Swallowtail Completed

It took me 3 days to find some decent light! Finally I settled on these pics from Central Park:

First I tried by the Turtle Pond, but the direct sunlight was too bright.

At Cleopatra's Needle, behind the Met.

The wind, she started to blow...

Another one just for kicks.

Project Specs:
Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark from IK Fall 2006
Yarn: KnitPicks Alpaca Cloud (100% baby alpaca) in Tide Pool, 1 hank
Needles: size 3 Clover wooden circulars (24")
Finished Dimensions: 60" across the top, 28" top to point
Time to Complete: 31 days (28 really, it took me 3 days to photograph!)
Pattern Mods: None

I definately like it, it's definately lovely, but I don't know how warm my shoulders will be at the Met! (The Met opera house, not the Met art museum...) I am seriously considering making another one in fingerling weight... Just as soon as I finish a few more UFOs!


Lace Mohair is Really Really Tiny

At least, Karabella Lace Mohair is. I remember when I first got it I took it out of the box (it was a mail order) and thought to myself "good god, what have I gotten myself into?" Here is a view of four yarns I have used recently, or am currently using:

From front to back, the Karabella Lace Mohair (Trellis Scarf), KnitPicks Alpaca Cloud (Swallowtail Shawl), KnitPicks Shadow (Icarus), and Lorna's Laces Shephard Sock (Child's French Socks). The mohair is tiny, even tinier than than the Alpaca Cloud, which I found out is pretty small.

Knitting with the mohair is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that the stuff is so sticky that it is really hard to actually drop a stitch. A curse in that the stuff is so sticky that ripping back is kind of a pain.

I have thus far completed four repeats of the lace pattern, two in the past two days. The lace pattern is 16 rows long, and it takes so long to do just one repeat. I may have to rethink keeping this project as my "lace project". The pattern calls for 23 pattern repeats. (Ha ha! Only 19 more to go! Will it take 19 days?)

Swallowtail photos tomorrow (I hope) - I didn't get home until after dark!


Today I Like My Job

This is why:

The creature from the black lagoon?

Blocked to within an inch of its life.

Anyway. Two months ago, in one of my very first posts, I showed the following pile 'o stuff. As you can plainly see, positive progress has been made!

This is my first doctored photo, courtesy of the Gimp, so be kind.

Almost 1/2 of these items (four of the nine) are now done! Plus Kirju, the sheep puppet. One, Absorba, is a work in progress that I can only work on a few rows at a time. Prairie Tunic just needs to be fixed. That just leaves Salina (oh Salina, how I miss thee!) and the Trellis Scarf, a relatively quick knit (I think). Plus, of course, Oriel and the Child's French Socks. I have managed to convert 10 WIP down to six! This in addition to starting and completing the last two finished items I posted about. Hooray! Now if only I can keep it up...

Speaking of WIPs, which of these should I make a mad effort to finish first? Prairie Tunic has been on the needles longest, but I won't be able to wear it until spring. It's getting colder, so Salina may be calling. And of course I need a portable project...


Question: How Long Does it Take to Knit One 8-Inch Square?

Answer: If your name is Carrie it might take a month.

Another Question: Why do you commit yourself to more things than you can reasonably do?

Answer: If your name is Carrie it is because you are crazy.

My square for the Knit A Square for Grandmother Purl campaign is done!

Artistic-like shot.

The really really sad thing is that I started it practically the first day the call went out but kept having the rip it out and start over due to my inability to anticipate the final gauge for cables.

Not-so-artistic shot that clearly shows lovely cable action.

I believe I have knit this square seven times. Not the same square, mind you. Several different cable patterns involving quite a few different numbers of stitches cast-on were attempted and then subsequently discarded. I did so want to send something really special, and nothing says special like cables!

This pattern combination is called "Liverpool" for the Vogue Knitting Stitchionary 2 and is knitted on US size 7 needles in Cascade 220 superwash, color: radioactive green. Neither of these photos due the color justice. It is sort of Incredible Hulk green. Green Lantern Green. I'm not sure if it was bombarded with cosmic rays, gamma rays, was bitten by a radioactive spider, or what. Let's just call it Superhero Green, shall we? I sure hope the afghan-assemblers can find squares in other colors that will play nice with the Super Radioactive Cable Square!


Gone But Not Forgotten

Goodbye Backyard* Leaves! I took her on a tour of Central Park to try to get a good photo, but this was the best I could do:

This scarf is pure luxury and I hope my pal likes it! She was knit with about 3 1/2 skeins of Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran color 300617, a sort of dusky lilac, although that's not quite right. Trying to come up with a name for this color is hard! I can't think of anything in nature that is quite this shade and hue.

I like this pattern a lot, it is pretty simple and straigtforward once your fingers get the hang of it. I think I will definately make it again. One thing I would do differently is use a different yarn - the DB is jus a little too soft to really make the pattern pop, and there is still a bit of curling at the edges that I couldn't fix with blocking. The yarn is super, I love it, just maybe not for this pattern. The pattern actually calls for Karabella Aurora 8, but I have never used that yarn. Sorry secret pal! Still I think it is great.

I am sending her on her way with a few local goodies acquired at the Union Square farmer's market. I am a big fan of consumable gifts:

Soap, jam, and candle, but not the basket!

Au revoir!

*I actually typed Backyarn. Whoops!


Before and After

My ISE scarf is almost done! Almost! Done! She is blocking right now, in 2 pieces, because there is no way that I can accomodate a 6'+ scarf on my livingroom floor. This provided a nice before & after shot halfway through the blocking process:

Bad flash! Bad!

The magic of blocking never ceases to amaze me. I have to say that the pattern is slightly less well-defined than as it is shown in the book (although I did use a different yarn...) Nevertheless she is lovely and soft and cuddly and I don't want to give her up! All that's left is the seaming (the weaving of ends is done) and to take some glamour shots tomorrow, and then off she goes to the other coast.

And in other before & after news I made a fabulous discovery this afternoon. I own a size 10 circular needle. Longer than 12". Hip hip hooray! If you recall, Absorba, the bathmat-turned-carpet was being knit on old size 10 aluminum straight needles:

Following the straight and narrow.
You will ignore the hair in the photo.

The piece had grown sufficiently to actually pain me with the weight of the needles plus fabric. At the end of the last section I switched to the circulars and it is knitting heaven:

(Not really - it is still knitting with kitchen cotton held double on size 10 needles...) Now at least I'll maybe I can make a little progress on this thing!


I'm So Lonely

At least, one of my feet is. I believe this is what they call a spoiler:


More Stash Enhancement

I have made some true progress on Backyard Leaves - she is but one pattern repeat away from being complete - but no photos to show, since she doesn't look like much with seaming not done and ends a trailing... I may get to block her tomorrow and send her on her merry way, though I will be sad to see her go, to my ISE pal. I hope she likes she as much as I do, because if not I will gladly take her back!

Anyway. Since yesterday I posted some pictures of recent stash enhancement I thought I would let you in on a little secret: I did the same thing last month! Here are the photos to prove it:

In the back a cone of eggplant colored alpaca silk from WEBS. I'm guessing a gagillion yards because the yarn is really fine and the cone is really big! And it is super soft and a lovely yummy color.

A cone of 100% cashmere from Colourmart in a a nice light spring green. The sticker in the cone says the color (or colour, as it were) is "steptoe" (I kid you not). Can someone tell me what that means? Because I am really confused. Also, please tell me the cashmere on a cone washes up softer, because it is really not soft right now.

A cone of Euroflan linen in color Neptune. It is a tiny cone, but then so is the yarn. I think a more descriptive word for it might be string.

A big hank of Skacel merino lace (100% merino). The color is called something like "sunshine" or "sunlight" or something like that, but it is so pale as to be not really yellow at all. I am not much of a pastel person as you probably can guess by my normal choices, but it looked so warm and sunny on the internet. Ah well, it still feels nice and soft.

Another big hank of laceweight, this time Ornaghi filati Merino Oro in a medium-dark green. It doesn't actually say specifically but I'm guessing this is, uh, merino? (Specifically it only says "pure new wool" on the label.) This yarn was originally for my lace swap pal, until I found out green was her least-favorite color. Whoops.

Can you guess what I am going to be knitting a lot of in the near future?

The three little skeins on the left are 100% baby camel. Baby camel people! Have you ever seen a baby camel? Like a baby anything, they are so cute! I got this yarn at School Products here in Manhattan on a shopping expedition for my lace swap pal. (Didn't end up getting anything for her there either!)

Can you see the knitting needles there on the table as well? These were from three different purchases: The wooden dpns are US size 2 which I bought in possible anticipation of using that silk I reclaimed a while back. We'll see. The two sets of straights on the right are casein in size 2.25mm and 2.75mm, which I think are US size 1 and 2, respectively. I saw these on closeout (they were being discontinued) at an online store I can't remember now and I had to buy them because casein is a milk protein. How cool is that? The final pair are a set of Skacel dpns show up close below:

That's right - they are size 0000. I saw them at School Products and you know I had to buy them because oh how I love the tiny needles and I had never seen such small ones. Four zeros corresponds to 1.25mm, according to my sources. Yee haw! I can't wait to use them! (On what I don't know, however. Any ideas?) According to my sources knitting needles go down as small as 0.5mm (that's eight zeros in US equvalency units. Eight.) Where can I get me some of those? I'm crazy, yes I know.

Here is another closeup to compare the size of the size 0000 with the size 2 (to the left) and size 2 and 1 (casein, to the right). Ther really are like needles, in a "pins and needles" sort of way. I'm thinking some serious knitting injuries could occur with these...

That's not all of the stash! But it's enough for now. :)


Welcome Autumn!

I read somewhere that Indian Summer doesn't happen until after you have the first frost of the year. That hasn't happened yet, so I guess my previous assertation (about it being Indian Summer already) was wrong. Nevertheless, autumn is here in full force! I wore my winter coat yesterday and was not hot! The past two nights it has been in the 40s. Brrr! Thank goodness the heat in my building finally turned on last night! Hooray! (For those of you who don't know, a lot of older buildings in NYC don't have the kind of heat that you can control with a thermostat. There is a radiator, which turns on when the temperature is "cold enough", and you can turn your own radiator in you apartment either on or off. Ain't no inbetween!)

I figure this is a good opportunity to update on a few projects in the works. Swallowtail Shawl is in a semi-permanent stall:

Posing on a rock by the lake in the middle of Central Park.

I have had a lot of other things on my plate, so Swallowtail sort of got put on the back burner, especially since I missed my original deadline of Oct 3rd (when I went to see Faust) and my extended deadline of Oct 10th, when I went to see this, and here is proof:

For those of you who are keeping track (is anyone keeping track?) That's three different operas in three weeks by three different composers. Idomeneo was written by Mozart, his very first opera, and considered by some to be the best opera seria ever written. The story takes place in Crete after the Trojan War. The main characters include Idomeneo (Idomeneus in the legend), the king of Crete, who was allied with Greece during the war; his son Idamante; Ilia, the daughter of Priam (King of Troy), who was captured in the war and sent to Crete; and Elletra of Argos (Electra from the legend, sister of Orestes). Are you confused yet? Greek legends are like that. :)

Can you see on the program that it was conducted by James Levine? He is one of my very favorite Met conductors. This production also featured Kristine Jepson as Idamante and Ben Heppner as Idomeneo, both excellent excellent artists. (Really the whole cast was excellent, but these two were, in my opinion, the best.)

Anyway. My new deadline is Oct. 31st, which is when I go to see my next opera, and it should be a doozy!

Some stash enhancement happened over the weekend:

Whoops! Spent a little money. Ok, a lot of money. I placed an order a little while ago from LittleKnits, who, by the way, have awesome customer service so go order something from them right now. The package came Friday, but I had to wait until Saturday to go pick it up from the PO. In actuality there are 3 skeins of the Eco +, 4 skeins of the Provence, 6 skeins of the Nature Wool (which is the same kind, though different color, as what I am using for my much neglected Salina), and 10 skeins of the Debbie Bliss. Only one skein of the Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn. Gack! Truthfully, as I was cruising their website I had patterns in mind for all these yarns. Now I can only remember one: the Provence is slated for the Wine Red Backless Top from Rebecca No. 29. Wish me luck - I have been wanting this for a long time, but not been able to find the specified yarn, ggh Scarlett. So not only am I doing a yarn substitution, but I will have to try to decipher the directions...

One reason Salina and Swallowtail have been neglected:

My scarf for the ISE is woefully incomplete, even though I jumped to an early lead (had it half completed within the first 2 weeks!) This package has to be received by my pal by Nov. 1st, which means kicking some Backyard Leaves butt the next few days. Right now she is about 75% done.

And of course my travelling project, Child's French Socks. I haven't had much time to knit while travelling lately, so I have only just turned the heel of the first sock and am in the midst of the foot decreases. Love love love the Lorna's Laces!



I've been a little busy lately... Here are just a few of the things I have been doing:

Last Tuesday I went to see this:

Which was wonderful and worth every penny let me tell you!

Then last weekend I went up north and went to a couple of fall festivals. This included gawking at these fellows:

Honest to goodness lumberjacks competing in a lumberjack competition doing lumberjacky-type things!

And of course buying things:

That is garlic infused vinegar people! Also purchased: White truffle oil (yum), rice soap (yum) and German White Garlic (yum)!

Sis and I also went hiking at one of my favorite places:

Sadly the trees had not really started to change yet.

Monday was a holiday for me, so I went for a walk in the Ramble at Central Park. I was looking for a quiet spot to do some knitting, which I couldn't find (there were like a gajillion people there - who knew how many people had Columbus Day off!) I did find this bit of color though:

That's sumac, but not the poison kind!

More to come!


It's the End of the World As We Know It...

At least, it's the end of the summer as we know it. And I feel fine!

I was excited to get out of work and home at a reasonable hour (read: not after dark), so I planned on taking some progress photos in the waning afternoon light. The weather was just too darned beautiful though, so I swung by the park on my way home to eat dinner and enjoy one of the last nice days of the year. Unfortunately, by the time I got there it was rather overcast (although the temperature was still perfect), so no good photos were taken.

I did glimpse this on my way home:

Most of the trees around here are green still. There are some leaves on the ground already, but they are of the brown variety, and I don't know what they are from (I didn't look closely). All in all it has been a rather mild autumn so far.

I have been making progress on both Swallowtail and Salina these past few days. I am up to about halfway point on the Lily of the Valley chart #1 on Swallowtail. It is kicking my butt. I have to say, I heard all this talk about nupps and thought nupps? What the hell are nupps?


I have to do the p5tog with a size 00 dpn. That's how bad it is. They are slowing me down greatly, but I do like them a lot.

I had hoped to finish this shawl by today. A tad ambitious, aren't we? Do you think I can finish by next Tuesday? 32 rows left to go...

Salina is progressing as well. I am up to row 65 on the front, so I estimate it is almost 1/2 complete (the front, that it). Remember my gauge is different than that specified in the pattern, and I ended up with 152 rows for the back. (Do you hear that Ginny? I'm coming for you!)

In lieu of knitting photos I submit a shot of our teeny tiny kitchen for your amusement.

And I do so love to cook.