Friday, February 29, 2008

Falling in love?

Each time I travel to Minneapolis, I fall deeper in like with the city. I'm not ready to say I love Minneapolis, but I sure do like it. I've seen the city at -20, in the heat of summer (which is roughly around 92F), and the whispers of fall. This trip, I even got to experience snowfall and it was beautiful. I walked through downtown in the Skyway system (Italian refers to the Skyway as hampster tunnels; he's not too far off). I also walked through the streets with a whipping wind swirling around me (the wind is very cold), and I still really like Minneapolis. Italian is correct in his assessment. Minneapolis is my southern home town equivolent in the Midwest with snow. I like it there, but I'm still very happy to come back south, where the temperature was a staggering 55F when I landed last night. I may not have snow, but I have two wonderful guys who cleaned the house and built me a niddy noddy while I was gone. I'm definitely in love with them.

One other note about Minneapolis: my Koolhass hat loved it. I started the hat this past weekend, with the hopes I could finish it before I landed in Minnesota, and I did. As the plane was taxiing to the gate, I was finishing the last round. I did totally goof up the top of the hat. I think I completed the first decrease round twice. Honestly, the goof up is not obvious to me and doesn't detract from the hat, so I'm going to leave it as is. I still think the top looks interesting and works with the rest of the hat. I may pull it out after a month or two, but for now, I'm okay with it. Really, I am.

Moving on, the hat is made with less than one skein of Jade Sapphire 6-ply cashmere. The yarn was a gift from a previous birthday from Papa and Nana Clover (thank you!) and it holds up well in Minneapolis wind, cold, and snow. It kept my head warm. When I blocked the yarn, I noticed the hat grew and I thought it might be a bit big. After it fully dried though, the hat had shrunk back down to a good size. I think I love it. The hat definitely loved the Minnesota snow.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Free Shipping

These two words when placed next to each other strike fear into the hearts of knitter's spouses. These words can turn a $2 order into a $50 order, just so the knitter can avoid the $4 shipping charge. I recently fell victim to the siren call of "free shipping" when I eagerly visited the KnitPick website to buy needle markers, which cost $2.95.

While on the site, I thought I'd order a WPI tool as well. Then I meandered to the books and found they had great prices on two books I had been eying. Before I knew it, I was quickly approaching the free shipping mark, so I added the books and a yarn estimation chart and swiped my card. Free shipping was completely worth it.

The needle markers are now happily in a DellaQ silk bag marking my Denise Interchangeable needles. The Denise needles have the sizes marked directly on the needles (in teeny tiny print), so I never planned on using them while I knit. Instead, I tossed out the Denise box, used the flexible coil needle holders to keep the needle pairs together, then added the needle markers. Now, I can easily carry my Denise set with me, even in a tightly crammed bag, and I can quickly find the needles I need.

Seeing the pictures together clarifies just how dorky I am. The color coordination between the bag, the needle markers, and the coil holders was completely accidental. So, I am naturally high maintenance and particular, even when I don't try to be.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I want to come too

I try to be a good spouse and pick up on small comments when a gift giving occasion is looming near. So, when Italian mentioned how much he enjoyed Living Color while Little Clover played their song on Guitar Hero, I cataloged it. Then, Italian helped out even more by googling Corey Glover and discovered he was touring with Jesus Christ Superstar. I bought tickets to the show. I then presented said tickets to him for Valentine's Day and as an early anniversary present. He was thrilled, as was Little Clover, who unbeknownst to me had been discussion this exact play with Italian and his desire to see it. As Italian smiled at the two tickets, I stood back with pride at his joy, imagining how great seeing the show with him will be. This little voice then speaks up and says, "Mama, don't you want to come with us to see the play?"

All I could do was stifle a giggle as I smiled at him and replied, "I would love, too." Now, I gotta figure out how to get another ticket.

I also wanted to have a sweater finished for Valentine's Day. That didn't happen. Instead, I had a partially seamed sweater.

The night before Valentine's saw me in a sick stupor seaming together a sleeve. My Interweave Knits arrived just in the nick of time, and the article on finishing by Veronik Avery was perfect. I followed the guidelines Veronik provided and noticed for the first time just how clever the River Forest Gansey is. Traditional ganseys generally have an underarm gusset. While knitting this sweater, I was a bit surprised that it lacked instructions for a gusset. When I laid out the sleeve to seam it to the body of the sweater, I was flumoxed and confused.

I had an extra bit of sleeve cap and it didn't seem likely to fit in the armseyce. What in the world was I going to do? What a minute. This was the gusset!

The extra piece of sleeve cap was supposed to be knitted to the side seam, forming half of the underarm gusset. Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! I love this pattern.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Status Check

Two sleeves check!
One front check!
One back check!
Knitted neckband check!

All that's left is the seaming.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Vini Vidi Knitty

What happens when knitters get together for a little over night fun? They bring food, a lot of food.

This weekend, one of the groups I knit with decided to get together for a little retreat. Our original intent was to rent a cabin in a local state park, but a small snag landed us at a local Embassy Suites. Although the natural park setting and hiking trails would have been perfect for a knitting getaway, the complimentary cocktail hour and full service breakfast at the hotel sure were nice. We made time to learn a bit about unraveling a sweater and spinning (I give a very brief spinning demo). I can see this group of knitter getting together again in the future.

In addition to having lots of food, we had lots of time to knit, and I took advantage of it.

What you see is the last sleeve of Anniversary Sweater 2.0. I completed over 60 rows on the sleeve, and joined two balls of yarn. The end is definitely in sight for this sweater. After the retreat, I added to my row count by finishing row 92. Later last night, I picked up the sleeve again and slogged my way through to row 104. I only have 4 more rows before I beginning the transition pattern and then begin the forest section of the sleeve. Who knows. Maybe the weather will stay cool enough for Italian to actually enjoy his sweater this season. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Felt Good

Wow. I really can't think of much more to say. The scarf was very pretty before the felting and I was a bit sceptical of felting this yarn, but wow!

You can see the knit stitches and the scarf is loose and flowing.

Then, I put the scarf in a very hot water bath and washed it on a delicate cycle in my washing machine.

When I pulled out the wet mass of yarn, the stitch definition was gone and it looked more like a crushed velvet scarf. Then I put it in the dryer, yep the dryer, to fluff up the yarn. The dryer bit put fear into my heart as I envisioned taking out a mangled mass of destroyed fiber, but the scarf came out a bit fluffier than before. I hope Kitty Lou likes the gift.

I was hoping to be able to hand deliver it to her, but a call up to Minneapolis and other life plans will prevent a trip to her for a few weeks. We can't stay away too long, though, because Little Clover is asking for a trip to see his Papa.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Good fortune

Yesterday, Italian and I met for lunch at a Chinese fusion restaurant. (We treat ourselves to a little grown up lunch date every now and then). The lunch was good, the conversation wonderful, and the fortune in the cookie was...right.

It was definitely right, because when I got home, This was in the mail:

Yay, yarn! I definitely think yarn in the mail is good news. Not only is it any yarn, but it is the yarn (in the exact same dye lot) I needed to finish Anniversary 2.0. I need to send out a very big thank you to CindyBMW who recommended I contact Webs. Not only did Webs have the yarn, but they also checked their shipping warehouse to see if they had right dye lot. They were fantastic to work with, and I would definitely recommend them! CindyBMW, thanks again for the suggestion!

Monday, February 04, 2008

8 days

Baseball is much, much, much easier for me to watch than football, and not just because I've been watching baseball since I was a kid. With baseball, I have an overall love of the game and the atmosphere. Sure I follow the Cubs, but their loses don't bother me. The Cubs wins are more of a happy surprise than anything else.

Football though is completely different. I love football and I love a team. I am emotionally invested in a football game, and last night was a complete and total rollercoaster. The last nine minutes of the game took years off my life. Little Clover and I watch intently, wearing our Manning jerseys (Peyton Manning, but hey, it was still a Manning jersey), writhing in agony as Brady drove New England in for a touchdown. Then, I left the room, unable to watch the game, only allowing myself to listen to the announcers. When the Giants crossed the 50 yard line, I ran back to watch two of the most beautiful catches I've seen. When Manning threw to a wide open Burress who caught the ball with grace, the entire family jumped up and down in jubilation! Giants win! Giants win!

Imagine what a wreck my knitting is after a football game! My gauge fluctuations from tight to lose, which is why I try to limit what I knit during a game. Fortunately, I finished knitting the Vintage Velvet scarf during the day and only had to weave in ends. Although, I'm not sure yielding a sharp needle is a better way to spend a game.

Pattern: Vintage Velvet from Scarf Style
Yarn: Touch Me (5 balls, plus a little bit I had left over from another project)
Needles: US size 8

The scarf is the perfect scarf for Mardi Gras, especially when you combine it with green stitch markers and a glass of Chardonnay. I began this project because I ran out of yarn for Italian's Anniversary 2.0 sweater. The Vintage Velvet scarf is also part of my Mission Possible list, so it kept my hands busy and helped me knock off one more item from my Must-Knit list. The scarf knits up with a shocking speed. From start to finish (knitting), it took 8 days. The five balls of Touch Me helps the scarf zoom along. Before you know it, you have knitted through an entire ball and seeing each ball come to an end motivated me to keep on knitting. Five balls will give you a very nice length. I happened to have a couple of yards of yarn left over from a couple of Christmases past. It was just the perfect amount of yarn. I had this much left when I binded (bound?) off the scarf.

Tonight, I'll felt it up. Yep, this scarf is supposed to felt. (I'll post pictures of the felting journey.)