June 27, 2007

Cultivating Virtue

Posted in Knitalongs at 10:52 am by nephele

The virtue in question is patience. I don’t have a lot of it. I’m always amused by all the random people who see me knitting and lament that they don’t have the patience to knit. Hah! If I was patient, I wouldn’t knit as much as I do. It’s precisely because I’m impatient that I need to knit. I knit waiting for appointments, standing in lines, sitting at the bus stop and riding the bus.

I don’t own a car and there’s no way I could survive that without knitting. My daily commute is pretty easy: one bus and only a couple of miles, but I’d still go nuts without my yarn. In the winter when it’s raining and all the Christmas shoppers are heading to the mall my little commute can get bogged down in accident induced traffic. One time it was so bad that it actually took two hours to go two miles! Of course it was raining and I had a bunch of shopping with me so I didn’t want to walk. Fortunately I had plenty of yarn. If I’d run out who knows what would have happened. I might have had to resort to frogging some of my work just so I could reknit it! Scary.

So now I’m all set to start my Mystery Stole #3 but I have to be patient because we won’t get the first part of the pattern until Friday morning. I’ve done my swatch:
MS3 Swatch
Unless I want to swatch again with different needles (I don’t, I’m pretty happy with this) there’s nothing more to do until Friday. I can’t even cast on because I don’t know if we need to do a provisional cast on or some other specific type. -sigh-

To keep my busy I’ve been working on some of my other projects. I finished the long flap/pocket segment for the Halfcircle Bag (sorry no photo). Now I just need to do the side gusset/shoulder strap bit. I’m going to do a provisional cast on, knit the strap, then do a three needle bind off to assemble the bag parts and turn the strap into a tube. I’m making this part up as I go. We’ll see how that works 😉

The sample socks I was making out of Zarina got frogged. I had them with me at the LYS when a customer came in desperate for one more ball of that same color. She was happy to take it as is and better she should be able to finish her socks since mine where just samples, right? I picked out another color and started again. I was bored with plain stockinette by now so these have a little pattern on them:
zarina socks
I think you can just about tell that the second sock spirals in the other direction. It has the added advantage of showing how a pattern will look with a variagated yarn. Plus it’s less boring to knit.

Since I’m constitutionally incapable of project faithfulness, I’ve also picked my Clapotis back up. It has joined the zarina socks as my current commute knitting.

The mystery stole probably won’t be commute knitting. I won’t know until I see the charts. I’m pretty good and memorizing patterns and reading the knitting. If there is any section of the stole that has pattern repeats it could have commute potential but there’s still the issue of the beads. I don’t fancy dealing with on a city bus. I’ll probably carry it around to work on at the yarn shop and prehaps on my lunch breaks at work but most of the work will end up being done at home. Fortunately I have Netflix to keep me company.

Cathy-Cate said:

Love those beads with that yarn — gorgeous!

Wish I had some idea about the theme to be able to pick colors/yarns/beads better — but I really have no clue; other than Swan Lake, which seems not likely given a prior swan-themed stole, I just don’t resonate with any of the other theme guesses. But I guess that’s what makes it fun! And if it doesn’t ‘match’ the theme, it’ll still be beautiful based on Melanie’s other designs, eh?

Thanks! The Prism I’m using was stash yarn and the closest thing I had to the suggested black or white with enough yardage.  I took the hank with me to the bead shop and held the little bags of beads up to it until I found one I liked. There was a soft purple that I like even better with the most of the colors but it looked really bad next to the tan bits. The beads I picked looked good next to all of the colors. If I was using a solid color yarn I might have been a bit more adventurous with beads. As it is, I think it’ll be complicated enough without adding another visual texture.

As to the theme, I don’t think Swan Lake is it. Not because she’s already used swans but because she said it wouldn’t make a good bridal stole. Most people would think a stole based on a ballet about swans would make a fine bridal accessory. If it won’t be a good bridal stole there’s got to be something obviously inappropriate. Unless Melanie is being extra cautious and it’s really just something about the back story that’s non-bridal. Oh, the mystery of it all!
Sarah said:

I’m definitely curious about why b&w is so appropriate for the stole theme…I can’t wait for the first clue!

Now, now, patience is a virtue! 😉

Back to trying to practice what I just preached…


June 21, 2007

Dead and loving it!

Posted in Knitalongs at 5:37 pm by nephele

I didn’t get very far in the current round of Death-by-Socks. Unfortunately the revised start date coinsided with a bit of a heat wave here that left me feeling drained and uninterested in doing much knitting. All of which means that before I could finish my killer socks, I got killed.

The pattern we worked with this time made a rather large, loose sock but that was okay with me. We were using DK weight yarn which meant they’d end up as slippers or bedsocks anyway and loose is better for that.

My doom (don’t they look cozy?):
Death by Socks socks for me

My unfinished weapons (don’t they look big?):
my unfinished Death by Socks socks

At least I was killed with kindness. In addition to the socks I received a gorgeous hank of handspun wool and mohair:
Handspun from Myler

I’m already itching to play with it. I’m sure I’ll have at least one swatch by this time tomorrow.

Speaking of swatches, I’ve really got to get back into the WTP swatch habit. I dropped that ball during the month-that-wasn’t. I’ve got a big list of swatches that I signed up for and I haven’t worked on any of them. I’ve been a bad knitter. 😦

Now is a good time though. I’m out of Death-by-Socks round 2 so I don’t have to worry about that. I won’t get the first clue for the Mystery Shawl until the end of next week and that’s not a race or competition anyway (not that that’ll stop me from being competitive), the only pressure there is self inflicted. So, yeah, back to swatching.

Gretchen said:

Black or white best express the theme? Would that mean a spiderweb (but most lace shawls could be spiderwebs)? Or a shroud. . . now THAT’S a creepy thought!  

Oh, I just read the stole-along link– it must be the cloak of invisibility!

PS: If you like Hogwarts, see www.keplers.com for all kinds of Harry Potter-related doodads. They’ve got wands for sale!

Actually one of the few things she’s said is that it’s not Harry Potter related. She just wants to read the book right away and thought some of us might as well. Other than that, she’s happily letting us guess away. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone even comes close to the right answer.

Well, I’m off to go knit some swatches.

June 19, 2007

Self control is overrated anyway

Posted in Knitalongs, Secret Pal 10 at 4:43 pm by nephele

I couldn’t help myself. Okay, I admit it; I didn’t even try to stop myself. I joined another knit-a-long. The Mystery Stole #3 knit-a-long to be precise. It’s all Kay’s fault. If she hadn’t posted the link, I wouldn’t have clicked on it. I never would have seen the gorgeous designs two of which were previous Mystery Stoles. But she did and I did and that’s that. Personal responsibility, what’s that?

The way mystery patterns work (at least the ones I’ve seen) is that you get a piece of the pattern, usually one per week. What you don’t get is a picture of the finished item or any solid information on the theme or design inspiration. You take it all on trust. Since this is a lace stole, what we’ll get is a chart and any necessary notes.

Pre-blogging days I –mostly– did one of the mystery shawls and the designer really kept us guessing. I kept trying to figure out what part of the shawl we were on and what would come next. I got it wrong every time. I finished most of that shawl. I still have the bulk of the edging to do. One of these days it’ll rise to the top of the UFO pile…

The only real clues we’ve got about the theme of the stole is that black or white yarn would most closely express the theme and that even if you make it in white, you shouldn’t plan on it being a good bridal stole. I love a good mystery 🙂

I didn’t have enough white lace weight in my stash and no black at all, so I decide to use this:
Prism Lace Wool

It’s Prism Yarn Lace Wool in the color Fog. We’ve been told we need about 1,200 yards and this is 1,460.

The design calls for (optional) beads. I took my yarn to the bead store yesterday and picked these up:
Frosted Beads

If all of this sounds interesting to you, join the fun! It’s not a race or competition, you can save the clues and knit later if you like. The only time sensitive aspect is when we’ll find out what the design is (sometime in August). The first clue comes out on June 29th and sign ups are open until July 6th.

Speaking of races and competitions… The new round of Death by Socks did finally start up and sadly, my days are already numbered. The person knitting for me mailed my socks yesterday. She’s in Alaska so I might have a few days left but not many. Darn that midnight sun! I bet she knit around the clock. On the plus side I won’t have to worry about working on socks when I want to work on the Mystery Stole. Silver lining!

Unsurprisingly, my readership went down during my little unplanned hiatus. But I still get comments!

Mac’s Niece said:


Wow! That did get there fast! Glad you liked this little assortment of things, and thanks for stopping by my blog. I kicked myself that I had not posted a recent kntting entry before your visit.

I have really enjoyed being your secret pal, and have loved hearing about all your projects… this blog is definitely on my list of those to pay a regular visit to.

Not to worry, I went back quite a bit and read several posts. I wanted to make sure your secret pal spoiled you as well as you spoiled me and it looks like she(?) did. I’ve added you to my list of blogs as well. I’ll be stopping by from time to time to see what you’re up to. 🙂

Once again, thanks for everything. It’s all marvelous. I had a lot of fun spoiling and getting spoiled.

June 14, 2007

Secret Pal 10

Posted in Secret Pal 10 at 4:52 pm by nephele

First let me say that British mail is very efficient. My no-longer-Secret Pal put the last package in the mail on the 11th and I got it on the 13th. Central England to the California coast in two days. I don’t think the US mail could manage that.

And what was in that package I hear you ask? Why goodies of course, see:
SP10 package #3

More yarn by the same hand dyer responsible for the wool/silk blends in the last package. I have the label handy so I can tell you the shop is The Yarn Gallery in Bury St. Edmunds (what a delightfully British name that is). The yarn this time is called Brazen and is 100% wool in a bulky, thick/thin, single ply. The color is Autumn Leaf – dye lot #1 – and boy did they nail that color. It’s very autumnal. It would be great in a loopy scarf. I’ll have to be on the look out for some coordinating mohair. I’ve got several colors in my stash but none of them work with this except for some orange that I’m already using for something else. A nice chocolate brown would be nice… or perhaps a golden color.

My pal went for the full sensory experience again. As soon as the envelope was open a scent wafted out. Not lavender this time but still something floral. It turned out to be the packet of Hyacinth potpouri. I’ve got some patterns that will make nice sachets and now I have something to put in them. One of the patterns is for a silly looking little sheep. I’ve already bought yarn for that one. So, Hyacinth the Sheep is now in my knitting queue.

There’s still more… the bundle was wrapped in a ribbon and topped with a hand knit rosette – I was too busy check it all out to get a before picture, sorry. On the lower left of the picture is a package of hand dyed ribbon. Pretty stuff. In the middle of the picture is a little gold bundle. It contained an assortment of beads and buttons, see:
buttons and beads

I love ’em all. The larger buttons already have me thinking about what I can make to put them on. Some of the beads may have to become stitch markers. I particularly like the orange bead in the middle. It’s got silver wire wrapped around it and is very pretty.

Oops, I’ll have to cut this short now. I’ve got to get to the post office and get my last SP10 package out to my spoilee.

Thanks again Pal! You did good. I love it all and I definitely plan to sign up again for SP11 when it becomes available.

June 12, 2007


Posted in Knitalongs, knitting, Secret Pal 10 at 11:48 am by nephele

After surfacing from my crappy month-that-wasn’t, I caught a bad case of startitis. I wanted to cast on for dozens of different things. I managed to contain myself somewhat. You already know about the Lime & Violet socks. I’ve turned the heel on the first sock:
LV sock2

I also made good progress on the Half-circle Bag:
half circle bag

Actually, this one was surprising. Despite the stated yarn requirements, I got both of these done with only one ball (out of three) of the Freedom wool and about half a ball of the 220 Heather.  Given that, I decided to make a couple more changes. I’m going to make a gusset so that the bag will be bigger. I also decided to make the third panel longer. When I assemble everything this long panel:
half circle bag2
will become the front flap and the lining for an outside back pocket. I’m also planning a mini version as a cell phone bag if there’s enough yarn left. Should be cute.

The owner of my LYS asked me to make a sample pair of kids socks out of Zarina. So I started those:
zarina sock

Zarina is a sport weight merino. It should make nifty socks but no one seems to be noticing it. Hopefully the samples will help sell the yarn, that’s the intent after all.

I’m also working on a design for a child’s vest – again for the shop – using Samoa. It should be cute (fingers crossed) but I’m still at the swatching stage so no pictures yet.

I’m  fighting the urge to cast on even more new things but I know I’ll fall off the wagon tomorrow. The new round of Death by Socks got postponed due to some problems people had getting their yarn. We’re now scheduled to start tomorrow. I’ll have to cast on something new then. I won’t have a choice, darn. 😉

June is the final month for the Secret Pal 10 exchange. I see from the comments that my mystery friend is putting together her last batch of goodies. I can hardly wait! I’m also trying to decide what to put in my last package for my spoilee. I’ve already got some yarn set aside for her. I just need to decide what else to put in the box. I do have some ideas but I want to give it more thought. This is the big reveal package where we finally admit who we are to our giftees and I want to make sure it’s memorable.

This was my first Secret Pal exchange and it has been great.  I plan to sign up for the next one as soon as it becomes available. I know there are a lot of other exchanges going on in blogland. I may have to look in to some of the others but I don’t want to go nuts – something I’m easily capable of doing – so I probably won’t sign up for anything else just yet. We’ll see how long I manage to hold out. Bets anyone?

June 7, 2007

Two in a row

Posted in How To's, Knitalongs, knitting at 2:54 pm by nephele

Posting two days in a row? Must be a sign of the apocalypse. Or perhaps it’s just a sign that I’m doing a little better (fingers crossed, not jynxing anything).

I didn’t promise it’d be a long post but I did promise a sock-in-progress picture. So here it is:
LV Socks

This is the Lisa Souza Sock! in Lime & Violet.  I cast on a multiple of 4 sts (68 in this case) and started 2×2 ribbing. I got the urge to add something but I didn’t want to do anything too complicated with all this color contrast so I just added a little detail band. Specifically, after 12 rounds of ribbing I purled one round, knit 3 rounds, ribbed again for 2 rounds, knit 3 again and purled 1 round. After that I just went back to plain ribbing. I’ll keep the ribbing going all the way down the instep and then I’ll probably throw in one purl row before I start the toe shaping. Since I have an odd multiple of 4 (68/4=17) I won’t have any trouble centering the rib over the foot. I think I’ll probably do the heel flap in rib as well. I normally use heel stitch but that’s mostly for the look of it. I almost never wear shoes that are closed in back; I’m a clogs and sandles kind of girl. I don’t need the heel stitch for durability. That’s why the lace on the Bumblebug socks invades the heel flap, because it can.

I cast on something else this morning on the bus ride to work:
half circle bag

This is the start of the Half-circle Bag from Knitters. The teal yarn in the center is the Twilley’s Freedom Wool that my Secret Pal sent me. The dark purplish-brown yarn is Cascade 220 Heather. I wanted another simple project to work on that would be on bigger needles than a sock.

I’m going to need that non sock project to cool down from the next round of Death By Socks which starts tomorrow. This time we’re using heavier wool and a bit larger needle but it’ll still be a lot of stitches in as little time as possible. I don’t have the pattern yet – we get it tomorrow – but I hear it has cables. Should be fun. Hopefully I can last more than 1 round this time.

I got a couple of comments overnight (Hooray, someone’s still reading despite my long break)

Gretchen said:

Yay! Glad you’re back to blogging! No knitting news here, just unravelling a couple of UFOs so that they’re now even-less-finished objects to be started when I get a better idea of what they should become. Oh, that and tendonitis in my right elbow. . . majorly aggravated by knitting and mouse-clicking. . .

I get that – also in the right elbow. I’ve found that wearing a tennis-elbow brace whenever it flares up helps a lot. Most often it crops up when I’ve been doing rush knitting right before TNNA. Resting is even better for it but that would mean not knitting. There’s only so long I can go before I need to knit something. It’s an addiction.

I’ve thought about frogging a few of my numerous UFOs but I still want them. I did frog a barely started pair of fingerless mittens but everything else is on needles waiting for me to be in the mood to work on them. Fortunately knitting is very patient.

Your UK secret pal said:

Hey! Glad you are back! Hope June works out better for you.

I hope you typed that with fingers crossed! I’m hoping it’s better to but I don’t want to tempt the fates or anything. 🙂

June 6, 2007

There is no May

Posted in Knitalongs, Secret Pal 10 at 9:52 am by nephele

Not this year, not for me – except for all the nifty goodies in my May secret pal package, that part I liked. There rest of the month, not so much. It’s probably just as well that I wasn’t blogging. It wouldn’t have been pretty. Fortunately for all of us, I was too tired to write anything. But now the month-that-wasn’t is over and I’m going to try to get back to normal. We’ll see how that goes.

I managed to drop by a couple of days ago and reset the theme to match the new Project Spectrum colors for June and July: red, black and metallic. WordPress added this theme about a month ago and was I thrilled to see it. They had some black and some red but no good black and red themes before. The timing on this was perfect.

I have been knitting, the only thing that preserved the remnants of my sanity. I finished up the two pairs of socks I was working on as in-class teaching examples. It’s been too warm to have any use for the bed-socks but I’ve worn the Regia silk socks a couple of times already. I must buy more Regia silk. The knitted fabric felt a bit softer than the usual stuff but the real difference was in the wearing. They felt great on. I think I’ll get some of the solid colors and use them with the Cookie A. sock pattens. It was nice having a couple of small mindless projects going so I decided to start another simple pair of socks. I’m using the Lisa Souza Lime&Violet sock yarn I got at stitches. It’s perfect for something simple since the yarn colors are so high contrast. I’m just doing 2×2 rib with a little detail band near the top. I’ll get pictures for next time.

I worked on another design prototype for my friend. Details on that when I’m allowed to post them.

I also finished up that white doll sweater. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture before I handed it off to my friends. The same friend asked if I’d make her a scarf out of a ball of yarn she’d picked up. I did, but didn’t take pictures of it either. I’m supposed to do a fall sweater for the doll too.  I’ll try to do better about the pictures with that one.

I do have one picture,  not of a finished item though. This is the progress I’ve made on the Leaf cardigan:
leaf progress

I decided to go with an i-cord bind off. Since I’m short waisted, I’m going to make it about two inches shorter than the pattern suggests. I want it to just reach my waist. If I went to the directed length it would be hovering over my hipbones. All of which means I’ve only got about two or three inches to go. Since I decided on the i-cord and won’t have the hemmed bit to stabilize the front opening edges, I’m doing an i-cord edging there too. With the i-cord neckband it should all work together nicely.

Since I clearly have too much time on my hands (as evidenced by all the blog posts I’ve been doing) I decided to sign up for Ravelry. I got my invite last weekend and have started putting up a few things. They’re still in beta and are swamped with invite requests. If you signed up for the waiting list, be patient. It took them about two and a half weeks to get an invite out to me. They have added some more info that you can look at with out signing in. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can get a better idea now of why you might want to. One thing it’s got me doing is going back through all of my UFOs. It’s reminding me of why I wanted to start blogging in the first place (besides the secret to desire to be the yarnharlot– or at least to be that popular. Reach for the stars, right?). I think Ravelry might actually help keep me blogging rather than take away from blogging time.

During the month-that-wasn’t I hit another little milestone in my blogging life. I got tagged with a meme. My Secret Pal was the tagger. She emailed me:

My sister has just tagged me with a meme to list 7 strange or unusual facts about yourself. The ideas is you put them on your blog, then tag 7 more people by leaving them a message on their blog.

This particular meme has pretty much made the rounds so I won’t tag anyone by name. If you haven’t done it and you have a blog, consider yourself tagged 🙂

  1. My internet user name Nephele comes from Greek mythology. When I first really started using the internet I got involved in Hercules TV show fandom. I even wrote some fan fiction. The convention in that group was to use Greek myths to pick a pen-name. It wasn’t compulsory but it seemed like a good idea. I’ve been using the name so long, it’s almost automatic now. It has the advantage of being much more likely to be available than Liz.
  2. I own 4 guitars, 1 mandoline, 1 viola, 1 violin, 7 recorders, 1 harp, 1 keyboard, 2 bagpipe chanters, 1 ocarina, 2 harmonicas. I can play all of them (with various degrees of skill)
  3. I do lots of creative/artistic type things but I only seem to be able to do one at a time. These days it’s knitting. Consequently, I haven’t written any stories for a long time and haven’t put in much practice on all those instruments I mentioned in number 2. I also draw and paint, but again, not lately. I’m sort of a serial Jack-of-all-trades.
  4. I have (off and on) been trying to learn Latin just for fun.
  5. I love it when it’s windy out. It messes with my allergies but I don’t care. I love blustery windy days.
  6. Speaking of weather, this is my favorite kind of sky:morning sky eastmorning sky looking up
  7. My other internet addiction is Neopets.

I’ve got a couple of comments to catch up on…

Nancy Ingram said

I was at my LYS today and in walked Tib from your LYS. I told her that I sent you an email about a month ago and it bounced back. She gave me updates about Marilyn returning and Ingrid and Tracy leaving. I love your blog and the photos are quite impressive!!

There is no place like the LYS. I miss it and all of you.

Nancy! Hi!! Sorry about the email bouncing. Our provider was messing with things about that time and all kinds of stuff bounced. I saw Tib recently and she mentioned running in to you. Did she tell you that Ingrid has a blog too? It’s over here. I’m a lousy letter writer but I’ll try to send you an email soon.

Your UK secret pal said:

Hi! I am so pleased that you liked your package. I had a lot of fun searching out just the right kind of yarn to send you: something unusual, something natural but with a twist of luxury, the right kind of colours etc. It is also so much fun to put together all the other little bits and pieces that make the whole package (hopefully) a treat. I was pleased that you seemed to like them, and was thrilled to see my charm on your phone.

I agonised over the yarn… I was not sure whether the colourways were too similar or not… but I am pleased that you feel they could be used either separately or together for a larger project.

I got my first ever sock kit from my secret pal today so I am joining the ranks of sock knitters. I might have to come back and ask you for advice on the heel dividing and turning!

I hope that this week is turning out better for you than last week was. I know what it is like to have work take over everything for a while. Not only does it leave you drained, but I find it takes so long to get back into the swing of things once the rest of life’s patterns are disrupted.

Welcome to the sock side 😉 It’s like the dark side but our feet are warmer.

As you can probably tell, the month-that-wasn’t never really did get better but it did at least have the courtesy to end. I figure it’s just some sort of karmic balance. All those other knitters where having fun at their spring fiber festivals and I helped balance it out. Next year it’s someone else’s turn.

Trust me, you are doing a great job picking out yarn and goodies for me. I love it all. I think I mentioned last time that I found a project for the Freedom yarn. I finally picked out a contrast color. It’s a deep, heathered aubergine. The sort of color that changes from brown to purple depending on the light. I think it offsets the teal beautifully. I’m still looking for the perfect project for the Compass yarn but I’ve got some thoughts. I may just have to do some swatches and design something myself.

phoenix said:

Hmm.. I can’t imagine why anyone might think you would enjoy some silk/wool yarn. 

Yeah, wasn’t that silly. 😉

Okay, I think I’m more or less caught up. I’ll try and get some more pictures for next time (and I’ll try and make next time a LOT sooner).