Reading While Knitting

Nothing complicated; nothing too exciting, but yes, I do knit while I read. As well as during many other domestic activities.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Strike up the bands; more needle cases

I keep saying, "I only have to do the sleeves," and Sarafina keeps muttering, "You keep using 'only' and 'sleeves' in the same sentence, and I cannot think of one instance where you haven't knit each sleeve at least three times. So you actually have six sleeves left."

Pish tosh, is what I say. I'm pleased with the fit, I'm pleased with the bands, and I do need to figure out where in the color sequence to start the sleeves. I think I'm going to make two at a time, with an in-between steek, to keep the color repeats similar in length to the body. Fortunately, even before I began knitting at all on them, I realized I'm going to have to have a selvedge to sew into the arm holes, so I should make a few extra rows before the pattern. See? That's two sleeves' worth of mistakes I don't have to make!

Still, it's something of a long road between here and finishing completely.

I sewed the bee buttons on just today, while watching "Life in Cold Blood," lent to us by Susan of Homeschooling in the Kitchen fame, using a needle from my olivewood needle holder.

Unless Rosi G. and Kim M. release their claims on the walnut burl and the Shiro plum, these are the seven needle cases I have left until the Australian Hardwood series hits my mailbox. I was thinking that, while these pictures are nice, sometimes it's helpful to see them up close. So I took individual pictures.

This is the maple burl. It's very smooth (he does lovely finishing work).

This is a pecan burl.

This one is taken.This is one of the dyed and laminated wood ones. When I look at it in sunlight, it's mostly gray and red. The Knitpicks laminated wood needles use the same technique.

Also gone.This is another of the pecan heartwood burl ones.

All gone.The last of the blue acrylic. I like the silver findings on it.

These are the red acrylic ones. He's calling these "uncut rubies." They look like a pile of crushed red glass, but of course are very smooth. One has thirds turned into it, the other is more bilaterally symmetrical.

So, if you want them, you can paypal the maker at drhpang AT verizon DOT net, and we'll get them out to you asap.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Oh, Deary Me

Just realized I'm supposed to be part of a symposium on growing local food on Saturday. I suppose I can talk about how I got a whole pound and a half of snowpeas out of my garden. . . how's that for local (but possibly not very impressive)?

I think I'd feel better with a bit more preparation. So today after I grade, that's what I'll work on. Sheesh.

Generally, I'm really happy to speak in public, but I prefer to feel as though I have some clue about my subject.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

More Needle Cases

For anyone who's been waiting, more are on their way to my house right now.

If you're one of the people who have been waiting for a case, please let me know which ones you want by number and name, left to right (like Walnut #2, etc); I'm trying to go on a first-come, first-served approach.

First, all of them together (click to make bigger):

Then, the American Hardwod series II. From left to right, there are two walnut burls, two pecan burls, two Shiro plum, one cherry, one lilac, and two maple burl.

Finally, there are a few acrylic. He says he doesn't usually work in this, but they're pretty and someone might like them. They're a product of the Taiwan plastic tree! I think the ones in the middle look like Tesla coils.

I can imagine a lot of secret pal packages being livened up with one of these little beauties. It's fun having non-knitters find out about the secret underworld of those who wield sticks.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Buttons before bands

At least when I finally get the button bands done, I'll be able to close it up. This one is sitting on the bottom band for size comparison purposes. I just couldn't resist these when I saw them on ebay.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Does it count if the knitting came for the ride?

The weather's been the kind to make kids kind of crazy -- sunny and pretty, but with a chilly wind. Mine were, at least, a bit edgy, so I took a page from Kristin's blog and announced that we were going wildflower hunting today. Believe it or not, there was whining. I ignored it and loaded them and a spare in the car. Big sister had a science project with friends today, so she "got" to opt out of this hike.

I had the foresight to bring along a CD player so we listened, mostly, to more of A Hat Full of Sky, by our beloved Terry Pratchett on the drive. Maybe it was all those Feagles running around head-butting things, but the boys immediately found sticks and did not put them down for the entire hike.

They enjoyed nature by bounding around in it (and falling into it, in the case of the creek, but fortunately that was late in the day), and I realized that they weren't able to slow down yet to appreciate the flowers. So I took pictures and they can identify them later. I'll tell them that there are a lot of lupines!

We did manage one quiet look at a little bird, either a flicker or a woodpecker, peeking out of a hole in a dead tree, but then they were off again, running as though pursued. Or pursuing.

The Kauni cardigan came with us in the car. I thought we might get to sit long enough in one place so the front band might be finished. I thought wrong.

So mostly I just carried the food and water and camera and was bemused.

Not a bad way to spend half a day, even if I haven't finished that band yet.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Going Fast

Not me, of course.

In fact, this morning I forced Eric to walk to a coffee shop a bit closer than Peet's, but farther than the one he wanted to go to -- they weren't open yet. Sorry, honey. Slow, and spacey, too.

The needle cases are going fast. [Later this morning -- Cherry is gone; just laminated one left.] I still have the laminated one without the turquoise streak, the cherry one, the maple burl, and the Shiro plum. Whoops! The maple burl and the Shiro plum are gone as of this morning!

I just talked to the artist himself, and he's promised me another shipment -- if you don't see something left that you like, keep coming back and there will be more.

The laminated with turquoise, the dark walnut, and the pecan, are all spoken for and on their way this week to their new homes.

My father in law is busily turning more, so keep an eye on this spot! I can email updates when/if I get more. Just let me know.

Monday, April 13, 2009

6 mph

That's how fast I'm running, which, while slow, is back to my pre-fall sickness speed and distance.


If only I knit that fast, I'd have new bands on the Kauni cardigan, instead of having no bands at all.

My time, these days, is spent on other things. I'm halfway through sewing a shirt for Caterina, and this morning I cleaned and inventoried the refrigerator and freezer, and am halfway through the cabinets. My shopping list is going to be slim today, because I have enough for a few meals. Then there's the weekly bread to make, and I'm doing a lot of gardening.

So that's it. Any of you have spring fever?


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Get 'em while you can!

Needle cases by my father in law. $25 to me and I'll send you one right out - this includes regular first class postage in the U.S., international stuff I'll add shipping to it.

The light one, in Lilac, is spoken for (click to read the labels):

He's calling these his "American Hardwood" series, except for the laminated two on the left. I can vouch for how lovely they are -- I use my olivewood one, made for my Italian heritage, all the time.

So let me know. I'm also hoping our local yarn shop will carry them in the future. For now, it's a readingwhileknitting exclusive.

What was I thinking?

Fortunately I could, if I wanted, take both the band and neckband off and redo them. I'm leaning toward just undoing the front band and knitting it with the yellow/bluegreen combination that the neck band is in.

Arguments for? Easier to redo only one, and I want to pick up 2-4 more stitches than I did the first time around. So doing it over would not only harmonize the colors, but ease the lack of good fit.

I'm really glad, really, that knitting is an easily-redone craft. It's not like sculpting in marble or woodworking, where the material is quite difficult to repurpose once cut or shaped. And I'm glad, on one level, that I can learn from my mistakes.

But still.



Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Front Bands

One's picked up along the left of the Kauni cardigan and I'm noodling along on it.

There had been some discussion about whether or not I wanted a zip or buttons on this sweater, but I found some lovely pewter buttons with bees on them and thought it might be fun to have those, since they had a nice geometric feel to them, to go with the squares on the sweater.

Busy couple of days. I got to play with someone else's bees, and got dinner out of it -- thank you so much, Esperanza! Finally did some gardening, and I'm looking forward to finishing those bands. Slow, but I see progress on the horizon. So much to knit, so little time, such a messy house to do it in.

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Steeking in Public

My Kauni sweater came with me and my swollen hands to park day today. Partly, I wanted to work on it, since I'd just finished the neckband on a ride to and from the snow yesterday (thank goodness for friends who drive) and partly to cut a steek dramatically in front of a group.

It's all part of my "demystify life" paradigm. Do it right in front of people, a lot like John Cleese showed many years ago, right? Well, not quite like that. But I do try to obviously create and do and show other people that life isn't a matter of perfection, or fixed rules, and that just jumping in rarely creates disasters -- often it's a perfectly reasonable approach.

Anyhow, I used regular sewing-up needles to sew guidelines, then got out my scissors. A friend yelled, "Come look! She's going to cut her sweater!" A few of the other homeschoolers gathered around. I didn't ask their permission, so I'm not going to put their faces here, but Sarafina snapped some pictures of them recoiling in horror. Gasps all around. Poor Sarah just said something like, "I couldn't do that. I'd just knit a regular cardigan." It made me laugh.

Then I got to demonstrate how well this whole "cutting up your knitting" thing works -- "Look!" I said, "it fits really well, and it holds together nicely."

A young friend, a relatively new but already very adventurous knitter, said, "Why doesn't it unravel?" I showed how the yarn was "sticky," and had good inter-thread adhesion, and also that I wasn't pulling on it.

I didn't get the bands picked up, partly because I was wavering on the zipper/cool pewter buttons decision, and partly because this morning I tried to give the bees sugar water using my new Zen beekeeper persona. This involved lifting the covers, putting in baggies of sugar water, putting on a new empty box and replacing the cover.

I got as far as lifting the first cover when the first bee bumped my nose. Apparently it wasn't the accident I thought, but a warning shot. The next three bees didn't bother bumping.

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