Monday, March 26, 2007

Going with the flow

Things are progressing. Here's where I am after 6 days of knitting on my Go With The Flow sock:

Go With The Flow socks, 6 days in progress

For me, this is downright speedy. :)

Blocking will make the lace pattern much more defined... right now, it just has that "scrunchy unblocked lace" look. The picture in the magazine shows very little detail of the lace pattern; for something so simple, it's a nice effect.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Slasher movie moment

Friday night/Saturday morning, I woke up around 4 am to find that my power had gone out. Yes, I wake up when my power goes out. I can sleep through my alarm without any problem, but the sound of my VCR and computer powering down... THAT wakes me right up. First thing I always do during a power outage is to check the stairwell to ensure that the whole building has gone out.

Nope. Just my apartment.

I went out to check my circuit breakers (which are in a little closet on my balcony, so I really do mean "out"). None were tripped. So, my power is out, and JUST my power is out, and for no apparent reason. Oh boy.

Now, if I were the sort of person who freaks out easily, this might have had me quite unsettled. As it was, I sat up for a little while to make sure that nobody was trying to break in or anything like that, and then went back to bed for a couple of hours. Woke up around 8:30, did a bit of straightening up so I wouldn't be horribly embarrassed to have maintenance people in my apartment, and then went over to the office to put in a work order.

My power was back on an hour later, without maintenance even setting foot in here... some of our darling local teenagers had gotten into the building's main breaker box. Just when I think that I couldn't be any more enamored with these kids, they do something like this that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

(For those of you who don't know me, that's major sarcasm.) ;)

So, right now, you're thinking, "Jen, this is a pretty boring story, and worse, it has nothing to do with knitting." HA! While I was sitting up, I decided to knit something... but what? I wasn't about to do lace work by candlelight, so my Go With The Flow socks and my Bejeweled scarf were out of commission. Instead, I finished up side #2 of my Manos mitered square bag. As in, all that's left now is to sew up the sides, felt it, and find something for straps/handles.

Mitered square bag pieces

This thing... mitered squares are painfully boring, you know? At least my mitered square rug had color changes to break up the monotony. Also, I was still very much a beginner at that point, so endless garter stitch wasn't so terrible. This bag? No such luck. This bag has sat in my WIP basket for, I kid you not, a YEAR AND A HALF. The only thing that stopped me from ripping it out was knowing how much I loved the colors, and how much I wanted the finished bag... and now I'm a BIG step closer to that. :)

Here it is all macro-ed and sun-drenched (i.e., the colors are much darker in real life):
Manos colors

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Finish one project, start another

So, knitters know how it is. You're working on a big project, and all these other patterns keep coming across your path. "Not now... gotta finish this project first, and THEN I'll cast on for that." When the day finally comes when you FINISH the project that you've been working on for the last 6 months, there's either an urge to take a few days and NOT knit anything, or a rush to start something else immediately. For me, it's usually the former, but this time, I just kept going over to my stash and pulling out yarn I wanted to work with. I didn't want to start another sweater. I wanted something small, something that could possibly be done in a couple of weeks.

Hello, socks. :)

On Tuesday, I cast on for the Go With The Flow socks from the summer 2005 Interweave Knits, using the C*EYE*BER Fiber that Erin gave me:

Go With The Flow socks

This is a nice pattern, and the yarn works well with it. This is Mama-E's "Coldplay" colorway, which is perfect for the current Project Spectrum assignment. The main lace pattern is a very simple 6-stitch, 4 row repeat, so this is GREAT lunchtime knitting. The picture here was Tuesday night, and just shows the cuff with its nifty ladder lace; as of now, there's an additional inch and a half of the leg on there.

I do need to fess up to the fact that I can't do an even column of SSKs to save my life. My k2togs behave so well, and then my SSKs lurch all over the place. This is not a new problem for me. I know I'm doing the stitch correctly, and I've come to the conclusion that it's most likely a tension issue. This pattern has a bushel of SSKs, so let's see if I can train myself to do SSKs a little more evenly... :)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Simple Knitted Bodice


Simple Knitted Bodice

I finished my SKB on Sunday morning, giving me oodles of time to weave in the ends and give it a stern and proper blocking.

Pattern: Simple Knitted Bodice by Stephanie Japel
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Worsted (100% baby alpaca; 109 yards, 50 grams per skein). Color MC1040 ("Peacock Melange"), 6.5 skeins
Needles: Size 7 for the stockinette sections, size 3 for the lace on the waist and for the neckline, size 2 for the lace on the sleeves.
Started: September 7, 2006
Finished: March 18, 2007

Pattern mods...

1) Basically, any time I can add some additional waist shaping to make a sweater more form-fitting, I usually do... I added a wee bit of what I'm calling "staged ribbing" on the sides beneath the lace section. It's 5 ribs on each side, with the middle one going from the bottom hem all the way to the lace section, the two ribs on either side of that going from the bottom hem to about 10 rows before the lace, and the two outer ribs going from the bottom hem to about 15 total rows in. In visual terms, picture this flipped 90 degrees counterclockwise:


2) The sleeves have half the number of increases that the pattern called for. The pattern calls for 4 even rounds and then an increase round, repeated 11x total... I did 8 even rounds and then an increase round, 5x total. I am VERY happy with the sleeve width like this. Much wider wouldn't have been practical for me; I don't need any additional help getting my clothes snagged on delivery bins and book carts every day.

3) I changed the cuffs and the neckline from purl ridges to seed stitch. The bottom hem is lying flat for the moment (see above, re: stern blocking), so I haven't ripped it out, and may not need to.

Simple Knitted Bodice

I'm thrilled with how it came out! A coworker today told me that I should wear it again tomorrow, and maybe wear a button that says, "I made this!" She was so funny; we have the same meal breaks almost every day, and I usually spend half my hour eating and the other half knitting, so she's seen me work on this thing since I started working there. When I went into the kitchen today and she saw the finished product, she said, "The last time I saw that [i.e., Friday], it was in a bag, and it was still on needles... and now you're wearing it! That's so cool!" :D

Much love for the Misti Alpaca yarn, by the way. I got this stuff on a whim at Springwater Fiber last year, having no idea what I was going to do with it. The pattern calls for Tilli Tomas 100% silk yarn. It's pretty yarn, to be sure, but I was uncomfortable dropping that much money to begin with... and then the whole "consumer friendly" brouhaha started, and it was revolving squarely around Tilli Tomas. That sealed the deal, and I started stash-digging for a substitute yarn. I lucked out when I got gauge with the alpaca on the first try. The yarn for this ran me $40 total, plus another $7 for the beads. The finished sweater is warm, cushy, soft, fuzzy, luxurious, but still WEARABLE. Yay!

If you can't tell, I may have found a favorite fiber. The Interweave website has a nifty little guide to all you ever wanted to know about alpaca yarn, which came in very handy as I was finishing and blocking this.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Update: two tourney days down

Knitting-wise, I have another couple of rounds of seed stitch to do before I'm done with the sleeve. I'm hoping to finish that on lunch break today, and then pick up the neckline stitches tomorrow (since I'll have the day off).

My bracket still looks respectable. I had 25/32 first-round games guessed correctly, which puts me in the 72.1% rank for ESPN's tournament challenge; all my final four teams are still in, and only 2 of my Sweet 16 picks have been knocked out... it's downhill from here. :D


Added: By "downhill", I meant "my ranking will go down because I always do much worse in the later rounds". So, NOBODY is more surprised than I am to find that I had 7 of 8 games right today (wrong call on the Maryland game), and am now sitting solidly in the 90.9% rank. I can't imagine this will last, but it was a nice surprise when I logged on to my bracket after the games tonight. :)

Finished the second SKB sleeve at work today, and now I'm picking up stitches for the neckline. I wish picking up stitches was a slightly less tedious process.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

When worlds collide

Just saw the best ad for the DC CBS affiliate's sports coverage. Maryland head coach Gary Williams, and another local coach I don't know, sitting there knitting.

"Hey, Gary, think you can teach me to make an afghan?"


Monday, March 12, 2007

I think I can, I think I can

I was working on the never-ending SKB tonight at my knitting group, and Jody told me that she's hoping to see me wear the finished sweater next week. At first, I chuckled. I've been working on this thing for 7 months... I can't FINISH what's left in a week... can I? Hmm...

Maybe I can. On Thursday, one of my most favorite times of the year starts: the NCAA college basketball tournament. This means a lot of me sitting here, knitting and watching basketball. Last year's tournament yielded my favorite scarf... perhaps this year's tournament will include a finished sweater. Here's what's left: 3" left to go on the second sleeve, plus the neckline edging, plus possibly ripping out the hem and redoing it in seed stitch. I admit, I have no idea if this is a realistic goal for me or not, but I'm going to give it a shot. :)


In other knitting-related news: yay, Eunny! Way to go! Great news for someone very deserving. :)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Rowan All Seasons Cotton

Earlier this week, it was 25 degrees and snowing... Today, it's in the mid-50s. Seems very fitting to me to show off the Rowan All Seasons Cotton I received yesterday, since Maryland is doing everything it can to cram all the seasons into this week. :D

Rowan All-Seasons Cotton

Rowan All-Seasons Cotton

I ordered this from the Knitting Garden. I'm using some pale green All Seasons Cotton for my Bejeweled scarf, and I LOVE working with it, so when I saw this stuff on closeout for $5/skein (it normally goes for $8/skein), there wasn't a whole lot of debate over whether I was getting it. I'll admit, the picture on the website was more of a purple, but I'm really taken with the actual shade: a nice dark mauvey pink. I don't know exactly what I'll do with it, but I can see it being a shrug or a springy tank top/shell.

Friday, March 09, 2007


From a local news channel:
Lawmakers passed a bill moving [Daylight Saving Time] from the first Sunday in April to the first Sunday in March*, three weeks earlier than normal. It's an effort to save energy in the evening with extra daylight.

But the plan could come with a price. Some worry that computers set up to recognize the old Daylight Saving Time date won't be in synch [sic] with the change, not to mention the fear that cell phones, surgery times and the like will all be thrown off.

*Or, to be accurate, the second Sunday in March, since the first Sunday was March 4, not March 11. Ah, local news... I love local news.
OH, can I please share my experience with "Y2K7" (which was the name given to it by one of the papers that we get at the library)?

Apparently, they tried to install a Daylight Saving prep patch on the Unix servers that house our circulation database, and it went... badly. The circ system went down right around closing Wednesday night. Library employees were greeted by a fax first thing Thursday morning telling us that we wouldn't have access to our circulation system until noon, and shooting for noon was optimistic.

We got another fax around 4:30 Thursday afternoon telling us, "We're hoping to be back up by the time the branches open tomorrow morning." As one coworker said to me, "We're frakked." (usage of BSG syntax: good. News being conveyed: baaaad.)

Huzzah for our computer room staff, though: the system came back up for use around 8:10 Thursday night, slightly less than 24 hours after we first lost it. However, that's a LONG downtime for a library system as large as ours. And it wasn't just the branches that were affected, but the online catalog and account access... we have a bare-bones back up system that allows us to scan in checkouts, but does little else. No accessing people's records, no placing holds, no looking up CALL NUMBERS, even. Thursday was a very long day. I was so glad that the patrons that I dealt with were all very understanding and patient.

I really have to wonder if 21 shifted hours of daylight are going to be worth the headaches that this is causing for people. I doubt any major catastrophes will be caused by it, but if many other computer systems experience what we did... what a colossal pain.

Today was much better. Our system was back up and running, for one thing. Also, one of our subs asked me if the branch is planning any events that I'll have an excuse to bake bread for. I know I did good work if I'm still getting unsolicited compliments almost 2 months after the party. *grin*

AND I came back from lunch to find a box on my desk. A box containing YARN. I shall show it off tomorrow, as I don't have any kind of lightbox setup here. I have the sun and a window... Nature's lightbox. ;)

*hugs* to everyone :)

Friday, March 02, 2007


So, here's a fun moment.

3 months ago, I put myself on the wait list for a DVD of The Devil Wears Prada at work. December 6, to be exact, if anyone's curious.

I finally made it to position #1 this week, got my copy on Wednesday, and watched it tonight after one of my classic "urgh, Benadryl" coma naps. Or, I should say, tried to watch it. The entire second half of the movie skipped and jumped like crazy. I think I got the gist of what happened, but after 3 months waiting for it... gah.

And people at work wonder why I signed up for Netflix. :)

However, I did have the happy revelation today that May 5, the first day of MDS&W, is one of my Saturdays off, so I will be fully available to go ooh and ahh at everything...