A Good Yarn

Thursday, August 31, 2006


I finished up my Jaywalkers!

Here they are on the feet:

And the obligatory soles together pose:

Project Name: Jaywalker Socks
Designer: Grumperina
Pattern Source: Magknits
Yarn: Socks That Rock - Romancing the Stone
Yarn Source: Blue Moon Fiber Arts
Date Started: 7/20/06
Date Completed: 8/30/06

Comments: These aren't quite as close fitting as the first pair I made from Tess' Designer yarns, but they do fit pretty well. As usual, I made the legs a little bit shorter than the pattern called for. I like how the colors mostly matched up, even though I didn't try to make it happen.

I also finished up the first fingerless glove. I thought I'd post a picture of it off my hand, so you can see the pattern better:

There's a twisted rib pattern on the bottom that gradually changes over to stockinette stitch on the palm side. Apparently I'm obsessed with the mock-cable. This is the third pattern in a row I've made with it (Conwy socks, the preemie hats and these fingerless gloves).

I finished both of these up at knitting group last night. We had another Wednesday night St. Paul group over joining us, so we were a big group! I also invited a few of my blogging friends over, so we were even bigger! Deb invited Annie Modesitt, so it was also star-studded. Annie posted a picture of the group on her blog. Deb brought me a present:

I'm thrilled! I saw some around blogland and really wanted one, and now I have one!! Deb had knitted up the little sock for her keychain and it was ADORABLE! I am paralyzed with indecision as to which yarn to make my first mini-sock from. I'm thinking probably STR.

Now to more give aways. Now I'm moving on to knitting patterns and magazines I've gotten over the past few months and can't use. First up, the patterns. These are just not my cup of tea. But if you'd like any of them, they're all yours. I'll drop them in the mail - no charge!

First up, a pattern booklet using Streetwise Chunky yarns - it's most kids' stuff and very colorful:

Next is Knitting in the 90s:

Here are the patterns:

Now a Prism Yarns pattern booklet of home stuff - pillows, afghan, rug, a teddy bear.

Then a Cherry Tree Hill bag - it's 11" tall - maybe big enough for a yoga mat?

And finally, some Christmas themed cross stitch charts:

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

More Samples

I finished up the second preemie hat:

I made the first hat on size 3 needles and knit one fewer repeat before starting the decreases than the pattern called for. I made the second hat with the called for size 4 needles. My stitch gauge seems about the same, but the row gauge was different, so I knit two fewer repeats of the cables. I also left off the last 4 rows so the top wouldn't be so pointy. I got both hats from one skein of yarn with a small ball left over. I really like this wool/microfiber blend yarn.

I also started my last PS August neutral project:

It's really hard to take a picture of your own arm/hand. These are cream (neutral) and pink Artyarns Cashmere 5 fingerless gloves. As you can see, I need to finish up the thumb still and then knit the second one - I HOPE I have enough yarn for the second. I'm always so bad at figuring out how much is half. I'll save my review of the yarn for when I finish the pair.

I also have a couple more samples to give away if anyone wants them. Sorry the photography is so bad. I turned on the little tulip thing, but it still didn't focus well for the close ups.

A set of crocheted earrings with buttons. These are cute, but just not my style.

A barrette with a little felt butterfly and some ribbon.

Another barrette, this time with sparkly snowflakes.

If anyone wants any of these, let me know and I'll drop them in the mail for you.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Great Minnesota Get-Together

The weekend ended up not being quite as busy as I originally though, which I quite enjoyed! Friday night I went to see this singer:

For those who have no idea who that is, it's Jordis Unga. She was on Rockstar INXS last summer and is from Minnesota. I loved her voice and wanted to check her out in person. I'm happy to say that she seemed exactly the same as she did on the show - same song styling, same dancing, same clothes, etc. So, they didn't do anything to change her for the show. She was playing at a tent party at a local bar, Renegades. I saw her in the bar before the show close up and she's really quite lovely. Unfortunately, the acoustics in the tent really sucked. We could hardly understand a word she was singing or saying in between songs. I also wasn't really aware of Renegades before and I felt a bit out of place. It's sort of a biker bar and I very much looked like the lawyer in the biker bar. So, we ate dinner, enjoyed a couple of drinks, watched Jordis and left about halfway through her portion. So, I got home at a decent hour - yay!

Saturday I went to the Great Minnesota Get Together - the State Fair! It was a lovely sunny day and not stifling hot, so there were approximately 30 million other people there. Ugh. I don't like crowds, so it was much too crowded for me. It was fun to eat junk and see the displays and hang out with Bill and Red and my friend Kathleen. Kathleen and I were there on this very busy Saturday because we stayed late to watch the grandstand show:

Keb' Mo'. He was fantastic. I'm a little bit in love with him now. Such a long, lanky drink of water. A deep, sexy voice with a mischievous twinkle in his eye. And great music. I really loved a couple of the songs. He opened for:

Bonnie Raitt! Oh, she was so on last night. I've seen her a few times and this is one of the best shows I've seen. She was so relaxed and happy and having a great time. When she sang "You Can't Make Me Love You" it was so heartbreaking that I actually cried. She and Keb' Mo' sang a few songs together too, which was great. The evening ended with a great fireworks display. A fitting end to the summer!

Today was the TCKnits picnic, but I couldn't go because I had my fantasy football draft at the exact same time :-( So sad to miss the fun and miss out meeting other knitters. I had fun with the draft though - I haven't been paying much attention to football yet, so I took a bunch of players that I really like just to have fun following them. We'll see how that impacts my performance in the league. I'm only playing in this one league this year, so it'll be a different season for me than usual.

I was supposed to meet up with a friend who is in town visiting this afternoon, but she had some family stuff to take care of, so we are getting together tomorrow instead. So, all in all I had some free time for cleaning around this place and it's finally getting somewhat less embarrassing to be living in this space. One of the things I sorted out was my Sampler goodies. I subscribed for three months just for fun. A lot of the samples I'll either keep or give as gifts, but there are a few things I was just going to throw away and I thought I'd check if any of you would like them. If you want something, let me know and I'll drop it in the mail for you. First up, some buttons:

That little one in the upper right corner says "Nerd Bomber" on it.

The little man came with the shiny button on top, but if anyone wants him, I'll separate the two items.

I'll have a few more samples next time and then I'm going to start getting rid of some magazines I don't want.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Times, They Are A-Changin'

Yesterday I actually pulled on a jacket. Now, I wear suits to court, so I wear suit jackets throughout the summer, but this was an actual outdoors, keep me warm, jacket. It was so wonderful! I love me some fall weather!!

Project Spectrum is winding down too, and it's almost time to just choose projects willy-nilly. It's been fun having the guidance of choosing a certain color each month, but I am starting to chafe a bit at the limitation, so it's time to move on. But first, I knit up a neutral for August:

Yarn Garage was giving out a skein of yarn and this pattern for a preemie hat at Yarnover this year. I decided to set it aside for the PS August neutral month and the time has come! This used only half the skein, so I'm going to make another one. This one seems a bit pointy on top, so I think I may leave off the last 4 rows. I also made it a little shorter than the pattern called for already - perhaps my row gauge is different than theirs - the pattern has no gauge listed. The hats are for Bundles of Love.

I have a busy weekend ahead of me, so I'm not sure if I'll posting again this week or not. If not, everyone enjoy a lovely weekend!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Illusion of Progress

One of my favorite judges often uses the phrase "The Illusion of Progress" when talking about steps being made toward a final decision without an actual decision being made. Most of the time the illusion isn't that - we really have made progress. But it's a funny, self-deprecating turn of phrase that I like. And so since I have knitted, but there isn't anything really interesting to show, I'm going to post The Illusion of Progress and show all of my mitred squares laid out together.

For those who are not regular readers of this blog - I have enthusiastically participated in Project Spectrum, which is winding down and will be over in one week. One of my monthly projects was a mitred square. I would make one small square in the colors of the PS month - (red and pink or yellow and orange or different blues, greens or purples, etc.). I would then make three more small squares mixing in one PS color and another color. Then I sewed all four squares together into one big mitred square for that month. So now I have 6 big mitred squares. I'm not sure who I'm making this blanket for or how big it's going to be in the end, so I don't really know how much progress I've made toward a finished object. I think I'll probably just knit until I don't have any more Tahki Cotton Classic or Classic Elite Provence left. I have bought some additional colors along the way, though, so I seem not to be making progress in using it up - typical!

Anyway, here it is so far:

It was a very bright, sunny day when I took these photos, so part of it is lost in the shade, sorry about that! Here's an overhead shot:

I have to admit that I like how it looks so far. I fell in love with this pattern and love the wild look of all of those colors within the constraints of the neat boxes. Now that I'm not constrained by the limits of Project Spectrum, I'll keep on knitting squares putting together colors willy-nilly and we'll see how it comes out. Here's another look at it, but besides the shadows, it's hidden by a big pile of fluff:

Fiona NEVER wants me to take her picture. Whenever I have the camera in hand, she scurries around, getting away from me. But apparently when she saw this "blanket" laid out, she thought it was for her comfort. She still wouldn't look at the camera, but I did manage to take a quick photo.

I also wanted to show you a couple of new goodies. First up, a skein of yarn I've been eyeing for a few weeks now and finally just picked up because I like the colors so much:

This is my first skein of Claudia's Hand Painted. It feels very soft and cushy. I just adore this colorway. I'll probably make a hat from this skein.

I also received a WONDERFUL gift from a very good friend, Deb:

It's a pointy kitty! Isn't that face so CUTE??!!! Here's the body:

I just love it! Don't you wish you had a pointy kitty?

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Ahhhhh, a nice relaxing weekend with gorgeous weather, not so much running around even some productive time. I have an FO!

Project Name: Conwy
Designer: Nancy Bush
Pattern Source: Knitting on the Road
Yarn: Koigu
Yarn Source: Elizabeth Lemler - Project Spectrum Swap
Date Started: 6/22/06
Date Completed: 8/19/06

Comments: I got this beautiful yarn from Elizabeth in the PS Swap. Even though June was almost over, I decided to cast on anyway, and also make them part of the Summer of Socks Knit Along. This is a great pattern, with shaping in the back of the leg to make the calf tapered. I made them a little shorter than the pattern called for because I don't like socks that go to the middle of the calf.

Here's the obligatory two feet together pose:

And one more of them modeled, so you can see the mock cable pattern a little better:

I also finished up my neutral mitre for the August Project Spectrum square.

Friday, August 18, 2006

But Sometimes It Doesn't

I know I've been whining a lot lately about how fast time flies and I want things to slow down, but this week, I'm so glad it's over. It's been a tough week. In the last week the following has happened:

* The "check engine" light on my car came on and it started overheating.

* As I was trying to relax and not worry so much about my car so I could get to sleep, all of a sudden a bat was flying around my living room at breakneck speed.

* I had to take a day off of work during a very busy week to try to figure out what was wrong with my car. Turns out anti-freeze is leaking into the cylinders, so I probably need a new engine. Happily, I don't need to just get a whole new car. I just love my car and didn't want to go through that whole thing again.

* A friend chastised me for spending too much money on yarn. I know I spend too much money on yarn, but I don't really need other people telling me that. I over-reacted, for sure, but it really hurt my feelings.

* Since my car doesn't work at this point, I had to borrow Bill's car. The air conditioning doesn't work and I had to drive all the way to Northern Minnesota and back. Happily it's not as hot as it has been, so the ride up there was ok. The ride back in the afternoon heat wasn't very comfortable, though.

* I had a trial. As the Guardian ad Litem I'm in an odd position. On the one hand I'm representing the best interests of the child, so I can cross-examine witnesses, call my own witnesses and make arguments to the judge. On the other hand, the work I've done and my recommendations are evidence in the case, so I also have to give testimony and get cross-examined. It's a hell of a lot better being the person asking the questions instead of being the person answering the questions. I got trashed by an attorney in a situation where he really didn't need to be so aggressive. It came out of the blue for me and I was unprepared for it.

So, it's been a bad week. I'm ready to start the weekend and hope it's all going to improve significantly. On the bright side, I did get to go to knitting group on Wednesday night for the first time in a few weeks. And Kate joined us, which was super fun. She also brought me two lovely sock books that I've admired and paged through many times but had not owned. But now I do! Yay! Thanks Kate and please, please, please join us again!

I also got some good news this week - My sister Kerry is having a baby! I'm so excited to be an auntie again and I'm excited for her and her man. I have so many ideas of things to knit for the baby! I haven't had a baby to knit for for a while, and I've missed the fun of those little cute items.

I also got some yarn I had asked one of my knitting pals to pick up for me when she was placing an order at Knit Picks a while ago. I wanted to try the new merino/silk blend they have, Gloss:

This is not a good picture. I just couldn't capture the true color of this yarn with my camera. It's called Concord Grape and it really is a lovely grape color. It seems like a lovely soft yarn to knit with, and at $4 a skein, the price can't be beat.

So, the week wasn't all bad. I'm glad I put it into better perspective! I did get a little knitting done, but half-finished socks where you've already seen the first one are redundant and boring, so I'm not going to post that. I did finish my neutrals mitred square, but I haven't pinned it out and blocked it yet. I haven't blocked the purple one from last month either, because it's been too hot to be working with the big steamer, but maybe I'll block them both this weekend and post a picture of the neutral square next time.

I'll also mention a couple of books I finished. I mentioned before that I was reading "Purgatory Ridge" by William Kent Krueger. I really liked it and now I'm going to go back and read his earlier books in the series. He's a local writer. This series is set in Northern Minnesota, on the North Short of Lake Superior. The main character is an ex-sheriff who is part Ojibwe. I really liked the characters and the plot - I didn't figure out the mystery aspect before the author revealed it. It was also fairly well written, for a genre book.

I also finished this book:

I am a Cornwell fan and have read all of the Kay Scarpetta mysteries. However, I think that series has really gone downhill in the last few years. This not a Scarpetta mystery, but it's not really an improvement over the recent entries in that series either. The main character is a detective with the Massachusetts State Police. The story is kind of split between an old murder in Knoxville, TN that the detective is asked by the D.A. to re-open using their new high tech crime lab and the rape and attempted murder of the D.A. Of course the two stories are related to each other and tie together in the end. This is a very light book - it's really short and could easily be read in an afternoon by most people. It's pretty light on details and plot - things just seem to happen for no good reason. At the end, I was afraid I had somehow skipped part of it because it seemed like I was missing some plot and character development and it was done so quickly, but after looking back through it, no, that's all there is. I cannot recommend this book at all - save your time and money and check out one of the first Scarpetta books if you haven't read them.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Time flies again

I can't believe August is already half over. This is the fastest summer ever! The Fringe Festival was a ton of fun. I saw 26 shows in 10 days. Most of them were really good. There were a few I didn't care for, but none that I hated. My favorite was the last one I saw - Curriculum Vitae. I will definitely go the Ultra Pass route in the future and try to cram in as many as I can next year. There was knitting in one show that I saw - she only knit a few stitches and mostly moved the knitting around while she talked, but the stitches she did do were done correctly. I saw a woman bead crocheting a lovely necklace at one show. I knit in between a few shows too, but not too much. I did more reading on my Palm, but I'll talk about that in another post.

I also spent the past weekend at the Irish Fair - working the food and ticket booth. I saw one woman wearing knitted pants - they were in a feather and fan stitch. I also saw one of my fellow knitters, Maureen from Fargo. On Sunday I brought the blue Conwy sock and got a bit of knitting done during down times, since I was there for 8 hours. It turned out not to be the best choice for projects, though, because I'm using some super sharp doubled pointed needles from Golding. These are fantastic needles to knit with (extra sharp and extra slippery for me), but when I set down the sock, I almost poked at least one person and did poke myself and they looked a little scary with all those sharp points sticking out beside me.

As I mentioned before, I did finish up the first of the STR Jaywalkers:

I also finished my first square for the PS August neutral mitred square, but I was too lazy to take a picture. I'll wait until I block the finished square.

As I also mentioned, I bought some more STR yarn. I've joined a couple more swaps (they're all listed in the sidebar) and decided I wanted to get one of my pals some STR in a nice red color. So I tacked it onto a friend's order and threw in a couple of skeins I had seen and really, really wanted. However, the nice red yarn I thought I ordered turned out to be a bright pink. Lovely for me, not so lovely for my pal. So, I may give these to someone in one of the other swaps or I may just keep it myself. The yarn is called "Ruby":

On my computer screen the skein does look sort of a tomato-red, but trust me, in real life it's a bright pink. So, I called Blue Moon and asked for their advice and a different colorway is coming. Along with a couple more skeins, since I was going to all the trouble of ordering, anyway....

The other two skeins I already got this time were Lagoon:

and Rockstar:

Rockstar is the one that started it all for me - I first saw STR on Cara's blog when she made some Jaywalkers in Rockstar. I fell in love. The first time I ordered I didn't get Rockstar because I got Sherbet and thought they were too similar. But then I saw the Rockstar in person and knew I had to have BOTH of them. And now I do. Cara, I both thank and curse you for this STR obsession. As you recently posted about working with the lightweight on your gorgeous knee highs, it's amazing yarn to knit with, in fantastic colors and making a lovely fabric. Unfortunately for me, I'm a natural-born collector and all the different colorways are just perfect for a collection!