La Gioconda

Alright, Ginny rightly reminded me that I did indeed throw down the gauntlet in the form of a sweater completing challange - my Salina versus her, um (sorry Ginny, I can't seem to find what your sweater is called...). Now bear in mind that I was confident, even though hers was mostly completed and mine had only one piece done. I was making such good progress! Well, since then I have basically not worked on Salina at all. Nope, not at all. (I worked 40 rows of the front today though!) Part of the reason is all those other WIPs that compete, nay beg, for my attention. Here is one of the other reasons:

Look upon the variety of productions ye operaphiles and dispair.

Yup, I am a big fat geek in so many more ways than one! (One of these days I may let you in on some of my other geekly traits.)

Anyway, yes, I love opera, and New York City must be the absolute best place in the entire world in terms of sheer variety (as well as overall talent)! Above you see tickets to seventeen productions at the Metropolitan Opera this year (through May 2007). Seventeen. There are actually 24 total, including old reliable stand-bys like La Boheme and some productions that I saw last year, like Die Zauberflöte, which I chose not to see again quite so soon. The tickets above represent every opera being done at the Met this year that I have never seen. (This does not even include the productions being done at New York City Opera, which is sort of a poor step-sister of the Met and which I generally don't attend.)

Oh the opera joy!

I used to live in San Diego, right before moving to this fair city. San Diego was where I discovered, quite accidentally, that I actually really love opera. The sad thing is that there were maybe four productions a year there, with at least one or two of them every year being standards (like Boheme).

Anyway, last week my roommate and I went to the opening of La Gioconda:

Icarus made her public debut.

La Gioconda
is a charming (if long) opera by Ponchielli that also contains the famous ballet Dance of the Hours which most people know from Disney's Fantasia. Let me just say that this production was fantastic. Fantastic singing and fantastic dancing (which is quite rare in opera in general).

I urge you, if you live in or near NYC to give the opera a try, if even only once. Don't knock it until you've tried it. If you've never seen opera or don't think you like opera go see La Boheme. It's a classic story and a perennial crowd favorite. (The story is that which Rent was based on.) Or give the abbreviated English language version of Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) a try. You may never get a better chance.

And incidentally, you can sit in Family Circle at the Met for $15. That is about, oh, 1/7th the price of a ticket to a broadway show. (But bring your binocs!)

(Edited to fix some typos.)


Moving Right Along (Dugga-Dug, Dugga-Dug)

No pretty pictures in this post, and nothing much to report in this post, but I have finished pattern repeat 10 of the budding lace chart on Swallowtail. I was knitting along, feeling all good about myself, because although it says right in the pattern that you knit the pattern repeat fourteen times, I for some reason thought it said eleven. Fourteen and eleven are two very different things, especially when the rows are getting longer and not shorter. Le sigh. So four more pattern repeats to go (that's 24 rows if you are keeping track) before moving on to the Lily of the Valley border. And I was feeling so smug, like "wow, this shawl (shawlette) sure is knitting up fast!" I am such a loser.


The Black Cauldron

I just had to say it! It's on TV! Right now! I love The Black Cauldron and have ever since I was a child. I think it may have been one of the first movies I saw in a theater. It certainly is one of the first I can remember.

Progress is being made on the new project d'jour:

Eight rounds of budding lace completed.

I do like this pattern a lot. It rather reminds me of Icarus. I have even joined the knitalong. :)

I have also been working on CFS quite a bit lately. Here is a shot from a few days ago showing the lovely pattern stitches:

Child's French Gloves?

I have actually finished the 11 pattern repeats of the leg and have started the heel flap already!

But no real progress on the ISE scarf, or Granmother Purl's square, or Salina. I am a bad knitter.


I Give Up

After struggling with it for so long I gave up on the Mystery Stole 2. I realized that I hated knitting it - hated hated the lack of motifs, hated having to look at the chart every 30 seconds, and most of all, hated screwing it up. I thought, why make a thing, especially a thing that takes so long to make, if you are not going to enjoy the process? Don't get me wrong, I love the pattern, and there are some beautiful ones out there that have been long completed, but it just isn't for me. So, this afternoon MS2 was laid to rest and her reincarnation has begun the the form of the Swallowtail Shawl:

I have to say that I found the first 7 rows of this pattern to be extremely fiddly. Now that I am into the body of the shawl, however, I believe it will be smooth sailing from here on out.

Speaking of IK Fall 2006, I must have this. Does anyone know of an economical substitution for the Rowan Cashsoft DK called for in the pattern? It is luscious I'm sure, but I definately cannot justify buying 10 balls of the stuff. Knitted on size 3 and 4 needles. Sigh. When am I going to learn?

Progess has been made on both pairs of socks, Oriel and CFS, and each is approximately 4" long now. They are in a race, but I am almost sure that CFS will win, being knit form the luscious Lorna's Laces Shepard Sock. The new and improved Granmother Purl square has been started, but now I am concerned it will be too big. I won't know until I get into the thick of it, which means I may be wasting several more hours of my life. And the second side of Backyard Leaves, the scarf for my ISE pal, has been begun. I will have quite a bit of "dead time" at my job during the next three days, so I am hoping I can finish that one up this week. The big question of the day is, which pattern do I bring with me tomorrow?


What is Wrong with Me?

It's back.... Earlier today this:

Turned into this:

Oops! So much for abstaining from new projects... It's the Child's French Socks from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. I love this book! I have had it for some time but this is the first time knitting something out of it. I have to admit I was inspired by yaiAnn knits! - her version of these socks (and all the others as well!) are excellent.

I haven't been working on any other knitting projects except my square for Grandmother Purl. I cast on too few stitches and have to start all over. Again. But I want it to be awesome, so I'll do it again. Pictures tomorrow?

Went to the Union Square farmers market again today. I just love that market so much! There was this beautiful, late-blooming rose in the park:

Gotta go learn mySQL...


Swing Out Sister

I went here last night. It was heaven.

More to come...


Check It Out! Right Now!

OK, if you already read Crazy Aunt Purl you already know what's going on, but it not, you should right away, and often. Laurie (AKA Crazy Aunt Purl) is the nicest, funniest, craziest knit blogger that I have never met (which is to say, all of them). Go read her blog now.

Laurie's grandmother recently was ill, and being the big, warm, fuzzy family that is knit bloggers, a blanket-making campaign was organized by Kristy. Go to Knit A Square For Grandmother Purl to check it out, knit (or crochet) a square to contribute, and pass on the knitterly love.


Oh What A Beautiful Morning

Can you believe this weather? Low 80's, sunny, light breeze. Is it Indian Summer already? Either way, I am loving it.

I finished the back of Salina! Here she is blocking:

I love what blocking does for the garment, but I hate to do it. This bit of blocking took me about an hour. Yes, an hour. Here is an example of what goes on while I am blocking:
  1. Measure and pin out bottom edge.
  2. Measure and pin out top edge.
  3. Starting at the bottom start measuring and pinning up the sides.
  4. Reach the top with either a) too much or b) too little fabric left.
  5. Curse.
  6. Unpin part of the piece and adjust.
  7. End up with the right length.
  8. Check for symmetry.
  9. Curse.
  10. Unpin part of the piece and adjust.
  11. Repeat from 4.
I so need (want) a blocking board, but I can't justify the expense on my budget.

I just love the look of seed stitch.


Fallen Off the Wagon

It is true, I have indeed fallen. After having made such good progress with my WIP pile I have backslid (backslided?) to my harlot ways. This afternoon I cast on for this:

Oriel Begins.

The wee beginnings of an Oriel sock from Sensational Knitted Socks. It took me three or four tries to get a good cast on that I liked and joined to work in the round. It took forever. This is my first toe up sock! I am already thinking it is turning out too big, even though I have miraculously gotten gauge. Will I stop? Naw, of course not. Better to put in two or three more hours of work first.

This morning dawned beautifully with clear skies and copious sunshine. Great, I thought, I can get some good photos of Icarus! After I go to the farmers market. Now, I go to the Union Square farmers market because they have the best stuff, but it is not at all close, especially with all the weekend subway construction. In addition, it is really crowded on a typical Saturday. (They had mums and pumpkins already!) By the time I got home it was overcast. Oh the irony! (Not really, just annoying. Seize the day, or moment, or whatnot, don't put off until later what you can do now, etc. etc. ) So this is the best I can so (sigh).

Icarus hangs out on the clothesline and checks out the backyard.

Lovely lovely border detail.

In other knitting news, I have about 4 inches left to go to the neck bindoff on the back of the Salina sweater. Gosh, if I hadn't spent so much time on the damn sock I would have been done already!

No further progress on Backyard Leaves. Sorry scarf exchange pal! No worries though, I am well ahead of schedule.

I have also spent some spare moments here and there working on the Absorba/Log Cabin Rug, but there really is nothing much to see. Although I did realize that I did indeed have size 10 needles. You guessed it, they are being used on the rug.

Knit on!


Still Being Really Good...

...at not casting on for any new patterns. Such restraint! Such self-control! Even though I want to kill myself what with wanting to make a plethera of new patterns from, oh, say, the new issue of Knitty, the new issue of Vogue Knitting (which I had lately come to despise, but oh those socks!), and 3 back issues of IK that I had ordered awhile back. I actually have only 4 projects that I am actively working on right now, and one of them is deadline knitting (although not all that soon). Did I mention great restraint?

Salina from Vintage Knits:

Miles of stockinette. I am beginning to appreciate "mindless knitting".

Three additional inches of progress have been made since this photo was taken last night, and only one more inch (approximately 6 rows) until the armhole shaping begins. Woo hoo! I am loving the visible progress forced by this strict knitting regimen! Can I just say that I have knit 90 rows on this sucker so far - NINETY. Holy crap, that's a lot of stitches. I am not 100% sure about using the handdyed yarn for this pattern, but I like it well enough, and the important thing is that it knits up nearly to gauge. Yay!

Backyard Leaves from Scarf Style:

Dig those organic-looking leaves.

I am all the way done with 8 pattern repeats already, so I am approximately 60 rows from the halfway point! Yes, the pattern actually calls for 11 pattern repeats, but I suspect I will run out of yarn if I do the full 11, so 10 it is. Besides, it is very stretchy and I think it is about 2' long now already anyway.

Mystery Stole is still stalled at 20 rows of the first chart of the first side. As soon as Backyard Leaves is done I will work on it in earnest. I PROMISE. And no other lace projects until I finish - or, at least, make some good headway.

The Log Cabin Rug is also stalled, simply by virtue of the fact that I can't very well take 2 cones of worsted weight cotton on the subway everywhere I go.

Prairie Tunic is still awaiting repair. Now that fall is here I suspect that will languish until spring! Let's not talk of this any further.

Trellis Scarf is on on hold indefinately because of the needle lending... although I do have those new Options needles in size 4...

That's it! I am dying to cast on for some more socks. I have some Lorna's Laces Shepard Sock in a deep purply grape that is looking for the perfect pattern for, and some KnitPicks Essential in a burgandy that I could use too. Any ideas?

Finally, I am so glad it is cooling off. It gives me an opportunity to not buy so much soda and to dive into our tea stash:

The whole bottom shelf is 3 deep with tea boxes, by the way.

Must go to bed now, falling asleep sitting at the keyboard...


Denial Is a River In Egypt

Ok well first of all I am a complete idiot. Remember that pile of WIPs from a few weeks ago?

One back and two fronts, complete with custom cables, plus swatch. What was I thinking?

I pulled out the blue Vogue cardigan too see what still needed to be done with it and I realized several things:
  1. My gauge was way way off. There was no way that the pieces would assemble into a garment that would even remotely fit me. I mean, I'm not sure that it would fit my cat.
  2. The gauge was so loose and knitted on such big needles that I could see through the knitted fabric. Through it. It was supposed to be a sweater.
  3. I failed to write down which needles I used. Size 9? Size 10 1/2? Hard to say. The pattern calls for size 10, which I actually do not own and which is considerably different than that specified on the ball band (which is 5-6). Hmmm.
  4. Did I mention that it would never, ever fit?
I think I am one of those people who just keeps knitting a thing even thought it becomes more and more obvious as time goes on that it is really wrong. I had to stop the maddness:

This picture shows the color the most accurately.

It is really difficult for me to frog anything but it had to be done. And this is what I leaned I can make if I am dedicated. And only work on one project at a time:

Seed stitch edge and stockinette.

The first 5 1/2" of Salina from Vintage Knits. I love this book. There are so many pretty, classic patterns in it! My stitch gauge is right-on, although my row gauge is 1 1/2 stitches larger. I have been documenting and calculating as I go, and I think as long as I pay attention everything will turn out alright. I hope. Oh, I am knitting it on size 4 needles (the edge is on size 2s), one size down from the pattern. This is the kind of pattern for this yarn, and it is knitting up a lot softer than I would have thought.

Only about 95% more to go.


Wasting Away in Finished Object-ville

I have been a busy bee! Several finished objects to show. I like this new dedication to finishing things. It gives me such a sense of accomplishment. On with the show...

Welt Fantastic socks from Sensational Knitted Socks:

Just lounging on the patio.

I simply can't get enough of this book. I love everything in it. These little beauties are for me. Knitted in KnitPicks Sock Garden in the colorway Pansy on 5 US size 1 dpns. Knitted at a gauge of 6.5 stitches and 11 rows per inch. This yarn didn't knit up in a gauge suitable for both my foot and the pattern, so I increased the number of stitches in the welt pattern to 15 (from 11) for a total cast-on of 60. I did 5 pattern repeats each for the leg and the foot. It turns out I could have made the socks much longer, because I only used 1.5 skeins at 220 yards per skein (I had bought 3). I tend to prefer tall socks to anklet-sized socks. I guess another pair of Pansy colored socks are in the future! I know I have said before that I don't much like variagated yarns, but this is another that I really do like the way it turned out in the finished product.

I think this means I can start a new sock project!

Icarus Shawl is finally blocking:

Here it is pinned out on the livingroom floor (on a clean sheet of course, to protect it from the roving bands of cat hair). It took me about an hour to get it this good. The shawl is actually longer than the livingroom rug. The right corner is pinned to the welcome mat from our door. I tried blocking it first on the bed but it was too big.

Mary wanted to help me out of course.

Finished photos for sure tomorrow.

And here we have the secret project that I mentioned a few posts back. I have decided just to show it, since these friends don't actually know about this blog (yet). Here he is, Kirju:

An Estonian sheep puppet from the Summer 2006 Spin-Off! I am not a spinner, but I saw these guys on the cover and I just knew I had to make one for a very special little baby boy born this summer. It took me a long time... Fair Isle is really hard! I love that iron cross-like pattern though. I used Knitpicks palette in the colors Peach and Apricot on 5 US size 1 needles. Isn't he just adorable?

Finally, I had so much fun with the lace swap that I signed up for another one. I have joined the International Scarf Exchange swap! My choices:

The pattern is Backyard Leaves from the fabulous book Scarf Style, and the yarn is Debbie Bliss Cashmarino Aran in color 300617. Love the stuff. Love. The. Stuff. Must buy more of the stuff. It is so soft. Why have I never knitted with this before? Oh yes, the price. I think I am going to have a hard time parting with the finished product... The pattern is quite easy too, once you get the hang of it, even if the chart is as intimidating as hell. Two pattern repeats down, 20+ to go. Can I finish and send it out by November 1st?


Happy Labor Day!

(A few days late...)

There were some exciting happenings around these parts lately, the first of which was the partially successful mailing of my Whose Lace Is It Anyway swap! Since my package should have already arrived (it better have US Postal Service!) to my pal Caroline (currently blogless, but soon not to be!) I think it is safe to give a looksie at what I sent:

Can you see what it is?

(Sorry about the flashy indoor photos in this post - it had been overcast for like a week - up until today of course.) Half of the package didn't get sent because it wouldn't fit in the package I had and it was 10 minutes before the post office closed and I had to go catch a train for the holiday weekend. Not included were those 2 items standing up in the back (do you know what they are?) Don't you know I forgot the card as well? But the important fibery and patterny parts got sent. Caroline is an experienced lace knitter that will soon showcase her work (I hope!) on a new blog. Since she has been around the knitting black I decided to get her the above yarn and go for quality, not quantity. I also wanted to send her a pattern that was a "unique" (not a circle, square, or rectangle) shape. I hope you like it Caroline!

Right after I mailed the package I got in line for the package pick-up window and received this:

Christmas in September!

My package from my giving secret pal, Grace (also blogless)! She sent me three skeins of KnitPicks Shimmer in Turquoise Splendor! I love KnitPicks yarn but have never used Shimmer before! It is really pretty with fairly subtle variegation, which I like. It is 70% baby alpaca and 30% silk. I'm so glad she picked it, because I probably wouldn't have (because of the variegation) but I really do like it! She also sent the Candle Flame Shawl pattern, courtesy of KnitPicks, and some of those new Options needles! Yay yay yay! I have so wanted to get some, but I am on a knitting budget right now... Yay! Plus she sent some yummy smelling homemade soap from a local fiber fest, some local Earl Grey Tea (I love Earl Grey - how did she know?) and a lovely copy of At Knit's End, which I did not have (and which did not make the photo shoot for some unknown reason), and which I love. Thank you so much Grace! I think I am going to like this crafty swap thing!

After giving and receiving all that good stuff I took a train home to CT to visit family and of course go to the Goshen Fair. I love the (self-proclaimed) world-famous Goshen Fair. This year was a little disappointing though. A little thing called Hurricane Ernesto put a damper on spirits and kept both fair-goers and vendors away. OK, so it was Tropical Depression Ernesto by the time it made it all the way up here, but it still was an event. M tells me it poured in the city, but it actually didn't rain up in CT until after we had left the fair. It was really cold though (50s?) and extremely windy. I did take a few photos:

I am the Sheepy Avenger. I work hard to keep my identity secret.

This guy was not at all happy about getting bathed.

Hello curly-haired sheepy face!

There were lots of other sheep too, but Blogger won't let me download more than 5 at a time and I haven't sent up a Flickr account yet... I was very disappointed to find out that the goats were not there yet (we went on Saturday) The cows and horses were though. Baby cows are so cute.

I finished the Butterfly Stitch Dishcloth and gave it to my sister as a gift for picking me up at the not-my-regular-close-to-the-family train station and driving me back to a different also-not-close-to-the-family train station (stupid Metro-North...) Icarus is, um, still not blocked. I am trying to figure out how to do it. Remember I live in a teeny tiny apartment with a roommate and a cat that likes to sleep on the bed. What do I do? Any suggestions? Pin it to the wall? Oh, I also probably don't have enough pins. Hmm. And I am almost done with the secret knitting project alluded to in a previous post but I can't show you because of the photo limit again. Grrr. Maybe tomorrow. I have also successfully not cast-on for any new projects, thus decreasing the WIP pile a little bit. Oh, and I am pretty sure that I don't have enough yarn to complete Tubey. Nearly Sure. Yeah, there's no way. So I will likely frog that one too. Sigh.

Better weather is in the forecast - perhaps some better photos are in the cards?