Sunday, January 15, 2012

Audiobook Recommendations from The Yarn Harlot's Commenters

Right before Christmas, as part of her series of great gift suggestions for knitters, The Yarn Harlot suggested audiobooks. Her commenters proceeded to suggest dozens of authors and titles they've enjoyed listening to. I thought it would be great to have the whole list for easy reference. So I put it into a table, which took quite a bit longer than you might think, and now I'm going to try to make it available here. This link to iDisk may not work after June 2012. If you have trouble, leave a comment.

So how many of these have you listened to or read? I count about 95 for me so far, including other titles by the authors mentioned.

I was inspired by The Harlot's post to subscribe to Audible, and I'm looking forward to working off this list for a long time!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Our little girl is all grown up!

Mom, did you see Laura's newsletter for River Colors yet? It's her very first try and it's way better than many newsletters I've seen from a variety of shops! Good job, darling sister!


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Wedding Shawl Musings

Mom suggested I put something up here about the shawl/stole I am planning for the wedding so you guys could see what I'm talking about. The one I like best so far is called Tibetan Clouds Beaded Stole from The Knitter's Book of Wool. So here's a picture from the book:

The stole is a rectangle knit in stages, starting with the central square which grows from the center out and then stitches are picked up on two sides and knit down for the sides. I imagined us knitting this as a trio, me knitting the center and then sending it to Cleveland and you guys each knitting a side section, it that appeals. The piece calls for beads but I'm not sure they're necessary, we can decide that together.
The pattern calls for fingering weight yarn knit at 21sts to 4 ins. in center pattern after blocking which is fairly loose for fingering weight. I bring this up because I see a bunch of these on Ravelry that look HUGE and I don't like that idea, I want it to be manageable, both to knit and to wear! I think the solution there might be going down a needle size or two and choosing a yarn that will have memory.

I have been looking at silk blends because they are so pretty and shiny and the wool content will help with memory. Specifically, I like the idea of Handmaiden MiniMaiden because it is a little lighter than fingering but not yet a lace so it would work well with slightly smaller needle size/gauge. Color is another big issue, I can't decide if it should be "wedding themed" and be knit in a neutral color like those below or if it should be bright, perhaps reflecting choices we make for flowers or even bridesmaids dresses. Here are some colors I do like, if I decide to go neutral.

Mom mentioned the other day she had read a lovely review of Swiss Mountain Silk Cashmere which sounds delightful but it's a little hard to find and this colorway isn't in stock at the only website where I found it. It is also very spendy!!

Another yarn I thought of is Madelinetosh Pashima which is is a wool, silk, cashmere blend and which people seem to LOVE. I like a bunch of the colors, but again, not sure what's right yet. Here are some pictures:
So there you have it, my thoughts so far. Any of you have thoughts?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Blogging Summery Olivia Jacket

Libby was here last weekend to help out at Knitter's Fantasy (and she was a HUGE help - I might have managed the Caps for Kids table OK, but I never could have had such a successful Magic Loop class without her - and we had FUN!!).

We were looking at Ravelry for some reason (who needs a reason?) and she commented that my comments on my projects were more like blog entries. And I was struck once again that it's true, Ravelry has done a lot to provide the kind of outlet I wanted to document and share what I'm knitting on. But hardly anyone reads my Ravelry entries, including the girls, in part because they're so darned long. So I thought maybe I could use the blog to enter thoughts about projects (just the big thoughts, like what cast-on to use or other enhancements/deviations from the pattern) and on Ravelry, I'd stick more to pickier stuff.

I haven't totally figured it out, but I'm going to use my Summery Olivia Jacket as an experiment, blogging say, no more than a couple of times a week and using Ravelry to record the details and between-blog-post minutiae. This way, maybe Laura will find this of value, too, some day, once she gets her knitting mojo back.

I started Summery Olivia on Friday night, made rather stunning progress (even with a fiddly new-to-me cast-on) and had an impressive three inches to show the ladies at the Knitting Fantasy wrap-up party on Saturday night, where I ended up frogging all those inches and that beautiful cast-on. I'm blaming it on Kim Hargreaves.

I'm doing a lot of math on this baby because I'm substituting an aran-weight yarn for a DK-weight yarn. The shape and style is quite simple, and this shouldn't be much of a problem (shut up - I know). So anyhow, I come up with the multiplier to convert Kim's stitch count to mine (it's .7) and happily do conversions for the first piece - the back. After knitting afore-mentioned three inches, I decide to do a gauge check (very much out of character, but apparently even a stubborn old delusional optimist can learn) and I realize my width is 2.25 inches wider than the schematic. Assuming this is my old nemesis, the lying gauge swatch, at work, I begin measuring my stitch count and my original swatch, and discover to my great surprise that everything is exactly as it should be and the source of the problem is that Kim's original stitch count does not jive with the schematic. Her original stitch count results in a piece that is two inches wider than the schematic.

So I debated. Do I just follow the stitch count and ignore the schematic or do I knit to the schematic? I'm redoing all the math anyhow, so either way is about equally difficult. Then I put Summery Olivia in time out and worked on finishing my Blue Shimmer cuffs.

At the party last night, I held up my work in progress, and everyone agreed it was way too wide, even taking into account the a-line shape. So I just pulled out the needle and started frogging. Then I tried to remember what I did to alter the instructions for the Alternate Cable Cast-On, couldn't, and put Summery Olivia back into time out and worked on trying to do a tubular cast-on in totally inadequate lighting. You can imagine how that worked out.

When I got home, I looked up the Alternate Cable cast-on directions (scroll to bottom of page - this is that great cast-on I discovered from the free Hermione's Hat pattern which, by the way, is really cute) and realized just doing it exactly as written would work perfectly, and now I'm working again and I've got more than an inch to show already this morning, which isn't bad considering I only got up an hour and a half ago.

Moral of story - always work on aran yarn and size 8 needles. Three inches is nothing!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

This photo, besides depicting my silly, sleepy kitty (and the funny white patch on his, ahem... tummy...), contains my newest knitting project -- one of these which starts by casting on a bunch of stitches and then joining in the round, carefully not twisting. This is a loop shaped scarf and the pattern is completely reversible so I had briefly considered making it a mobius but decided against. I'm sure you can see where this is going... I did in fact twist the cast on, despite multiple checks on the joining row, the first, second, and third patten rows. By the fourth, I found the problem but had just, JUST reached the point from which I could not happily consider starting over. Oh well, mobius it is. Sigh.

P.S. you should enter the comments give-away at Rainey Sisters. It's their anniversary.


What? You want more kitty pictures? Oh, alright. :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Grandpa's Getting One Sock

A Christmas Story: It's late on December 18 (actually, early on the 19th) and the only creature stirring in the house is the crazy knitter in the rocking chair. This crazed individual realizes that even Lands End is warning that the remaining time to ship holiday packages is more-or-less non-existent at this point. But that doesn't worry her. Her mother's linen/cotton clapotis wrap is done, blocked and beautiful. And her father's socks are so close to being done that there is no worry about them being washed, blocked and sweetly wrapped and everything packaged for delivery to the Fed Ex counter on Monday.

The crazy knitter is finally getting sleepy and in the time-honored tradition of knitters everywhere, stops to take stock of the evening's progress on sock #2 before dragging herself off to bed. Holding said sock, upon which she has just finished the really fun gusset section (she loves this Oliver pattern) up against sock #1 to see about how much knitting she has to go before toe shaping, it hits her. Sock #2 is a little bit narrower than sock #1.

Keep in mind that she has been comparing sock #2 to sock #1 at regular intervals. She checked to make sure the legs were the same length and that the striping was coming out matchy matchy. (It was.) That the heel flaps were the same height. (They were.) And that her new, documented (on a Post-It) technique for ensuring no hole at the top of the heel gusset didn't create a distinctly different look than whatever she had done, but by now forgotten, to accomplish the same goal on sock #1. (It looked great. More on the genius technique below.)

In all this comparing, she had not one inkling that the circumfrence was different. No reason to consider why this might be so. And not the slightest clue that she had FORGOTTEN TO SWITCH TO THE SZ. 1 NEEDLES AFTER DOING THE TOP RIBBING ON SZ. 0s.

On Monday, she will be shipping the one sock with a long note of explanation and regret.

The good news? I can start Laura's present now!!

Knit on with love and optimism,


P.S. So here's the trick at the top of the gusset. Between the picked-up stitches on the heel flap edge and the instep stitches, pick up two stitches by snagging the sides of the two stitches to either side of the "bar" of yarn that spans the gap. (Check out Charlene Surch's Sensational Knitted Socks for a better explanation.) These two extra stitches belong to the gusset, not to the instep. Then, when doing the first decrease row, do your K2tog on the right side, then K3tog, then knit the instep stitches, then K3tog, then SSK on the left side. You're now back to your original stitch count. The result is beautiful and doesn't mess up the stitch patterning on the instep one little bit.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

For Wussies

hehe. she is funny :)

Luckily, the things I am working on currently are going well and I will not be needing to rant about gauge for a while. Making toys as examples for a toy class is super fun, the finished size doesn't matter AT ALL!!!! And the featherweight cardigan I started for myself is going well and has not done any wild fluctuation. I will upload pictures soon, I swear. I am not doing it now because right this minute I have to stop writing this so I can pack a bag so Colin and I can leave after work to see Kate and Chad who are in the US for a short visit. We're going up to DC to see them and Patrick and Emily who are kindly hosting us all. I hope. I called Patrick yesterday to confirm plans and offer to bring something and the poor guy thought this was happening weeks from now. Oh dear. I'm sure we'll still have lots of fun, it will just be more um... chaotic.

Ok, seriously, going now, pictures tomorrow!