Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Constructing Iain

Around noon on Sunday (Feb 26) I started in on the last 14 rounds of Iain--the last sleeve end & cuff. By 1:00, I was chugging along with my Chibi, weaving in the ends, and then he was all of a piece!

By 2:00, Iain was taking a little soak.

And by 3:00, he was resting on the bed, hood stuffed with a fake head so it would dry.

At last, tonight--on the Fred and a perfect fit!

This is a Figheadh design--my own--and the pattern won't be for sale until it's tested. Testing gets underway this week, though, so it won't be too long. I don't usually show my design samples until the patterns are up for sale, but I don't see this one changing, and it's hard to keep a FO to yourself!

The yarn is Cascade Yarns Ecological Wool, color #8016.
Knit in the round on size 8 needles.

I had too much fun knitting this one! I am glad it's done, though, so I can get back to all the other OTN projects. Gloves, scarves, socks, socks, socks.... Whew, gotta go!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Monday Goodies #2

What's more fun than Roy Rogers & Dale Evans costumes? Cool links!

Take this test my mom sent me. Hey, Mom, I beat ya--I'm 84% Dixie.

Okay, back to knitting. If you don't know about the yarndex site, bookmark it. It has saved me many times from insuffucient info on yarn labels, or just lost yarn labels. Lots of uses for this site.

Do you visit the Daily Knitter? More good things for us. Look at the Knitting Basics page!

Are you superstitious? About your knitting? Check out this page--an impressive collection.

That's enough web fun for one day. More next time.

Figheadh Sona Dhut!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Raindrops, Whiskers, Kettles, & Mittens

A few of my favorite things...

(That's Blue Sky Organic Cotton)

Aran knitting

by Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean

Cherry Nirvana Soy Ice Cream

Bill Bryson's travel books

Bagpipe music--especially bagpipe rock

This literary magazine

This magazine

Just thought I'd share!

Happy Sunday to you....

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Flip Side

I can't show you Iain, but I can show you his guts...

Doesn't the stitch pattern look cool on the wrong side?

I've said a lot about how much I've been enjoying this project. The main reason is this luscious yarn. I love the Eco Wool!!! It just sits on the needles like a lofty lady and produces a scrumptious fabric.
It defies description. It doesn't feel like a bulky yarn, but I got the same gauge on size 8 needles (yes, a tighter fabric) as with Brown Sheep Superwash Bulky!

See? (Please excuse the flash of something in the upper right corner--I think it's a sheep ghost. So weird. This is a swatch test I did to show Jane, who's testing this pattern, and it wasn't there before! Was it, Jane?)

This sweater has taken me a little longer to work up, because I had some frogging ta do. I got up to the V for the hood attachment and noticed a cable done wrong, so I went back down. Then I got the cable split and decreased and hated it, so I frogged down before that and did it over. I still think it could be better, but I went on with it. Then, I got the whole hood done, decided it was just too funky, better make it more "normal" and did that whole thing over. I actually like it better this way. It has a nice, neat garter stitch edging all the way around now. I won't show you where I tried to splice the edge together yet--one of my weak spots. I gotta get this Kitchener stitch down, folks!

Pardoning the blur, have a look at the lovely basket weave at the sleeve join. I love this stitch pattern! I "unvented" it when I looked at the stitch chart with my wonky eye (instead of the reasonable, technical eye). I like it better--it makes less sense!

Okay, gotta go and finish the second sleeve!

Have a fun weekend everyone, and I wish you well with all your KO , OK, whatever! Slide on into that home stretch and BO for the closing ceremonies (or just loosen up and vow to get it done before spring sprungs next month! Maybe there will be a silver button for tryers. Hush Yoda!)

'S math a bhith beo!
It's good to be alive (and knitting)!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Hurray for the Knit Tracker!

Quick post. I just have to thank Amy for her wonderful javascript knit trackers. They are the cutest I've seen in blogland, and the most fun way to display your WIP's. She changed her whole setup over there, and we all lost the images for a while (because some of us are not very savvy and were linking the images to her site...ahem).

I spent the past couple of days "tracking" her down and got a very friendly and patient response from her. I am sure she was inundated with requests! I also got some good info from swatchnot, and between Fred (who IS savvy) & me, we figured it out--just in time for Amy to provide the whole thing on her blog. Yea! So go see indigirl if you want the trackers, but for goodness sake, do it the right way. She has very good instructions all written out for you.

Thanks, Amy!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Monday Goodies

I was made aware of a fun knitting site over the weekend and I thought I'd share. Go see Kathleen.

Also, a site just for fiber arts bloggers here.

This is Wooly Hat Week folks!

And then some fun stuff to put on your blog from blogthings.

Oh, and I almost forgot that I found Lucy Neatby's Tips page.

Go have fun! I hope you all had a good weekend, that you are off work again today as we are, and that your knitting is treating you just fine. I am still spending all my time with Iain. Got the hood almost done and hope to get to a sleeve today!

Figheadh Sona Dhut!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

You'll put your eye out!

Funny story.

I have been spending my days with Iain (my current Aran), and Fred doesn't even mind! Anyway, when I'm doing cables and I have my hair lassoed on top of my head, I tend to stick the cable needle into my hair to keep from losing the darned thing. (No, don't suggest cabling w/o cable needles--I am a staunch cable needle user.) I worked on Iain right up until bed last night, so what do I find in my hair this morning as I slurp my precious coffee? Yep, the cable needle. Stayed right in there all night long. Do you know what my darling husband' s response was?

"Good thing it didn't put my eye out!"

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Day O' Love!

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

Here's a Gaelic Love Primer for you.

Tha gaol agam ort (Ha gol akam orst)
I love you.

Tha gaol agam ort ghraidh (Ha gol akam orst yrai)
I love you, my darling.

Mo chridhe (Mo kreeyuh)
My heart

Mo luaidh (Mo looyahy)
My beloved

Mo mhurnin (Mo vurneen)
My darling

Mo ruin (Mo rooin)
My sweetheart

Have a Lovely Day Everyone!
Gaol Ort!
(Literally...Love on Ya!)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Big Sox & Girl Scout Badges

Yes, you read right. First the socks. These are actually representative of my first sock (note the singular) for 200Sox. I had the first one already started sometime last year, so only the second one counts. This is Moda Dea Sassy Stripes, color 6997, basic sock (round short-row heel & wedge toe), 56 sts on size 3 needles. I should have started with fewer stitches, because I think size 3 needles produced a good fabric, but a huge sock! That's a regular pillow sham--the socks take up half the pillow! I wear them over other socks around the house.

See how the heel is already getting a little fuzzy? I've only worn them a couple of times and they've been washed once in the machine and air-dried. I don't usually use 100% acrylic yarn, but these weren't quite bad. I think this yarn would make pretty good gloves, too. I do wonder about the fuzzing, however.

Now the Girl Scout stuff. I was reading Dawn Brocco's blog post today and started perusing her faves list (Thanks Dawn, for adding me). I found this. It prompted me to drag out my stash. Here is some of it, somewhat visible. I was a Girl Scout myself back in the Dark Ages, and I have my badges & stuff on a big blue windbreaker (front shown buried beneath stuff), because I was also a leader and assistant leader for 12 years. I love Girl Scouts, so all three of my daughters were in scouting. At one time, I was involved in all three of their troops at once. I was the leader of my youngest daughter's troop, so I have lots of extra badges stowed away. Some of what you see is packs of my own daughters' badges that I never got around to sewing onto their vests! Argh! You also see some Brownie-colored lanyard makings. Lots of it. I don't even remember that abandoned project.

I wanted to post more, but blogger seems to have a clogger. Ha! More later!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Re-education of Me

You know those moments when you come upon some really interesting bit of information and you feel quite sure you must not have been taught it in school? It's so interesting that you know those teachers of yours must have left it out somehow? Else how could you have ever forgotten it? No. They covered it, most probably. We were just too busy thinking about whether our mini skirts were gonna cover our fannies when we had to go up and work that math problem out on the board, whether we would get a date for the coming weekend, whether to use Stridex or Clearasil on those pesky blemishes.... I don't know what, but we were not, most probably, a bit interested in some of the things I get the fun of being reintroduced to as a substitute teacher. I think I'll start telling you about some of them. There's knitting in here--just bear with me.

I decided four years ago that substitute teaching would be a good part-time job for me. I taught high school English for eight years and I feel very comfortable in the classroom. Besides, I know how much I appreciated a good sub when I was teaching--one who would care about the kids but not try to be "cool" and ditch my plan. It's hard enough these days for teachers to cover the curriculum without losing an entire day or more just because they must be away. I sub in classrooms for fourth- through twelfth-grade teachers, mostly avoiding higher level math & music (I can read music, but cannot play the piano, which seems to be a hindrance in those situations).

Usually, I try to do the assignment ahead of the students so that I can help them if they get stuck. Sometimes this works, sometimes not. A couple of weeks ago, I tried my darnedest to understand that experiment using dice to work out the decay of elements Pb, Bi, & Po, I did. I could not get it. But I have amazed myself by grasping algebraic and geometric concepts that eluded my teenage self. And I have been reintroduced to some amazing scientific and historical facts.

This past week was pretty sub-heavy. I was reintroduced to the details of Eli Whitney's cotton gin and how it led to the Missouri Compromise. I got to play with Shakespearean insults--"Take that, thou prating, mad-bread rabbit-sucker!" Great fun. Then I got to spend two days with a great bunch of 7th graders and analyze the story "I Just Kept on Smiling" by Simon Burt, watch them decorate their door for a "Just Say No to Drugs" contest, and TA DA! share some knitting with a few of them.

Yesterday, while the second core class was working on a couple of reading comp worksheets, I took out my knitting. Immediately, about five of the kids came up to see what was up. I was working on the afore-mentioned square round cable baby blanket. I had just had to frog it back to the dpn stage. One of the girls, Jazmane, said she had done a good bit of knitting (still in the square and rectangle objects phase), could she try what I was doing? I had come to a little stretch of stockinette, so I said sure! I showed her how to increase the stitch at the beginning of each needle, and she was off and running! Her tension was great, she did the yo perfectly, and she was going so fast I had to keep a close check on her so I could stay in pattern. When it came time for more cables, I did a row and then gave it back to her for the plain knit rows. I told her that she could do any kind of knitting if she could handle dpn's!

Meanwhile, I pulled out a sock I had on the Magic Loop, and another of the girls said she was a knitter, too, and that her mother does ML. I handed it over and she got going on that--only once did she drop a stitch, and we performed surgery and got her back to work. A couple of the other kids said they were crocheters and just wanted to watch. One was a little guy named Daniel, who also plays guitar, piano, and violin. A really happy and secure little dude, he is. While all this was going on, of course, the clowns in class tried to have a little party. I told them to get back to work on their assignment, that these kids were involved in something educational, not clamoring at the window to watch some kids in a fight down on the playing field, nor practicing hoop shots with paper balls into the garbage can, nor trying to imbed pencil points into one anothers' bodies, etc.

So sometimes substitute teaching is serendipitous, wonderful fun. I'm sure you'll also hear about the other kind of days at some point, but for now, I am looking back on a pretty good week with the younger folk.

Okay, I'm off to print out and mail 2 retail site orders, do some laundry, work on the baby blanket, do the finishing on 2 felted bags & take pics, and try to get out for a walk, because we've got sunshine today and temps in the 50's!

Happy Saturday All!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Thanks TCM!

I'm taking a rare "day off" from the subbing today, and it's a good thing. I woke up at 12:30 (we go to bed by 9:30 most nights) and never got back to sleep. At about 1:30, I finally got up and did some work. I am getting designs ready for magazine submissions, as well as working on 8 test patterns.

Anyway, it's a beautiful day--the sun is shining--and the folks at Turner Classic Movies have made a great knitting/movie day for me with their 31 days of Oscar winners.

First up was Camille. I adore Greta Garbo. How could you not? This movie always makes me want to design bed jackets.

Then I was treated to the Ronald Coleman Tale of Two Cities. Such a joy to see Madame DeFarge in action, but also great to see Miss Pross kick her a** in the end! A little scene I never noticed before was at the guillotine when Sydney Carton is going to do the "far, far better thing" and everyone wonders where DeFarge is--the camera cuts to her knitting piled in the chair "in her usual place" (I know I'd do some great knitting while watching people's heads get lopped) and then it goes to another old hag who's knitting. She says, "Dropped a stitch! Cursed Aristocrats!" Yeah, blame everything on them.

"'Tis a far, far better rest I go to than I have ever known."

Now the Grier Garson Pride & Prejudice is on, and of course there's knitting there. Mrs. Bennett loves to plop down with her knitting when Mr. Bennett just doesn't understand why she's in yet another tizzy!

Okay, back to working on a baby blanket pattern with cables done in a square round construction! Fun!

I hope you're having a great day, too!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

I get the message...

Today's horoscope:
"You need to finish a project before you can move onto the next one. No matter how tempting, you can't shove all those old initiatives into a box and never look at them again. Tie up loose ends before moving on. "

Is this referring to my knitting? Ya think?

What's that about loose ends?

(I was gonna save this one for Hallowe'en--it's one of the scariest things I've ever seen.)

Chan eil sin math! (That is not good...not good at all.)

This is why I won't be participating in the Knitting Olympics (no link needed--you all know about it and most of you are playing along). I have too many projects that were already started and need completing. Argh! I haven't even been able to add one sock to the 2000 Socks, because I am still trying to finish all the ones I started in 2005! Gosh! Also why I got blogyngitis for a while--gotta knit! What a terrible problem to have, huh?

See ya later! Back to the sticks & string!

Far am bi toil, bidh gniomh!
(Where there's a will, there's a way!)