31 August 2007

OK, It Should Have Been "Four (Or Six) New Books"

I finished the Andrews, Maron, and Harris books yesterday and started reading one of the Eric Flint books, Shadow Of The Lion. I've read this book before, a couple of years ago, before the two sequels came out. I enjoyed it then, and have always wondered if Flint had wanted to use all the research he did on Venice for 1634: The Galileo Affair for more than just one book.

It's probably misleading to call this book an Eric Flint book, since there are two other authors, Mercedes Lackey and Dave Freer. In fact, the first sequel, This Rough Magic, is also by all three authors, but the second, A Mankind Witch, is only by Dave Freer.

Anyway, Shadow Of The Lion has 905 pages, This Rough Magic has 944. and A Mankind Witch has a mere 512. I'm such a sucker for a good multi-volume epic. I've recently re-read The Assiti Shards books and all the Anita Blake books, both for the third or fourth time. It's going to be a while before I'm back to knitting most of the day and only reading at bedtime.

I have managed to cast on and knit about fifty rows of another Forest Canopy Shawl, also in turquoise, today. I'm going to try to get the three scarves I've knitted all finished, washed, and blocked this weekend, but who knows if I will. I've got to get my hair cut and do about six loads of laundry this weekend, too.

30 August 2007

That Should Have Been "Three New Books"

I finished the Donna Andrews book last night and started on Margaret Maron's Hard Row, a Deborah Knotts book. I finished that early this afternoon, after I got back from my mom's house. Now I'm reading Charlaine Harris's All Together Dead, the seventh in the Southern Vampires series. Once I'm done with it I'll probably pick up my knitting again.

I also got Annie Modesitt's latest book and five Eric Flint books, plus a Diane Fitzgerald beading book. They won't keep me from knitting though. At least, I don't think they will. Although Annie's book may jump up and force me to knit one of its patterns.

29 August 2007

New Book

The newest Donna Andrews book The Penguin Who Knew Too Much showed up at my house at about 1730 this evening. I had to make dinner and quickly finish the book I was reading (I was almost at the end anyway) but now, as soon as I send this, I'm going to start reading it. There were six other books in the box and I didn't even look at them. Nor did I open the other Amazon box that arrived at the same time. I won't be back here until I'm done with it.

I love Donna Andrews' books, particularly the Meg Langslow series. They so funny and so well written that I just can't resist them. Some people think some kinds of yarn are crack; with me it's good books by favorite authors.

I finished Reggie the Alligator yesterday. I've got to get my yarn needle out and finish him up, as well as the Dragon Scale and Noro Argosy scarves. Then I have to wash the See's chocolate off Reggie and gently block him. The other two scarves don't have any chocolate on them, but they'll still get washed and blocked.

I got some of those rubber foam tiles for blocking, after reading about them on a couple of blogs. I'd give credit but I can't remember. They're great. Two sets of four 2x2' interlocking tiles, with edges. Amazon, intended for work-out rooms and free weight work. Inexpensive. Recommended.

25 August 2007

Reggis Gets Bigger

Alligator Scarf
Originally uploaded by Mary The Digital Knitter

As you can see, Reggie has grown quite a bit. He's up to ten rows of bumps, of sixteen, but he's got a long tail beyond the last row of bumps.

The smudge of chocolate on the center bump of the seventh row is from a See's butterscotch square. He attacked me for it, I swear. I didn't just drop it on him.

I'm still on the first skein of yarn, so it looks as if I won't have to worry about running out, even though I didn't get gauge.

23 August 2007

Cute, Isn't He?

Alligator Scarf
Originally uploaded by Mary The Digital Knitter

I'm very taken with Reggie. He's actually quite a bit darker green than the photo would indicate, because the photo was taken with flash. Think dark green, just lighter than forest green.

I'm not quite sure who I'm going to inflict with him but I'm sure there's someone I know who will find him as cute as I do. Maybe my friend Pat. I was going to give him to my goddaughter, the Penn State student, but he's just not soft enough for her. The next one, in medium olive green Gedifra Living (100% new wool), will be for her, I think.

This alligator scarf is a kit from Morehouse Farms. I've bought a number of their kits, mostly for scarves. This alligator is definitely the cutest. There's only one flaw with it, which is VM (vegetative matter, a euphemism for nasty little bits of plants) in the yarn. I don't know why the yarn isn't cleaner. Their fancy handpainted merino yarns are.

In the last six months I've gotten some books on modular knitting and now I'm thinking that a turtle shell would be easy to make with hexagons of hand-painted yarn. Maybe a pillow.

21 August 2007

Too Young

My cousin in Durango called this morning to tell me that one of our younger cousins had died. She'd had Type I diabetes since her early teens and this had caused a real host of major medical problems. She was only 45.

16 August 2007

A Bit Of Advice

Friends, let me pass on to you a hard-won bit of advice. Let my travails save you from a similar situation.

If you buy an eight-ounce cone of beautiful fuchsia rayon lace weight yarn, thin slinky slippery rayon yarn, and you drop it, so the yarn falls off the cone, don't try to save the slippery tangled mess.

Order another cone and throw the mess away. Trust me on this. You'll save a vast amount of time and energy, as well as a lot of grief.

After more than a year trying to rescue my fuchsia mess I'm giving up. I've got about an ounce untangled and wound off that I'm going to keep. The rest is going in the trash. I'm not even going to order another cone. I've learned my lesson.

14 August 2007

Leaf Lace Shawl

Leaf Lace Shawl
Originally uploaded by Mary The Digital Knitter

What can I say? More lace. Another shawl. I'm in a rut.

With this project I have been reminded that I don't like lace weight yarn and I do like the pointy Boye Needlemaster tips for knitting lace. This is a brand new pattern for me, Fiber Trends Leaf Lace Shawl, but I've had the yarn, Knit Picks Shimmer in Turquoise Splendor, for several years. Just waiting for the right person and pattern.

I've got thirty rows done now and I'll probably add another thirty by bedtime if all goes well. I have my annual dentist appointment tomorrow and I probably won't take it with me. A book works better in that recliner chair he uses.

My order from Elann arrived this morning, with this pattern, and five different yarns. I got ten balls each of three colors of Rowan Cashsoft 4-Ply and Elann Peruvian Baby Silk and five balls of Elann Canapone, This last is 100% hemp in a heavy lace weight and the color is Green Tea. If it works out well, I'm going to get more while they still have it.

The Rowan Cashsoft was a real bargain. It's not the current version, having more microfiber and less merino, so it was a real bargain ($4.25 per ball). It's selling like hotcakes and they're down to just four colors after only a week. It's machine washable and I've got more baby blankets to knit (everyone seems to be having babies!) so I snapped it up. Two strands knits up as worsted weight, meaning the blankets will go fairly fast.

By the way, this shawl is a direct result of my trying to get my stash photographed for Ravelry. I came across the yarn and was taken by its pretty colors and its soft, luxurious feel (it's baby alpaca and silk). When I unpacked the pattern and read the yarn requirements (lace, fingering, sport, and DK, in two sizes each) I realized that these two skeins of yarn had found their purpose in life. It doesn't hurt that I have a friend who likes turquoise and needs a shawl.

12 August 2007

It's All Ravelry's Fault, You Know

I've been busy, playing with yarn, sorting yarn, photographing yarn, rearranging bins of yarn, counting yarn, sorting needles, measuring needles, rearranging needles, sorting crochet hooks, rearranging hooks, and generally collecting and tidying all my notions and gadgets. It's really been cutting into my knitting time. On the other hand, my yarn bins are getting very tidy and organized.

This is all the result of my joining Ravelry. I'd considered starting a stash spreadsheet many times, but I'd never gotten beyond thinking about it. No, throwing similar types of yarn into the same bins to eventually root through them, finding yarn I'd forgotten entirely, was my style, not the organized entering of yarn into a database.

Ravelry has done all the stash database work. They've set up the database and volunteers like myself have entered the details of an immense number of yarns. All I have to do is enter the name, click to get a list of entered yarns, find the right one, add a few details and a photo, and hit save.

Ravelry is still in beta, so it doesn't have all the features it eventually will. Right now it isn't possible to sort through the database looking for all the dk-weight cotton yarn in my stash, for example, but I'm pretty sure it eventually will. They've added a number of features since I signed on.

Ravelry is about to make its move to much more capable servers, which will mean that they'll soon be able to make it available to everyone. They're really up against practical limits right now, which is why they've been so slow to bring new users in. When they get to the new servers and come out of beta, I predict a huge reduction in the number of stitches knitted for a while. I just hope it doesn't happen in the major gift knitting season, making knitters late for the holidays.

If you're on the waiting list for Ravelry, let me repeat some advice. Start photographing your yarn stash and your projects and upload the photos to Flickr. I name the yarn photos with the name of the company and the name of the yarn and put the color name and number, plus dyelot number, into the description under the photo. If the yarn's in the database, that and the number of skeins is all you need to know. Projects aren't much harder, because so many patterns have been entered.

You might want to get a paid account at Flickr, so you can upload as many photos per month as you want. I pay $25 a year for unlimited uploads and unlimited photos.

I'm just a user of both Ravelry and Flickr, by the way. I give them money, not the other way around. I really like what I get for my money and I intend to keep getting it, but that's the extent of my relationship with either organization.

10 August 2007

I Surrender!

I surrendered today and frogged back my 123 rows of the Mystery Stole 3 and gave up on it. I didn't like the yarn I'd picked, I was too tired in the evenings to work on it, and I'd made a mistake at least thirty rows earlier that absolutely, positively had to be corrected.

Instead, I'm knitting the Candle Flame Stole from Knitpicks. I'm using the same Mint Julep fingering weight yarn and the same 4-mm cube beads (yellow with mint colorlining). I'm putting the beads on the edges of the "flame", with the crochet hook method. I don't have enough done to make a photo interesting. Eighteen rows of garter stitch and three rows of pattern just aren't very photogenic. I want to have a few beads in place before I start snapping. Tomorrow or Sunday, maybe.

PRO FOOTBALL IS BACK! No matter how bad MS3 gets, pro football is back and life is good again.

05 August 2007

Not Much Happening

I haven't posted anything recently because I really haven't had much to report. I've got a couple of scarves going, but they're experimental and I think I'm about to frog them. Wow, is that Classic Elite Posh, being cashmere (30%) and silk (70%), wonderful or what? And the color (Merlot) is so rich and deep. I've got to find the perfect scarf pattern for the two skeins I have. Dragon Scales isn't it, though. Maybe I'll try Reversible Cables.

The Mystery Stole 3 was going beautifully, I thought, until I discovered I was a stitch short. Unfortunately, I discovered it about thirty rows or so after I misplaced it. I was thinking of just reknitting that section, but now I'm thinking it'll be easier to start over. I'm only on Clue 2, after all.

We've got the guest room at my Mom's almost empty. Most of what's left goes to the thrift store, having come from there originally. The volunteers would go through the donations for items that were appropriate for the baskets they raffled off at Christmas. She assembled the items throughout the year and only had to put the baskets together just before the raffle.

We're also doing well on the office and it's about half empty. Again, there are thrift-store donations; this time items that had been set aside for the homeless shelter. She'd accumulate enough to make the trip worthwhile. We've got several cartons packed up and only one or two more to go.

The hardest part is going to be the garage, mostly because it's so hot here. Her garage was used as auxiliary storage for the thrift store and a lot of what's in it will just go straight there, no sorting or repacking required. There even a spinet piano. However, there's a fair amount of other stuff, too. We may end up taking it inside so we can work on it in the air conditioning.

Not very exciting, is it?