Thursday, August 31, 2006

Gad Zukes!

Busy past 2 weeks.

Great fun hanging out with fellow knitter bloggers Caitlyn, Ruth, Cyndi and Lori.

And yes, Stephanie, I bought a camera! Actually 2. Karl has been dying to get a camcorder. So I bought the new Canon SD700 IS and the not-so-new Panasonic PV-GS300. Took both to the Bay Area last weekend for a wedding.

Had a blast, visited...

...heard these...

...and saw these...

On the domestic front, some knitting has been done. Like Wiggles and Waves...

...close up...

...but mostly I've been cooking a lot. I haven't talked about it much but I've been baking and cooking up a storm. The latest dinner was Chicken Marsala with Browned Butter and Mizithra Spaghetti...

...with a batch of Chocolate Zucchini Cake.

This weekend will be another adventure, and I'll share photos next week. Until then, hope you all have a fun Labor Day Weekend holiday!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Knitting - Not So Much

Is it the weather? Is it lack of sleep? Is it just a case of the ho-hum's?

Whatever the reason, there's been little progress on the knitting front. I abandoned the idea of knitting a shawl in time for the wedding this weekend. I'm going to wear the shrug I made in the spring. The Leaf Lace Shawl is still on the needles and I'm quite enjoying it when I can focus. Something clicked with this pattern - I found myself reading off the chart instead of the written instructions and suddenly charts were easy!

After the self-imposed moratorium on yarn buying for the Yarn Focus Challenge, I've been acting like a gambler let loose in Las Vegas. My yarn stash has grown by several purchases - a total impulse buy of 12 skeins of discontinued Kool Wool on eBay (they were *cheap*!), 8 skeins of Valley Yarns' Longmeadow and 1 skein of Florence, and the latest obsession: Blue Moon Fiber Arts' Sock Candy. I stumbled on this yarn at Farmhouse Knits on a business trip last November. Since then I discovered a cult following of BMFA for the Socks That Rock, a hard-to-find merino sock yarn in gorgeous, unconventional colorways. Sock Candy is a cotton and lycra blend that's even more difficult to find. They don't even advertise it on their website, you just have to know about it.

In other news...I go back to work in less than three weeks. Karalyn is past her colicky stage and is changing rapidly every day. It's fascinating to watch her learn everything. One of the coolest things about being a mom is re-discovering the joys of life through a child's eyes.

As I'm writing this, Karl is playing with Karalyn while she's in her crib, teaching her words from a book..."What have we here? 3 Shells...and 4 turtles...and 5 starfish. What do you think of that? Can you say it with me?" She is concentrating really hard as he turns the pages. What could be better than this?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I Digress

We interrupt the shawl indecision-making to bring you a little diversion:

Pattern: Baby Pirates Hat (aka Baby Skull Hat) from Jennifer at Purse-Ho Knits
Yarn: Plymouth Wildflower DK in pink and purple, 51% cotton 49% acrylic
Needles: size 4 US 16" circular and size 4 US DPNs
Gauge: 6 sts and 7 rows to the inch (or at least that's what it's supposed to be, hehehe)

So Jen generously provided this pattern for me to test knit because I couldn't resist the juxtoposition of a skull and crossbones image in girly pink and purple colors. Jen, I'm not sure I'm the best person to test knit anything! It's been over a year since I did any two-color work; confession - I had to take a peek at the Philosopher's Wool video for 2-handed fair isle to reacquaint myself with this technique. And yeah, my stitches are so uneven but a little toss in the wash should help. Eventually. No, I didn't block this before I took a picture of it. *slap my wrist*

Comments on the pattern for Jen: easy! I didn't have a hard time with it at all. My only suggestions are (1) recommending when to switch to the DPNs. I switched after I did the first 2 rows in the decreasing section but it probably would've been easier right after finishing the chart. And (2) in the decrease section, row 7 requires 5 k2tog's and a k1. Picky, yes, but you asked! Other than those 2 things I can't think of anything else to add. If I can knit this in a few hours, even though I had to re-learn the 2-handed technique, then anyone can. Thanks Jen!!

The instructions said to stick the hat onto the nearest baby so I looked around and discovered there was this baby just lying there and....yar.

OK, so back to the indecisive shawl for a minute. I want to knit a shawl because we're going to another wedding at the end of the month. Either one of the patterns I've already started would be just fine if the wedding is indoors. You can see where I'm going with this.

The wedding is in the Bay Area, outdoors, on a rooftop and in the early evening. The setting sounds truly romantic and I commend Erika for being so creative (because that's just the way she is). But dang it, I'm going to be cold! And it even says so in the invitation - "bring a jacket or shawl".

shawl swatch

The other shawls won't cut it, thermal-wise. I've been hunting for a stitch pattern that would be dressy yet wouldn't be so holey that I would feel the draft. What do you think of this? My swatch for a proposed wrap (aren't wraps rectangular?). It's in Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran and I found the stitch in the latest IK. Check out the Weekend Pullover designed by Veronik Avery. My swatch is the center panel of Van Dyke Lace.

What do you think?