Sunday, August 31, 2008

Life and Death in suburbia

Damn, I want to sit outside! It's 75 F/24 C, dry and breezy. The immediate neighbours are away on their Labour Day jaunts and I'm stuck inside. I did spend the morning in the shade of an enormous fir at the bottom of the garden making headway on the Side to Side Ribbon Pullover and observing the Life of Insects. Now I have been chased indoors. There are two immediate causes.

First, about half a block up. someone has hired a man with a microphone to animate a three year old's birthday party. He's got them squealing. Oh yeah.

At the same time, in the more immediate vicinity, our local ratcatcher, Cleo the black cat is having her fun with with a chipmunk. She's alternately carrying it in her mouth and chasing it through the near foliage - Japanese anemone and Lilac bushes. It squeals just like the chipmunks in the Disney cartoons.

Oy. I'll give it a half hour and then the carnage should be over and the cake consumed. Sorry, no photos.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

All over the place

I have a new set of wips.

1. The Pine Tree Palatine scarf is creeping along on lace addis. I decided to do it in two colours for the usual reason - not enough yarn in one colour. I've gotten two teeth done in the body of the scarf, thus:

2. My short lived romance with the triangle shaped Heartland Lace Shawl is over. Not that it isn't a beautiful shawl! It is. I'm using Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine and I'm up to 215 atitches which is the number where you would normally start the border if you were using the yarn the pattern calls for - a somewhat heavier yarn. The alpaca is quite fine and I will have to slog on for a while before this will make even a suitably sized winter scarf. It's the kind of pattern you have to do with a clear mind, preferably early in the day. The the regular addis (2.75 mm) are very slippery. In short, I'm giving this project a tiny rest.

3. The Side to Side Pullover. Only guilt will lead me to finish this dull piece of knitting, hopefully soon.

4. Norah Gaughan is putting up a pattern called Wedgette on her Ravelry group in honour of an anniversary. It might be in honour of the anniversary of the group, I can't remember, but you can read about it here. Always a sucker for the unkown, I immediately cast on with some earth coloured RYC Cashsoft DK from my stash and 4 mm needles. I seem to be getting the correct gauge for now. Here's how it looks for starters. The initial instructions have been posted on Ravelry and on Nora's blog.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Day and Night

I've been away. You may have noticed. A brief week at the cottage, all too short. We rented this place on the Gatineau River and got the whole family together. We've been up in these parts for several decades now but no longer fit under one roof.

We had to haul in the drinking water, but the surroundings were so beautiful and relaxing that we didn't really mind.

There was canoeing, of course.

And swimming. With neighbourhood dogs.

There was a covered bridge with views. The water was high and fast due to all the rain that they've had this summer.

There was more canoeing. With clouds reflected in the still water of Lac La Peche in the morning.

And knitting, of course. Here's the present I was working on for my sister Frances. I found one of those blue and white striped Sheffield tea pots and knit this cosy for it. I'm just about done with the Side to Side Pullover (that ribbon thing) but not quite there. I could hardly bear working on it. Instead, I carried around a skein of blue green Ultra Alpaca Fine and finally started the Heartland Lace Shawl.

Oh, and hey, I visited with Aniko of Ravelry, a natural born spinner and prolific knitter with a superb stash. That's her sister in the picture of the tea cosy, above. We're a private bunch. Well, most f us are. Here I am posing in the Fleurette Cardigan. Big hit. Must knit it again in a solid. I can think of a few mods I'd make next time.

The day before we left to come home, we saw a double rainbow.

And later on, a small houseboat floated down the river from Wakefield and swirled around in the misty bay under the full moon. It was hard to take a photo. I'm hoping that someone else in our group got one with the houseboat. Here's the best so far. Good times.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

All's Well that Ends Well

I have started three new projects since I finished the last batch (Fleurette Cardigan, February Lady and the quasi Cobweb Crepe). My favorite of the three new ones is the Pine Tree Palatine Scarf, pictured at left by Galina Khmeleva. Some time ago I knit one of her triangular shawls after attending a workshop with Galina. This is the bottom border. I've gone a bit beyond this, but not much. It now lives on a dining room chair and I pass by once in a while and knit a few rows. It's very relaxing.

Here's the beginning of the Side to Side Pullover by Katy Ryan (IK Spring 2004). If you say this looks easy, you'd be right. Falling asleep easy, I'd say. I must have drifted off, because after knitting one sleeve and getting 4 inches into the body, I suddenly realized I had nine stitches extra on the front. Or the back - they're identical! That's about two inches extra on one side - won't do, can't hide it.

This is a dreadful project for me. First there's the boring nature of the plain knitting - garter stitch sleeves and plain stocking stitch across the front and back. Second, I have to say that I'm not crazy about knitting with ribbon. I keep worrying that it is getting twisted up too much. In Babara's Abbey's The Complete Book of Knitting, she has a section on knitting with ribbon that talks about always keeping the effing ribbon flat. I'm pretty sure that modern ribbon knitters don't even consider keeping it flat. If they do, then this thing will never get done. Third, the needles are much larger than what I usually knit with - it feels like knitting with sausages even though they're really not that big (US 10 / 6.0 mm). Also, I'm obligated to do it because I bartered the knitting for a pair of pants. OKAY, they're silk pants (stop laughing you Brits, you know what i mean!) and they fit well which saves me from having to go shopping, no small thing as far as I'm concerned. And now, to add insult to injury, I have to frog back four inches of a really wide piece and redo it. Anyone else would whip through this, but I'm making it into a mountain. How spoiled am I?

Before I came to my senses and decided to frog it, I slipped the nine offending stitches off the needle and unravelled them. I wanted to see if I could maybe just cut the loops (see at left) and weave in the ends. It is possible, but I decided that I'd be wasting a lot of the ribbon that way and what if I run out? Anyway, this is how it looks. I'll knit this in the car, I think.

I can't talk about the third project yet since it's a present, but it it's a very nice present.

What else can I say? There has been a wasp's nest. Some people were stung mildly getting rid of it and a Lilac branch was lost.

The daisies are finished and the Day Lilies are coming to an end too but the Dahlias are coming out. This is somewhat exciting as I have eleven of them and I only ever had one in the past.

The rhubarb is going strong. Now someone told me that you're only supposed to eat it in the Spring, that it's like watermelon and if you eat it after a certain date, then you're introducing pollen into your system. Sounds crazy. I'm eating it anyway.

Tomatoes and cucumbers are very delicious and much appreciated.

Lastly, I'm very happy that Nadia, who was pretty much incommunicado for a couple of months is back at home and having long chats with her mother. She painted a ton of sets in Stratford, all Shakespeare of course. Nothing doing in Montreal apparently. All's well that ends well.