Friday, August 29, 2008

Where did yesterday go?

I had every intention of posting were taken....knew what I was going to ramble about....but then it was bed time and I hadn't.  School has been intense this week (not in a bad way, in a very productive way) afterwards I just have to rest or prep for teaching.  Okay enough excuses...I refuse to feel guilty because my blog is for fun!!!

Knitting content:
I know many of you were shocked when I mentioned that I was giving away my ravelympics shawl (the ladies at knit night couldn't quite believe it)  That is because I have been eyeing this shawl.  Now I know it seems like everyone has made this already and it didn't appeal to me too much until I saw Woolwinder and Robin make theirs, not to mention this one!  The nice think about this shawl/scarf is that you can wear it as a scarf or a shawl--I like the versatility!  I have found the ones that I am really attracted to are make out of Handmaiden Sea Silk!  (This yarn is 70% silk and 30% seacell)  The problem is it is expensive for my grad school budget!  Robin's was out of Sea Silk, so as I was pestering her with questions about the yarn (because if I'm going to spend that much, I want to make sure I will love it)  she offered to send me the leftovers from her shawl!  (What a dear!!!  Thank you so much again!!!)  So I knitted a swatch (sort of winged it, but it was blocked and everything)

I am in LOVE with this yarn!  The drape is gorgeous!!!  It knits like a dream!  I keep wanting to pet my swatch! :)  I will spend the money (not sure when---maybe I will find a sale, or wait and put it on the Christmas list) and make this for ME!!!!   Now the problem comes to color!  I need your help!!  What color do I use?   Go here to look at my options!  I want to be able to wear it a lot so it should be a neutral?  I'm afraid ivory will get dirty quickly?  I wear a lot of color in my wardrobe (not much green though)!  Please help me decide!   Maybe we will do a poll if I can narrow down the choices!

Gustav report:
We are prepared for the hurricane. (food, water, flashlights, knitting supplies, books, homework)  It looks like it will hit early Tuesday morning (They have just canceled classes on Tuesday).  No one is really sure how bad it will be, but we are prepared to be without power for a few days.  Baton Rouge is far enough inland that evacuations really won't happen.  But if things are quite on this front that is probably why.  I will keep you updated.  For now please pray for the storm to weaken and that people remain safe!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New sock project

Things have been busy in our house, with adjusting to the start of school and B-day celebrations!  So there isn't a lot to show, but here it is:

These are Retro Rib socks from Favorite Socks.  I made a pair earlier and DH wanted a pair, so these are for him!!  I'm using Risata from Knitpicks.  The first time I used this yarn I really liked it (it is a cotton blend and softer than a lot of other cottons)  This time I'm realizing that it is a little on the thick side for sock yarn.  I'm still happy with these socks and think DH will be too (I think the cotton is a good choice for him because he is always warm)  Because I had done this pattern before I wanted to try something different and so I am making them 2 at a time on magic loop! (a first for me....this site helped me get started!)  It is too soon to pass judgement on if I like the method or not, but it will be nice to be done with both at the same time!  Happy knitting!  (as I type this I'm wearing my new gloves and they are working out super!)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Happy Birthday to...

DH!!!!  Sunday night I made him a Dried Apricot Pie!  You cook the apricots on the stove first to soften them.  He loves it! (I don't like it, so it is all for him)  Early in our marriage we learned that I don't make good cakes (from a box, from scratch, they are all bad) but my pies....they are much better!

We plan to go out to dinner and just relax (maybe go to the new Borders'!)

Now for a Birthday is my DH's birth certificate!

but....if you read the fine print.....

....he is dead!  Weird, but true!

....and here are my medals!

Monday, August 25, 2008

First Day of School!

Well today is the first day back to school!  It isn't as if I haven't been working this summer, but it has all been fun stuff (well I think what I am working on is fun) and on my own schedule.  Now classes start and teaching duties resume.  I'm looking forward to it, I think.  A little strange with my advisor gone, but so far it is going well with her gone.  

So I ended up getting 2 extra Gold Medals for Team Baton Rouge Red Sticks in Ravelympics!  I hate knitting under pressure, so I only entered ahead of time the shawl relay (thank you all for your lovely comments about the shawl!  I adore it and can't wait to give it away--does that sound wrong?)  Tomorrow I will show you my medals (one award ceremony hasn't happened yet)

Last minute entries:

Baby Dressage:
Another pair of bootees (they are just so fun I keep making them over and over!)

Handspun Heptathlon:
Garter Rib Mitts using my first handspun! :)  These are for me (can't part with my first handspun)  They will be perfect for keeping my hands warm in my cold office and classrooms!  I think the pattern was well suited to handspun too....the imperfections of the yarn work instead of looking odd.  I made a few modifications because I feared running out of yarn (see my ravelry page if you want all those type of details)   These were knit flat with short rows for the thumb.  Also learned how to do a provisional cast on (not as hard as I imagined)

I will try to get a better pic soon. (DH didn't quite understand the look I was going for, but he did gladly snap the shot!)

Now the games are over and let the classes begin!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Finish Line!

Last night I crossed the finish line in the Shawl Relay!  I couldn't have done it without all your cheering....after a night of blocking here she is:

Pattern:  Swallowtail by Evelyn Clark

Yarn: Knitpicks Bare Lace weight (about 1/2 of the skein...don't have a scale to know for sure)

Needles: US 4 (everyone at knit night were perplexed that I used straight needles, but I did)

Modifications:  Make a little bigger by doing 5 extra repeats of the budding lace pattern.  I thought that would be it until row 3 of chart 4.  I must have ripped it out 5 times.  Pepperknit details the extra mod that needs to be made here!  Then all was well!

Knitted for:  Well originally I thought this was for me, but I have another shawl in mind for myself so this will be gifted.  Who will be the lucky one?

This shawl doesn't have the shine that the last one does (no silk in this yarn) but I still couldn't be happier with it for a small shawl/scarf!

And the week wouldn't be complete without a picture of Knox!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Not much to post...

I have 3 rows and the bind off left....yes 3!   Must knit....can't take time to do a real post (oh must do math too).  Look for pics tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tea Time!

A friend of ours recently recommended a new (to us) online tea store: Adagio Teas.

We order DH's favorite: Earl Grey, and some samples of Almond and Vanilla.  When we received our package (very quickly) they sent a free sample of Birthday Cake!  All the tea has been very yummy and it is all package so nicely with the little tins and canister (plastic, but still nice).  Almost all their tea is loose leaf, but the do sell tea bags (100 for $3) if you don't want to mess with a tea ball.  

If you are interested in trying them out, let me know and I can email you a $5 gift certificate.  (They let existing costumers give this gift certificate for free to new costumers)  Just email me and let me know what email address you want the certificate emailed to.  Hope you get to enjoy a cup today!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Shawl Relay Update

Oh my...I had every intention of posting these pics yesterday, but well the day got away from me!  Yesterday I gave two math talks to incoming grad students (remember I knitted a pseudosphere for one of the talks)  They went well, but they sort of consumed my day...especially with prepping for the class I'm teaching in the fall too.  No complaints mind you, just reasoning for neglecting the blog.

So without further are the progress reports on the swallowtail shawl:  

I'm almost done with the Lily of the Valley border (those are my favorite flowers)  In fact I just have one purl row left.  Then the lace border and I'm done (less than 20 rows left).   The numbs in the border look nice and aren't too bad, but these last 20 rows will go faster because there aren't any numbs!

Spinning Book Reviews:
Last week I checked out 2 spinning books and some of you wanted my opinion.  I feel like there should be some sort of disclaimer here because I'm a novice and may not know enough to give a good opinion, goes.  My thoughts:
  1. The Complete Spinning Book by Candace Crockett.  The book was chocked full of history of the art of spinning and wool.  It didn't offer much practical advice about how to actually spin, so it wasn't what I was after.
  2. The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning.  This book had some strengths and weaknesses.  I felt the strengths were in how to prepare wool to spin (if you don't buy it already prepped)  It also did a good just explaining some of the common terms used in the spinning world.  It definitely favored spinning with a wheel (I haven't done this and really just skimmed those sections)  The weakness was on this books attitude towards spinning on a spindle.  At one point they said they won't even speak about how to ply on a spindle because who would do that?  I'm paraphrasing of course, but...anyway this wouldn't be a book I would buy but it was nice to have a better understanding of the fiber I will use.
  3. On Ravelry the book Spindle Spinning: From Novice to Expert by Connie Delaney was highly recommended.  It is currently checked out of my library, but I will get my hands on it soon and let you know what I think.

Friday, August 15, 2008

This and That

  1. I have started the Lily of the Valley Border chart on my shawl! (yeah!)  I had hoped to be a little further along, but....had to do some school work and visit the pastor's new little baby, and special time with DH who came home early yesterday!  (definitely worth being a little behind)  There still should be no problem finishing in time, so no worries!
  2. Last night DH and I tried a new restaurant....standard Louisiana fare.  Our favorite such restaurant has been the Chimes (close to campus, affordable, and very yummy)  It was the first such restaurant we had been to and while we've sampled many it has still come out on top....until now.  Now we say they are tied...each has their strengths.  The new restaurant we heard about during a guest preacher's sermon a church (another reason to pay attention during church!)  It is called Kevin's Cajun Cafe'.  It is a little bit of a drive, but yummy!  I've never liked catfish I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!
  3. Thanks for thinking about Knox....she was doing the same whining/looking at the ceiling thing to DH later that night, but is now back to normal....enjoying my lap while I'm knitting.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Library Love!

Last night, after knit night, DH and I went to the public library. On a whim, while I was watching the Olympics, DH said he was going to the library...I jumped up, hit record (gymnastics were just starting) and got in the car. Why? to see what spinning books they had or course!
I've gotten a lot of info about spinning from N and ravelry, but sometimes reading a more structured book on a topic helps! I haven't had much time to look through them yet, but am looking forward to it!
So last week I caved and bought more fiber!!!! (This is Colonial Top, if that means something to you) I got it from Alpaca Direct. I got 4oz of it! It is spinning up nicely, although it is more slippery than what I was using before (that N gave me so I have no idea what it really was) But it is going well and I am happy so far!

Of course in order to maximize shipping I bought two other things (pics another day) some merino and some alpaca. Being a novice all the different types of fiber is quite overwhelming and I have no idea what the pros and cons of each are. So I figured I would just have to start sampling some. That is how I learned about yarn, so it should work for fiber too! (I think those library books might help too!)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008 5

The shawl is going well!  I have done 15 of the 19 repeats of the budding lace pattern....then I get to change charts :)  

I think I have a total of 60 rows left!  I'm not letting myself get too relaxed about it though because each row gets longer.  It has been fun to knit on it while watching the games....I love the gymnastics!!  Our men's team did awesome last night....ladies tonight!

Here is Knox looking content and relaxed last night!

But this morning she is intent on something.  She keeps looking up and for the life of me and I don't what she is looking at....normally I find some minuscule bug, but who knows today.  Further she is whining while watching which is totally uncharacteristic.  Oh well...she'll get tired and take a nap and forget about it! :)  Happy knitting!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Goodies and FO

Well Ravelympics are well underway....I am on a good pace (I think) and will show you tomorrow where I'm at!  Yesterday I wore my new skirt to church!!!  No one commented on it, but I enjoyed wearing it and liked how it looked!  The hand sewing on the inside wasn't too bad!  I definitely will make this again...maybe the other style.  So now I am keeping my eye out for cute skirt fabric!  

If you need/want more details on the skirt let me know and I will try my best!  I had a couple of sewing projects for my Secret Prayer Sock Swap package and I got those done (except for a hand sewn detail on one of them)  It felt good to sew again, but it feels good to have the machine put back up again.  My kitchen table was a mess!

Last week I also won another contest!  Aunt Kathy has been doing a contest a week (for quite a while) and last week I won the knitting gadget jackpot!  Look at all these goodies!  Go say hi to her (and in the process you will enter yourself in the contest for a really cute needle holder made in sheep fabric)

Well today I'm working on my shawl....and doing some math...only 2 weeks of summer left....must enjoy every minute! Have a super day!  :)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Let the games begin!

At 7:00 am this morning the Ravelympics began!  I got my cup of coffee and started my shawl!  Here it is after the first makes you feel like you are making great progress to be finished with a chart, but I know....lots more to go.  In fact I've done the 2nd chart 2 times (out of 19) and each time it gets longer.  But I'm confidant that it will be done in no time!

So how did I do on my goals for yesterday?
  1. Socks--finished!!! Even blocked!
  2. Skirt--almost done...just have to hand stitch (yuck)  the yoke lining on the inside.  I tried it on last night (and it looks all finished on the right side)  I couldn't be happier!  DH wants me to wear it to church on Sunday and he said he would take pics of it Monday it should debut on the blog (I guess I have to do that hand stitching) :)
  3. Other goodies for swap....I started one of them (they should be a good diversion when I'm tired of the shawl)
So not bad!

Okay....have to stay focus on the games!  GEAUX BRRS!!!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Training nearing an end

Well the time is drawing near....the Olympics start the ravelympics start tomorrow at 7:00am (local time).  I think I'm readying.  I have wound my yarn into a cake (800 yds of laceweight took awhile).  I do need to find my pattern again.  I'm in the Shawl Relay and making another swallowtail shawl (but a little larger)

My Secret Prayer Swap Socks are almost done (just 1/2 a toe more to go, then hide ends, block)  It feels good to have those done!  There are a few other projects I want to put in the package but they should be easy to get done!

I started a plain vanilla sock for Knit Night (although I missed this week).  It doesn't involve thinking so it is perfect for visiting!  I'm loving watching the colors change!  So fun!

So today's goals:
  1. Finish Swap socks
  2. Finish skirt (I hope this is doable....I think it is thanks to Jennifer!  She commented in the last post asking if my machine had a hem stitch.  Who knew?  Not me!  No hand hemming for me.   A little practice and the hem was done in no time and looks so much better than if I had done it by hand!  Thanks to love blog friends!)
  3. Now if all that gets done I will try to work on the last little goodies for my swap package...Can't wait to show it all to you!
  4. Rest up for the games!  Go team Baton Rouge Red Sticks!!!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sewing Adventures

So I've started working on my skirt!  (Also knitting my Secret Prayer Swap Socks...not sure how you all do it with these secret knits and test knits...guess I'm not good at secrets)  My transition to sewing has had some interesting parts.  

First of all I selected the size that matched my waist measurement (even though I never wear that size). I went to cut it out and see what the pattern looked like for that size

I know it is hard to see, put the "cut here" lines were gone!  yep I double where to be seen!  Some of the writing was there but no lines!  So I compared the 2 previous sizes to see how to modify the smaller size to make the larger size (yikes!)   I think that went well!

Then got the yoke done and pleats and tried it on before putting in the zipper.  Way too big!!!  (I told you I never wore that size)  So I took in the side seams (that is where the pattern changed between sizes) and fixed the yoke.  Guess I didn't need that missing piece after all!   

Now I need to fix the zipper (I realized last night that I wasn't doing it quite right) and do the inside of the yoke and the hem.  Speaking of the hem...the pattern says to do that first by deciding how long you want the skirt.  I didn't do that because I couldn't tell how long the skirt would that I can "try" it on....I've got the hem ready to be hand stitched (not my favorite part)

But even with all these trials (I'm keep telling myself it is just because it has been so long since I've sewn) I'm really liking how it is turning out.  I see myself using this pattern again!

Monday, August 4, 2008

A brief math lesson (with knitting content)

****I promise none of the math in this post is scary.  If you have an aversion to math it is okay please keep reading.  No one will get hurt by reading the mathematics that you want to see the knitting!****

So I was asked to give a "fun" math talk (20 minutes) to incoming graduate students in a couple of weeks.  So what did I choose?  Geometry of course!  I really like geometry (especially non-Euclidean geometry....not what you learn in high school)  I have found that most grad students have seen very little of this and it is extremely useful (at least in what I do).  

One fun hyperbolic geometry fact:   Triangles must have angle sum (add up the degrees of all three angles) less than 180!  Yes there are geometries where angle sums are more than 180 too! 

So to the knitting.  I thought it would be a shame to give such a talk and not have a nice model of hyperbolic space.  I made a knitted version, but here is also a crocheted version.  (They often look like lettuce because they curve a lot as you go out further)

I made a Pseudosphere (in LSU colors of course) pattern here.  I added a single crocheted border to help the added curling and give it some purple!   I think it will be the perfect model to make my talk more fun!

Not too scary right? :)