Friday, June 30, 2006

Must read the manual...

...for my new digital camera, that is. It's more software based than my old one, i.e. it has many more functions that have nothing to do with the strictly mechanical principle of "push this button, and that happens." They have invented a whole hieroglyphic alphabet of options to choose from in my tiny little display window! I'm sure it's a good camera and I'll be very happy with it eventually, but I really need to read that manual.

Last night, my husband tried to take a picture of me in my newly-finished, bright red Tempting. I was standing there, grinning like an idiot because I have a brand-new sweater, and it fits so much better than Banff. So what happens? The pictures come out dark. Really dark. Like you're standing in a vast room illuminated by a single lightbulb, and we're talking in the remotest corner of remote corners. No color, no definition, just silhouettes and a bit of glare where the light hit my glasses.

So: pictures are coming, but only after I've read the manual. My mother-in-law is visiting us for a week, and I may be a bit behind on blogging and reading people's blogs. Sorry 'bout that.

Hope all concerned have a pleasant 4th of July -- no offense to my British pals!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Lotus Blossom Aaargh!

I just finished round 8 of the first lace repeat... and I'm off by 1 stitch! Knit 3 after you do the last pattern repeat, I only have 2. My stitch count was spot on after 6. Maybe I forgot a YO? Maybe knit an extra stitch somewhere?
During lunch, I'll go over row 8 stitch by stitch. All 200 of them. With any luck, it'll turn out that I made a mistake in the last repeat or 2.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Clapotis modeled

Here's a modeled shot of me in my comfy chair with my mother's Clapotis. Scroll down for more Clapotis pictures. Sorry about the hair -- I just removed the Clap from my head after a picture that was so horrendously unflattering, I removed it from my computer and my camera.


As I said, my camera and I are still getting to know each other, and I haven't yet figured out how to get far enough to capture the entire Clapotis yet have the image not turn out blurry. This is a shot that wasn't all that successful because the lighting sucked, but I think it looks sort of artistic. Reminds me of dunes, a desert landscape of some kind.

The next picture is more... conventional. It doesn't do the yarn justice, though, Lion and Lamb has a beautiful shimmer. Click for a closeup to get a better idea. I love the Aslan colorway. Neutrals are usually not my thing, but I've been prancing around the house in my mother's Clapotis, and I'm loath to let it go.

Hence my latest yarn splurge: some Lion and Lamb in the colors of the fire (oranges, reds, greys, purples...). The inspiration came from veritas' sky hat -- great thanks go out to the great gothic knittyboard enabler : )

Back to my mother's Clapotis, though. It's pretty much invisible, but there is a difference in dye lots. The numbers were the same, but the third skein included substantially more of a yellow-ish color I hadn't seen in the other two. It's very gradual and subtle, though, so I don't mind. Nobody but me will ever know!

The pooling bothered me before I dropped the stitches, but now? I think it's kind of neat. And I still can't believe I finished with only 3 skeins and about 4 inches of yarn to spare. It was nerve-wrecking because I didn't want to ball the entire 4th skein just for 3 inches of yarn. But 3 was enough, if only barely.

There will be more pictures once the wrap is blocked. I'm extremely happy with it, my only worry is the smell of raw silk. If anyone can think of a way to lessen the smell of silk, let me know -- it makes my mother nauseous. I don't want to give her a gift that makes her puke.

SP package

I finally bought a new camera! We're still getting acquainted and there are tons of functions, so I want to apologize in advance for the questionable quality of my pictures.

First off, a (somewhat blurry, sorry!) picture of the wonderful package my SP, Spazzy Pickles, sent me a while ago. She's the bestest! 3 skeins of bright red Baby Ull, which will most likely end up as fingerless gloves. Then there's the strawberry tea, which smells wonderful and makes the whole house smell like... well, strawberries. I love strawberries! The first full sentence I learned in English was "Could I have some strawberry ice cream?" For years, I wanted everything to be strawberry flavored. I'm still crazy about them.
Oh, and look at the orange chocolate. The good stuff. With orange. Believe me, it took a serious act of willpower to make the chocolate last till I was done taking pictures. Now that the deed is done, I can start stuffing my face. Yay!

OK, I'm back after having some of the intensely orange-flavored chocolate. Yum, yum, yum! I don't know what the little crunchy bits are, but it's heavenly. Thanks so much, Pickles!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

1 Day to Pictures!

I've had it. Tomorrow, I'm going to buy a new camera, and then: pictures. In addition to the overdue SP package shots, I also have a bunch of knitting that needs to be shown to the world. You see, the weather sucks out here in good old New England.

Today, we were supposed to have class, 9-4. I got up at 6 am, got on the train, sit around for the 1.5 hours it takes me to get to Boston, make it to the library -- only to find a big handwritten sign telling me that all classes have been cancelled till Monday due to flash flooding. Apparently, the entire main campus is without electricity.

So I take the T back to the station, sit around for another hour, then take the train back home. I'm bummed about the class because one of my profs has to go back to California tomorrow, and we missed 7 hours of her lectures. That's too bad because she's a good lecturer. On the bright side, I spent my extra train and waiting time knitting. The upshot: Clapotis is done, the ends are woven in. Tempting is about 2 inches (give or take an inch) from being done. Then I need to graft together the armpits and weave in the ends, and voila: a second FO. Blocking will have to wait because my blocking room doubles as our guest bedroom, and my MIL is coming next weekend. With this humidity, it'll take my knitting more than that to dry. I'll take pictures of it anyway, in its pristine, unblocked state.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Done! Done! Oh, Darn!

Why does the camera have to be broken?

In a fit of mad procrastination, I finished my mother's Clapotis. It took exactly 3 skeins of Lion & Lamb, with about 3 inches left over! Now all I have to do is weave in the 2 ends. I love drooling my yarn together (i.e. spitting on the ends, then rubbing them together between my palms until they form one strand of yarn)!
The colorway is no good for my complexion, I don't like neutrals, this thing hasn't even been blocked, and it's for my mother. So why am I walking around the house with it? Why did I just splurge on some Lion & Lamb for myself, when my term appointment ends and I'm possibly going to be unemployed for a while?

Because this shawl is gorgeous! The way it drapes is unbelievable, the sheen is incredible, and I have to have one of my own, that's why. And as soon as I have a working digital camera, I'll put up pictures of the wonder that is my... ahem, I mean, my mother's Clapotis.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Digital Camera is Dead!

That's right. My husband's digital camera gave up the ghost today. This is particularly unfortunate because I still haven't taken pictures of my SP's wonderful package, and because my Clapotis is growing tremendously. I just started on section 4! It looks pretty and classy and I need to go buy a cheap digital camera of my own so I can share my knitting life with other knitters while DH's camera is in the shop.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Progress report

Looks like it's time to buy a new digital camera pour moi while my husband gets his fixed. There is so much to photograph!

1. The wonderful package my Secret Pal Spazzy Pickles from the knitty board sent me. It's full of yarn and chocolate and tea, and it made me very happy. More gushing as soon as I can put up the pictures. The Pickle deserves to be bragged about and fully appreciated!

2. Clapotis. I'm on the 9th repeat of the straight section. Soon, I'll start on the decreases! This scarf/shawl is turning out so pretty. At first, I didn't know what all the excitement was about because I thought it looked so-so in the pictures. But in person, the Lion & Lamb has a beautiful sheen to it, and it works incredibly well with the pattern. I'm in love!

3. Tempting. The sleeves are almost the same length and ready to be joined. I haven't worked on this for a week because I got bored of the ribbing. That's what I get for making the sleeves elbow-length. I know I'll like the end result better for the extra work, but for now, it's annoying.

In other news: I sent out my sister's package yesterday, she should get it in 6-9 days. And I still don't have my e-bay stuff. If it isn't here by Monday, I'll e-mail the seller.

I don't want to go to class tomorrow! It's Saturday, it's going to be gorgeous, I have class from 9:30-4:30. Off to check the LYS schedule. Maybe they'll still be open so I can go shopping for my downstream SP?
You never know.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I'm beat

Today, I only got in 1 repeat of section 3 on my Clapotis. I'm about to start the 4th repeat, and so far, things seem to be going well. Dropping the stitches is a pain, though. I know I have weird body chemistry. Gold plating comes off, tapestry needles blacken, yarn gets grippy and felts. Yes, that's right. It takes serious effort to get that stitch to drop. I don't want to wear gloves while knitting, though. That would look ridiculous.

The reason I didn't get more done: I went to the mall to put together a care package for my sister, who has her physical therapist licensing exam this month. Literally. It's a month-long monstrosity of an exam. So I bought a whole bunch of ginger-scented pampering products at the Origins counter -- I love that scent, will have to get some for myself when I have more money! It's not obnoxiously strong, it's subtle and refreshing.
There's also some white chocolate, lip gloss and a lip liner, cocoa, and vanilla-flavored redbush tea. I hope she feels loved and pampered. She's worked very hard. Studying doesn't come easily because she has a learning disability, and they test 3 years' worth of knowledge in one big test. It's rough.

I tried to go to our LYS, but couldn't, as they're not open Sundays May 1-Labor Day. Bummer. Other than that, I got everything I need, but I'm exhausted.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Trouble in Clapotis-Land?

So I've been knitting my Clapotis. Things have been going well, except for the following issue: It says to drop the stitch, then pick up the top bar. I did, front to back. Then, I knit that stitch and the next stitch through the back, like the pattern says. Then I saw that picking up the stitches front to back and knitting through the back loop makes the drop stitch ladder go away on top (see picture). Now I'm thinking: if I'd picked up back to front, it'd keep going. Did I mess up? The picture shows rows 8 and 9 completed on my first repeat. Does this look right?
Help, I may be over-thinking again!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Fun, fun, fun

My, the amount of fun I've been having! First, my internet connection decides to come and go as it pleases. Why? Turns out we need a new modem. Then, the grant that pays for my job gets extended, but only till August. So now, I'm job-hunting. Oh, and I'm cataloging Congressional documents all day long, and all of this while trying to suppress the urge to hit my head against the wall.

To keep myself sane, I've been knitting. The second sleeve on Tempting is coming along great. I modified them to be slightly below elbow-length. I want to have something that is both warm and pretty enough to dress up for a party. Has anyone noticed how women's fancy dress doesn't change with the seasons? Men have lighter fabrics for summer and heavier suits for winter. For women, the dressier the occasion, the less they wear. Strappy dresses, floaty fabrics, high-heeled sandals, anybody? In December?
Been there, done that. So instead of freezing my butt off, I'll have a nice alpaca and cashmere sweter to keep me warm. And it'll still be pretty!

My mom's clapotis is also coming along. I'm half a repeat away from dropping my first stitch. It's both exciting and strangely disturbing. Pictures of my progress are coming up, possibly tomorrow. Who knows, by then, I may have my first drop stitch ladder!