Wednesday August 16th 2017, 10:24 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

Iced my hands, took maybe longer of a break than I needed to so now it’s not finished.

If I type fast I might be able to get another repeat done tonight; I think it probably needs two.

Malabrigo Mechita in Pegaso colorway.

Mathias saves the day
Tuesday August 15th 2017, 10:58 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life,Lupus,To dye for

The color of the sky, she said. That was her favorite.

I looked over the blues in my stash yesterday, and then again today, willing it to be there. I have some really nice yarns that were close but they just weren’t quite…they were my types of blues, not hers.

I could wind white yarn and haul around dye baths and wait for things to dry and hope I guessed right on amounts or I could go for a little more instant gratification. Besides, I hadn’t seen Kathryn in months and I missed her.

Cottage Yarns in South San Francisco was a hike, but: “Today you can do it–do it today,” I tell myself all the time and I wanted to get started and I wanted to see what Malabrigo had to offer these days (turns out she has a new shipment coming in soon, too) and if anyone in the area had the inventory it would be her. There. Talked myself into it. So off I went.

I wanted superwash for a young mom; she helped me find the most perfect colors of Malabrigo Mechita and I had myself envisioning an entire cowl finished by bedtime.

Yeah as if. But I got to meet her daughter! Too cool that hers is also named Sam–and that it was her birthday.

Came home to a robo-call to pick up my prescription before they returned it to stock. Fudge. That had definitely not been in the plan. Wound a ball of Mechita and headed back out into the early rush hour.

Hit the top of my head, hard, on the car at the pharmacy. Klutz. Had a quiet little freakout to myself over head injuries but seemed to be okay.

Still, it took me a couple of hours to pull myself and my sore head together and actually finally sit down and start knitting, and oh did it ever help. That sweet anticipation as beautifully dyed wool wrapped around wood, again and again and again as I pictured my friend’s face…

My phone buzzed.

Our Sam and her family are in Texas, visiting Mathias’s Great Grandpa. (Where our Alaskan born, on being taken outside into 100 degree heat, was initially stunned: what IS this?! Make it stop!)

After all the news of these past few days–weeks–months–it all comes back to that poster in my obstetrician’s office years ago: “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.”

Baby giggles, or even just pictures of baby giggles. They make the world whole again.


For J and A with love
Monday August 14th 2017, 10:44 pm
Filed under: History,Life,Lupus,Politics

There are times when I really, passionately regret and even resent that my lupus does not allow me to spend time in the sun, not even five minutes in the middle of a summer day.

Because I want to be one of the counter-protesters when they come here. They intend to come this weekend, these evil men who are trying to out-Westboro the Westboro idiots. Maybe they’ll see how many of their peers are being identified and arrested or fired after Charlottesville and do like Westboro does half the time these days: make lots of noise and threats and then stay home.

With so much going on that is so beyond words, I took comfort in reading accounts of good people who took care of others in Virginia, and in finishing this today, one of the softest things I have ever knit. In looking forward to seeing my friend’s face when I get to give it to her.

Knitting it was also my way of conveying to her immigrant husband how glad I am that he is here and that he is married to her: he’s a deeply good man. We are fortunate to have him here.

Mark her words
Sunday August 13th 2017, 10:10 pm
Filed under: Friends,History,Life,Politics

Let me put the knitting down for a moment and show you where to see a photo.

Of first responders.

In Charlottesville. (Washington Post video. Warning: includes that car.)

The one overcome by grief, sunk down on his knee in the grass with a friend’s steadying hand on his shoulder, is the husband of my friend Chan, and that is her blog.

What happened in their town should never happen anywhere. Especially, absolutely, never in America. The actions of these few are a terrorist threat against everything our country aspires towards.

As Orrin Hatch put it, “My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.”

Gotta give a little
Saturday August 12th 2017, 10:52 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift

(They’re not brownish in real life.)

The baby hat came out a perfect size 3-6 months. Size 5 needles, 80 stitches.

The cowl that I cast on this morning, same yarn, size US 6 needles, all of .25mm larger: 84 stitches.

They don’t look that much different width-wise. But the cowl stretches sidewise easily way out to here, and the hat, just barely. The cowl will be exactly what the recipient wanted, hugging her neck but with the stretch to collapse down and outward in folds (when I get done.)

But then the Pythagorean pattern is essentially ribbing done in diagonals, and ribbing is put in places where you need stretch. My friend wanted solid fabric and diamonds and stretch and this does it.

I don’t regret flubbing it the first time around: that’s one very soft hat.

My thanks to Sally for prompting the much-needed pattern idea for the cowl.

But I’m glad I did it
Friday August 11th 2017, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

Splitty yarn, a stitch that tightens everything up on the too-small-for-my-hands needles, knit in a Venn diagram with one pair of circulars with too sharp a point for that splittiness and the other too ridiculously long for such a small project… Yesterday I simply avoided the whole thing altogether.

Today I vowed I was not going to bed with it still unfinished. It will look much prettier after a little water hits it, and I need to go ice my hands, but, I did it.

It took so little yardage, really, and the cashmere fabric is to swoon over. I’m just afraid it maybe came out too small (baby sizes chart here) for its intended recipient.

But I never have to knit on this one again.

Okay, I just doused it. As always, the stitches immediately relaxed, and you know what? I think it will be perfect for exactly whom it was meant for after all. (Even if that means surprising me later.) And it’s actually hat-shaped, too, so there.

One grousing. Gone poof.

Inside out
Thursday August 10th 2017, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift

Add one more fold to the brim with the hat turned inside out and it looks like this.

I realized just in time that I can’t mail it to Alaska quite yet–they’re in Texas visiting Great Grampa. Where the baby decidedly does not need a hat in August.

Blueberry and cranberry
Wednesday August 09th 2017, 10:09 pm
Filed under: Food,Knitting a Gift,Recipes

This version of blueberry clafoutis. Half a cup of sugar was plenty. Other than that, that’s the one I want to make again. (These are by far the best 8″ cake pans I have ever owned. Highly recommended.)

Meantime, just finished, another cowl in this pattern because it’s an easy one to widen out at the bottom so that it will ease into perfect folds around the neck without messing up the continuity of the lace within.

Rolling with it
Tuesday August 08th 2017, 9:10 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knitting a Gift

Somebody learned how to roll over today and he was very very proud of himself.

Re the green hat: it matches the cute outfits sent by Aunt-by-love Phyllis but it did not get the spiked dragon tail I was going to knit winding around it and dangling off the end.

It occurred to me just in time what a great cat toy that would make Mathias’s head into.

Baby hat
Monday August 07th 2017, 10:29 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knitting a Gift,Wildlife

The beta went home tonight to the family that loves it best–and I will miss watching those beautiful blue-black fins and tail swishing through the water towards my hand as I drop a speck of fish food into its tank. It had a little rock cave to hide out in with a few aquatic plants attached but when I called softly to it it would come out of there and greet me.

Who knew such a tiny thing could be so charming?

Maybe they’ll go on vacation again sometime.

And then I finished knitting this. Maybe. I had been planning to add more to it–but I really like it as is, even with that edge not blocked yet.

Shepherd’s Worsted yarn from Lorna’s Laces. The colorway was a doodle, a one-off that was in a gift bag at a post-TNNA party held at Green Planet. The pattern was a doodle, too, five repeats of a short simple lace followed by ~6″ of stockinette and then decreasing and out.

The new family
Sunday August 06th 2017, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift,Wildlife

That one’s done and drying and a new hat is on the needles, in the bright greens I got gifted with at Green Planet in January. Those colors just cry out for dragon spikes going over the top and claws over the ears but we’ll see.

Watering the tomatoes tonight, I stumbled across mama dove, papa dove, and a small baby peeking up from the nest, old enough for gray feathers and to watch me warily, its small tail slightly curled upwards against the wall. There might have been a second small head in there but I couldn’t get close enough to see for sure without disturbing them more than I was.

Carry on, then.

Type fast
Saturday August 05th 2017, 10:23 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

And then maybe I can get another repeat or two done before bed.

The phone camera stopped at one picture so this will have to do for now, I’m in too much of a hurry to fuss with electronics. The yarn is two plies of deepest brown lace weight plied with two plies of a thinner turquoise lace weight, another cashmere mill end. 

Chickened out on the yarn chicken
Friday August 04th 2017, 10:31 pm
Filed under: Knit

Got straight to work this morning with the intention of adding one last repeat.

But first, just to double-check, I weighed that ball again, and darn if it didn’t say 26 grams.

Okay, we’re done, that’s that.

It is now blocking on a twin bed, where it goes past the sides but comes shy of reaching end to end. I think the next one I make–I have a second monster cone waiting because the yarn is so very soft–I will make longer, but this one is very much okay.

(Note to self: needles US 8, aran weight cashmere/cotton.)


Still deciding
Thursday August 03rd 2017, 10:33 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

And then last night I cast on another cowl instead after realizing I needed a carry-around project.

I woke up this morning with the thought: today. Today I am going to finish that afghan. Two more repeats? Even three? I can do that.

Knit knit knit knit. First repeat finished by 10:30 a.m. Looking good but my hands need a break. 86 grams of yarn left.

Ice hands, wait an hour, knit another repeat–66 grams.

Ice hands, wait two hours, knit another repeat–46 grams. Looks like we have us a predictable pattern here.

My rule of thumb, staying on the safe side, is that the cast-off is going to take the equivalent of three regular rows’ worth of yarn. After a steady 2.5 grams per row, that means I need 7.5 g and the next repeat was going to end at 26. Six is not 7.5. I actually do have more of that yarn, just not prepped yet and the idea of making a join in that thick a yarn in the middle of the cast-off row, just, no, not if I can avoid it.

I iced my hands again and started in. It was pushing it a bit but I was going to keep that promise to myself.

Barbara Walker’s Fountain Lace logically ends a repeat after redoing the second row, and the purl row after that is when I’ve been measuring every time as my logical stopping point.

I knitted perhaps less loosely during that final repeat because part of me knew the afghan was long enough for me and for the wife but it might come up short for the husband’s toes (I haven’t actually met him, but it’s a safe bet he’s taller than my 5’5″) and I wanted it to work for everyone. I know it will lengthen the moment any water hits that lace, and I know I don’t know exactly how much, yet I love the slightly more three-dimensional look of it the way it is right now.

The final row 2, then purl row, and I weighed that ball one last time.

Twenty. Eight. Grams.

I guffawed and winced and stuffed the whole thing back into its ziplock and told it we were done. Done for the night, do you hear me. Done.

What would you do?

Break off the yarn, snap a picture
Wednesday August 02nd 2017, 9:47 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

Even though it’s only half cotton, I find alternating days I work on that afghan a good idea for the sake of my hands. That yarn feels like the cashmere it halfway is, but my muscles know it doesn’t have a lot of give to it. (It will be just over 500g when I’m done. I was surprised it didn’t take more.)

Or that was my excuse today, anyway, when somehow this happened. (Wait–didn’t I…? Skims through blog and checks.) I did, I made one very much like this a month ago, although that was more a brick–with sparkles!–and this is more plum red and plain. Cashmere, though. (Their pop-up if you click on their picture is the most accurate color on my screen.)

I don’t think either recipient will mind the twinship.

(Runs and blocks cowl. It took 59g and I have 97g left.) Alright then, let me go try to get in a repeat on that afghan now.