Friday, November 05, 2004

I've been busy at the marsh this week. Drop by for a visit!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

It appears that November is going to be a very busy month work-wise, which is terrific for the pocketbook but devastating for knitting and sewing progress. Fortunately all the work ahead interests me, which makes all the difference.

I've got to rip out the blue and white Fortissima Colori socks I've been knitting. The gauge is wrong; this problem is entirely due to the fact that I'm "tightening up." It's been nearly three months now since I picked up needles after a 25-year hiatus. At first, my stitches were really loose, two needle sizes below gauge. When I started the socks up in the Adirondacks in September, I was one needle size below gauge. Now I think I'm knitting at gauge, and the socks have got to be ripped out.

It's truly scarf season! When I checked the outdoor thermometer this morning, the temperature was hovering at the freezing point. My first thought was that we've entered scraping-ice-off-the-windshield" season. My second was that I need a new coat but shouldn't spend the money right now, but at least I have a beautiful new scarf to sport around.

I love the Berroco Medley yarn. When I knitted the scarf on the deck overlooking Minerva Lake at the cabin in the Adirondacks, I was entranced by the beauty of the yarn in the sunlight. It's an entirely different product when exposed to the light of day. All sorts of colors appear radiant; glints of turquoise, bright yellow-gold, tangerine orange, a grapey purple, not to mention all the reds. Gorgeous!

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Blogger has weighed in on my disappearing template problems. Evidently, they're having difficulties in this area. My apologies to all the webring folks. I'm in the queue until things become more secure.

The Lion Brand Chenille arrived Wednesday or so, all 12 skeins, which I acquired at a substantial savings by purchasing on Ebay. At first, I was concerned that I'd received ersatz chenille and not the real Lion Brand product. (I have since put that worry to rest by buying a skein at Michael's and comparing the two.) My doubts arose because a 60 Minutes broadcast came back to haunt me, in particular a news segment that investigated Chinese-made ersatz products labelled as their designer equivalents, which are currently flooding Ebay. Perhaps I needn't have worried because Lion Brand is no designer product, but I think I may hesitate next time when I'm tempted to buy yarn that is shipped without manufacturer labels.

In any event, I'm thrilled with the chenille color (wine), which is a deep red with blue overtones. I can't wait to finish the Lopi pullover, so I can knit up the jacket.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Due to template problems, I've had to place the link to my books and nature blog, "Musings from Redwing Marsh" here.

Monday, October 25, 2004

I'd be the last person to rush the season, believe me, but I had to display the material I bought for the tablerunner and placemats. When I entered the parking lot at the Fabric Place yesterday, a huge "25% Off Sale Today Only" sign greeted me. I nearly fell out of the car from excitement. Absolutely everything was 25% off in this unannounced Sunday sale. Wouldn't you know I'd end up falling in love with a designer cotton that costs $9.59/yard? Oh, well. The sales clerks were way too busy to help anyone, so I ended up asking questions of a few customers, who took pity on me and were really, really nice. I had no idea how to select "batting" for the tablerunner and placemats, for example. Saturday morning, early, I have an appointment with myself to begin the project.

At long last, the winter hat made of Cascade yarn is finished. It's a beautiful, soft yarn and a lovely blue. I'll be using it soon, I'll bet, because we'll be running into those 25 degree mornings any week now. All I need to do now is sew up the seam and it's all set.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Template Disaster

I was working on the template early this morning, scrolling up and down searching for the right place to change the sidebar background color, when suddenly half the template disappeared. This is the second time this has happened to me. I make several changes to the template's colors. They all go through fine. The blog is republished and looks perfect. I contemplate the next change I want to make, I scroll down, and wham-o! Kaput! Half the template has vanished. It's so aggravating, made all the more so by the fact that I had neglected to save a copy of my template on Word. How idiotic.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Thanks to a tip from Cathy, blogger at The Knitting Life, I have purchased the Lion Brand chenille on Ebay, for a price that's much lower than the current "on sale" price at Jo-Ann's. By the way, Cathy is sponsoring a knit-a-long that will be starting soon.

For the Purling Puppies Webring folks:

I had a fabulous time at the Button Box yesterday. Within ten minutes of being in the store, I was in sensory overload from the row upon row of luscious cottons! The colors--the possibilities! Definitely mind-blowing. With the much-welcomed assistance of a staff member, I selected a fairly simple patchwork vest pattern. She suggested that I first sew up a dummy vest to make sure I get the proper size. (The pattern is for sizes 6-18.) That's a terrific idea, because I can be hard to fit as far as tops are concerned. (I'm tall, but am small-boned from the waist up and have narrow shoulders, not to mention my small bust.) So I bought 3/4 yard of a material that feels a bit like mesh interfacing. It is marked lightly with a grid of 1" squares. I got dizzy from the prospect of selecting the seven or eight different fabrics for the vest, so I browsed a bit and decided to postpone fabric selection for a later date. I did, however, find one fuschia-print batik that has royal blue and navy blue elements. As one of the central fabrics, it will make a smashing vest. And that was it.

In the late afternoon, Sophie and I puzzled over the pattern directions, and though I know I can do it, I realized that since I have done absolutely no sewing in 24 years, and have not used the sewing machine in 25 or 26 years, that I should start with a simple, simple project.

This morning I had fun poring over the Simplicity website and found a perfect pattern. We desperately need new placemats for the dining room table, so I think I'll make a holiday table-runner and coordinated placemats. I should be able to manage that! I'll stop by the Fabric Place soon.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Here's the photo of the chenille sweater from the Fall 2004 Knitter's Magazine which I discussed yesterday. I'm now in the process of searching for the lowest price on the Lion Brand chenille. I'm thinking maybe a deep red. The model's blasted hair covers the collar, so that it's not possible to get a good look at it, but I can imagine it from the pattern directions.

I have to go to the library in Wellesley tomorrow, which is nestled right next to Needham. That means I'll make a beeline to Needham Center on the way home and stop in at the Button Box Quilt Shop to see if they have any patterns or ideas in the patchwork vest department. Right across the street from the Button Box is Black Sheep Knitting Company. I had a fun visit there in early September when I bought the Berrocco Medley yarn for the scarf I knitted on vacation. Also in Needham is the Creative Warehouse. I hear they have an excellent and comprehensive selection of yarns. But timewise I'd be really pushing it to try to get over there, too.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

I came home from the gym exhausted and flopped on the couch with a cup of hot darjeeling once I put the groceries away. (I attribute the fatigue to my withdrawal from my customary Starbucks Tazo Chai Latte, which I usually consume after each workout. Not to go off on a tangent or anything, but I'm trying to save money. My three times a week habit has been costing me $40/month, and I thought, wouldn't the money be better spent on yarn and fabric?)

Back to the important stuff. I picked up the Fall issue of Knitter's Magazine and fell in love with the boxy velvet chenille cardigan featured toward the back of the issue. Boxy jackets and tops look great on me, and I really like the styling of the pattern. The pattern lists Lion Brand Thick & Quick Chenille as the yarn. Does anyone know how this chenille rates for quality, durability, colorfastness? Actually any thoughts you might have on your experience with it would be interesting. Are there other chenille brands that I should consider?

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

I had to rid my computer of a worm this afternoon, and while updates to several virus protection programs were scanning all my files, I curled up with Sophie and my knitting on the couch. I worked on the three-block pattern pullover sweater. I keep working and working and still haven't finished the back. Anyway, Sophie and I listened to The Sunday Philosophy Club on CD. I was so lucky to get it from the library--it's so hard to get new books, especially new sound recordings.

I was so at peace. My snoozing pooch at my side, the needles and yarn in my lap, and the quiet struggles of Isabel Dalhousie, the philosophical heroine of Alexander McCall Smith's new mystery series. This is the first I've read of Smith's books; I think I was drawn to it because of the Edinburgh setting. This is no fast-paced thriller, but a gentle ride through a picturesque landscape with interesting characters and a mildly puzzling mystery. Very soothing for the nerves, even if a young man does fall off a theater balcony in the first chapter. I didn't find out until the middle of chapter 9 that Isabelle is in her mid-40s. The reader helps to lend this impression, since she is an older sixtyish woman. But Isabelle does lead rather a subdued life for a single contemporary woman. Yet I'm enjoying the book immensely. I was sorry to have to go back to the computer!