Thursday, July 29, 2010

FO: Multnomah

Kate Flagg published this pattern just after I returned home from visiting Portland and Multnomah County!  It was meant to be...
Pattern: Multnomah by Kate Flagg
Yarn: Impulse of Delight Merino Silk, "Sun Dappled," 1.3 skeins
Needles: Clover US 5 bamboo circs

the good
Delightfully easy pattern, and the yarn is great. Nice sheen, lovely shades of green, springy yet a little crisp. It seems more like heavy fingering weight (almost sportweight) rather than light. The color in the first photo, taken out on my wee little balcony, is true.
the bad
I don’t love the pattern, actually. Something about the big garter stripe down the middle bugs me, and  the feather-and-fan pattern isn’t incorporated into the design very smoothly (e.g., look at the garter panels between the feather and fan sections and the center stripe). Also, the top of the shawl seems kind of tight because of all the KFBs. Subbing YOs on at least one side might work better. Blocking did help a good deal with the tightness, but it’s still not perfect.  In fact, before I blocked it, I considered ripping the whole darn thing.  I'm glad I didn't, though, as it will be perfect with my brown corduroy coat this fall! Unless that combination makes me look like a tree nymph...

hemlock ring update

10 rows left, plus the bind-off (which I've heard is neverending)!  Huzzah, huzzah.  I'm doing the larger size (beyond the gold line on pattern chart), and I need to wind my 3rd skein of Eco Wool.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

hemlock amoeba?

Hemlock Ring is looking more like an amoeba now, or perhaps a jellyfish.  Thanks to yet another heat wave, I've been holing up in the downstairs rec room (AKA the man cave) and knitting while drinking endless glasses of iced tea.

I used the magic loop technique with a 40" cable rather than DPNs to start, which worked great. At some point it just slid out of magic loop and I switched to regular knitting in the round.  At this point I'd love to switch to a longer cable, but apparently I don't own one!  Something to add to the next Knit Picks order.  I'm using stitch markers between each feather-and-fan repeat, which is super helpful now that there are a bazillion stitches on the needle.
The postman delivered one last round of yarn for the stripy crochet blanket.  I refuse to buy any more yarn for this project, and I don't want to calculate how many skeins have already gone into this thing.  I do love the ice cream colors, though, and it's absolutely addicting to make.  With any luck it will fit our queen size bed! 
I caved and bought a double-walled iced coffee travel cup from Starbucks, and it has turned out to be a great purchase! I usually just fill it with homemade iced coffee and tea; it's even perfect for toting around the house because condensation doesn't build up on the outside.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Hemlock Ring in progress.  I learned Emily Ocker's circular cast-on via this tutorial yesterday morning, and it's very neat!  The blanket's speeding along so far, thanks to a fresh crop of Miss Marple episodes on the DVR.  
Julia McKenzie is quite good, isn't she?  Not too namby-pamby.  The production values on the last two seasons of Miss Marple and Poirot on Mystery have been such an improvement -- striking camera angles, great sets, colors that pop.  Very visual in a way that the old ones simply weren't.
I've been racing through books lately.  I just don't feel like myself when I don't make some time to read novels.  There's something valuable about reading fiction that helps me approach problems from different angles and consider other points of view.  Two highlights:

The Little Stranger, by Sarah Waters
Post WWII, a country doctor befriends the Ayres family at Hundreds Hall.  Landed gentry, the Ayres are struggling to keep up a crumbling old pile, and the financial and emotional strains, as well as their increasing isolation from the social circle in which they once flew, are getting to them.  Waters reinvents the Gothic novel, pitting logic and science against emotion.  The real thing to watch here is the narrator, though.  Unlike Waters' other novels, the plot is very linear, building slowly.

Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese
Born from an illicit union between a nun and a brilliant but emotionally stunted surgeon, twins Marion and Shiva Stone grow up in a cross-cultural household in Ethiopia, raised by doctors at Missing Hospital.  This compelling story about family, love, and betrayal is set in a tumultuous time in African history, and the setting really shapes the book.  It may sound a little melodramatic, but it's a great read.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

good things

  • casting on for a new project

Gaenor, by Corinna Ferguson, knit with Orange Flower's merino / silk fingering weight yarn.  The colorway is "leafy," which just happens to be one of my favorite words. The yarn is absolutely wonderful.  Karin has a great sense of color, and the merino / silk is slippery and smooth.  I'm using size 7 needles; size 5 or 6 might be better, but not so much better that I would frog and start over.
  • taking the Kitchen Aid out for its second test run
Buttermilk Pie Bars, from the Baking Bites blog.  Holy cow, these are amazing. They're like cheesecake, but better in that they're not too heavy.  Usually when recipes call for freshly grated nutmeg, I'm too lazy to bother.  This time I'm glad I did!  I also added a bit of lemon zest. They're light and cool and absolutely delightful.  The only thing that could possibly improve them?  A handful of black raspberries sprinkled over the top. 

  • my new desktop wallpaper
The Doctor plus a kitten?!? Be still my heart.  More Dr. Who desktop wallpaper available here, courtesy of the BBC.

  •  a new outpost of First Slice Pie CafĂ© just opened right across the street
Hurray, iced lattes and delicious salads all summer long for me!  First Slice is an awesome nonprofit organization; proceeds go to feed the homeless in Chicago.  Seriously, it's so new that they haven't even finished planting the flowerpots out front yet.
  •  my Jeep's sporting a new touch of class

Yep, a 1' tall Bucky Badger magnet.  Makes me smile every time.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Pimm's progress

There's nothing like a nice crisp Pimm's & ginger ale on a breezy, sunny summer day.
Yesterday I rewarded myself with a cocktail and some knitting time after a long couple of days (tons of regular things on the to-do list, plus cat-sitting for a friend, plus two separate plumber visits + one appliance service call).
Mum's Shalom is speeding along. I must say that this is a very quick and easy knit so far! With any luck the body will be bound off by the end of today.

I'm loosely following moxymomma's modifications for 38," as well as SouleMama's sleeve modifications:
  • CO 77 sts
  • 3 buttonhole rows -- 6, 22, 38
  • slipped the arm sts to waste yarn instead of BO
  • CO 10 sts at each armhole
  • no waist shaping
I did a one-stitch buttonhole, as the two-stitch buttonhole seemed a bit too large. Next time I'd slip the first stitch of each row (for a cleaner edge).
The kittehs, basking in the morning sun: