Sunday, September 28, 2008

Guess I am

You Are Teal Green

You are a one of a kind, an original person. There's no one even close to being like you.

Expressive and creative, you have a knack for making the impossible possible.

While you are a bit offbeat, you don't scare people away with your quirks.

Your warm personality nicely counteracts any strange habits you may have.

What Color Green Are You?

I found this quizlet via a Raveler who goes by the name of 'shelob'. Those of you who are fans of the LOTR will recognize the name. She has a blog named "Caution Blind Driver". This reminds me of the woman who organized a camping group we used to belong to; her license plate read 'LOSTCAR'. Oddly, she wrote great directions. ;)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Catching Up

Hi! Bet you thought I'd fallen off the planet. Those reports were premature. Today I join the millions of fans who are mourning the death of Paul Newman. Time passes, and we keep losing actors of his stature. And IMO we don't have replacements for them. Especially not Paul.

In the knitting news, I've finished the charity baby blanket, which took a lot more yarn than I thought. OK, it grew in the making a lot from the original 4-square pattern (Tender Blankie from Wendy Bernard) , too. But honestly, I was amazed that I used nearly 2 full skeins of white in making this, most of which went to the crocheted border; the Simply Soft skeins are 330yds each!

I modified the border from the pattern, adding a row of double crochet between the pick-up row and the doubled-up triple crochet row which gives the ruffled effect. I think it lets the edges of the squares lie flatter.

There was some minor swearing when I discovered that the skein of middle-blue I had was far from a full skein, and there wasn't enough to make the planned 3rd square. Fortunately, one of the benefits of making a blankie in squares is that you can play with the layout in the real world. Acrylic doesn't block or square up as natural fibers do, so I gave up trying to get a shot with the edges straight; the weight and the garter stitch make this very stretchy and I think it will be a lovely baby blanket or laprobe. Even though Simply Soft is much nicer in texture than most acrylics, a quick wash and dry with a dryer sheet makes a big difference in how good it feels. Final dimensions are 40in square. Midnight immediately approved; the moment I spread it out on the floor she moved in.

I also finished the Chevron Scarf. The variegated skein was the border yarn, and that I finished up with about 3in left. It looks terrible unblocked, being basically stockinette, and so curled in on itself; a picture will come later. A friend who's just finished her first lace shawl will be joining me in a blocking party next week; should be fun!

The most exciting part of life Chez CBM has been getting my new iPod. When the new Nano's came out a couple of weeks ago, I was all set to snap up one in purple. But then a knitter at Ravelry told me about the great deals at Apple on refurbished iPods; they come with the same 1 year warranty, and the prices are amazing. I meant to buy the 16GB Nano for $199. But thanks to this iPod-savvy Raveler, I am the proud owner of an 80GB Classic (2007 edition) for only $169. I was even able to find the same nice leather sleeve and carrying case (iSnug) that I have for my 2GB Nano, nearly 65% off at Woot!!

Needless to say, iTunes has been getting a lot of my business in the last week or so. In spite of adding a lot of new songs from iTunes, and some free ones from Amazon (nice selection, though not Top 40), plus some new audiobooks from the library and a few TV episodes, I've still got 64GB free. I'm a very happy wired-in girl!

Note to the thrifty shopper, courtesy of my clever friend Joan: iTunes (and the Apple store!) offer 4% rebates via Mr. Rebates. All you have to do is to log into Mr Rebates (say, in a separate tab) before you hit the 'Buy' button; the Rebates site will also take you to the vendor, just by clicking on the store name, and there are hundreds of online sites which have rebates. I recently got a rebate check for nearly $31.

Middy is just exhausted from all the activity. She's currently changing her favorite napping spot every few days. Last weekend she was hanging out on one of the footstools; before that it was under the little foyer table. With this one, we have to be careful not to catch her tail in the door. ;) But she seems to be in good spirits and very good appetite, in spite of still weighing in at a dainty 7lbs.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ka-Thump! Fell Off the No-Yarn Wagon

Well, just a bit. My dear friend Grace, who's known to the Elann Chat group as Queen of Shawls (QOS), designed a beautiful lace shawl, called Lovin' Comfort Shawl, for a design contest and it's been published by Little Knits. So I had to zip over to buy the pattern. Of course I couldn't just buy a pattern. So I went exploring and settled on some more of the really nice Happy Feet sock yarn I'm using in my Chevron Scarf (see below), in a lovely combo of browns and greyed browns and then fell hard for some Flying Sheep Blue Faced Leicester yarn from Fly Designs. I tried to get a good color match in my photo for the BFL, which is the most gorgeous, saturated deep teal, with very subtle color variations, but I didn't really get the color right. There's 660 yards in the skein, enough for a big shawl.

I'm making very good progress on a baby blanket, my first in a couple of years; I thought I'd sworn off knitting blankets, but a design by the so-talented Wendy Bernard at Knit and Tonic grabbed me. It's called Tender Blankie. Hers was done with 4 squares of the lovely Pakucho cotton; mine seems to have grown beyond just 4 squares. The blanket is made from 11-12in mitered garter stitch squares, sewn together and then adding a little ruffled crochet border. I had Caron's Simply Soft acrylic in shades of Country Blues, plus white and I think this will be a 9-square blanket of blues trimmed in white. I found a 3rd shade of blue after I took the photo. So far I have 3 light blue and 2 dark blue squares done. This is the ultimate no-brainer knitting, so much that I was able to knit a square last night while watching the exciting season premiere of 'Fringe', a combination of weird science and FBI-type investigations. BTW, you can watch the entire episode at the link, and I think there's a repeat later this week. This is definitely on my list of new fall viewing.

The Chevron Scarf has progressed, too; I've added the 2nd skein and it's moving along nicely. I've also gotten a couple of new books and I'm trying to be good and ease back on the knitting, but the blanket squares are sort of like Ripple chips - it's hard to knit just one. But some aches in my shoulder and left thumb are beginning to remind me that I need to be moderate.

And - excitement! - Apple just announced their new iPod Nano, with twice the GBs for the old price. I'm looking forward to reading reviews of some of the new features. DH has decided he likes the iPod, and he's happy with my 2nd Gen 2GB, so there's a new one in my not-too-distant future. There's a purple one, and y'all know about me and purple. ;-D

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Knit Knit Here, Knit Knit There

Suddenly the knitting mojo and interest is back in a big way! I've got 3 different scarves going at the moment, 2 of them rescued from the aged WIP pile.

The pink is the Any-Gauge Reversible Pinecone Scarf from Gardiner Yarn Works. I'm doing this in KnitPicks' Shine cotton yarn. The yarn is nice and silky to the touch, and isn't splitty, but the pattern is full of K2tog's and I'm finding the cotton is hard on my wrists. I don't want to think about how tough K2tbl would be! The pattern is 20 rows long and has pattern stitches on every row, so I'm working closely from the chart; I don't find that the design is in any way intuitive, but it is very pretty. This will be for our seniors' charity boutique.

The lavender scarf is from Allison Jeppson Hyde's SpinDyeKnit website, a variation of feather & fan called Rabbit Tracks. There are only 2 pattern rows, so this moves along fast. The yarn is Elann's lovely Peruvian Baby Silk in the Lotus Blossom colorway. I'm using my new favorite needles, the Harmony wooden circulars with the nice sharp tips, but this rather slippery yarn would be better with bamboo; my old favorite Crystal Palace just don't have a sharp enough tip. This will be a gift to someone someday. Just fun to knit and a good traveling project.

The russet and brown scarf is part of the Fashionably-Late KAL, which was started by some of my Elann friends. It's last year's so-popular Chevron Scarf from Joelle Hoverson's Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I'm using one skein of Shibui Knits sock yarn, a nearly-solid russet, and one skein of Plymouth's Happy Feet yarn in shades of browns and russets with one of the shades as close to the Shibui yarn as if they'd been dyed together.

And, not last, here's the A4A vest I started the last weekend in August, my LOTR marathon project. I meant to finish it over the long weekend, but I just never got back to it. I spent a lot of the weekend knitting and frogging and knitting and frogging the Chevron scarf, to get the best combination of needle and yarn and to deal with miscounted stitches, false starts on edgings, etc. The yarns are Brown Sheep's Lamb's Pride worsted (teal) and Kona Bay worsted. I picked up both of these very nice wools in super-cheap odd-skein bags at a LYS which closed last year. The pattern is from the Coats & Clark website but modified to be knitted in the round.