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April, 2008:

Naughty Knitter

Hey! Long time no post, eh?
So I went to Ireland. I had a fantastic time. I took about 900 photos and am trying to sort through them and figure out which ones to post (about halfway done with that monumental task). I think trip stories aren’t that interesting without pictures.
Just like knitting blog entries aren’t that interesting without pictures! So. I give you the latest photo of my Show-Off Ruffle Skirt. After decades of bobble-making, I FINALLY reached the end of the bobbles last night and got to start on the fun part – dropping all those stitches.



, originally uploaded by AMK.

Dropping stitches seems like such a naughty thing to do, doesn’t it? It’s a thrill. I love how this is turning out. And now that I’m done with the bobbles, I can actually believe I might finish this skirt in time to wear it this summer.
In other knitting news, some of you may be wondering about all those socks I anticipated knitting while I was on vacation? Yeah. Well, when I was at the airport waiting to leave for the trip, I started knitting my beloved Marina Piccola in some gorgeous green Panda Silk (the colorway is appropriately called Fern Tones and reminds me of all the wonderful shades of green in Ireland).
I got about four inches into it during the flight and realized the interesting pattern was completely lost in the color changes of the yarn. Discouraged, I put it down and resolved to pull it out and choose another of the three patterns I’d brought with me. But between all the food they were serving us and trying to sleep on the plane, I didn’t get to it.
As for the rest of the trip, I was far too busy with my travel adventures to cast on for a new pattern. I pulled out the four inches I’d done so far and decided to make the Quill Lace Socks instead, but I never even cast on.
In other words, my net vacation knitting was zero.
Do I feel bad about that? Not really. I think vacation knitting is something that I only really like in theory. It’s good for staying occupied on a plane (especially when I’m nervous about flying), but once I get to my destination, I’m far too occupied with other activities. Even when we spent four hours on a train from Killarney to Dublin, I preferred to stare out the window at the scenery. Somehow, I feel like that makes me less of a hard core knitter, but I’m okay with it.
Speaking of travel, I am gearing up to go to southern California next week for a conference I’m going to for work. It’s sort of a last-minute thing. I know there’s no way I’ll be done with the Show-Off Ruffle Skirt by then, but wouldn’t it be nice to be in the sun in my new skirt? Oh, well. I think I will be satisfied enough just being in the sun.

Before and After

Steph recently went to a sheep-shearing festival somewhere in Massachusetts, and sent these pictures.

sheep_before.jpg
sheep_after.jpg

While she was there, she bought some bamboo fiber to spin. I can hardly wait to see what she does with it. I think she said she’s planning on spinning some lace-weight.
She’s off to Prague on Thursday. I’m envious. Bon voyage and safe travels, Steph! Have a blast, and send e-mail updates if you have a chance!

Expecting house guests …

I haven’t had anything exciting to post … until now. For knitting, I’m just plugging along on the all-ribbing sweater for Alex. What’s more exciting (I think) is that Steph’s two cats, Bo and Elliot) will be coming for an extended stay. I’m expecting them to be delivered this weekend. I do have to take care of some things before they arrive (e.g., lace curtains and a couple of area rugs that look and feel a lot like they could be scratching poles). They’re good ol’ boys and very different from one another. One likes to perch up high, the other finds the lowest, darkest spot he can get into.

Two such different cats Two such different cats

Even with the claws, they’re really no trouble at all.
I keep thinking Andrea is going to post up somthing about her Ireland trip, and since she hasn’t I will share one photo with you:

Two such different cats

I hope you don’t mind, Andrea. (It looks to me like you’re enjoying yourself!)

Yea, I finished the beaded bag repair!

You’ve probably heard enough about this beaded bag repair project …
Finished reconstruction
this will be the last post about it, I promise!
It has a totally different, more casual feel than the original , but I love it! It has plenty pockets and space for everything … iPod, camera, cell phone, book, wallet, etc., etc. (Is it any wonder the narrow handles couldn’t take it?)

Lined and Loaded

Now I can move on to other things!

Knitting gone wild …

or technology run a’muck.
My son forwarded this to me and Andrea, with the message, “I know you both like knitting…a lot, but if you go this far, we might have to have a little talk.”
I just don’t know what to say beyond that!

What do you think?

The beaded bag is sewn back together without the side panels, which have now become the replacement handle. The lining has been resized, and is ready to be sewn in place. So I’m on the home stretch.

Progress on reconstruction

I knitted up a swatch of the merino I was thinking of using for Alex’s sweater and … ta-da … it knitted to gauge on the recommended sized needles.
LeoCardigan.JPG
Life is good.

Some slight progress

I got a little work done on the beaded bag project. The pieces have been blocked and the sides panels kitchenered together to form the new strap. Not perfect, but not too bad. I think it will work.
Beaded Bag
But now I want to watch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on TV tonight, so don’t want to get into But I can handle knitting up a swatch. I found a pattern I think I’ll use for Alex’s sweater. I have some jet black merino in my stash that I think will knit to gauge.

leoBEAUTY.jpg

I think it’s a nice-looking sweater, but it could be deadly-boring to knit. Well, as a member of Ravelry’s Stash Knit Down 2008 group, I do have a stash-reduction goal ….

Back in the saddle

I’ve been on the road this week … from Minneapolis to Boston, then Morristown NJ, then back home. The Boston leg was for pleasure (to see Steph), Morristown was for work. Spent all day Sunday with Steph, and the time went too quickly. But a day-long visit is way, way better than not seeing her at all!
Steph is going to Prague in a few weeks. I gave her the string bag I finished recently. It perfectly matches her purple sneakers and thrift store coat.
I haven’t actually started any new knitting projects because of work and travel schedules. I think my next project might be a pullover for Alex, though. I haven’t knitted anything for him in years. Knit ‘n Style, August 2007 has some patterns for sweaters for men:

6_diamond.jpg

Alex would want a pullover, not a cardigan. I like the fit of the saddle shoulder, want it to have a round neck rather than a V-neck, and am looking for an interesting but fairly subtle pattern that will look good in maybe a charcoal, light blue or sage. None of the above is right as-is but could maybe be reworked to fit the criteria. If you have a pattern you think I should consider, I’d really love to hear from you!
(And of course I have to complete the reconstruction of the beaded bag I took apart before this trip.)
So…. I think I’m about ready to be back in the saddle again as far as knitting is concerned. I don’t know if Andrea will be checking up on me while she’s in Ireland (to see if I’m holding this site together in her absence). But if you are, Andrea, have a great, great time, travel safe, and tell Brad to have a Guinness for me!

Ireland sock choices

This will probably be my last post until at least April 19th, because I’m going to be off on my international adventure (Ireland, that is). I’ve narrowed down the travel knitting possibilities to three sock patterns. I’ve always enjoyed bringing socks on trips; I think they’re the perfect travel knitting because they’re small but still take a bit of time to knit. I highly doubt I’ll knit three pairs of socks during my trip, but a girl’s gotta have some options.
I haven’t even swatched for any of these. I’m just going to bring the patterns and the yarn and a couple of needle sizes and see what happens. I mean, I’ve got almost 13 hours of travel time (each way!) to keep myself occupied, so I’m not too worried about it.
Here they are:

  • Marina Piccola by Kate Gilbert. The instant I saw this sock pattern I knew I had to knit it.
  • Quill Lace Socks from Knitty. An oldie but goodie from spring 2007. I do love me some lace, and this looks like it’s easy enough that it should make for good travel knitting.
  • Viking Socks by Lykkefanten. Well, I’m going to Ireland so I should do some cables, right? And these look exquisite.

I’m sure mom will do a great job holding down the fort here while I’m gone. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks!

Knitting backwards!

Every once in a (long) while, I get a chance to learn some new knitting technique that makes me feel like a knitting rockstar. Toe-up socks was one. Three-needle bind-off was another.
Well, add to that list the latest new technique that makes me feel like a knitting rockstar: knitting backwards. Actually, to be more accurate, I have been purling backwards.
As you know if you’ve been reading thus far, the Show-Off Ruffle Skirt contains endless rows of bobbles. Each bobble is constructed of five stitches knitted into one stitch, then worked back and forth for four rows, then reduced back down to one stitch. That’s a lot of turning the work, especially as the rows are interminably long and as I knit more rows, the fabric is just getting bulkier and bulkier.
So one day I thought, what the heck, this is already taking me ages and ages – why not take a little extra time and learn how to do this back and forth without turning the work? The bobbles are reverse-stockinette, so this meant I had to learn how to purl backwards.
I could have gone to Knitty and read this excellent article on the art of knitting and purling backwards (both English and Continental methods are shown). Or I could have watched any of a number of YouTube videos showing how to do the same. But the truth is, if you understand the mechanics of knitting, it is not difficult to figure out how to knit and purl backwards. I figured it out in about 10 seconds, but then it was a matter of getting my hands used to this new motion.
I’m happy to say that I can now purl backwards about as fast as I can purl forwards. If you want to see how to knit backwards, check out this video:

I haven’t been able to find a video of purling backwards, since most people who knit backwards do so to avoid the purl-back row. But it’s there in the Knitty article. And, shhh – don’t tell anyone! – it’s really not that hard.