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Archive for May, 2011

No, no, not the legs, look at the socks!

These are the Fireworks Socks by Anna Zilboorg.  They were on the cover of the Jan/Feb 2011 Piecework magazine.

My timing was good, because I finished them yesterday, and had the world ended in fireworks as was predicted by some people, I would have been wearing very appropriate socks.  As it turns out, I’m still here, as is most of the rest of the world.  The socks will likely never be worn, except to perch them daintily on a little cushion on the coffee table (like my feet could ever do anything daintily.)

The construction is really interesting- toe-up, with a different gussett treatment than usual (you just have to know that Cat Bhordi is involved).   While I don’t expect to knit the fireworks pattern again, the construction will definitely be reused.  The socks fit beautifully so I can’t wait to try with a variegated or handpainted wool and see what happens.

The sun is shining here, and two guys have just shown up in the yard to do some digging, so life is good.  (Even though I know in my heart of hearts that the basement and the yard will actually never be done, any little bit of activity is a welcome diversion.)  Have a good one, and congratulations on surviving the day of Rapture or whatever.

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I’m waiting for the landscaper to arrive so we can talk about agave, drip lines, a mesquite (among other things), so here’s a little diversion:

Here’s after blocking- I love the way lace opens up:

and a closeup during blocking:

The pattern is Celestial Trio by Vicki Mikulak . The pattern gives 3 alternate projects, with instruction for further personalization.  I whipped it up in two days (not including the blocking part), and there were only 2 issues.  I don’t like the caston I  used (the directions only say “cast on loosely”) and will be knitting this again using what I call the “pick up around the bar of  garter stitches” method.  I think I first saw it in a Faroese shawl pattern- perhaps Myrna Stahman?   I swatched for the second shawl using this caston, and I like the look much better.  It’s stretchy, and incorporates the 3-stitch garter stitch border right across the top of the shawl.  The second issue I had was totally my own; I am in Arizona, and do not have a set of blocking wires with me.  (I know, I know, who goes on vacation without her blocking wires?)  As a result, the inside edge of the shawl is not great, so I will likely reblock it once I am home with all my Stuff.

It’s supposed to be 100 degrees Fahrenheit today, so that sounds like a good day for a road trip to a wool store.  Mike asked what I was desperately in need of.  Can you imagine?  Silly man.  I just looked at him until he got the message.  “Oh.  Wool.”  Yes, he can be taught.  All I have to do is drop him at the golf course and remember to pick him up 4 hours later.  Should be a good day.

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…of a couple of things. Firstly, I have been knitting.

This is Zauberball Crazy.  Kind of a fun yarn, although this colourway was a bit of a snore.  I guess I need more excitement in my life.  I do have to remember not to wash these with my whites

No reason, just responsible laundering.  I’m all about correct laundry procedures.

Then I knit these:

Knitpicks- Felici .  I’m down south and the ball band is up north.  Anyhoo, I used almost all of two balls of the colourway which has been discontinued, and they are nice and soft.  I used the Yarn Harlot’s basic sock instructions- love ’em- and I place the blame squarely on her shoulders for getting me back into socks.  (For those of you who may be looking for a great book that gives not just the how but the why for many of knitting’s mysteries, this is the book.  If you haven’t already done so, you should consider adding it to your library.  It’s also good to support a Canadian writer; so few of them actually make a living at it.)

I have also mostly finished the Fireworks Socks by Anna Zilboorg (from Piecework magazine Jan/Feb 2011).  Here’s the only picture so far:

I have finished knitting both socks, and the only thing left to do is decide whether to embroider along the spines as per the instructions.  The pattern called for a really expensive (about $50.00 US) for a 500+ yard skein, but I have elected to investigate an alternative.  As soon as it comes in to my LYS I shall make a decision, and take more pictures.  These socks are knit toe-up, with interesting shaping under the foot instead of side gussets.  I must say, once I got my brain into the appropriate gear, they knit up quite quickly.  The first one is a little sloppier than the second (a good reason to do the embroidery), and man, do they fit nicely.  One change I made on the second sock is substituting a crochet waste-yarn caston instead of the long tailed caston that was called for in the pattern, which was a real bugger (oops) to pick out when I picked up the stitches.  I will knit these again, although probably not with the fireworks pattern.  I just really love the construction, and it could be easily adapted to a lot of different stitch patterns.

Drunk with my own power after finishing the stripey socks last night, I immediately cast on a Celestial Shawlette.   I am using some yarn from Ruth in Whistler but for the life of me I can’t remember what the composition or colourway is (sorry, Ruth).   Suffice it to say it is a joy to knit with, and the colourway is beautiful and subtle dark blues.  If you’ve never tasted Ruth’s work, you should.  (and yet another plug for a Canadian artisan.)  I am all the way out to the lace pattern, so I think this will be finished in fairly short order.  (Warning! Warning!  Kiss of Death Prediction!)

Knitting aside, I thought I would share with you some more of the pain that comes with trying to establish a playroom in our basement.  The whole water-on-the-floor, jackhammers, weeping tile, cement, paint, blah blah blah thing has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous.  Here’s our patio before we left for Arizona last Friday.

****This was before the rain.

As part of the shenanigans that are happening in the back yard, we are having the patio removed and repoured so the water drains away from the house.  Apparently the original owner of the house worked for a rebar company, and got the employee discount on all the rebar he could use, because this patio was 90% rebar and only 10% concrete.  At one point the contractor had the blade of the bobcat bucket under the edge of the patio, and he was bobbing it up and down to try and crack the patio into smaller more manageable pieces, but all that was happening was the whole patio was jumping up and down.   The ruckus caused a variety of reactions in the house:

Attie stressed

Attie dealing with it

and the other one:

Wallace stressed

Wallace dealing with it

I ended up bundling them both into the car and off to Prairie Lily we went.  Thank you Charlene, for allowing me to turn your store into Doggie Day Care.

After the Episode Sunday morning with the water in the neighbors’ yard and all that fun stuff, we haven’t heard from either Andy or the contractor.  I am assuming this means that all is proceeding without further ado.  I could sure stand less ado about this stupid project.  I think the only thing to do about it now is to knit some more and have another Margarita.  Adios!

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Well, Under Sask Skies has temporarily decamped to Under Arizona Skies.  Turns out that the husband seems to think he gets to go on vacation once in a while.  It’s probably just as well, because I was starting to think of this as my house instead of our house, and he is, after all, paying the bills.

The timing for the trip was both good and bad.  Good because the back yard is a quagmire, the contractor promises it will be fixed by the time we get home, and then there will magically be no water in the basement ever again.  Bad because somehow the underground sprinkler valve got turned on, the ice that had been in the lines thawed and the the pipe burst, and there was even more water in the backyard, and water in the basement, and the neighbors’ yard, and then the city came and turned off the water at the street, and now there’s no water in the house, and Andy is house-sitting with the flu and no running water, and the dogs have to be walked in the park instead of letting them out into the back yard.  (Technically you could let them out in the back yard, but as there’s no gate or fence, they do tend to go walkabout and would end up down the street at the park anyways.  They don’t come when called (unless you call them “Cookie”, but that’s pathetic and shows a lack of training) so you may as well slap the leash on them and pretend you have control.)

The problem, having been diagnosed, is now being fixed.  I cannot do anything about it here, so I may as well enjoy myself.  I think that’s one of the reasons I like it here.  There is little or no water.  Dry is good.

There has been knitting.***  And perhaps later today or tomorrow (when Mike is at the golf course) there will be pictures.  For now, suffice it to say that socks are happening.

***There has also been purchasing.  Friends should not let friends browse at WEBS (yarn.com) after even 2 glasses of wine.  More on that later.

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