Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Socks and camis

I've been a busy little creature lately. Over my break, I made this:

What: Cotton Cami, less expensive cousin of the "silk and pearls cami" from Knitting Lingerie Style
Time:Begun Thursday morning, finished Saturday evening (because of the cursed seaming)
Materials: 2.5 skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas organic cotton in sage
Needles: US 9

This was a great little knit, and I'll definitely make it again, perhaps out of silk or a silk blend. It was easy, but my seaming definitely needs work. My first attempt looked like absolute garbage, and I ripped it out. My next attempt, using mattress stitch, was much better. I'd probably make this in the round next time, instead of making the front and the back and seaming, mostly because I don't like seaming. If I did it in the round, I might add an EZ-esque "phony seam" for looks.

My next project (already begun) is the Surplice Bodice Camisole, using Louisa Harding's Grace (50/50 silk/wool) in deep purple with a dark chocolate stripe. I love the feel of Grace and the fabric it knits into, and I'm so excited for this piece. I'm almost done with the top of the bodice already. I may end up using another lace pattern, or I may use the pattern in the book; I haven't decided yet.

I have decided that I'm going to end my grasshoppers soon, and make another pair of silkie ankle socks for a friend of my sister. I'll definitely have enough yarn, and she has the same size feet I do, so I'll be able to make them up no problem.

I'm on the lookout for a black and yellow sock yarn for one of my sisters-in-law. I've seen Lorna's Laces bee stripe yarn, but I'm not sure if I'll use it. I may end up dyeing my own, especially since I bought Knit Picks bare sock yarn for that purpose!

Well, my supper is almost done, so I'd better go eat it. The sooner I do, the sooner I can work on the camisole.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Socks and more socks

I saw this yesterday when I was searching for something...I think my next pair of socks will be a pair of pairs!

I'm working my way up the leg on the grasshoppers, and I think I won't do any increases until immediately below where my calf muscle pushes out. That would be about 6 inches instead of the 3 in the pattern.

I've also totally given up on my springtime socks. The mohair in the yarn is just too much for me. A little bit of mohair is okay (a la Schaefer Anne), but even when I was spinning it, my hands were itching. I think I'm going to give it away. Sigh.

Since I have today, Thursday, Friday and Monday off, I'm hoping to get some cleaning and crafting done. I have a huge pile of clothes to give to St. Vincent de Paul, and I think I'm going to pack up some of the books that I read infrequently so that I can get more space in the living room. That's the problem with marrying someone who loves books as much as you do...we have hundreds of books, and no place to store them. We need a house simply to have some room for our "library". If I get enough cleaning done, I'll be able to knit or spin with a clear conscience.

A couple of days ago I watched Shaolin Mantis, one of my favorite David Chiang movies. It has nothing to do with the Shaolin temple, instead it's the story of Ching spy infiltrating a Ming loyalist family. While overall the fights are not the best, the two with Lau Kar Wing are awesome. The other fights are a bit slow, and you can almost feel the actors counting the moves--I do this, you do that, I do this. The fights with Lau Kar Wing are a lot faster and more fluid, mainly (I think) because he's a great martial artist. The praying mantis in the training scenes is one of the best creature-actors I've ever seen. At one point he's holding a twig, and he looks like he's going to start pole-fighting. So cool. After watching that, I had to watch the final fight from Sword Stained with Royal Blood. This movie has an extremely obnoxious female lead and a lame plot, but the fights with Kuo Choi, Chiang Sheng and Lu Feng make the movie worth the money. I had this on an old xth-generation video tape and bought the Celestial version when it came out. Every time I need a little dose of kung fu, I pop it in.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Why is it...

That nothing I say at work can just be accepted? I have a policy in place about bringing donations to the library: call or email first. The president of the NP came in today with books that she didn't call or email about. I told her my policy, and then said that I'd just hold them for the librarian until she came in later, but that in the future she needed to call first. The prez got offended by that. Why? She's giving us junk and making us have to deal with disposing of it--shouldn't I be the one who's offended? Of course not. ARGH.

In other news, I finished both heels of my grasshoppers and an inch of the legs. I'm not sure when/if I'm going to do the increases, or if I'll do them as written. The lace is darn stretchy, so I don't know if they'll fall down if I add more stitches.

I also got my copy of Knitting Lingerie Style (finally!). There are a lot of interesting patters, and a lot of patterns I'd never knit in a million years. It's not that they're too scandalous, but that they're just ugly. There's a "camisole" in Douceur et Soie with ruching on the sides that looks like it's just an ill-filling cardigan sewn together in the front. But there's an amazing looking wasp-waist-style sweater that I think I'll have to make. It looks lovely, and I think I would work for those of us that have a bit of a tummy. A couple of the camisoles also look like good summer tank top patterns, so I might have to whip one up for my walks home from work. All in all, the book was worth the money.

I generally get bummed when people dis a book because they don't want to work all the patterns in it--you have to expect that not everything can be a must-make. I consider a 50/50 ratio of good to bad patterns make a book worth buying. You also need to realize who a book is written for. There was a pattern book that came out a few months ago, Twinkle's Big City Knits, that was written by a designer originally from Taipei. Her stuff is very interesting, but it looks best on those with petite and slender figures. So, if you don't have that kind of figure, don't buy the book! Don't buy it and then complain that she doesn't know how to design for "real women".

I should really get off my soapbox and back to my socks...

Friday, May 18, 2007


I got into my office today to find this note on my desk: "I can't find any grape juice--any ideas?"

Sitting right in front of my desk, where the person would have to walk around them to get to my keyboard to leave the note, are 10 bottles of grape juice.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Trying new things

One of the reasons I joined the RSC was to try out new colors and techniques. I got a chance to do that this afternoon, when I found a knot in one of my skeins. Of course, the location of the knot meant that the break in the yarn would be in the middle of the lace pattern (argh!). So, I decided to try out the Russian join. It worked like a charm. Hopefully, I'll soon get to the heel, which is a standard heel worked upside down. I'm excited to try that out and see how it wears.

I'm plugging away on the CoH shawl, but with my grasshopper STR socks in the queue, I've slowed up a bit on it. I do have until fall to finish it, so that's good.

I found a pattern to use with the violetta Kidsilk Haze--the Mountain Peaks shawl by Miriam Felton. I think I'm going to cast it on tonight; I have addi lace needles in the size called for by the pattern, and enough yarn (I think) to finish it. Miriam has a lot of lovely patterns...they make me wish I had more time to spend knitting.

I've been listening to a lot of Sam Spade radio mysteries lately, and they make perfect knitting listening. I also watched Piyar Ka Ghar last Friday. If you are a romantic but hate "romantic" movies, please watch this film! It's about a newlywed couple that has to share a small apartment in Bombay with the husband's parents, his brother and sister-in-law, and his younger brother. It's sweet, has a somewhat sappy ending, and is funny enough to make you laugh out loud. I loved it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Dragon's head!

I have to write this down so I don't forget it: I plan to knit the dragon's head with the i-cord body yarn, either as intarsia or in some sort of stranded pattern. Gold and Silk Garden yarns together will look very cool. I might have to work up a sample tonight when I get home. Exciting!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Some scary images

That's the rating warning on The Fellowship of the Ring movie--eek!

Things have been both crazy and boring around my burg, hence the lack of postings.

My CoH shawl is coming along nicely, and I got The Children of Hurin in the mail on Friday. Not bad, though I wish that they would have included the first half of the fall of Beleriand, where Hurin brings the Nauglamir to Thingol. I decided that for the cabled i-cord border of my shawl, that represents the body of Glaurung, I'd use some stash yarn in a golden and bronze colorway. He is, after all, Glaurung the golden! I also think that I'll use one repeat of seafoam for his eye, since it really opens up the fabric. I may make DP sketch a dragon's head for me; I'm really having trouble with it, and actually gave up for now. The cover of The Children of Hurin gave me the idea, since it has Turin on the cover with the dragon helm of Dor-Lomin on. I think that DP could draw something like it on graph paper, and I could work it out in a sample before I get that far on my shawl.

I watched two fun movies: Nagina and Prem Granth. Both star Rishi Kapoor (of Bobby fame), and both are a bit later in his career. I came into Prem Granth thinking it would be horribly lame, but it was actually (I thought) an interesting look at the state of women's rights in India. Nagina was more of a throwaway fun movie, but I loved Sridevi's dancing at the end, and I was rooting for the snakes all the way!

I made a tasty supper tonight. It's based on a recipe from my Indian cookbook...you could tell it was my favorite recipe, since the spine is cracked on that spot and the book always opens to it :) You basically quarter and steam a pound of potatoes, then set them aside. Combine salt, tumeric, garam masala, cayenne pepper and coriander in a small bowl, set that aside. Put a bit of oil in a frypan, and fry about a teaspoon of cumin seeds for a few seconds. Add the potatoes and spices, and stir about. Let them fry a few minutes, then deglaze the pan with lime juice. Delicious, and relatively good for you.

I'm off to Middle Earth...

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

May Day!

Hooray for May! I can't believe that we're already almost halfway through 2007. Argh.

Yesterday was just awful. I got into work and found that the bad caterers had taken all the dirty tablecloths from the simcha on Saturday and put them into trash bags, instead of laundry bags. I went upstairs to get the laundry bags from the stage (where they are stored with the clean tablecloths), and discovered that the caterers had taken all the clean tablecloths, unfolded them, and threw them onto the dirty stage floor. I got the laundry bags, came downstairs and listened to my voicemail, only to find that the numbers I had for the luncheon Monday morning had gone up 20 people! I quickly went back upstairs and set up more tables and chairs, then came back downstairs and started putting the tablecloths into the laundry bags. Suddenly, my maintenance man came up to me and told me that the walk in freezer had died, and all the food inside was melted. I went back upstairs to find the good caterers (who respect the building and aren't idiots) trying to deal with the pool of blood spilling onto the floor from all the meat that had melted in the freezer. I then went back downstairs and got the mop and bucket so the caterer could mop up the blood, which he graciously offered to do. All of this happened between 7:30 and 8:15. The rest of the day simply followed the theme of madness.

On a more pleasant topic, I finished DP's socks, and he actually wore them all day Monday. I couldn't believe it--I figured that after they were done, he'd decide they were too scratchy or something. The stats: 2 skeins of Claudia Handpainted in Ink, size O and 1 circs. I ended up doing the foot in stockinette on 0, the cuff in 2x2 rib on 1 and the top 2 inches of the cuff in 2x2 rib on 0. The verdict: the yarn makes a great sock, springy and comfortable. However, knitting with it dried out my hands like nobody's business. I've make two pairs of Regia socks in a row, and that yarn has nylon, and my hands didn't get as painfully dry as with the CH. I don't think I'll use it again, unless it's in some color I have to try.

I'm doing more work on the CoH shawl; I've frogged it twice, so it's on its third iteration. I realized while knitting on the bus this morning that I can do whatever I want with it--the words of EZ floated through my head: you are the boss of your knitting. I stopped agonizing over the types of eyelets and whether the tree trunks were twisty enough and just knitted. I know it sounds silly, but it was very freeing.

I also stopped at the coffee shop this morning. I'm trying to cut down on coffee and sweet coffee house drinks (I generally don't actually drink coffee), so I only go Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays now. Unfortunately, a new creature is inhabiting the coffee shop, and supposedly he'll be there every day. He's nice enough, but I don't like to socialize with people first thing in the morning. I may have to change the time I go to the coffee shop in order to avoid him. How irritating.