Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Goodbye Pinecone Buttons!

Dear Blog-

Today I actually have a free morning to sit down and spend time writing to you. I really ought to be going early for my weekly blood draw so that I don't have to sit there so long waiting for my turn, later in the day when it is more crowded. I also should be starting my deep clean of this room, which looks like it was attacked by a yarn-vomiting monster. I'll definitely take a breakfast break here somewhere so that I can get that part of my day on the move, as it were...

But did I ever show you this bowl that I got at the Gem Show this spring? I bought it as a present for my older sister's b-day, and then realized that I already had a present for her. Now I debate daily, as I sit and eat my breakfast and gaze upon it, whether it is really meant for me. It makes me think of a night sky and the phases of the moon. I am not sure what the stone is, or what the fossils are, but it is beautiful.

Well, last week on the knitlist the Knitting Wizard people asked for volunteers to be beta testers for the new version of the Sock Wizard software. I jumped up with my hand in the air and volunteered right away, as fast as my little fingers could type. They said it would take about one hour each day, for three days - Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I knew I could manage that, and what the heck, it sounded like fun.

So on Friday morning I downloaded the software and my directions for my test group, and started the first of my three tests for the day. They had each group enter specific info for a pattern, in a particular way. Sometimes they had you go through step by step in an orderly fashion, sometimes they had you hopping from one tab to another. They would also have you go back and make a change to the pattern and see if the changes showed up properly. We would then print out the pattern, save the pattern, close down the program, and reopen the program and the pattern again and compare the two.

Well, on Friday I found a bug in the second set of tests that I did. I was so proud of myself! I was then asked to keep running that test and make sure that the bug did reproduce each time, and finally the woman who was monitoring our group found it for herself, and that was the end of my tests for the day. It ended up taking more than an hour that day, but it was interesting to do.

On Saturday we did a variation of the same type of tests, and all I found were some typos. Then Sunday our tests consisted of knitting heels and heel turns according to a pattern we downloaded. All in all it was a lot of fun to do, and the best part is that for all our efforts, we will be given a free copy of the software when the finished version comes out in about a month or so! Woo Hoo! as my niece used to say. This is just grand as I really fell in love with the software while working with it this weekend. I'm looking forward to having it in hand (or on my computer, really) and playing with it.

My boss and I have been emailing back and forth for the past week or so about classes that I want to teach for the upcoming quarter at Kiwi Knitting. On Friday she emailed me and let me know that one of the branches of the other yarn shop in town (no names mentioned) was rumored to be closing soon. That is the yarn shop that is notorious with knitters in town for being very cliquish and not very nice to anyone who isn't part of their in-crowd. I have been hearing stories about them for years now from other knitters, and have stories of my own to tell. You may remember me writing to you about them back in January or so when I was searching for the perfect needles for my Scheherazade shawl .

Anyway, while DH and I were out and about on Saturday we stopped into that shop and browsed around. I found out that they are having hell's own clearance sale coming up at the end of the month, so I might see if it is possible to pick up some bargains when they do. But what I am really getting around to saying is that they had a cardi on display that I absolutely fell in LOVE with! It is by Habu Textiles and is from one of their kits. The picture on the Habu website does NOT do it justice, trust me. The pattern is very simple and something I can figure out for myself (with the help of Sweater Wizard), but part of what makes it really cool is not only the incredible simplicity of the design, but that one of the yarns used is wool/stainless steel! The other is a gorgeous silk laceweight. I came home and googled and found lots of info on the whole thing, and found that the yarn itself is not at all expensive, it is the pattern that costs so much. And I remembered that one of my students told me earlier that Habu Textiles had been at the Gem Show this year, so I will definitely have to search for them next winter when the Gem Show comes back to town.

Algonquin Cardi

You'll remember, Blog, that I had to put aside my Algonquin cardi in order to get a few things finished for potential classes at Kiwi. Then I found out that Desi and Tia were going to do a KAL on the Lady Eleanor, and I myself needed to make a NEW Lady Eleanor because last fall at the farmer's market someone bought the one I made a year ago straight off my back. I loved my Lady E, and would never, ever have sold her. That is, if someone hadn't come along and offered me an astounding amount of money for it then and there. So off she went to her new home, and I also went home because now I had nothing to keep me warm for the day.

My Algonquin again waited while I got going on Lady Eleanor, and frogged Lady Eleanor, and re-knit Lady E, etc, etc. Yesterday I realized that the Algonquin will never get finished if I don't simply make a point of sitting down and working on it. Therefore, when I got home from our abridged KAL meeting and could no longer find excuses to aviod cleaning house, I sat down and worked 6 rows of the Algonquin every time I needed to take a breathing break from cleaning. I got a lot done on the sleeve, and towards evening it was apparent that I was coming to the end of my ball of yarn. By then I was too bushed from cleaning to bother to go wind another skein, so while watching tv last night (Worst Jobs in History) I took off the pinecone buttons and sewed on the new buttons. Look how happy she is! See her big smile? She likes her new buttons! She is flinging her arm out in happiness!

One of the other projects I was working on that was stalling the progress in the Algonquin was finally making myself a Knitter's Felted Tool Bag. This is my own pattern, and maybe TODAY is the day that I can talk DH into putting the danged pattern onto my patterns page. Maybe today. I know you are going to read this, DH. :-) Anyway, isn't it pretty? I can fit many, many necessary knitterly things in it.

There I was, plugging along on my Lady E Mach II, when I realized that it looked molto narrower than Lady E the First. Sure enough, when I measured my little rectangles they were only 3 inches wide, not the 3.5 inches wide that they ought to be. That is how much tighter my gauge is this year as opposed to last! I didn't really want to frog her but I knew I had to. I cast on again and allowed enough sts for two more rectangles. Below is the first version compared to my restart. You can see the difference. I am MUCH happier with the second go at this. Before frogging I was having gloomy thoughts that LE2 would never compare in beauty to Lady E the First, but this second go at LE2 makes me feel much better. The only downside is that I fear that making it wider with more rectangles means that I will need extra yarn in order to make it long enough. One thing I especially loved about LE1 is that it was very long and enveloping and cuddly. It wouldn't take much extra yarn if I do need more, but this would stand in clear violation of the Yarn Treaty of 2007 that was reached in the Sorenson household after the flaming rat's bottom who runs the farmer's market booted us out of the market when my husband (who was in the hospital less than a month later getting new cardiac stents) went home sick one day. I do, however, see this as a special circumstance, that, without which, all previous knitting on LE2 would be rendered meaningless. Time alone will tell what we need... Ok, Time, and a lot of knitting.

Much better wider, huh?

Here are some photos from our abbreviated LE KAL yesterday morning...

A silly-looking Desi with her finished Lady E-

and a view of the back-

Action photo of Tia and her Lady E-

Tia and her Lady E staying perfectly still, trying to blend in with the wall behind them...

Now Desi is working on a Lizard Ridge afghan for her Mother for Xmas-

I think the college types who frequent the caf on Monday mornings are getting used to us and thinking us less freakish than they did at first.

Chinese Red Vest

And of course, since I wrote to you last, I have finished my Chinese Red (green) Vest from Folk Vests. Looks great from a distance, eh? Except for the wavery hem where I threaded the blocking wires through. Have to reblock that hem. From here it looks fine with the lighter color collar and armhole edges. Not to mention the bigger button at the top. Of course, about a week later I found that I HAD bought another card of these buttons, and so could have made them all the same. But I hear it is playing well to the LYS audience with the larger button, so I won't lose any sleep over it just yet.

But up close... I'm not too sure about the collar. I don't know yet - almost as soon as it was finished, it was shipped off to the LYS. I haven't had the chance to live with it and get to know it.

And for the first time in my life I have won something! A contest on KnitTalk to guess when the 1000th member would join. Ok, so I really came in 3rd, and I think the woman running the contest felt sorry for me when I admitted to never having won anything before now. Alright, I did take the prize in beauty school for the best fingerwaves (I was the Fingerwave Queen, but that was a loooong time ago), but not any sort of random contest where you actually get a prize! She sent me this lovely huge hank of bulky cotton chenille by Cherry Tree Hill in what are my favorite colors. And three balls of this neat thick/thin yarn that I am thinking will make a wonderful scarf for winter.

Blog, I know last time we talked I told you my story of trying to find romney roving in Tucson. Well, I found a great place to order from, and this is what came in the mail - flesh-colored roving, black, white, brown, a red and a blue. Uber Sis wants to learn 3-D needle felting when she is visiting in a few weeks, so I had better be ready for her. That is if Father will let her come visit me. Pfffff!

Ok, Blog, the dirty dishes are calling, I had better go. Maybe if I tell you that I will post again in two weeks I will find the time before then. Or maybe that puts the curse on it and I won't get to post again for a month. Perhaps I should say nothing...

Knit On, Sisters!

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Blogger CC said...

Won't you let us in on where you ordered your Romney Roving??

Will you be doing all that macarame fringe on your Lady E.2? I left it off mine as I know me and knew I'd just get it caught on everything.

12:36 PM  
Blogger AlisonH said...

That bowl is gorgeous! I won't admit to immediately coveting those two sweaters, I won't, I won't, I won't. But I do like them. And the colorwork and all that fun stuff. Cool. Very cool.

And amazing how the whole universe can reflect itself back at you in something as small as that bowl.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Cactusneedles said...

I know exactly what shop you're speaking of. I've been there many a time myself, and you're right, they are very snobby if you let them get away with it! Did the shop on the east or north side close? Or what's going on--you mentioned sale!! I have to get to the Kiwi Knitting some day when I'm down by the U.

3:47 PM  
Blogger Windyridge said...

I can't comment on your other blog so I ended up here. Your fan club was very happy to see yet another great post.
I see you knit and spin! Maybe that's howe I found your blog? I don't remember. I am 48...'nuff said. I spin and knit and have a farm of a few sheep, angora bunny and an angora rabbit.

1:24 PM  
Blogger macKnitty said...

Yeah! I'm never going to finish that sucker. Okay, I'll make it my priority this week.

11:43 AM  

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