a pair of shrimp unless they’re already mating and friendly, and we don’t want to introduce a suitor that would just be eaten. Plus, we aren’t interested in breeding, raising, and selling baby shrimps (even if it can be done in captivity?), so this is really just yet another fascinating thing that happens in our little world that won’t carry through the way it would in the wild.

But still, how neat!

PS. This was supposed to be a knitting post, showing you a completed back to the cable sweater. I knit a ton yesterday: to class, during the 45 minute wait when the bus didn’t come, back from class, during the Eagles game, before bed, and finally finished it. But even with the five inches I added to the bottom, it’s still a good six-to-seven inches short. I think the pattern’s missing a repeat of the 27-row chart. So, before I could take a picture or spend too much time thinking about it, I ripped back to the beginning of the shoulder decreases. I’m debating whether I should take it back even farther, but that’s just so depressing. I was so excited about the idea of blocking it before bedtime.

RTFM*

I’ve been complaining for months that my digital camera (a three and a half year old Nikon Coolpix 775. Ooh.) just doesn’t have what it takes to capture any details in the fish tank. I can take thirty pictures and only come up with one or two that are blog-worthy. Since the fish tank and equally detail-focused knitting compose roughly 90% of the photos I take, this seemed like enough of a fault to consider moving up to a newer model. This seemed a bit wasteful, because it really is a great camera otherwise. It’s relatively big, which I find makes it easier to hold and easier to take steady pictures, it’s decent in low light and great outdoors. The battery probably needs to be replaced as it’s started losing it’s charge increasingly rapidly, but when it was new would last for weeks. But, all in all, the lack of detailed shots was too big a problem to ignore.

Then, on Friday, I came across an old article on taking pictures in a fish tank. Most of it was either not likely for me (ie. buy a tripod), or something I’ve already actively ruled out (my camera blurs everything and the colors are off if I don’t use a flash). However, it brought up something called “macro mode” that could be used to take pictures of detailed objects close to the lens, and sure enough, my camera has one (marked by a tulip, as they said), and it works perfectly.

So, on to beauty shots of the fishtank:

Even though you wouldn’t expect the mushrooms to be super-active, ours are always showing up in new odd poses. When I came downstairs on Saturday, two of them were curled up like trumpets. (One to the bottom-left is in profile, and the other in the middle is pointing right at the camera.) I have no idea what caused them to do it. Within a half hour, they’d flattened down like usual.

I was so impressed at the way that those pictures came out that I tried taking pictures of two of our new zoo colonies. When I moved the rocks from one tank to the other, I had to cut both the orange zoos and the sunflower zoos as they’d started to spread to new rocks. (Yay) After cutting, both of them left one big zoanthid and one small bud on the larger rock. Now, two weeks later, both colonies are up to four faces. :-)

However, the truly exciting shot was the one of the green star polyps, which as you may remember, I had given up on ever capturing adequately. But, thanks to macro mode, may I present:

Wow! :-)

* A bit of lingo from my technical writing class, RTFM can be politely translated to “read the fine manual.” I swear I did, cover to cover (it’s just my personality), but apparently bits of it slipped through the cracks. Clever me.