Sunday, July 22, 2007

RIP T-Dog

Tracy
Crazy Old Dog

Sadly, Tracy was hit by a car and killed yesterday. She was 14, and lived a long happy life. She loved her people and kitties and was joyful at the prospect of a walk. We drove home to Cville to take care of her, then back to Mathews where our houseguests were waiting to celebrate the Hubs 50th. It made for an odd sort of day.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Catching Up on Things

Maybe my absence is related to the general ennui in the blogosphere lately. Or general over-committedness of life lately. I seem very busy, still seem not to be getting much done, still seem to have even more things to do, still seem to start more things, etc. I keep thinking, Oh I’ll write up a quick blog post later, and then it’s the next day. I’m going to sit and knit/spin/catch up on emails, and then it’s the next day. I’m easily a week behind on reading blogs and answering emails, so if I haven’t commented on your blog, or answered your comment, it’s not you. Really. And, if this summer doldrum-thing is happening to you too, it’s not you. It seems to be going around.

So, I managed to spin for the first day of the Tour de Fleece! Had great plans to bring my drop spindle to Mathews and get a few minutes in each day with that. Well, I arrived at the house on Monday afternoon, after receiving a call from the Husband (who arrived before me) to the effect that I had won the Ditz of the Year award for leaving the downstairs AC thermostat off last week when I left (falsely accused since the little snowflake was on the display when I left) and the house was, oh, 107F with the upstairs heat pump running full blast. With outside temps in the low 90’s but breezy by the Bay, we opened all the windows and cooled the house off to about 88 and went into town for a nice cool dinner and large carafe of wine. Let’s just say spinning and knitting were not my priority when we got back. I managed to get nine mini-blinds up and five curtain rods, with more to come so we can create a little shade in the house in the Summer.

Rambouillet spun on the drop spindle
Pitiful. Just pitiful.

This is all the spinning I got done. It’s some beautiful Rambouillet combed top from Colonial Fiber Arts in Yorktown. I’ll try the Tour de Fleece in 2008, as I’m hopelessly out this year.


I searched high and low for my first Charade Sock (which is past the heel and in the gusset decreases) which decided to hide from me for a week. Needless to say, I didn’t want to keep knitting the second sock unless I could find the first sock. So, sock knitting stalled until I was finally reunited with the prodigal sock last night when I put the back seats up for the first time in a week and there was Sock 1 peeking out from where it had been wedged down on the floor under the seat. Poor thing.

Charade Socks Reunited
Welcome back Sock 1, and back to sock knitting


I finished Mystery Stole 3 Clue 1, finally, and have one row done of Clue 2. Yes, that’s right, Clue 3 came out this week.

MStole3-Clue1-Done
Pardon the flash, but it shows the pattern best

It’s not a particularly hard lace knit, but has very little repetition. So you have to pay close attention all the way across the row. The WS rows are plain purl, so it’s moving along pretty quickly despite my lack of knitting time. I’ll try to catch up if it’s a little quieter this week (HAHAHahahahaha). Cough Here’s a closeup of the pearly beads, which are, um, subtle.

Mystery Stole 3-Clue1 beads


Friday the 13th was a lucky day for me and the Hubs as it was our fifth wedding anniversary! We had a fabulous dinner at the Ivy Inn to celebrate.

July 13, 2002 Pavilion 8 Garden
At our wedding, we had babies and bubbles

Our wedding ceremony was in the Pavilion 8 garden, one of the historic gardens off the Lawn at the University of Virginia. This is one of my favorite photos from that day as we look just like one of those bride and groom statues on top of a cake!

July 13, 2002 The Lawn
Aren't we cute!

At least someone’s getting knitting done. Here’s Krista’s Sock Pal Sock!

sockpal-krista
Pretty Tofutises Charade sock!


So, there’s an update. It’s shaping up to be another crazy week getting ready for the Hub’s big birthday next Saturday. A few friends are flying in to visit us in Mathews and it will be a surprise for him. Ssshhh. Don’t tell. I’m trying to get the house ready for guests without him figuring out why we suddenly need enough chairs for more than two people and what’s with all the curtains and mini-blinds (so someone can sleep past 5:30am!) I hope to post again this week, but bear with me if I don’t make it for more than a quick visit!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Lucky Number Seven

Well since many other bloggers are talking about their Startitis, here’s a bit of mine. I like to start projects. I don’t like to finish projects. I start a lot of things. I don’t finish a lot of things. I’ve started some things, oh, since yesterday.

Knitting:
So, late to the party, I finally started Mystery Stole 3 Clue 1 last night. Yes, that’s a week late, and Clue 2 is already out. I know. Here’s most of Clue 1.

MStole3-Clue1-1
Zephyr, white, Addi Lace US3

I waffled on several stash yarns including: some Kid Hollow Farm laceweight mohair that was just way too purple and had some troubling thin spots early in the skein; some old Skacel laceweight merino that also broke while I was trying to wind it and although the instructions say black or white do I really want to knit a black stole?; and finally got out a skein of white Zephyr that is what the designer is using. I swatched three colors of silver/white #8 beads and settled on the frosty white with a subtle silver lining. There will be better photos later when I'm farther along.

I received my new Addi Lace needles from Moonrise and set to work. I’ll write up more thoughts on the Addi’s later, but so far they are neck and neck with the KnitPicks Options, with advantages to each.


Spinning:

If it’s not too late, and whether official or not, I have joined the 2007 Tour de Fleece!

TourdeFleece

I unpacked the wheel and worked on about half an ounce of Black Bunny Fibers hand-dyed Falkland roving (in the Thunderclouds colorway) that is super easy to spin. I also need to post more on the recent issues with my wheel, but maybe it’s just that either the one of the new bobbins or the slippery fiber was giving me fits the other day, as I think with a little patience I could easily spin a 2-ply laceweight with this fiber. So, maybe it's not the wheel. These are singles thin enough for laceweight or light fingering weight.

Thundercloud-1

So, there it is. What shall I start tomorrow?

Saturday Sky: 07 07 07

Saturday Sky 070707-1
Sun

Saturday Sky 070707-2
Moon

Friday, July 6, 2007

Travel Knitting, Home Again Spinning, and Friday Flowers

Knitting:

Well, my Sox Stix sailed through security with nary a glance in the US or UK. If asked whether you have anything sharp, say No. For me, they are much slower to knit with than my usual two Addi Circs. But considering the alternative of possibly NO knitting at all on a seven or eight hour flight, they were my sock knitting heroes.

I had a few moments here and there for knitting while in Edinburgh, in the hotel, waiting for graduation to be done, or on the train. But I made the most progress on the flight home which was in daytime hours and a comfortable seat. We were assertive in our requests for a seat upgrade and got Peter into an exit row with nothing in front of him for about eight feet, and me into Economy Plus with four inches to spare between my long legs and the seat in front of me.

Charade Sock One, at the heel gusset
Charade Sock One, at the heel gusset

Anyhoo, lots of knitting got done on the way home, ie most of the leg, the flap, and heel turn. Now that I’m back I’ve switched to my trusty circs to finish off the foot and have started the second sock on the Sox Stix for consistency of gauge (ha). To recap, these are the popular free sock pattern Charade, knit with Gypsyknits merino superwash sock yarn, the color is Party Fun. And I have to say, the color is lots of fun. These are very happy socks.


Spinning:
I got home Thursday night, and promptly went down to Mathews to check on the house and catch up on my sleep. I took advantage of the quiet time to spin the other half of the merino-tencel top and ply it. I’m still looking for a true laceweight, and need either more patience, a faster wheel, or more practice.

Here’s the resulting skein, a heavy fingering/sportweight, that will make a nice scarf or shawl.

Merino-Tencel skein

The merino-tencel blend has a soft silky hand and lofty feel, despite being worsted spun. The fiber has a lovely sheen and only the tiniest of halo before being knit up. I haven’t swatched the yarn yet, but have a couple of possible simple lace projects in mind for it.

Merino-Tencel closeup

Details:
Fiber: Ashland Bay Merino/Tencel 70/30, Blueberry, a deep blue-purple blended with pale silvery tencel
Purchased from: Rocktown Yarns, Harrisonburg
Spun with: Louet Victoria
Whorl / Tension: 12:1 / Low-medium tension
WPI/Gauge/TPI: 16wpi sportweight / 7tpi
Plies/Method: 2-ply / standard
Yardage/Finished Wt: ~ 400yds / 3.5oz
Started: 6/15/2007
Completed: 7/1/2007

Notes:
The singles were spun with fairly high twist and then plied with lower twist. I had a devil of a time with the wheel while plying, as it kept sticking and binding up and having issues with the tension. I’m looking at different wheels as the Victoria is a great little wheel, but seems to be limited by its weight and top speed.


Friday Flowers:

scotland2007_47
I admire their determination

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Scotland! Graduation!

Or, a long overdue post on our trip to Edinburgh.

Check out the slide show on Flickr if you want to see more photos. The funny thing about Scotland is that the weather and lighting don’t always cooperate with taking nice bright photos, but, you’ll get the idea anyway. Since this is still a pretty photo-intensive post, I'm using smaller images, but all the photos are clickable for large size.

In fact, Lisa has graduated from the University of Edinburgh with an honors MA in Archaeology. It was a very quick trip, but we got to see quite a bit of the city on foot and by bus. I love the architecture of Edinburgh, with lots of stone and Georgian buildings. Peter found it a bit gloomy at first, but I think warmed up to it by the end of the trip. So, here are a few highlights.

When you fly to Northern Europe two days after the solstice, it never quite gets dark on the overnight flight.
scotland2007_01
Flying by Greenland

We arrived in the UK, cramped and exhausted, and made our way through either Dante’s Seventh Circle of Hell or Heathrow Airport, I’m not sure which. A tight connection to Edinburgh was made with time to spare, and Lisa met us at the airport for the ride to our hotel in the Grassmarket, just a few blocks from her flat. We were in fact delirious from lack of sleep at that point, it was pouring rain, and photos were and continued to be a little sketchy throughout the trip. Sorry.

scotland2007_11
The view from the flat

We did a little walking around that afternoon, had a lovely lunch and A NAP! OK, I don’t want to sound like a complaining grump, but I wish I had had the presence of mind to take a photo of our first room, just so you would believe me. I had been warned to get a room in the back of the hotel where it’s quiet, so we insisted on that at check in and made a point of needing a big enough bed. OMG, the room. Aside from the oppressive mildew odor, Peter and I could not turn around without bumping into each other, the wall, the furniture, or the suitcases. There was a double bed. One. Have I mentioned Peter is 6’4” and I am 5’9”?

Long story short, the next day we changed to the room we were originally supposed to be in which had a king size and twin size bed, huge amount of space, two closets, two windows, large bath and tub. Pillows over the head are quite effective to deal with the noise of pub-goers ten feet from one’s windows, btw.

A happy moment indeed!
scotland2007_38
Never underestimate the power of a nap

Things started looking up after that. The weather was showery, then clear, then showery, and even sunny. We had some lovely whiskeys, some truly wonderful meals (Indian, French, Nouveau Scottish, gourmet Vegetarian), and haggis.

We visited the Royal Botanic Gardens
scotland2007_18

The Castle
scotland2007_13

Holyrood Palace (closed for the Queen’s visit)
scotland2007_42

scotland2007_43
Do I have the wave right?


Walked the cliff walk
scotland2007_44

scotland2007_46

scotland2007_49

Went to the Meadows
scotland2007_30

Where there is a whalebone arch given by the Zetland and Fair Isle Knitters at the 1886 Exhibition
scotland2007_32

scotland2007_33

Then continued up Bruntsfield Place to find a yarn store. Good humored Husband walked for miles to find the yarn store.

scotland2007_36
Found the yarn store

scotland2007_37
Poo!

Graduation afternoon was lovely and sunny! A misadventure with the gown and tickets was sorted out.
scotland2007_60

Only the parents had tickets to attend so I strolled over to the Scottish Museum to see some ancient textiles, gold and silversmithing, and the Lewis chessmen to pass the time. And knitted my sock. Whose picture I forgot to take in exotic locales. Bad blogger.

scotland2007_75

There were many happy graduates with their families, a bagpiper in full kit, and we got to meet Kevin’s Mom and two brothers.

scotland2007_85

scotland2007_70

scotland2007_90


The Husband went in search of a yarn shop with me. So, Wednesday we took the train up to St Andrews to see the holy place, the birthplace of golf, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.

We strolled around to see a little of the town and the ruins. We had gorgeous skies and very mild weather that day.

scotland2007_97

scotland2007_99_03

But with the course literally yards from the sea, we could imagine why playing conditions can be so difficult when the British Open is played there every five years.

scotland2007_99_13

scotland2007_99_16

scotland2007_99_29

scotland2007_99_45

scotland2007_99_49

I finally got to give Lisa her graduation present, an EZ Pi Shawl, knitted in CTH merino laceweight, with a Shetland lace edging. Very appropriate.

scotland2007_99_50-1

Thursday saw us packed and headed home on a long but uneventful trip – fortunately well before the troubles at the London and Glasgow airports.