It's a Bird, It's a Plane...

Could it be... actual knitting content? I started the "Embellished V-Neck" sweater from Vogue Knitting Fall 2006. It is pattern number 3, because don't you just love Vogue's names? So far, so good. However, I am playing that dangerous game of "What the Hell is My Gauge?" Yup, I don't know what size were the needles with which I knit the gauge swatch. I am crossing my fingers, and toes, that I get something close to the right size when it is blocked, because the gauge swatch did grow considerably after a bath.

Check out how much it rolls! Oh yes, and don't remind me about all those other WIPs. (So unfaithful.)

Meanwhile, the hunter engages the vicious flying yellow mouse.


The Sirius broadcast of The Barber of Seville is on NOW. That wonderful overture is playing as I type this. Go get your FREE 3-day trial internet-only subscription and tune in! Channel 85.


The Best Haircut in Town

Laurie has taken the discussion of haircuts to a new and hysterical level (check it out - you will fall off your chair laughing), but last night I had a haircut of a different kind:

What I got done on my trip to and from the Met. It takes a friggin' long
time to get there (and it's only 2.79 miles according to MapQuest)...

All I can say is wow. Wow wow wow. And if you have any interest and have Sirius Satellite Radio, you may or may not know that the Metropolitan Opera has its very own channel, Channel 85. This all-star cast of the most famous of Rossini operas, Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), will be broadcast LIVE Monday November 27th at 8pm Eastern Standard Time (01:00 GMT I believe). You owe it to yourself to have a listen! You know this opera! You know the music! At the very least, everyone knows Largo al factotum (have a listen here). Although I don't know how well it will be transmitted over the radio waves, the atmosphere in the house last night was magical.

And if you are still interested and still reading... here are some famous Figaros from the past: Domingo, Bruscantini, Seville, Nucci, and Gobbi. Of course, my favorite is Robert Merrill (the clip above). These are all clips provided by amazon, so they are all essentially the same bit, but just listen to the different styles the singers have taken! And if you are still reading, go to the Handelmania podcast of April 21st 2006, download it, and go to time 18.35 in the podcast to hear the whole of Largo al factotum. (Listen to the rest of the podcast too, for Warren is a wonderful baritone from days gone by. Bear in mind that these are very old recordings, some of them, and some are live, so the sound isn't great, but it is well worth it. I do recommend either way listening to the very beginning of the podcast as well, in which Charlie Handel tells the tragic tale of Warren's last performance. Just try to bear his breathing!)

There are lots more famous pieces from Barbiere, so if anyone is interested I can expound at length. :)

Knitting content to follow...


Meet Salina

Or, Seaming is Really, Really Hard

I finished! I finished! After many, many, many hours of seaming, sewing, and suffering, I have finished Salina! Seriously, it was hours of finishing. Hours. And I actually don't have buttons yet (but I totally could wear it without buttons). So without further ado, I present her:

Ignore the riding up at the bottom - I think I was standing funny. It's really hard to take a photo of yourself, even with a self-timer. And, it is dark outside. My overall impression? I love it.

Seed stitch collar love.

On with the Specs:
Yarn: Aracaunia Nature Wool in color 36 (a kind of variagated blue jeans), about 5 hanks (240 yds ea) I think (but with considerable left-over)
Needles: US size 4 KnitPicks Options circular needles and US size 3 Clover wooden circulars
Size: Small - to fit 34" bust
Started: 12 September 2006
Finished: 19 November 2006
Mods: Crazy mods (for me). The yarn I used had a different row gauge than the pattern, which meant recalculating everything that had to do with length. The sleeves were way too wide, so I used the shaping instructions from the Equestrian Blazer from IK Winter 2006 (except the final number of stitches to bind off). In addition, I added 2 inches to the sleeves.

Nice shoulder seam.

Even though I added the length to the sleeves, I still ended up with "bracelet-length" (7/8) sleeves. What is up with my monkey arms? Oh, and I did a Google search for other Salinas? Seems there are tons out there. Makes me kind of wish I had used a tweedy yarn. Check out Fluffa!'s excellent version (as always). And while you're there, check out her arms. She doesn't have monkey arms. (Grrr...grrr...grrr...) Also, I feel that the sizing is a little bit big. I made the second smallest size, which matches my bust size exactly, and there is definately extra room, although I'm pretty sure the smallest would not fit at all.

I have to say that pain-in-the-rear that the seaming was, it was kind of meditative, especially when I was sick. And boy have I been sick.

Inside of the sleeve where the cuff is sewn on.

But I do love it. Bring on the next sweater!


Emmitt is the Man!

I love Dancing With the Stars, always have and always will (except when I am disgusted by it, but that's another story). Why so devoted?

Hmmm, I wonder who that could be?

I'm so glad Emmitt, Everyman, the Man's Man, won! Don't get me wrong, Mario is a total cutie, and an excellent dancer to boot (I'm very impressed with what he accomplished in 16 weeks, what both of them accomplished really), but I am quite pleased with the result.

Knitting content to come...



One Salina sleeve done.

But oops, swatched again.

And look what happened.



It happened again. I got the itch and swatched*, thus abandoning all other works-in-progress:

That's Debbie Bliss merino DK. Can you read what the little post-it says? This swatch has a gauge of 22 stitches and 28 rows over 4 inches knitted on size 2 needles. The ball band gives a gauge of 22 stitches and 30 rows over 4 inches. I could get the 30 rows if I knit just a smidge tighter. But get this: the ball band gauge suggests size 6 needles. And, before washing the swatch had a gauge of 28 stitches and 36 rows over 4 inches. And the swatch is not being stretched at all - those pins are just to make it lay flat. What the heck? The needles I used are my cool funky cassein needles, which I have actually never knitted anything on yet. I suppose I should be happy that I got (almost) gauge! But here's the kicker: nothing I want to knit right now has a gauge that's even close. And my Aracaunia Nature Wool get the same exact same gauge on size 4's even though the ball band gauge is 18 stitches and 24 rows over 4 inches. It's a conspiracy to get me to buy more patterns, I just know it. I'm so irritated that my grand swatching plan, which made me feel so smug at the time, came back to bite me in the a**.

Is it possible to go up in gauge (or maybe down, I'm not sure what direction this works in) an entire stitch per inch (in other words, 18 stitches and 24 rows per inch) and still have the fabric look good? How many needle sizes would that be?

Does anyone know a good sweater pattern at a gauge of 22 stitches and 28(ish) rows per inch. I have 1100 yards.

*Note: This is a big deal. I hate to swatch with a passion that's almost palpable. And this is a full-sized 4" swatch, washed and everything. Pretty damn good thing I did, too, isn't it?



Lacevember quiz:

The knitting questions, or the usual suspects

How long have you been knitting?
About 25 years!
How did you learn to knit?
My grandmother taught me when I was a wee child of 5 or 6. She taught me how to crochet too.
Favorite thing about knitting?
Useful items result.
How long have you been knitting lace?
A couple of months. Icarus was my first completed lace shawl, and the Harebell Lace Socks were my first completed lace socks.
Favorite thing about knitting lace.
A little yarn goes a long way!

The yarn questions, or flash your stash

Favorite lace yarn?
The cashmere I got from Colourmart.
variegated or solids for shawls?
Solids or nearly solids.
Favorite lace color?
Earthy or jewel tones (I know it's not a color, so shoot me).

Technique, or show us your skillz

Circs or straights?
Both - small items like scarves I sometimes use bamboo straights, otherwise circs.
Favorite lace knitting trick?
There are tricks? :) Doing crazy increases or decreases with a crochet hook. I have mad crochet hook skillz.
Lifelines? If so with what?
I did use lifelines for Icarus - crochet cotton size 30. But not since.
Fancy blocking wires, or just sewing pins stuck in your carpet?
T-pins stuck in the carpet. I may get some sort-of blocking wires today though... (you'll see...)

Pattern, or can you follow directions

shawls or lacey items?
Both. I love all lace!
triangle, rectangle, or circular shawls?
I have done or am doing triangular and rectangular, but not circular. But I have plans for the Shetland Tea Shawl from A Gathering of Lace, so, all of the above.
Charts or printed instructions?
Charts all the way!
Favorite lace you've knit?
Swallowtail, I think. Except for the whole "I can't breathe" part.
Favorite lace you want to knit?
Shetland Tea Shawl or Cherry Blossom Shawl from IK Spring 2002.

Just Fun, yup that's right, just for fun

Favorite jelly belly flavor?
Yuck. I don't like Jelly Bellys. But I do like Red Hots. So if there is a Jelly Belly flavor that tastes like Red Hots, that's the one.
Tell me everything you know about Eric the Red.....
Um. His name was Eric. He was red. (Just kidding.) He had red hair? Or maybe he was just a savage warrior and caused lots of death (hence the 'Red'). He was a Viking. Maybe he was one of those Vikings that got to the New World (Greenland?) before Columbus. OK, I don't really know anything about Eric the Red.
Coke, classic or with lime?
Classic, but I prefer Pepsi.
Holiday carols, sing along, or wish they would be banned from all public airwaves?
Carols! But the old ones, from the 40s - 60s. Modern recordings of carols suck (in general).
What is the definition of irony?
When something (and expression or whatnot) is used to mean something different than the literal meaning.
How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop?
The world may never know.
Why is my cat always puking in front of my son's bedroom door?
Your cat is offended by the odors eminating from within (no offense to your son - odors always eminate from boy's rooms).
What is your superhero power?
Flame on.
If the laundry is 9 foot by 11 foot (just dreaming, that's a big laundry room), and the walls are 8 feet tall, and you are going to tile the entire room in tiles that are 3 inches by 5 inches, what color should those tiles be?
Sunny sunlight yellow. Note: this is NOT the yellow from the 70s, which was exactly the color of the kitchen in the house that I grew up in. (The phone was yellow too, but thankfully, the appliances were not.) A nice light cheery yellow to help make laundary a little less painful.
What's for dinner tonight?
Sauteed brussel sprouts, chicken, and rice, or maybe quinoa. I have the day off - woohoo! - so I can cook!
What is clogging my children's bathtub drain?
Silly putty?


Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary


How to Get Your Zygocactus to Grow

Schlumbergera truncata

Also known as Christmas Cactus, after the time of year in which they traditionally bloom. I have had these little beauties before, though they never have bloomed after the first year I had them. Although supposedly they bloom in response to photoperiod (lengthening periods of darkness) I really do think it was leaving them outside until it got down to fairly low temperatures (50°F? 45°F?) that did the trick. The ones with the white flowers have huge blossoms:

You can get your own zygocactus for fairly cheap: they were selling small ones just a bit smaller than the ones we have for only $3 at the Union Square farmer's market. Supposedly you can also propagate with vegetative cutting, though I have yet to try (although I probably will this year since we have so many!) I think they would make a nice gift. :)

Salina Update

I have indeed ripped the sleeve out, and I had to hold back the tears. Sixty rows! I have decided to follow the shaping for the sleeves of Equestrian Blazer from IK Winter 2006 up to the sleeve caps and then switch over to the Salina pattern to make it match up (I hope). The sleeves for "my" size start at only 9.25" in width, and I made it even a bit smaller (about 9"), while the sleeves of Salina were at about 10.5". The sleeve looks much more reasonable in size, while still being loose enough to allow for layering I think. I am going to make full-length sleeves, to keep my skinny arms warm. I am only back to row 35 though, almost halfway done with the arm below the sleeve cap. :(

Oh yeah, some people ran by my house this weekend:

Almost 38,000, in fact.


Warning: Do Not Attempt This At Home

So I thought I would just try on Salina just to see if I was even close to the right size:

Sorry about the blurryness of it, this is a mirror shot taken at night sans flash. Can you see the sides? The shoulder seams? I pinned her together with my T-pins that I use for blocking. Stabbed myself about 7 times getting her over my head. But I like what I see!

I'm working on sleeve 1 now; it is about halfway done. One concern I have is that it seems way too big for my skinny arms. Also I don't think I want to use the sleeve length as written in the pattern. The pattern length makes them "bracelet length", which on me looks like my sleeves are just too short. (I have long arms.) I am thinking 3/4 length maybe. Does anyone out there have any experience modifying this pattern?


Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit

Yeah, I'm a bit late.

First off, I just have to say thank you for so many lovely comments from the last post. It is really much appreciated. And yes, to me, eight is a lot.

This past week has been a blur. First I went home for the weekend to go to my sister's Halloween party. Though I have no photos from that (pirate-themed) event (yet), I do have a surreptitiously taken, and consequently blurry, shot of the bizarro train I rode on:


Hallowen was a blast. Earlier this week Swallowtail made her debut here:

Butterfly was phenominal. The only disappointment was Un bel di, which is one of the most recognizable pieces from the opera. You know it. It's like La donna 'e mobile or Nessun dorma or O mio babbino caro, and countless others. They are timeless classical arias that everyone has heard, everyone recognizes, whether they want to admit it (or even know that it's opera) or not. Anyway. Un bel di. It was a disaster. The first few lines were very, very sharp, and the entire thing sounded completely disjointed, singer from orchestra. The rest, breathtaking. A superior cast and an interesting production, one that I did not dislike. The use of bunraku-style puppets was very effective. Anyway, a good time.

October sky:

This photo taken waiting for the bus after work on Halloween night. It really wasn't that late (5:00 maybe?), but how dark it has become since the Daylight Savings change.

And finally, look who's blocking:

Onward to the sleeves...