Friday, July 27, 2007

I'm back!

After a brief Harry Potter-induced hiatus and some other unexpected issues, I'm back! Most of the knitting I've done lately has been of the secret variety, but I think I'll be able to show some FOs soon. So please check back in the next couple of days, there will be stuff. With pictures.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hair, WIPs and a Partial Meme

You know it's summer when memes are going round. In my case, Jen tagged me with the "8 things about you" meme. Since I already did the 7 things about me a while ago, I thought I might get away with adding no. 8 to the already existing list.

8. I like nighties. Yes, I may be goth, and I may wear velvet and lace most of the time, but when it comes to sleepwear, I have a deep-seated love for the comfy, cuddly and frumpy. To quote Mr. Batty: "If it ain't flannel, you ain't got it."
So true. Long flannel nightgowns that are several sizes too big, comfy PJs, and cotton nighties for the summer. Here's my new current favorite. Don't those clouds look like they're up to something?

This one has been around for so long, I'm not sure who has or hasn't done it yet. But if you think it would be fun to tell us 8 things about yourself... go ahead, I know I'm always curious!

Mr. Batty is at work, so I tried to take another picture of my hair. There are only 5 or 6 extensions, and they're towards the front. It's so hard to get a good picture of hair this long! I had to hold out the camera, and now that I see how it makes my arm look all flabby...
Better post it before I decide to delete the whole thing.

Oh, and long hair really is easier to care for. I wash and let it air dry. My dad keeps suggesting I cut it short again, but when I had a chin length bob, I had to spend half an hour in front of a mirror because there were cowlicks I hadn't even known existed. Now? Wash and I'm done. I love it.

In knitting news, I've finally finished the first pattern repeat on my Baltic Sea Stole. I'm very happy with my gauge on US 3 needles, and the color really works with this pattern. It's LL Helen's Lace in Purple Club, by the way.

Also, I finished one Jaywalker, and I love it! It fits perfectly. My only issue is that I wish the ribbing around my calf were a bit tighter, but it's not a big deal. The yarn is LL Shepherd Sock in Amethyst Stripe, for all who wanted to know.

And a look from the side. This is the outside of my right leg, and you have no idea how much I had to contort myself to get this shot!

Someday soon, this little Jaywalker will have a friend. It's such a happy sock, it shouldn't be alone.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Socks... and purple streaks!

My sock drawer has been tagged by Zuma!

So, here, without delay, is my sock drawer. It's part of the ugly blue chest of drawers I got for cheap when I was moving into my first unfurnished apartment, and as a grad student, I had to take whatever I could get.

'Regular' socks are to the right, hand-knit socks (the ones on the far right were knit by me, the purple lace socks came from stariel, the green ones from AKknitter, and the bit of red that's peeking out are the sock swap socks I got from Jespere), and under the whole thing, there are tights.

This is a very special pair of socks. They are the first socks I ever knit. I made them when I was 17. My parents went to the US for Christmas, but I stayed home in Germany because my high school graduation exams were coming up and I wanted to study. Hella Mantwill, a lady who looked after me and my sister while we were growing up, slept over at night to make sure I was safe, and she knit socks. I saw what she was doing and wanted to try, so she brought some green worsted weight wool she had lying around and showed me how. No pattern, just 48 stitches, and lots of patience.
She has been gone for almost 5 years now, but I'm holding on to these socks. We had such a good time watching movies, talking, and knitting socks. She gave me the gift of sock knitting without fear because she never once said it would be hard to learn. And next to her, it wasn't.

At this point, I think I also need to mention that I have an obsession with fashion tights. I love funky tights, and I have an entire drawer full of different kinds, from stripey to bat to a Baroque pastoral scene to solar system (seen here at the top).

And, since we're talking fashion: I had some purple extensions put in today! I love the way they look against my own color, and the best part is that they stay in for 4-6 months and can then be taken out without damaging my hip-length hair. That's so much better than bleaching and dyeing.

And now, back to socks. Hmmm, whose sock drawers would I like to see?

Oooh, I know! How about pixieriot, stariel and weezalana?

Friday, July 13, 2007

After Shot and Upside Down

I blame it on the yarn fumes. How else could I have forgotten to post an after shot of my newly organized stash?

Now, not everything you're seeing is knitting stash. There is my cross stitch stuff, Mr. Batty's miniature box, a dead laptop...
But it doesn't matter. There's all this new room, and all the yarn is safely tucked away. I'm a happy knitter.

To quote Monty Python's Flying Circus: "And now, for something completely different..."

An upside down shot of my progress on Tangerine Twist, or rather, Dusky Pink Twist, and some observations on knitting and photography.

Have you noticed how difficult it can be to photograph cables? Here, I'm using flash, and the color is very true to the original. But what of the Little Waves pattern? It's nearly invisible.

Same lighting, same everything, no flash. The cables stand out in beautiful relief, perfectly visible, lovely. Only the color is... less than pretty. Washed out orangey pink that looks like I stuffed my WIP in the washer with the husband's brown polo shirt and it bled. I guess you can't get both cables and perfect color with cheap artificial light!

I have started the heel on my Jaywalkers. After the many assurances that I am indeed not the last knitter on this green earth who is knitting these socks, I feel somewhat better. Not that I'm a trendsetter, or even trendy enough to follow the latest trend. But this is a very popular pattern, and I seriously hope I won't run into the many sizing problems people have had with this.

Next up: MS3 and the beads (sounds like a bad 80's band), more Jaywalker, and some mindless knitting.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Stash Reorg!

It all started with Jackie. Tuesday night, she mentioned that she'd joined the Mystery Stole 3 KAL. I told her I was too busy working on other projects. When I got home, I looked at other people's progress anyway, because, you know, it's mysterious. You don't know what it's going to look like till you're done!
I really liked what I saw. And then someone on knitty mentioned that part of the pattern is starting to look like skulls, possibly dragon skulls. That did it. I joined. I mean, it possibly has skulls in it, and I had just the perfect black yarn in my stash! Black laceweight, about 1400 yards, bought for $14.00! That's I why remembered it so precisely: I came home that day and told Mr. Batty, "Hey, look, an entire shawl's worth of yarn, and only 14 bucks!"
I was very excited.

So, I went looking through my stash. The bags, the bins, the bags outside the bins... no laceweight. What I was finding, though, was a whole bunch of beautiful yarn I'd completely forgotten about. It bothered me because it was so pretty and I didn't even know I had it.

And then I realized why. My stash needed reorganizing!

I mean, look at the chaos.

There was even some on my floor, right by my knitting chair.

Without delay, I went to buy another large bin, Ziploc bags big and small, and... I went at it. Mr. Batty and I have been together for almost 7 years, married for almost 4. I was pretty sure our marriage could withstand the knowledge of the sheer... yarniness going on around the house.

And I was right. He sat behind me the entire time. He thought the whole thing was cute and funny, until he heard a shocked exclamation coming from my general direction: "What the sock???"

They've told you that sock yarn doesn't count, and I've even said so myself. Well, look at the above picture. Look closely. Because this is what happens when you believe that sock yarn does not count. You end up with two extra large bags full of the stuff. Fortunately, the husband was amused, and he insisted of taking a picture.

This morning, I organized the rest of the stash. Now, it's beautifully sorted by weight, locked up in little baggies and bigger baggies and stored in 3 bins. There's no overflow, a distinct crochet stash, and a distinct fiber stash. Beautiful.

And I found it, my yarn for the Mystery Stole!

I feel like I have accomplished a lot.

Friday, July 06, 2007

WIP Friday (I think it's a tradition now)

4th of July was fun. We went to Battleship Cove in Fall River, which was far more interesting than I thought it would be! They have a destroyer, a cruiser, a submarine, and a huge battleship. That battleship is enormous, it used to carry 2000 crew -- an entire floating city. I didn't take any pictures, but I will the next time we go. It's an all-day activity and we only took half the day, which means there's much, much more to see.

Now, because this is a knitting blog, back to knitting. Tangerine Twist, or rather, Pink Twist, is making progress. There were some peculiarities about the pattern and I had to tweak a thing or two, but so far, I'm happy with the way it's coming along. It's a fun knit.

Am I the last person on the planet to knit these? Yes, it's Jaywalkers! The yarn is the Amethyst Stripe Shepherd Sock that was meant to become Sock Pal socks but didn't work with the Conwy pattern. So instead, it's becoming Jaywalkers. And it's working really well with this pattern, if I may say so myself.

It's been a busy weekend, but I even made progress on the Baltic Sea Stole. I like the fabric much better now that I'm using US 3 needles. I'm knitting it loosely on purpose, which is easier on the hands, makes the decreases easier, and still produces a lovely drape. And now, there's stitch definition, which was lacking before. I'm happy.

I hope everyone to whom it applies had a great July 4th!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Family Fun Weekend

We had a great time with my father-in-law and his wife. The cleaning was done before they showed up, and we had a lovely dinner cooked by yours truly.

Then, Saturday morning, we drove to Boston and walked the Freedom Trail. The guided tour was fantastic, it was sunny out, and we enjoyed ourselves tremendously. I've been living in and around Boston for 7 years, and somehow, I managed to never really notice most of the historic landmarks around here. A lot of it has to do with rushing to work or classes and trying to catch the T or Commuter Rail, but really, it's inexcusable.

When we were done with the tour and headed back to the car, we saw some British Regulars marching towards School Street (click on pictures to get a better view).

And then, we walked past some rebellious colonists. That really made our 4th of July patriotic activity complete.

On Sunday, we went to Newport, RI. We got there just as the Tall Ships event was closing with the Parade of Sails, where the ships are sailing past one last time on their way out to sea. Here are some of the shots I managed to take, magnified as much as my camera would allow because the ships were really far away from our vantage point on Goat Island.

Yes, they're tall.

I wish more of these were still in use.

We also did the scenic ocean drive past all sorts of mansions, historic and modern. They're gorgeous, but without servants, I wouldn't take them for free. Our little townhouse took forever to clean, can you imagine how long it takes to clean an enormous mansion?

Not much knitting was done. Next up: some progress on some of my WIP's, the number of which has increased alarmingly since last week. I think I'm up to 6...