Thursday, December 17, 2009

Let's make this official, shall we?

I think that Branden has successfully finished the last big transfer likely to cause blog hiccups. So I think we can safely move over to the new website entirely now. See you over there!

(, in case the link doesn't work for you)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Welcome to winter

When we put our things in storage this summer, we thought about the fact that we might be moving them out of storage in the snow. We were pushing our luck trying for a December 1st move in the upper midwest.

We got lucky: there wasn't any snow, and it wasn't even very cold. Perfect conditions for a move, actually.

Last weekend we got a dusting of snow, which then built up to about 4 inches over a couple of days. Everything was pretty and white, and it seemed like a good way to ease into the winter.

And then last night, the rest of it came.

Say hello to winter!

It took three of us 2 and a half hours to clear the driveway this morning, even with a snowblower. I haven't heard official numbers, but there is a lot of snow out there.

Our neighbors' trees aren't so happy, either.

I was expecting to go to work this morning, but they just canceled bus service for the rest of the day because the roads are bad, and the university has been closed since last night. So, it looks like I have an unexpected snow day! I have some reading and a presentation to put together for work, but then I'm going to do the only thing that one should do under the circumstances: knit warm things.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Where were we?

The unpacking is mostly finished, and I'm beginning the process of figuring out where everything is, and where it now belongs. In that spirit, how about a project update?

Though it hasn't gotten much blog time, the Kauni sweater is moving along nicely. Here's where it was just before we left Germany:


The armholes are joined, and I'm working my way down the body. This was my only plane knitting, so it's a bit further along now than it was in this photo. I haven't touched it since we landed, but I'm looking forward to getting back to it soon. It's so nice that it's back to only 400 stitches a round! (It was at almost 700 before the split, and those rounds were taking a really long time...)

In the week before we left, I re-knit the red scarf with a garter edge, and I turned the pattern sideways. I had hoped that this would help it to lay flat, as all of the curling had been at the long edges in the first version. Unfortunately, the sideways scarf did the same thing:



I also tried using a bigger needle, as Ellen suggested in the comments. The first scarf was knit on a 5; I moved up as far as a 9 and was still getting curling. In this case, I don't think it was the stitch pattern; it was the weight of the yarn pulling it into its cinnamon-stick shape.

I pulled the whole thing out and gave away the yarn instead of packing it. It will make a beautiful bag or something, knit up in a design that doesn't want a lot of stretch and that can bear a little weight. It just wasn't the right yarn for my purposes.

I had a little bit of SouthWest Trading Company bamboo in red waiting for me in my US stash, so I put the scarf aside until we came back here. Unfortunately, I didn't have as much as I remembered, and the yarn is old enough that it doesn't quite match the current colorway. Given the microfiber experience, I was also a little worried that the weight of a 100% bamboo yarn would cause the same problems with curl. Instead, I found some beautiful Frog Tree fingering weight alpaca (color 23) at my new LYS. This yarn is light and airy, much warmer than the microfiber, and has a beautiful halo. I wasn't sure how I'd like the pattern in a fuzzy yarn, since the clear stitch definition was my favorite thing about the microfiber version. And then I started knitting.


I cast on Thursday night, after realizing that I hadn't knit in almost a week. I haven't had much time for it since then, but it's flying off the needles, especially considering that Ifrogged back a good 12 inches when I discovered that I'd made errors setting up the stitch pattern.

I can't believe how much better it is. It doesn't have the same crisp stitch definition, but the alpaca yarn has a beautiful softness, and I love the way it catches the light. I tried for about an hour to get a good photo earlier, but I couldn't really get the new camera to capture it. I forsee some trial and error photoshoots in my future, as I learn the buttons and settings for this new camera.

We also visited another of Madison's yarn shops, looking for yarn for a second scarf. We didn't find the perfect color, but I love the one that we did find:


That's a silk-merino blend by Cascade called Venezia (color 160 - Ginger). I don't think I've ever seen Venezia before, but it's a beautiful yarn. The shine and the feel are perfect, even though there wasn't much available in the exact burnt-orange color that I was hoping for. I'm a little worried that I won't have enough yarn (it's only 160 yards), but I have a tendency to over-buy for projects, so I'm hoping that I'm overestimating what I'll need. There was plenty in the store, so I can go back for more if necessary.

My only complaint with the yarn is that there were three or four damaged areas in the skein that I didn't find until winding it into a ball. Cascade is usually better quality than that, so I'm hoping that it's just a fluke, because I think I'm very likely to knit with this again.

I'm not really sure yet what stitch pattern to use for this scarf. It should be a little bit more muted to match this other friends' personality, fairly open (to help with yardage, mostly), and something that really shows off the shine and drape of the yarn. Nothing has popped out of the Walker books yet, but we have another date this evening.

The waving lace pattern is also coming along well. I have one more chart section that needs to be test knit (for the last time, I hope!), a few stitch counts to calculate/verify, and then it's all layout, proofing, and editing.

And, last but not least, the geometric lace project is also coming along well. I couldn't get a good picture of the swatch tonight, so I'll have to show it to you later. One transition is completely mapped out, and it's waiting until I have some quiet time to focus on the other.

So there's the knitting status. I was thinking of writing a "State of the Stash" post, but that will have to wait for another day, when I'm up to a project of that magnitude. For now, I'm just glad to be able to find time to knit.