Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Wallpaper and a Trip Outa' Town

Here they are--the boring 18 year old striped wallpaper in the front hall and the new, outre undulating fern wallpaper. It is amazing that my husband and I had no trouble agreeing on this pattern, even though I had brought 4 books home to choose from. I haven't rehung the pictures, and I don't know whether to give such a prominent place to the 14 year old portrait of the kids. Any thoughts?

The other pictures were taken in St. Augustine this weekend. DH and I went over to see his brother who was there for a few days, and also to hang out in our favorite place in Florida. We've been there so often there is nothing new to see; we just have to decide what to see again. We did sample a new restaurant for breakfast (it was great!) and went back to the lighthouse. The picture is looking out over Anastasia Island to the Atlantic from the top of the lighthouse. You can see that things are still very green for November.

I had lots of knitting time in the car and made progress on the second sock and the Silken Straw scarf. Next week we are going to New Orleans for a few days (he has a conference) and there is always good car knitting on that trip. It would be nice to finish up the WIPs and plunge into the queue.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

So Long Gone

I have excuses, really! There were home improvement projects that rudely elbowed their way into my "leisure time," Christmas knitting projects that can't be pictured or even described, and then there was the work project from hell that consumed most of October. It's true--I worked 285 hours last month!

In the last week I've been trying to get rested and organized. Yesterday I even completed a stash inventory! What I discovered:
-every completed project results in 1 or 2 extra skeins
-combining these with purchases of single skeins, I could make scarves and hats for several years without buying more yarn
-there is also enough sock yarn to last a long time, since I don't plan my own summer of socks!
-I over-estimated my enthusiasm for felting
-the Crayon box cardigan I began last year might as well sleep with the frogs because I can hardly stand the thought of all those miters.

Along with the inventory, I also made a list of WIPs and FOs, and set up the queue.

WIPs, and progress on each one: Christmas sweater for DD1 (1/2), Step socks for daughter of friend (1/2), Alchemy silken Straw scarf (3/4), mohair/novelty diagonal stripe scarf (3/4), Elven Cloak (Spiral Nebula shawl in Mister Joe Blanket. I'm using a moss green that doesn't seem to be available now from elann), and final adjustments on the Hanne Falkenberg-esque tank top.

Gotta flit for now; hope to be back soon with pictures, FO's and the queue.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Three projects done, how many to go? Unlike Stephanie, I can't bring myself to take pictures of the works in progress. I am pleased as can be, though , to have finished the fraternal socks, red scarf project scarf, and Mission Falls cotton lap blanket (or back-of-the-sofa blanket.) The socks were supposed to have Elizabeth Zimmerman's replaceable sole, but after three tries I gave up. The sole was either too loose or too tight. Also, the repeat in repeat in the Opal Hundertwasser yarn is very long, so the socks are decidely fraternal.
The scarf is ggh merino in a k2p2 rib and somewhat random stripes. I wanted a not-too-girly scarf. Doesn't it flatter the Little Kittle?
Mission Falls cotton is my new favorite yarn! Who would have thought a cotton yarn could be so tactile? And the colors are sophisticated and homey at the same time. The colors in the picture are a little muted because it was getting twilight-ish (but still 95 degrees!) when I took the picture. On a recent visit to the Guggenheim in NYC I saw several Kandinsky's that seemed to have the Mission Falls palette. I have plans for a Mission Falls Christmas present, but need to finish a few more works in progress. Last nught I totally frigged up a short-row heel on the second of a pair of Step socks, so tonight I'll try again. For some reason, the heel of the first sock nearly always works on the first try, but I have made some second heels as many as three times!

Just wondering, is "finish-itis" a beneficial computer virus? I think I caught it from Ann.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Too Many Pictures

I love Berlin because it isn't all about tourists. I felt like I was visiting among people who are living real lives there. There are still lot's of places to visit, though. The Berliner Dom was built by Kaiser Wilhelm in the late 19th century and is beautiful, but a bit overwrought. The inside of the dome is decorated with scenes of the beatitudes, which seems ironic in the context of a place where rich and powerful people worship.

Interior of the Berliner Dom

The Berlin Zoo has all the usual zoo attractions right in the heart of the city. Knut is a polar bear born at the Zoo who was abandoned by his mother, so he was raised by hand and is a celebrity.

Knut, the Star of The Berlin Zoo

The train station and the tram show the whole spectrum of the public transportation system. It is very impressive; you can get to most places in the city by at least two, and often three transportation options. There are the U-Bahn(subway), S-Bahn (surface trains), busses, and trams. Between cities there are regional trains and Deutsche Bahn, with lots of high-speed (250 kph) trains.

The huge, beautiful new train station

The tram, a holdover from the divided city. The trams only go east.

I found only one yarn shop in Berlin, but I wasn't looking too hard. It had swatches of every yarn for sale there, including information on how much yardage was used to make each swatch. It made it easy to imagine something actually made from from the yarn, and how many skeins you would need.

LaLaine, a yarn shop near Savigny Platz

Yarn from the yarn shop. I'm going to knit myself some armor!

We took day trips to Dresden, Hannover, and Leipzig. Each is less than 2 hours away by train.
The Armor Museum in Dresden, inspiration for knitting armor.

The Baroque Gardens in Hannover.

The J.S. Bach window in Thomaskirche, Leipzig.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Back in my Own Time Zone

It's good to be home, but it was a great trip! Five days in Copenhagen, eight days in Berlin, and 2 more days in Copenhagen. I'll start with Copenhagen, and report on Berlin later.
Here are things I loved about Copenhagen:
1. The weather was cool and breezy, just what a girl from Tallahassee wants in July!
2. The public transportation system is a dream come true, especially the Metro, where trains come every few minutes.
3. There are few hills, which makes long walks very appealing.
4. Outside the city center it is serene and peaceful with little traffic and wide sidewalks.
5. Hollyhocks grow out of cracks in those sidewalks!
6. Elsinore (called Helsingor) is a short train ride away.
7. You can see Sweden across the Baltic Sea.
8. There is a little mermaid.
9. There is a tree in the Frederiksberg park where parents hang pacifiers that their children have given up, many with fond notes and pictures.

On the downside:
1. Denmark hasn't embraced the idea of clean indoor (or outdoor) air, and the smoke is omnipresent.
2. The area around Tivoli and the Radhus is incredibly congested.
3. The knitting options were limited. The yarns were the same as I can buy here (only more expensive) and the interesting patterns were all in Danish.
4. One knitting shop that looked interesting (in the neighborhood of our hotel) had the sign below in its window. I don't know Danish but I know it means "Closed for July."

There wasn't much knitting time, but I did mke progress on the Diagonal Triangle Top in Bamboo, and a mindless diagonal scarf.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Thoughts on Shawl-Wearing

There is nothing new to show you all, so I want to share some musings on shawls. The yellow mohair one in the picture was made so long ago I don't remember exactly when. It was sometime after I moved to Tallahassee (1980) and started my current job (1990). I keep it at my office for those days when the air conditioning is way low. I keep a lighter woven stole for the sorta cold days. Recently I was working on a project that required long hours in an extremely cold conference room and wore both shawl and stole, held in place with a large brooch. I felt like a character from a Dickens novel, or one of those museum models that show how the Vikings lived. It made me appreciate fitted garments, and glad to have shawls and stoles as options, not necessities.
Shawl/stole wearing seems to require a certain finesse to avoid the extremes of Drama Queen and Jemima Puddleduck. I have read other knitters' comments about the potential frumpiness of shawls, but how about the affectation of stole-wearing?
I would love to read anyone's thoughts on this issue, especially since I keep making shawls and stoles, but have trouble wearing them.
BTW, I'll be out of town for a few weeks and may have limited blogging opportunities, but I'll be back with pictures after July 22.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Getting my (Knitting) Life Back

What a month this has been! Between June 1 and June 14 I worked 90 hours of overtime! No wonder my knitting output fell off.The big project is done, and I am now answering questions and reporting on results, but at least it can be done during a regular workday.

Fortunately, the project did not interfere with my upcoming vacation. On July 6, DH and DS and I go to Copenhagen for 6 days, then to Berlin for 8 days, and back to Copenhagen for 2 days and the flight home. I like the idea of returning to Copenhagen; if we realize we missed something important or really want to see something again there will be an opportunity. DH has a conference in Copenhagen, but for me the trip is pure vacation, and it is for him, too, after the first 5 days. I am lucky to have married a man who is so much fun to travel with.

Last weekend we saw Paris, Je taime. It is very charming and funny in places, and there is a shot of a Paris yarn shop in Montmartre. I will be researching the yarn shops of Copenhagen and Berlin, plus Dresden and Leipzig, which are likely day trips.

The projects pictured above are a button-front top in Berocco Yoga, and the beginnings of a shawl in Mission Falls 1824 Cotton. The top is from a Berocco leaflet and worked up easily. The shawl is all garter stitch, 26 st and 24 rows making a 6" square. I worked out the color placement using cut up paint chips. I want to finish the shawl before the trip because I think it would be a good airplane wrap.

After I finish the shawl I'll get back to the Hanne Flakenberg wannabe twinset. The back is finished and the front well-started; I just hope it works as I envision it.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Scarf It Up!

The Little Arrowhead scarf is complete! It took most of a ball of Filatura di Crosa Baby Kid Extra knit on #3 needles.(I had already used some of the yarn. I would have made the scarf longer if there had been more.) I felt silly knitting a mohair scarf in May, but my soul was crying out for lace, preferably knit from the stash.

The Hanne Falkenberg twinset project is underway, but work is still interfereing with knitting time. I find that I lie awake thinking about property tax reform, but when I get to sleep I dream about knitting!

What is up with you, my fellow pointy ones?


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Lost in Lace

What has happened to the knitting side of my brain? Last night I was looking forward to completing another section of the Penobscott Scarf just as I had done the previous nights. (You can see on the picture the section labeled "normal night.") Something was different, though, and it had nothing to do with the amount of alcohol I had consumed. I could not get this silly little mindless lace pattern to work. The pattern is only on the knit side, and it has 4 repeats over 25 stitches plus 1. How hard can that be? Well last night, it was too hard, as you can see by the part marked "last night." I ripped back at least 1 row for every 2 I worked. The really galling part is that I realized early on that it wasn't going well, and that I should put it down and back away slowly, but no, I kept thinking I'd do just one more row to "get it right." DH and I were watching Notes on a Scandal; maybe it was more distracting than I realized. It is a very creepy movie.

The other picture is me in my usual knitting spot, with my usual knitting companion, Frau Kitze. I often have to extricate her claws from clothes and knitting, but she is very sweet and loving. I am working on an Elizabeth Zimmerman sock, which has become a black hole of knitting inertia. It is time to remove the soles and try again, or not.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Backlog Blog

This must have been the spring of shawls! On the left is the Little Arrowhead Shawl from the Summer 2006 Interweave Knits worked in the Sea Silk that my DS gave me for Christmas. It is wonderful to wear, but very slithery to knit! On the right is a very simple, airy shawl of Ritratto, knit in stockinette and reverse stockinette with a garter stitch ruffle. I have learned not to wear it when I'm also wearing a charm bracelet.
I got knitting gifts from the DDs for Mothers' Day. Alexa sent me the Harlot's new book, and Camille bought me a scarf kit in Paris. The instructions are in French, but I think it is possible to figure out from the picture and the logic of the instructions. If it get's too confusing, Erica (at Wooly Bully) told me she knows a local knitter who learned to knit in French. I think Camille was really brave to buy something in a Parisian knitting shop. For a non-knitter any knitting shop is daunting, and Parisian shopkeepers are not known for their welcoming attitude!
Cathy, I want to see pictures of socks, especially the sock club offerings. My friend from Germany sent several skeins of sock yarn, but I'm stuck in the black hole of Elizabeth Zimmer' s removeable sole sock. I completed one (doing the sole twice) but am not happy with it because it is too loose, so I'm working on the other one now with a smaller sole. If it turns out well I'll go back and redo the first one, but right now I'm heartily sick of the whole thing.
I've almost finished a summer cardigan in Yoga, a ribbon yarn by Berocco. I may add short sleeves; there seems to be enough left over. It is very loud.
What I am most hoping for is a successful completion of the Florida Legislature's Special Session on property tax. I have been working evenings and weekends since February, and it is just tiresome, as well as intruding on my knitting time! What's the point in accruing all these hours of comp time if I can't use them?
But enough moaning. I'll survive to knit another day.

Monday, May 14, 2007

She's Back!

Oh, the guilt of having neglected you for so long! My only lame excuse is that work has been much busier than usual since New Years, but it really has more to do with the evil habit of procrastination than any work requirements. Yesterday fellow angel Rayma Ball mentioned stumbling across our little endeavor and I was mortified to think how long it has been since I had even looked at it.

The pictures show just a small part of my knitting ouput since January. Red scarf went to the Red Scarf Project (duh!) It is just Brown Sheep bulky weight in a simple diagonal stitch. I hope it went to someone in a cold climate! The pink and red stripe is a riff on the Argosy pattern, which I had to modify to make the stripes work out. It is a very soft kid mohair/slik blend that requires a Zen knitting attitude. I took it with me on my work road trips and found it very theraputic.

I've missed reading about your projects and adventures, and I've missed singing with you, Cathy. I hope you and your mom are doing well. The wife of a friend just opened an antique shop in Bainbridge so I really have to come up and see you and it.

I'll be back soon with more finished objects, works in progress, and stash additions (not too many, and most were gifts.) LYS Wooly Bully has moved to a more spacious, less sketchy location so if you are in Tallahassee we could go there together.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Knithead number 3 here

Ellen, how do you do so many projects so well? Cathy, as usual your socks rock. Between my last post and the church bazaar I managed to complete a number of scarfs and finished the black tweed shawl that grew. Everything sold and a tall woman bought the big shawl and it did look great draped on her. And I had a request for another one.

My trip to Virginia to visit oldest son was great. First time flying since all my medical problems but it went very smoothly and encuoarged me to think of other trips. Son spoiled me by demonstrating his newly developed cooking skills. Grandsons were great. I did not make much progress on socks. But I will persevere.

I have finished cat hammock for the Humane socidety, except for felting it. I had not heard about the Red Scarf project until today so will quickly get busy and make one since they have to be mailed this month. No red yarn in my stash so will have to buy some.
Cheers. Naomi