Thursday, February 21

Best Laid Plans, blah, blah, blah

This dizziness stuff is not being cooperative at all, I fear. The doc says he thinks it's probably related to spending too much time on the computer, so I'm not supposed to even turn it on. Can't hack that - but I have reduced my staring at the monitor time to about half an hour a day, which goes by in 15 secs. I read my most fav blogs, check to see if there's anything I MUST attend to immediately in the e-mail, and it's all gone! Tonight I'm cheating just enough to blog the fact that I won't be blogging much for a while.

Progress report on Mouse Tracks - there are now about 2.5 feet of it, and it's growing, as I don't have to LOOK at it much in order to knit it. The yarn looks like it will hold out for the entire 5 feet I "planned", and perhaps even more. Trying to do almost any kind of close work (reading charts, embroidery, reading, etc.) is next to impossible, as the eyes just don't want to focus. I don't know what I'm going to do once I get it done. Sigh...

Wednesday, February 13

Mouse Tracks or, A Rodent is a Rodent is a Rodent

I learned last week that my favorite doctor will be finishing up her residency and departing these shores come the end of March. I shall greatly miss her. I decided that I wanted to make her something to say ‘thanks’ for her superb care, so I started hunting for an easy pattern to knit a scarf with the Zephyr left over from the MS3 stole. I settled on the excellent Alison Hyde’s “Rabbit Tracks” pattern, as it is very simple and I am a (drops pitch about an octave) s l o o o w k n i t t e r.

However, since I was using much skinnier yarn, and needles of a size commensurate with the yarn, my rendition is considerably smaller in scale. I’m doing 5 repeats of the pattern, as you can see, and have done borders of k2,yo,k2tog/ssk,yo,k2. My “plan”, such as it is, is to knit until it’s either around 5 feet long, or I run out of yarn, whichever comes first.

Alpaca Swatch

The swatch in the lovely baby alpaca/merino yarn is driving me totally bonkers! I mean, it’s just a stupid swatch, and I already know everything the stupid thing can tell me, really, but I would like to actually finish it, both because it’s excellent practice for the same pattern that appears in the background for the first three clues of the stole, and also as the “record shot” for my knitting journal, such as it is. I have frogged the thing and started over FOUR TIMES!!! The first one was legit, as I mentioned, it being obvious after the first three rows that the chosen needles were too small. Moving up to the 3.25 needles, I’m getting just the fabric I want, and it fits the given gauge for the pattern as well. Trying to knit it with this dizzy business (getting better, slowly, as I have greatly reduced my computer activity), and on 14” Inox needles, leads to error after error after error. On one row of 29 miserable stitches, I somehow managed to come out with 11 extras! There is no way a simple misunderstanding of the pattern could lead to such excess, and I have no idea what did, either. Rrrriiip! I have a Knitpicks nickel-plate circ on the way, and I hope it will help. The Inox are just not meant for knitting lace. They do NOT like doing the k2tog through back loops at all, and even balk somewhat at a simple k2tog or ssk.

I’m not enjoying knitting this yarn as much as I had hoped, either. It’s not BAD yarn, and it does have the advantage (if such it is) of being somewhat hairy, so that any cat hair that wanders into the picture becomes unimportant, but it’s not as smooth and soft knitting as it feels in the skein. I think that alternating knitting it with the Zephyr may also have something to do with my perception of its qualities.

Weather Report

The severe weather/tornadic activity down this way that may have made its way into your news, as y’all’s snow is making mine, managed to pass to our north and south, leaving us with a lovely, soft, much-needed rain. We’re getting more of the same today.

Sunday, February 10

Mysterious Objects Identified

You'll recall the last photo from yesterday's post? The Tsarina twigged immediately on what it was, though the extensive conversations we've been having on the subject probably helped. Those hunks of PVC are the ingredients for Part I of my latest unvention, a modular blocking frame for my lace. There are still bugs in the system, as the photo below will demonstrate:

The center bows severely, and will need, as I had half-thought it would, some cross-bracing. Assembling this simple shape was a major comedy. I'd get 3 sides of the thing assembled with, I swear, all the piping seated fully into the couplings, then try to add the fourth side. At which point, at least two of the joints on the first three sides would come apart again. This happened more than once before I got it all together to stay. But I persevered.

It is possible, I suppose, that my most current physical ailment wasn't of much help. It would appear that I am suffering from a surfeit of computer twaddling. Yesterday I was tippy-tapping away on the keyboard, when I very suddenly became extremely dizzy. So dizzy that I nearly fell out of my chair, in fact. I abandoned my tapping, and laid down, which helped a bit. Watched TV and knit in the evening, still spinning, and awakened this morning feeling considerably better. Went to the computer, and the first time I had to scroll down, wham! Full dizzy returned. Turned off computer, and went and vegged on the Saturday gardening/woodworking/home improvment fodder on PBS. Came time for Pebble Beach, and I'm still somewhat dizzy, but thought it would be splendid background video for the genteel process of assembling the frame. HAH!

My blocking skills are also somewhat rudimentary, I fear. I fully intend to reblock this (MS3, the symmetrical version, if you were wondering) when I have the next group of pieces for the frame.

I did discover, though, as I was standing back admiring the look of the finished stole finally spread out so that it could be seen, that I also really should reknit the last three rows of the right hand side, and the center panel (not that there's anything wrong with the center panel, except that it's knit integral with the right side of the stole - grrrrr). My grevious error will not pass the galloping horse test, I fear. It rather jumps out at one, doesn't it? You can see it better in the next pic, which also shows the neat angle of the welding rods that form the point.

And what, you may ask, was I knitting this morning? Why, the first two swatches for the Spring Surprice Shawl, of course! The first one I only needed three rows of the swatch on the size 2 needles to know that they were going to be too small, but the second swatch, on size 3 needles, is looking much better. I'll post a pic when a) the swatch is finished, and b) I can get back to playing on the computer, after the dizziness passes.

And, by the way, the move to the great new house? Did Not And Is Not Gonna Happen, dad-rat it. Seems the putative landlord's wife put her foot down and said "No, we will not rent the house. We will sell the house!" Force majeur, so we're staying put here. I'm gonna miss that butler's pantry.

Thursday, February 7


KnitTech has kindly pointed out, last week, that it is (past) time to update this here blog, so here ya go:

The nice postwoman delivered several goodies today, but I'm going to ration them. Hey, more blog-fodder! I'll be nice though, and give you the best first. See?

This is 1650m of Elann's Baby Lace Merino, 50% baby alpaca-50% fine merino wool, nm 2/22, in the Regency rose color. It's going to become LUL's 'Spring Surprice Shawl'. Yeah, we all know it's misspelled, but we like it that way! Here's a closer look at it:

This yarn is soooo soft and squooshy - I can hardly wait to see how it knits! Which I'm going to do, just as soon as I can get this stupid blog thing to co-operate. This is the second time I've written this post! Hence the title....

I'm not going to tell you what this next pic is, though I suspect that my knitting friends will recognize it immediately. The rest of the story? Next post...