I've taken a bit of a knitting hiatus for the last few days, so there's not much new to report. The one or two quick knits I've manged to finish can't be shown since the giftees read the blog. Well, that and I couldn't manage to get a good picture before it was sent off. Here's a color preview at least.

What to do for this post? Answer a meme, of course. Purly and Angela both tagged me with the knitting space meme. I meant to answer a while ago, but I just couldn't get a good pic really and what do you do if you have more than one knitting hot spot?

This is where the planning begins. I sit behind the sofa, dwarfed by my bookcases, looking for patterns I have yarn for or getting new ideas for something later. A couple of shelves above this is my yarn stash, so everything is within easy reach. It's a pretty tight spot, hence the wonky picture, which makes it a really good place to hide from the boyfriend. I'm surprised he hasn't caught on this whole time, he just has to see that the glass doors are opened which must mean I'm there.

Ever wonder why my knitting is a little slow at times? Because one of my other spots is at my desk, where my computer tempts me with it's easy access to bloglines and flickr. I always think I can do both, or that I'll be really quick, but nope I get sucked in by all of your blogs. Maybe this spot needs to be retired for '06. I've been replacing it with the kitchen (no pic), though it doesn't always work since I have wi-fi at home.

The futon, I'm usually here on our boring, beige futon with boring beige pillows. This most likely explains why my projects need to be nice and bright! Needless to say, I didn't pick this one out, but what can you do? I knit while watching tv or "watching" the boyfriend play video games. I'm not sure why he needs me there, but it works out for the two of us.

Thanks everybody for the sweet comments on my mom's shawl. I really do hope she likes it. The parental units fly up tonight and then tomorrow we drive up to stay with my boyfriend's family, needless to say I won't be blogging much for the next week or so (though I'll try to sneak a post in before new year's).

I did want to thank Eunny for the early xmas present she sent me:

I've never had someone go through so much trouble to make me something, especially something as gorgeous as this. It's perfect! I love that I can use it as a purse or as a knitting bag since it's so roomy. I know that I'll be treasuring this for a long time.

Happy Holidays everybody!


Meet Ella

Pattern: Knitty's Ella
Yarn: HPY Laceweight in Polar Morn (triple stranded)
Needles: 5mm Addi Turbos
Date Started: 12/9
Date Finished: 12/17

My mom's xmas gift is done, with a week to spare to boot! You didn't doubt me, did you? After my last post, I worked 1.5 repeats more and then called it quits for a 65" wide shawl. Not bad, especially since my mom is 5'3" and shrinking. Personally, I would want it a little wider for myself to casually wrap it. As it is, I think I need to wear it super-hero style:

or maybe I just need to learn how to wear shawls. This is probably one of those things that comes with age, along with knowing how to do your taxes, finding the one lipstick that is perfect on you, and, possibly, understanding the true differences between 'casual', 'business casual', 'casual dress', 'business', and 'semi-formal' attire. Anyway, I probably would have kept going if it wasn't for a consultation with the Eunny Hotline, who's sage advice was to "STOP!" and stop I did. Who doesn't enjoy hearing they finished a project earlier than expected?

Ella is a pretty easy pattern, mostly stockinette stitch with a few increases and decreases thrown in. There's nothing really to memorize other than which two rows are the ones with the "YO2". For the rest, I just used the yo's and decreases to tell me how long I should knit straight till the next increase or decrease. The knitting was pretty fast, well, until that last repeat and a half at least. I think if I would have payed more attention to it during the week, then I would have finished sooner. No complaints though since I'm done with plenty of time and I think the final product came out lovely. I really like the neutral color with slight variations, the lightness of the yarn, and the warmth of the wool. In these pictures I was wearing a tank top, but was warm enough with the shawl around my shoulders. Perfect for the very mild winters in Miami or the very cold AC drafts my mom somehow finds herself under.

After wearing it in my apartment for a bit I think I need one of these for myself. I couldn't stop playing around with the shawl and staring at it until I finally boxed it up. I don't usually knit things twice though, so I think I have to find myself a swap where you send yarn to someone and they knit you the pattern you are sick of or never knit for youself. Or I could knit a GGH Soft Kid wrap from Rebecca 24, after talking with Purly about it we found that the patterns are virtually the same except for Ella being set up to widen while the Rebecca one is more of a stole.


RIP Camisole

Such a dramatic picture for an anti-climactic moment. I knew it was going to happen, but I kept denying it. The camisole and I had a good relationship so I don't begrudge her. Things started off nice, as they often do, with the hopes and excitement that come with something new. She was one of those friends that you imagine becoming best friends with, how could you not with all the fun you were having. You start talking on the phone a lot or hanging out all the time. "She's so cool!", you think. You even get cocky and think "I have some of the best friends around, how did I get so lucky?" Don't worry, we all think this.

Eventually it sneaks up on you, this feeling of friendship ennui. The friendship is played out, the newness is gone. You end up doing the same things over and over again. Little things start to annoy you. You find yourself bored, but you don't say this with that half BFF charm hanging around and all. You start to call less, you are too busy to talk, and you already have plans, sorry. There's still friendliness when you run into each other, with false plans, or is it hope?, that you'll hang out again. Sorry camisole, I moved on. I knew that I would never finish your ribbing and really, I don't think we are that much alike. I was blinded by your coolness, funkiness even, but really we were never that compatible.

Oh, who's this? Just a new friend named Ella. Well, really she's more my mom's friend, maybe even her future BFF. I won't jinx it though. Admittedly, I haven't really been hanging out with Ella that much with catching up with work and all. I mostly worked on her during the weekend and did a few rows here and there during the week. I'm finally at the end of section 2 in the pattern, though that's the section I get to stay in since we are going for a triangle here. Though it's hard to tell from the picture, I have 240 stitches there, which translates to roughly 26" from tip to bottom and, I'm guessing, somewhere around 48" in width. I'm still not sure what finished size I want for this any suggestions? I'll just keep knitting till it's time to pick up my mom at the airport.

Gratuitous reverse shot:

Angela tagged me with the "knitting space" meme a few days ago, I'll try to get those pics posted this week as well.


Birch Interrupted

What was I thinking? "Oh look, I have all this time in bed, why don't I finish up my xmas knitting by working on my mom's gift? How hard could it be!?" Yeah, never take advice from someone on codeine, especially if the person giving the advice is yourself.

It started innocently enough and, as always, I had the best intentions. Of course I wouldn't be in this predicament if I had started knitting when I got the yarn. My mom and I had consultation phone calls about what to knit for her gift. For some reason I was the one pushing the shawl idea. I guess I really wanted to knit one, but, knowing that I would never wear one, I wanted the chance to pass it on to someone else. She agreed, but then started worrying about color. "Remember I'm a winter!" she said. How could I forget? We got 'typed' when I was four or five, well really she got typed and I sorta walked in on the class (there was a class on this people!) and was immediately picked by the teacher as an example of spring (I think I was the only spring in the room for some reason). My mom still has the little book of color swatches for her 'type' (hmm, I'm starting to think something like that would be handy at the lys), which I'm guessing she refers to for something? Anyway, I digress, Ms Winter wanted something neutral, not too dark, and it had to look good on her. Well, thanks for the advice! I did a little further research into this "winter" matter and ordered my yarn. In the meantime I did a swatch.

Look! It's a 29 stitch Birch, awww!

I was all set to go and even started a couple of weeks ago, but then I wanted to finish other things, Thanksgiving came around, and the whole tooth drama kinda got in the way. This was the week I was finally going to put a big dent in it and get it ready for xmas.

Umm, this is as far as I got before all the mistakes drove me bonkers. Eventhough I memorized the pattern, nothing seemed to line up. Maybe I memorized some other pattern, who knows, but this wasn't working. The needles weren't helping, stupid non-pointy clovers. I was ready to scream everytime the yarn got stuck in the needle join. I obviously didn't have the right knitting mojo for this, at least not this week. So I said bye-bye to the 299 stitches. This works out anyway, I really didn't like my cast on (too messy) and I think I was doing the p2togtbl wrong (stupid pain killers). I needed something mindless, but still shawl like for my winter mom. Bring in Ella.

Doesn't it look like a face, with the lips pursed?

I'll admit that I didn't fall in love with Ella the first time I saw it or even the second time. I wasn't a fan of the color choice in the pictures and I didn't really like the bat wings err v- shape of the design. At times of need beggars can't be choosers. I looked through the pattern and it's easy enough to memorize, very much like crapotee (which worries me, is this going to be just as boring?). Throw in a different yarn choice and get rid of that V, and you have something I actually like. I just have to figure out how many times to repeat section 2 to get a nice size. As it's written, you knit this section a total of three times to get somewhere around 30" (240 sts). I'm guessing if I continue with it two to three more times (or until I run out of yarn) I should have a nice triangle shawl. Any guesses? Did I mention my mom arrives on the 22nd?


They got me!

Who got me? They did! You know, those doctors I have around here. I won't go into too many details here, but I'll give you some math to ponder. One tooth, two roots, 90 degree angles, four hours.

Let's just say I haven't been feeling well and that's why I haven't been around. If I owe you an email can you remind me? I haven't really left my bed for the last couple of days, which has made my world much, much smaller as you see above. But this isn't a pity party right, let's get on with some knitting.

Pattern: Backyard Leaves from Scarf Style
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran 4 skeins in 502
Needles: 4.5mm (US 7) straights
Date Started: 11.22.05
Date Finished: 12.02.05

I'm not sure what to say about this pattern. I've already mentioned how much I like it, it's fun and interesting and yields a beautiful finished object. Three rare qualities all in one pattern, what more could you ask for? This is probably why it took me a little longer to finish knitting than it really should have, I got greedy having fun with it and didn't want it to stop. If I knit this again I'll probably knit both halves at the same time (isn't that all the rage right now anyway?) just so I can have a scarf faster.

Blocking it made me nervous, I really liked the 3-d quality the scarf had pre-wash. What if the giftee would have liked it better as well? I guess it's easier to wear and tell what it is when it's flatter, but still, it looked so cool before. I left the two halves to soak in the sink in some kokaburra-fied water for maybe ten minutes and then sprawled them out on towels on my kitchen table. I pinned them so that the sides would have slight curves and the flowers would still "pop" after drying. Alright, so blocking it wasn't so bad, but sewing the two pieces together, that's where this pattern gets you. Remember my gripe about why they ask you to practice slipping stitches? umm, do you think they could have skipped that and instead told us how to sew the two pieces together?! Isn't that a little more important? I could stand one less picture of the 'brown-haired' girl if it meant room for this little factoid. oh well. I was going to try an invisible seam, but my plans were killed when I realized that it's not all st st. I couldn't come up with anything better than backstitching, blame the codeine. I hope to steam block the seam sometime this week to see if that helps. If not, then I'll be crawling for help from you guys.

I'm done and right now that alone makes me happy. Though I'll start to worry soon enough about how the giftee will perceive this. Will she like the Uma Thurman of colors that I picked? Will she mind the fuzziness factor of merino? Should I sneak in a sweater shaver with the scarf? We have less than a month till we find out.