Friday, March 20, 2009

If Spring is here, Why am I still wearing Wool?



So today is the first day of spring and I can't wait to leave this winter behind, but instead of daffodils blooming in my yard and my primroses blooming happily in my gardens, the yard is much as it has been all winter.

So I continue with the Winter Knitting. I've been working through some projects and UFOs per my desire to get some things off the needles this month. And first up is my Harmonia's Rings, a cowl/shoulder wrap Cat Bordhi and the designer, Sivia Harding were wearing at Madrona--not at the same time, they each had their own--which was tempting to just corner one of them, rip it off their shoulders and run. But then again, I can knit my own. And I did.

I used two skeins of See Jayne Knit's hand dyed merino in the colorway Chocolate Truffle Berry. Okay, she had me at "chocolate." The yarn is wonderfully soft and cozy and I've been wearing this constantly.

Sivia's pattern for Harmonia's Cowl gave me two challenges, knitting a moebius for the first time and doing a moebius cast on. Thank goodness for Cat Bordhi's excellent youTube video, I was up and running in no time and it is really addictive knitting.

The pattern repeat is easy, but lately I've found that I can't follow a chart or even simple row repeats to save my life--just way too much life filling up the bandwidth and remembering what row I am on seems impossible--so I've come up with a solution. My own sort of cheat sheet that I make for each project using Excel, and making a small chart with the rows and repeats and just check it off at the end of each row. Then when I come back to it, or forget halfway through the round where I am, I can just glance over figure it out without doing a bunch of frogging back. This is the chart I used for my Veste Everest.

I hadn't planned on doing the beaded picot bind off around the neck, but then as I was looking for something else, I found a tube of beads I'd bought years ago for something else and never used, so the beaded edge it was.

I loved knitting this so much I plan on making two more for Christmas presents, I have the yarn for one, and am keeping my eyes peeled for the perfect yarn for a second one, though I may just use some stash yarn.

The other project that found its way onto my needles after Madrona was a pair of Toast. Again at the Cat Bordhi class (that was just a day of inspiration in so many ways) I was sitting next to Kari, who also spins for her Etsy shop, Mud.Creek, and she had knit a pair on the plane up from Arizona. I was immediately enamored and when I got home, cast on. I know some people don't "get" fingerless gloves, but I adore them. My hands get too hot in gloves or mittens but fingerless? Oh, they are perfectly toasty without getting too hot.

These are modeled by one of the boys, so they are a little large on him. Again I used a skein from See Jayne Knit, a handspun silk and merino blend in Watermelon. I have another skein in another colorway, which will probably get used for yet another Christmas present.

I also finished up a small shawl on the plane to Chicago this week, which I'll get blocked this weekend. Then it might be a bit before I finish anything more because I had to sign books for two days straight, now it is my wrists who are toast and I have to take a few days off of knitting to rehab them. Stinks, but I knew that would happen. Instead I'll keep enjoying my new FOs, and dreaming of Spring.

And Spring knitting . . .

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Randomness

I've been starting and stopping projects for the last two weeks and can't say that I have anything to show for it. I'm nearly finished on two projects inspired by some wonderful items I saw at Madrona, but not quite done.

With so much going on around here--I've had five books I had to read for my working life, two test knit projects I'm working on, a book due next month, two books coming out in the next two months, and more travel over a three month period than I have done in like the last three years. I've been to Madrona, then last weekend went to a romance reader's conference in Portland, Or. Next weekend I am off to Chicago to sign books at the warehouse. Which means NO KNITTING for like three or four days. I need my wrist in top form to sign about 8,000 copies of my next book, CONFESSIONS OF A LITTLE BLACK GOWN and be able to keep typing on the book that is due. Yes, you read that correctly. 8K. Sigh. The glamorous life. Two days in a warehouse signing books. Actually, it is kinda fun, a sort of marathon adventure but the no knitting part stinks.

Then off to Wichita for the Midwest Plains Librarian Association conference, where I speak and do a booksigning at Barnes & Noble. Then it is off to Disneyland for spring break -- which neither of the kids have on the same week, so we are going the week in between when they both have school. We figured two wrongs make it all right. Then I get a breather for like three weeks and then I am off to Orlando for the Florida Librarians Association where I speak again and sign again, this time at the Borders in Clearwater, FL.

I was invited to another conference the week after, back again in Orlando, but twice across the country in two weeks? Uh, no. Because in July I go to Washington DC for a week for a big writer's conference. Then the Sock Summit is lurking on the horizon. I actually have a hotel scoped out, and my escape plans for that one in sort of a sketchy, hazy outline. Really, honey, I know I've been gone a lot, but this is a very important knitting event . . .

So with all this on the horizon I can't really get excited about knitting something big, like I did in February with the Vest-uary KAL. I got my Veste Everest done, which I've been wearing daily. But right now, I don't have the bandwidth to cast on a big project. So it is small, packable, easy on the wrists projects for the foreseeable future. And hopefully I can get some of my UFOs out of the stash and into the world being useful before some new wonderful can't resist, time-consuming project hits the radar.

So here is the critical question for all of you. Because when you travel you need one key piece of advice: What are the good knit shops in Wichita, Orlando, or Washington DC? Anyone?