Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sock it to me

I know that I’ve said that I’m not a sock knitter. Tiny needles, skinny yarn, ugh. Especially bad because I tend to knit loosely, which means I have to use even tinier needles for sock yarn. I have been known to dabble in the land of sport, dk, worsted, and chunky weight socks, but for socks to really fit well in shoes, skinnier yarn is preferable.

The Yarn Harlot posted an interesting challenge yesterday for sock knitters. Apparently, Tracy at Stringativity managed to get a picture of Barack Obama with her knitting, and the Yarn Harlot would like to see more of this kind of activity. She is offering an incentive. This made me want to cast on a sock, just to be ready. I pulled out some gorgeous sock yarn that had been in the stash for an awfully long time, 10 years, I think. I cast on to size zero needles, knit ribbing and 12 rows of Spring Forward. The fabric was too tight. Woohoo, I could move up to size 1 needles! But as I began to rip out my knitting, I came to a part where the yarn was frayed. Hmmm, I must have split it while knitting. I started knitting on the size 1 needles, new yarn from the ball. Another frayed spot, 3 rounds into the ribbing. And then another. I rewound the entire ball, and there were several bad spots in the yarn. I’m not blaming the yarn; I didn’t take especially good care of it while it was in my stash (just hanging out in a dusty basket in the previously un-air conditioned upstairs). But I really don’t think it would be wise to knit a pair of socks with it and expect them to put up with hard wear. Too bad; the colors were glowingly gorgeous jewel tones. I now have several small balls of it, because I started winding a new ball each time I came to a break or frayed spot.

The only other fingering yarn in my stash (gave up on those socks, too) may end up being Endpaper Mitts because I only have one 50 gram ball of each color.

In the meantime, what’s this?

blue string

I believe it’s going to be a Monteagle String Bag from Mason-Dixon Knitting. It’s 2nd Time Cotton from Knit One Crochet Two, and it’s not expensive. 75% recycled cotton (new, from the garment industry) and 25% acrylic, 100 grams in the skein.

I’m feeling like I want to start several projects, which is strange for me, because I’m fairly monogamous when it comes to projects. The Central Park Hoodie is coming along nicely; do I really want to start some distractions? Monteagle bag, socks, Endpaper Mitts…I sense trouble ahead!

A little help from our friends…

Who doesn’t need a little help sometimes?

It’s crunch time at Sharon’s house. Her daughter is leaving for college this weekend, and the longtime UFO (unfinished object) needs to be finished so it can go with her! I had offered to knit the i-cord handles for her; one of them came with me on vacation, but the second had to wait for a yarn infusion, so I knit it last week when I came home. Yesterday, I felted the bag for her.

feltbag

I love how this bag turned out. Sharon is a genius with color. I wish I had taken a picture before I felted it, but yesterday was a bit crunchy here, too, between work and a meeting last night. There’s a picture of it in this previous post, unfinished; you can get an idea of how much it shrank. I opted for firm but not too tight. If Sharon would like it to be stiffer, it can go back in the washer for a bit more time. There’s a fine line there; the colors wouldn’t be quite as brilliant if it were felted down a lot more. Voice of experience; I’ve made at least four of them! I’ve lost count…

Who’s Zooming who(m)?

I just got an early birthday present. It’s a digital recorder, the Zoom H2.

My new laptop doesn’t record piano as well as my old one did, but my old one takes 10 minutes to fully boot up, and the hard drive is nearly full. I’ve been wanting a Zoom for a while (they’re highly recommended on the piano forums), and a birthday is a perfect opportunity. It will be great for recording piano for online recitals, practice feedback, and Kid2′s school concerts. Also, I sing with a group of friends; it’s guitar and mandolin and a lot of fun. We’re the Day Old Pastries, a bit crusty but fresh enough! We’re getting together this evening, and it will be instructive to know what we really sound like, since we’re playing on Sunday!

I dinked around with the Zoom last night, and it’s easy to set up, easy to use. I listened to playback, and it’s really clear. Thumbs up!

February Baby in Seattle

I took the train to Seattle for the weekend. One of the Piano Babes is moving to Shanghai for two years, and we wanted to have a reunion before she departs. The Piano Babes have been friends since 2000, when we met at Sonata, a piano camp for adults. We live up and down the West Coast, and Seattle was a good meeting place.

I had *a lot* of time to knit on the train on Friday. We were delayed for five hours because a freight train further north hit a person who chose to commit suicide by train. She must have been a very disturbed person. So sad. But it completely discombobulated north-south train traffic for the whole day.

I finished the second sleeve of the February Baby Sweater while we were delayed. As soon as I finished it, I realized that I had made a grievous error and knit it out of the stitches for the back. During one phone conversation with The Husband, he asked if the baby had already been born.

“Yes, I’m taking dinner to the family on Tuesday.”

“Well, does she have an arm in the middle of her back?”

Such a card, he is.

But I had plenty of time to rip out the sleeve, and re-knit it. And work a good deal of the body after that. I finished the knitting on the train home, which arrived 15 minutes early. I’ll post pictures tomorrow after I have some daylight to take them!

In the meantime, here are some thoughts on this pattern: This was like that quiz in high school, where there’s a full sheet of instructions. The first instruction tells you to read the whole page first, and you never do. The last instruction is to put your name on the top of the page, ignore the rest of the instructions, and turn in the quiz. The pattern didn’t say to read the whole thing through first, but I should have! I read far enough to know that I had to pay attention to starting the buttonholes, which aren’t mentioned until well into the pattern, long after the first one should have been made. But I didn’t go to the end. The sleeves are made and bound off before working the body. At the end of the body, it says to bind off purlwise, which looks great. But I had already bound off the sleeves knitwise. Since purlwise looked better, I went back and tinked the bind off on the sleeves and reknit (repurled? or just purled, because I hadn’t purled them before) them. I could have left them, but I can’t stand to have things not match. I’ve made this sweater before, about 10 years ago, so I didn’t really remember much about it, other than I liked it. I think I’ll leave myself notes in my book this time!

Some pictures from Seattle:

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We spent some time at Pike Street Market on Saturday. It was really busy because it was the weekend, and a beautiful day. There were lots of street musicians, but this one was my favorite, just for sheer novelty value. He’s playing the harmonica, and the guitar, balancing another guitar on his chin? forehead? and managing two hula hoops.

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We bought some sea scallops here for dinner. They were delicious, seared on the grill. We also had fresh heirloom tomatoes and basil in a caprese salad, and sauteed green and purple beans and peppers.

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These looked great, too, but I’ve developed an allergy to crab, so it’s an unrequited longing…

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The flowers at the market are gorgeous, and I had to buy some. When we met up with the rest of the Babes, I found that I wasn’t the only one who had succumbed.

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This cruise ship was in port. Quite a contrast with the cruise I was on last week!

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We even played some piano this weekend, and some Rock Band, too. I played this Adagio by Franz Joseph Haydn (Sonata No. 48, Hob. XVI/35) among other things. I recorded this a few weeks ago for the Adult Beginner Forum’s quarterly online recital on PianoWorld.com. The recital went live while I was on vacation; I thought it was amusing to be in a piano recital when I was nowhere near a piano!

May I have a drum roll, please

It’s contest drawing time. I put all the commenters’ names on slips of paper, dropped them into my tote bag, swished them around, and pulled out a slip. It was blank. Round two: Swish, pull, and the winner is Lorajean! She wins the book, Knitalong. Congratulations; I’ll make arrangements to get it to you soon. Thank you all for playing!

And because I can’t stand to have a post without pictures, I’m sharing a few more vacation pictures. (No knitting to report right now; I’ve been reviewing and editing pix, all 437 of them.)

Norman Island has some interesting caves for snorkeling at Treasure Point. This is outside, inside, and outside again.

snorkeling

cave lookout

treasure pt

We also hiked on Norman Island. If you stand on top of the ridge of the island, you can see the Bight (the bay) on one side and a reef on the other.

bight

reef

flower

A remora hung out with the boat one day when we were moored.

remora

And the rainstorm that came through on Thursday night made for some interesting skies. The storm went on to become Tropical Storm Fay. There are two rainbows in the first picture; the second one is very faint and above the bright one.

rainbows

sunset fay

sunset jvd

Knitting content next post; I promise!

Away from keyboard; be right back…

Sometimes you just need to unplug. It was beautiful on Saturday, so we went to Multnomah Falls. Us and a bazillion other people! But it was a good time, anyway.

falls

Multnomah Falls is 620 feet high; it’s the second highest year-round waterfall in the US. This is just the upper portion of the upper falls. There’s a paved trail to the top of the falls. The trail gains 600 feet in elevation over 1.2 miles. Don’t think I didn’t notice.

Photo ops make a great excuse to stop for a moment:

fall guys

Somehow this fern looks like a sock pattern to me.

fern

We eventually made it up to the top, and could look down at where the water falls over the edge of the mountain.

fall top

In this photo, you can see Multnomah Falls Lodge and the parking lot in the upper right corner. It’s a long way down.

fall top 2

But this picture is my favorite. It’s a little waterfall just before the big one. You wouldn’t know it’s there unless you went to the top. It looks mysterious and secluded, but it’s right next to the viewing platform at the top of the falls.

falls above

That photo mosaic meme…

I’m not even sure what a meme is, but out in blogland there are a lot of them. I think it means many people doing the same thing? This one has been going around for a while. I was slow to jump on the bandwagon, but I knew I would get there, eventually. Hey, I’m a sheep! But that’s not a bad thing for a knitter. Here’s my mosaic, and I think it looks cool.

mosaic7567892

1. Ponte San Michele – Vicenza, Italy., 2. Artichoke Lover, 3. Made in Oregon, 4. Blue Morpho, 5. Mozart’s Starling, 6. Lemon drop, 7. Notre Dame at Twilight, Paris, 8. lemon bar, 9. French Knitter, 10. Snowmen family in TX, 11. Tender Love and Care, 12. Piano Innards As Art

In case you want to try it, too, here’s how to do it.

Instructions:
1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
2. Using only the first page of results, pick one image for each question.
3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into Big Huge Lab’s Mosaic Maker to create a mosaic of the picture answers.

Questions:
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

In other news, I had the piano tuned this week. It’s pretty stable, tuning wise. I always get the treble voiced down a bit when it’s tuned, because it gets a little too bright as the hammer felts pack down with use. It sounds divine right now. I’m hosting a piano and pinot event next week, so this is perfect timing. I’m not the pianist next week; I just have to clean the house! And serve dessert, pour wine, and enjoy the music.

Oh, I started seaming Josephine this morning. Tiny stitches, but it’s going pretty quickly. I love mattress stitch; it looks so good on stockinette.

Josephine’s shoulders: short rows

I’m a big fan of the three needle bind off for shoulder seams. I’m in this for the knitting, not the sewing! Fewer sewn seams = happier knitter. Josephine has slightly sloping shoulders instead of a straight across seam, so I needed to learn a new trick before I could use a three needle bind off. Short row shoulder shaping! I found a very good tutorial at Knitty. Worked like a charm. I couldn’t figure out how to simultaneously short row the neck shaping (I ended up finishing in the middle of the shoulder when I tried it), so the neck has a stairstep bindoff, but the shoulder is perfectly smooth. No problem; picking up stitches for the neck on a stairstep bindoff is easy. Here’s the back of Josephine:

jo back

And the shoulder:

jo shoulder

Modifications so far: shorter on the lace portion at the bottom (reduced by 1/2 repeat) because I’m short and want it to end at hip length, and also I think I’ve arranged things so that the eyelet row that will hold the drawstring will be right under the bust, instead of on it. I think it will look more flattering that way.

On to the front! The other modification that I’m planning is to raise the V-neckline. I hate wearing layers; I don’t want to have to wear a camisole under this. The pattern as written has a very deep V-neck, suitable for a cami underneath, or else a sewn-in lace inset. Neither idea excites me, so I’m just going to start the V neck a bit higher. Fingers crossed!

On the piano front: I finished reading Katie Hafner’s A Romance on Three Legs: Glenn Gould’s Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Piano last night. I’m not much of a Bach fan; my preferences tend more towards Mozart and Beethoven, but I do love all things piano. I didn’t know much about Gould other than that he recorded two definitive versions of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, early and late in his career. It was really interesting to learn about him as a person (beyond idiosyncratic) and the piano he loved, but even more interesting to learn about Verne Edquist, the piano technician who tuned and regulated the piano to make it into Gould’s dream come true. You can learn more about the book here:

Look Inside this book

 

Back to knitting!

Bike First! Lose the Training Wheels

So, a quick non-knitting post today. I’m spending mornings this week volunteering at a bike camp for special needs kids. I volunteered with this organization last year, too, and it was the most meaningful week of my summer. Bike First! is part of an amazing program called Lose the Training Wheels. It uses adapted bikes with a succession of rollers on the back to teach children to balance. Each successive roller is more tapered, requiring more balancing skills from the child. It’s not a far leap from the most tapered roller to a regular two-wheeled bike. I had tears in my eyes when my camper mastered a two-wheeler last year. Here’s her story.

Knitting is a fairly sedentary hobby, and I’m feeling pretty decrepit after three mornings of running behind bikes for three hours. But it’s wonderful, and it’s worth it. Please pass the ibuprofen!

Back to knitting tomorrow…

Geek Thrill

Well, that was a thrill. My last post about stitch markers must have caught someone’s fancy, because all of a sudden I was number 2 on WordPress’s “What’s Hot: Fastest Growing WordPress.com Blogs” list on Saturday night. Not bad for someone who’s been blogging for less than three months.

Sunday morning I woke up and found that I was number 1! I was doing the happy dance, and took a screen shot, too.

WP#1 crop

By Sunday afternoon, I had fallen off the list, but it was fun while it lasted.

Back to your regularly scheduled knitting. I’ll try to post pictures of the Josephine Top with the very helpful stitch markers tomorrow. I missed my photo window of opportunity this afternoon.

Master of my domain

Right now, I’m pretty chuffed because I purchased my own domain name, so now you can go directly to http://pdxknitterati.com and that’s me, right here. You no longer have to include wordpress in the addy.  If you’re subscribed to this blog, please change the address subscription to http://pdxknitterati.com/feed  It’s a good idea to update it so you don’t get lost in the redirect world. (That last bit was something I read while figuring out this process, and I assume there’s a good reason for it.)

The last time I ran into the term “Master of Your Domain” was on the pianoworld.com forum. There’s the MOYD Club in the Adult Beginners Forum; members pledge to practice daily, or come groveling with excuses. I made it through the year in 2006, but my practicing collapsed in December of 2007 due to, um, Ravelry. I’m not in it this year, but I am playing/practicing again. Balance…

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