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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Out of the Box, uh, Square...

After a few weeks of nothing but miters, I am taking a little break. I have decided to walk down the well-travelled road of the Chevron Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

This morning I went down into the basement (otherwise known as the home of the stash) and went shopping in the sock yarn bins. (Yeah, I said bins plural.) I went with the intention of finding something to pair with the Foofaraw that had made me a little bit sad when it went from the swift to the ball winder. It should really be called Peas and Carrots in my humble opinion. (I am a STR fan, but I have discovered that what I love on the skein does not always hold the same magic for me in the ball.) Someone on the Chevron Scarf Flickr group had paired Foofaraw with a skein of Lucy to very nice effect, so I decided to see what I could find down there. Trouble is, I like the Lucy and I didn't want to use it for this project.

While pawing around, I rediscovered another ball with which I had a love/hate relationship. I think it may be Chanticleer or perhaps Rocktober, but I lost the label. When I wound it up, it looked like the skein of multi-colored Red Heart I had through my ENTIRE childhood. (Seriously, that skein never seemed to get smaller no matter how much I used.) The Red Heart had more prominent greens and blues, but it was pretty close. Trouble was I didn't think there was enough contrast between it and the Peas and Carrots. I went through all my STR, but couldn't find two to try together.

So, I suppressed my OCD tendencies and went to the "Miscellaneous Sock Yarn" bins to search for a something from another yarn purveyor. After some fishing about, I pulled out a skein of Sophie's Toes Jean Jacket and thought, "We have a winner!"

The Sophie's Toes is a bit thinner than the medium weight STR, and it took me several rows to come to grips with that. Even though it looked good, my compulsion was to rip because the rows were not exactly the same. The blue rows are a hair lacier than the multi rows. After a few inches, I have come to like texture I'm getting. It might be a little Rainbow Brite-ish, but I think it's workable.

In digging around, I also found a skein of Cherry Tree Hill Super Sock in Indian Summer that I think will look good with the Peas and Carrots for a second scarf.

The squares will just have to take a back seat, at least for a little while.

Less than a week until MDSW!

(I'm not sure what the deal is--probably user error--but I am having a hard time the spaces between paragraphs. Between the time I hit the publish button and the post goes up, they sometimes disappear. It makes me nuts, so I end up editing and republishing several times. Blech.)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Heat and Humidity

It was a gorgeous weekend--warm and sunny--but there's a dark side to the approaching warm season. Just when winter's dry air had made me believe my hair might be manageable after all, BOOM!, and now I look like this:

I guess it's back to the Japanese hair straightening.

I continue to knit more squares. It was an extremely busy work week, so I only got 3 1/2 miters done. I am realizing I need to start thinking more strategically about the colors: which ones should I repeat, which miters are not making me happy, etc.

MDSW countdown...less than two weeks.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


I'm feeling a bit cornered these days, so it's no wonder the knitting should reflect that. I want to work on other projects but THE SQUARES WON'T LET ME!!! I finished no. 21 this afternoon and, zombie-like, cast on for no. 22. (Cara is right; you must cast on the next one before you get up from the couch or all momentum will be lost.) Twenty-one means I have passed the 25% mark of the square-making process. I do dread the sewing and weaving, but I will have no choice or all that I will have is a big ol' pile o' squares, and who needs that?!
Elann updated their stock of Sonata, so I have a new order coming. I was starting to feel limited by the colors that were available and then, like magic, an email arrived with an inventory update. (I love the Internet!) I am happy with my decision not to assemble squares at this stage of the game--a choice I may come to regret when I spend weeks doing only that--because it leaves me more options for arranging the squares.

Maryland Sheep and Wool is just a few weeks away. I always approach these festivals and events thinking I'm not going to buy a lot of yarn, but I seem to fail miserably on that front. Since I now know I will see a lot of the same vendors at multiple festivals, the immediacy is somewhat reduced. Brooks Farm, however, always presents a serious temptation despite the fact I have yet to knit any of the yarn I purchased from them at MDSW or at Stitches. I think I am going to be at the festival both days this year. I plan to come up Saturday by myself and return Sunday with the knitting niece and her parents. This year, we will remember the sunscreen.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Harlot Sighting

I consider myself fortunate in many ways: I have seen Baryshnikov dance (granted, it was in the White Oak days and not in is prime ballet years, but, hey, it was Baryshnikov!), witnessed Michael Jordan fly to the net and make the shot to win a game at the buzzer, experienced Bruce Springsteen give it his all for 2-3 hours when most men half his age would not have the stamina to do the same, and I have seen The Harlot--twice! (I hope she is impressed by the company she keeps in my personal hall of fame!)

On Tuesday, The Husband and I trucked out to Oak Brook for her appearance at Borders. We arrived at 6:30pm for a 7:30pm event. I think a lot of people must have taken the day off or camped out or something because we were in the second-to-last row. We wedged ourselves in (it was pretty tight back there and The Husband is 6'5", so he does not "wedge" easily) and waited with eager anticipation. She did not disappoint.

Sorry you're blurry, Steph, you were much clearer in person.

There were some familiar faces that I'm sure I've seen in other places (lurking in yarn stores or at other knitting events), but few people I've met before. I did get a chance to chat with Emily of Sophie's Toes again (who will soon be achieving fame for her own incredible work) and I saw Franklin from a distance but didn't get a chance to chat. (Do read his post about his day with The Harlot--lucky guy, lucky Harlot!)

This photo of Franklin is a little stalker-ish. I didn't mean for it to be.

When The Husband and, I observed, the photographer hired to shoot the event both seem to be laughing and having as good a time as all of the crazy fiber fanatics in the room, you know you're on to something.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Square One

What you have been reading in other places is true...knitting miter squares is addictive. I started last night and worked my way through a bunch of TiVo goodness while knitting away. I did four miters so far. The Sonata is working out using a size 5. The gauge might be a tiny bit looser than I would like, but we'll see what happens with steaming and/or washing and blocking.
I know that there are all kinds of theories out there about how to best approach the color selection and pairings. I have decided on this method: I start with 4 colors. A is the dominant color on block 1, B is the secondary. On the second miter, B becomes dominant and C is secondary. On the third, C is dominant and D is secondary. On the fourth, D is dominant and A is secondary. I'm not sewing them together yet, so assembly may change things, but this way I don't have to spend an hour between miters deciding which colors to pair next 'cause I would. This way I pick four and go.

(Don't worry--not all of the colors are this superbright.)

My grandmother is a hand quilter and is still capable of making the tiniest little stitches. As I was working on my miters last night, I couldn't help but think that this is my version of a quilt. As I laid out my finished miters and saw the first block start to form, I flashed back on all of the beautiful quilts has has made over the years. She is an incredibly humble person and has never placed the value on her work that she should. I don't believe she has ever sold one of her quilts and even though she has quilted tops for others, she has never set a price for her work. In fact, I would venture to guess that she has refused any payment offered. She has kept some of her quilts, and my mom and aunt each have several, as do her four grandchildren. Others have gone to cousins, nieces, nephews, friends, and so on. I hope that each person who has one (or more!) of her creations treasures it as much as I do mine.