Monday, December 7, 2009

A Mistake, Some Successes, and a New Love

It's cool, wet and dreary outside, probably the perfect day for sitting inside working on my blog, so here I am. As predicted, I haven't finished any of my knitting projects that I was starting in the last post, but that was to be expected.

I did get the package of Christmas knits and other goodies off to mom in the US, and low and behold, she wrote me yesterday to say it had already arrived. I was gobsmacked at how quickly such a big package got there at this time of year. I suppose all the extra Christmas staff they hire in the states sped things up for a change. I always worry about those big packages getting held up in customs too, but obviously that didn't happen.

Do I like to let things come down to the wire or what? On the day I needed to mail out the package, I was sewing the buttons on the Peace Fleece Central Park Hoodie for my sister. So finally, a picture of the completely finished project.

In spinning, I did actually finish something. I finally got the llama plied, washed, hung to dry and skeined. Here it is on the niddy noddy:

I just love the colour. Here is it hanging to dry on the veranda:

And here it is in the final skein:

The colour is excellent, but must admit the stuff isn't terribly soft. It's actually a bit string-like. For me at least, it's definately not wearable next to the skin, and probably not even wearable as an outer garment. I'm thinking a small rug, or a bag, but I haven't made my mind up yet.

Right now, I have the roving I got from Southern Cross Fibre on Matilda, and have about a half a bobbin completed. I'll show pics of that next time. On the Ashley, I have the second bobbin of the merino from Kathy's Fibres. In all honest, after finishing the llama, I've gotten very little in the way of spinning done.

Now, as to the knitting, well, we'll start that out with a bit of an amusing story, although I didn't think it quite so funny at the time. In my last blog update, I showed a picture of the Welt and Raglan jumper that I had started. I ranted on about the crochet cast on and how hard the old method I had used was when it came to trying to keep the cast on from twisting. I talked about the new method I was using that wasn't nearly as "twisty". And guess what. I twisted it. The evening of the day I wrote the blog post, I had gotten ready to go to work and was sitting having my pre-work snack and checking my email. There was a message notification from blogspot, saying a comment had been left. The Anonymous (I still haven't found out who my hero or heroine is) commenter pointed out that in the photo, it looked as though I had a mobius going there. (I've outlined the affected area here).

My heart sped up and I felt the sweat pop out on my forehead. Aside from being somewhat embarrassed, I really, really did NOT want to have to start this project all over again. I went to my knitting bag, already packed for work, pulled the project out, and low and behold, my dear Anonymous commenter was correct. I had indeed twisted the damn thing. I tucked it back into my knitting bag, not sure for the moment what I was going to do. I made a decision on the way to work, and while at work, managed to tear it back to just a round or two in, tink it back to the cast on from there and straighten it out. Thank goodness, I did NOT have to cast on again. I'm not a fan of the crochet cast on, even if I did find an "easier" way to do it.

Now, to my Anonymous friend, who I suspect is one of my Ravelry Twitter buddies, I would like to thank you sincerely for pointing out to me the error of my ways. Being far from as perfect as I sometimes think I am in less rational moments, I appreciate when people care enough to let me know when I do something wrong. If you would please identify yourself, I have a little gift for you. Heaven knows how long I would have knit on that infernal coil without your help, wasting much precious knitting time. As it was, it's now fixed, and even a bit further along than it was before the correcting began.

That being said, lets move right along to the projects I didn't totally screw up. My Blue Bird and Bees Socks (aka The Honey Bee Socks) are coming along nicely. I finished the first sock:

and I've even made a bit of headway on the second sock:

It is a nice pattern. The stitch pattern is the same as the one in my Saloongirl
Stocking (aka Bettie's Lace Stockings, Interweave, Spring 2009) except that in the latter project, the lace pattern went all the way around the stocking. So one would think I would know it by heart by now, but alas, I still have trouble with the faggoting part. At any rate, this pattern produces a far more "wearable" sock, something I can wear in the day to day world.

I've been vowing to do at least one pattern repeat on them a day, and I've been sticking to that more often than not, because my primary goal these days is to finish my "Natually Me Cami" (aka The Lacy Corset Cami), and without some structure, I'm afraid the socks would get totally neglected. Because of the lace, the socks and the cami aren't really mindless knitting, so that sort of limits the times when I can work on them. The cami is a bit easier than the socks, as the pattern is only a two row repeat and easily remembered, whereas the socks have a six row repeat, and aren't quite so easy.

The cami, however, is coming along swimmingly. I have finished the back, the front and both sleeve caps. All I have left is the lacy bit of edging around the neck. I have just finished that last sleeve cap today, and given all the housework I have to do, I don't see much chance in getting the stitches picked up for the neck today, or even tomorrow. Tonight is my first night back at work, so I'll be a zombie tomorrow. Perhaps I'll get it knit on Thursday morning. After that, there's nothing left to do but stitch it up. Hopefully, but my next post, it will be a finished object to display.

The bulk of the knitting on it being done, and only a few "at home" technical bits to finish up, that of course means that I'm thinking of what to cast on next. I bought some yarn that I "think" will be suitable for the Coachella pattern last week at Spotlight.

It was reasonably priced, and I'm very happy with the colour. It would be nice to get two summer tops knit up while it's still warm enough to wear them.

However, I have been absolutely scouring my lace stash and the Victorian Lace Today book, and I'm intent that very very soon, I'm going to cast on a lace shawl or scarf, most likely a shawl.

Here's my delimma though. I really need to start the Coachella pattern if I want to finish it in time to wear this season. I also need another pair of socks when these Honey Bee's are done. As for the Welt and Rib Raglan, well, there's no hurry on that, it's just served as easy mindless knitting when my life called for it and both my other projects weren't. Coachella will be easy, and so will my next pair of socks. So, if I were to cast on a lace shawl, I would have 4 WIPs, 3 that are fairly easy, and the shawl for concentration knitting. I really like to keep my WIP's at a maximum of 3, except when I'm in transition and maybe just need to stitch a project up or something like that. When I have 4 WIP's, invariably, something gets neglected. It seems I have three alternatives. I can either hibernate the Welt and Rib Raglan, or I can wait to start the shawl until Coachella is done, or I can break my own rule and have 4 WIPS. Right now, I'm leaning toward 4 WIPS. Well, I don't have to decide today. I might get Coachella started in the next couple of days, but wouldn't have time to cast on the shawl that soon anyway. I'll just have to make up my mind before all my lovely days off next week. This week will be full up with work and Christmas preparations anyway.

Last but certianly not least, I've gotten a new toy. I recieved a voucher from the weight loss site I used to lose weight, in return for letting them publish my "success story" on their website. With this, I got myself an iPod Touch. If it is possible to feel true love and devotion for an electronic object, then I do well and truly love it. With electronics though, it is a bit easier to accept that eventually, a younger, cheaper model will eventually come along that will steal my heart away. But for now, I'm ecstatically in love.

(sorry for the horrible photo, best I could do)

My iPod Touch has all these handy functions, and it's connected to wi-fi. So whenever I have a wi-fi connection (at home, or at free wi-fi hotspots), I can recieve my email, surf online (granted, the screen is small and this can be tedious), find out the weather, and just all sorts of things. It's like having a computer in my pocket. Instead of taking the laptop up with me, when I go knitting in my "bedcave", I can just take the iPod Touch, listen to my audiobooks, keep up with my Twittering and record my stitch or row counting, all in one amazingly small little package.

To accomplish all this, I have been introduce to the amazing world of apps (short for applications). I had no idea initially what an app was, but I had heard there was a really cool spinning app, and wanted to find out. I threw the question out there in the Over The Fence group on Ravelry, knowing there were many younger, more computer and gadget savvy people on there than I am.

Now I've been shopping for apps. Some cost (like the spinning one) and some are free. They are available on the itunes store, and I already have an account there. So far, the only one I've bought is the spinning one (called iSpin Toolkit) for $5.99, but I have a couple of knitting ones, the free "lite" versions, that I'm trying out to see which one I want to buy, and the app used to connect to Twitter called Tweetdeck (which is also what I have on the computers). The knitting apps have row counters, project lists, organizational tools and more. Quite frankly, it seems there is an app for everything under the sun, inside and outside of the knitting world, and I feel like a kid in a brand new candy store. By far the most prolific apps are games, and I'm not much of a gamer, but other than that, there are financial apps, apps with maps (even one of Adelaide), apps for boating, fishing, cooking, and well, for nearly everything. It is just so very cool. And none are terribly expensive. In fact, the spinning app is about as expensive as I've seen them get. Most are in the 1.19 to 3.99 range. If it sounds like I'm gushing, well, yep, I am. I could become addicted to this thing.

So, that's about all the news that is news in my world this week. This is Chris' last week of work before his long summer school holiday, which means I might not be as "on schedule" with my posts for the next 6 weeks or so. He has plans to go away a couple of times, and always plans outings and such with his friends as he goes along. Besides, he's taken to bush walking on a regular basis, and I'm hoping he'll use his break to find new and exciting places to walk. Essentially though, he will be more "underfoot" than usual for the next few weeks, and I will be obliged to accompany him from time to time, so my time will certainly not be as much "my own" as it is when he's working.

So, until next time...


Tracy said...

I'm addicted to my iphone which is an ipod touch with a phone built in ;) So internet anywhere!

I haven;t go the spinning app, might have to go look at that one.

Anonymous said...

Hi Robbie! It is your anonymous commenter here! em-ee-el on Rav...

I am SO glad you were able to fix the mobius without much trouble :) I ummed and ahhed and looked at the photo for ages, as I didn't want to speak out of turn and be WRONG (the horror!!), but in the end, I decided I would want someone to tell me if the roles were reversed...especially before I got too far along.

So, I'm very glad all is well :)

And absolutely NO gift is necessary! Happy to have helped.